The early 1950s were a time of great plans and modern ideas, not least where the railways were concerned, but still recovering from the financial effects of the Second World War, many of these plans had to be implemented in a measured way. Electric traction was seen by the newly nationalised British Rail to be the answer and so attention was focused on new routes in the Southern Region, where third rail electrification had been in place since 1923. Much of BR’s Southern Region passenger traffic could be accommodated by the use of EMUs, but to cover the motive power requirement for 900 ton freight services, as well as the "Night Ferry" and "Golden Arrow" workings, a new electric locomotive was required.
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