In 1865, Henry Hughes, a timber merchant engineer, began building horse-drawn tramcars and railway rolling stock at the Falcon Works in Loughborough. His first company was known as the Hughes's Locomotive & Tramway Engine Works Ltd. It appears that he began producing steam locomotives about 1867 for the Paris Exhibition. His main business, however, was tram engines, which were lightweight steam engines (usually with condensers) and drew passenger cars, made possible by the Tramways Act 1870. Among these was "The Pioneer" for the Swansea and Mumbles Railway. Amongst the first steam locomotives built there was "Belmont", which ran on the Snailbeach District Railways, and three 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) gauge 0-4-0STs for the Corris Railway supplied in 1878. In 1881 the company ran into legal problems and in 1882 it was in receivership. In 1882 the company reformed as the Falcon Engine & Car Works Ltd. Production included tank locomotives for Ireland, Spain and the Azores, some subcontracted from other firms, such as Kerr Stuart. In 1889 the assets were taken over by the Anglo-American Brush Electric Light Corporation, which had been set up as the British arm of Charles Francis Brush's Brush Electric Company in America. It then became known as the Brush Electrical Engineering Company. In all, about 250 steam locomotives were built in addition to the tram engines, but this production finished after WW1. Being close to Derby, after WW2 the company retained its contacts with the railway and in 1947 joined with W. G. Bagnall to produce diesel locomotives. In 1951, the company Brush Bagnall Traction Limited was formed. When British Railways began to replace its fleet of steam engines, Brush entered the market for main line diesel-electric locomotives. In 1957 it and Brush Electrical Machines were bought up by Hawker Siddeley to become the Brush Electrical Engineering Company Limited. As part of Hawker Siddeley Electric Power Group it then passed to BTR plc and became Brush Traction. It is now part of FKI Energy Technologies (owned, since 2008, by Melrose plc). The locomotive works is still occupied by the Brush Traction Company and is in use for the building, overhaul and repair of locomotives.
Locomotive production for Britain:
Class 31 "Brush Type 2" mixed-traffic diesel locomotive
Class 47 "Brush Type 4" mixed-traffic diesel locomotive (manufacture shared with BR)
Class 53 "Falcon" prototype diesel locomotive
Class 57 re-engineered diesel locomotive (rebuilt from Class 47)
Class 60 heavy freight diesel locomotive
Class 89 prototype electric locomotive
Class 92 dual-voltage electric locomotive
It also manufactured the Eurotunnel Class 9 electric locomotives operated by Eurotunnel through the Channel Tunnel.
Locomotive production for export:
800 bhp A1A-A1A main line diesel-electric locomotives for Ceylon in 1952 (Sri Lanka Railways M1)
1000 bhp Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotives for Sri Lanka in 1981 (the M7 class)
1730 bhp Co-Co narrow gauge diesel-electric locomotives for Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1963
Various Bo-Bo diesel electric freight locomotives to Cuba, Tanzania, Gabon, Morocco
Battery electric locomotives to Hong Kong
EF class heavy freight electric locomotive (New Zealand Railways)
Class 18 shunter locomotives for Malayan Railways in 1978
Brush was also a major supplier of traction equipment to rapid transit systems, in particular London Underground and Docklands Light Railway in the UK, and to Canada and Taiwan. Traction equipment was also supplied to British Rail for various Electric Multiple Unit trains, the Class 43 HST diesel locomotive, similar equipment also being supplied to Comeng Australia in 1979, and the Class 56 and 58 Co-Co freight locomotives.
D5613 or 31190
Photo courtesy of Mike Digby
At what might be the Mid Norfolk Railway 31271 is starting to look just a little forlorn.
Channel Tunnel 47s
47338 and 47303 at Wandsworth Road station in London in March 1996. They were amongst a batch conver...
47517 at Glasgow
Taken in Glasgow Central in April 1993 during a period of diesel haulage for normally electric haule...
47703 SAINT MUNGO
Named after Glasgow's Patron Saint 47703 at the head of an Edinburgh train at Glasgow Queen Street i...
A few years later and a change of ownership saw 47703 now called HERMES at Carlisle in 2006 on an ex...
Another former Glasgow to Edinburgh loco under a new guise at Carlisle in 2006 on an excursion. Her ...
60032 WILLIAM BOOTH
Framed in the station canopy 60032 waits at Carlisle for a path over the Settle and Carlisle Line wi...
60039 GLASTONBURY TOR at Wandsworth Road station in London with an Angerstein Wharf to Paddington st...
Class 47 804
Class 47 804 is seen at the front of the train at Carlisle on 5/3/11 this is the same train that had...
Class 31 31108/D5526
Photographed on 15 March 2011 at the Nene Valley Railway shed yard, Wansford.
See also picture #100...