Electric locomotive, British Railways, Class 76 (EM1) Bo-Bo (Overhead) No. 26020, built at Gorton Works in 1951, withdrawn in 1977.
The British Railways, Class 76 (EM1) Bo-Bo Electric locomotive No. 26020 is the only preserved example of its class. Designed for use on the Woodhead Line which linked Sheffield, Penistone, and Manchester in the North of England. People in post-war Britain were increasingly unwilling to work in the dirty conditions created by steam locomotives, but when this EM1 electric was displayed at the 1951 Festival of Britain, steam engines were still being built in their hundreds. The London & North Eastern Railway had built a similar locomotive in 1941, but the plan to electrify the Sheffield to Manchester Woodhead Route was delayed by the Second World War. Even today much of the main line railway network has not been electrified.
Between 1950 and 1953 57 locomotives were built at Gorton Works. The locomotives all had two diamond-shaped pantographs, which collected power through contact with an overhead wire.
26020 was built in 1951. From February to November of that year it was exhibited at the Festival of Britain. This was one of the reasons why 26020 was chosen for preservation, along with the fact that it was also the locomotive which pulled the train on the opening of the Woodhead Tunnel.
26020 was withdrawn from service in 1977 and became part of the National Collection in the same year.