GEC Traction Limited

GEC Traction (GECT) was formed in 1972 as part of the GEC Power Engineering Group following earlier amalgamations of the traction divisions of the General Electric Company (GEC), the English Electric Company (EE) and Associated Electrical Industries (AEI). A wholly owned subsidiary company of GEC, the company had offices and works, located at Trafford Park in Manchester, at Strand Road in Preston, and at Attercliffe Common, Sheffield.

The headquarters of GEC Traction was Trafford Park, Manchester (previously the headquarters of English Electric-AEI Traction) with design of rotating machines at Preston and Sheffield, and manufacturing activities for control equipment at Manchester and Preston. GEC Traction designed and manufactured a full range of traction machines and control equipment for electric vehicles, including electric locomotives and multiple unit trains for main-line and mass-transit railway systems (dc up to 3,000 volts, and ac up to 50,000 volts), diesel-electric locomotives and trains, mining and industrial locomotives, tramcars and trolleybuses.

GEC Traction was the leading supplier of traction equipment in the UK and had a wide market around the world, particularly in South Africa, Australasia, Hong Kong, South Korea, South America and Pakistan. In 1979 the Industrial Locomotive Division of the former English Electric which was based at Vulcan Works, Newton-le-Willows was merged into GEC Traction, which later became a separate company, GEC Industrial Locomotives Ltd.

During the late 1980s and 1990s the firm underwent major rationalisation, involving closure of several sites including Attercliffe Common in Sheffield in 1985 and the company’s headquarters at Trafford Park in Manchester in 1998. The company name GEC Traction endured until a merger with the French Alsthom group in 1989, which created GEC Alsthom Traction, which was still a branch of the main company GEC Alsthom.