The Most Popular Locomotive, Ranked

Choose the locomotive you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 17, 2024 06:43
Consider the world of trains, where the various locomotives play crucial roles in transportation and industry. Identifying the most popular locomotive can provide insights into trends and user preferences, helping enthusiasts and professionals alike to understand which models stand out in the public eye. By participating in voting on this list, users contribute to a clearer picture of which locomotives capture the imagination and utility of the community. Each vote adds to a collective understanding, influencing future discussions and choices made by hobbyists, historians, and engineers in the field.

What Is the Most Popular Locomotive?

  1. 1

    Class 55, also known as the Deltic

    Deltic Locomotives Ltd
    A popular diesel locomotive produced by English Electric in the 1960s. Known for its distinctive appearance and powerful engine, it was used for both passenger and freight services.
    The Class 55, also known as the Deltic, is a popular locomotive that was used in the UK between 1961 and 1981. It is a diesel-electric locomotive known for its distinctive shape and powerful performance.
    • Manufacturer: Deltic Locomotives Ltd
    • Year of Production: 1961-1962
    • Power output: 2,700 hp
    • Top Speed: 100 mph (160 km/h)
    • Weight: 109.5 tonnes
  2. 2
    Class 37
    Trainiac from Australia · Public domain

    Class 37

    English Electric
    Another popular diesel locomotive produced by British Railways, used for freight and passenger services from the 1960s to the 1990s.
    The Class 37 is a diesel-electric locomotive originally built for British Rail in the 1960s and 1970s. It is commonly referred to as the English Electric Type 3 locomotive, due to being developed by English Electric. With a distinctive design, the Class 37 locomotive has become one of the most popular and recognizable locomotives in the United Kingdom.
    • Power output: 1,500 hp
    • Engine type: Sulzer 12LVA24
    • Weight: 105 tons
    • Top speed: 90 mph
    • Length: 59 ft 0 in
  3. 3
    Class 47
    Mihai Stefanescu · CC BY-SA 4.0

    Class 47

    British Rail (BR)
    A versatile diesel locomotive produced by British Railways and later by Brush Traction, used for a wide range of services from passenger to freight.
    The Class 47 is a diesel-electric locomotive that was built by British Rail (BR) between 1962 and 1968. It is one of the most iconic and widely recognized locomotives in the United Kingdom.
    • Builder: Brush Traction and Crewe Works
    • Power output: 2,750 hp
    • Top speed: 95 mph (153 km/h)
    • Weight: 119.3 tonnes
    • Length: 63 ft 11 in (19.48 m)
  4. 4
    Class 66
    Qualle · CC BY 2.5
    A modern diesel locomotive produced by General Electric, widely used in Europe for freight services.
    The Class 66 is a popular diesel-electric locomotive known for its versatility and reliability. It is commonly used for freight transportation across various countries.
    • Power output: 3,300–4,000 horsepower
    • Top speed: up to 75 mph (121 km/h)
    • Weight: 126.5 tonnes
    • Length: 21.49 meters
    • Height: 3.98 meters
  5. 5
    A popular high-speed train used in the UK since the 1970s, with a top speed of 125 mph.
    The Class 43, also known as the HST (High-Speed Train), is a diesel-powered locomotive widely considered to be one of the most popular locomotives in the world. It is a power car and coach configuration that revolutionized rail travel in the United Kingdom. The HST was designed to provide high-speed intercity services, significantly improving journey times and passenger comfort.
    • Power source: Diesel
    • First introduced: 1976
    • Top speed: 125 mph (200 km/h)
    • Engine type: Paxman Valenta
    • Transmission: Voith Hydraulic
  6. 6
    An electric locomotive used for passenger and freight services in the UK, known for its reliability and speed.
    The Class 90 is a popular electric locomotive used in the United Kingdom. It is commonly referred to as the British Rail Class 90. The locomotive is known for its high hauling capacity and versatility, making it suitable for both passenger and freight services.
    • Power output: 5,000 kW (6,700 hp)
    • Top speed: 110 mph (177 km/h)
    • Weight: 84.5 tonnes (83.2 long tons; 93.1 short tons)
    • Length: 19.13 m (62 ft 9 in)
    • Electric system: 25 kV AC overhead line
  7. 7
    Class A4
    PTG Dudva · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Class A4

    Sir Nigel Gresley
    A steam locomotive produced by the London and North Eastern Railway, known for its speed and streamlined design. One of its most famous members was the Mallard, which holds the world speed record for steam locomotives.
    The Class A4 is a type of steam locomotive known for its streamlined design and high speed capabilities. It was primarily used by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in the United Kingdom during the 1930s and 1940s.
    • Power output: 2,000 horsepower
    • Top speed: 126 miles per hour
    • Weight: 102 tons
    • Length over buffers: 70 ft 7 in
    • Driving wheel diameter: 6 ft 8 in
  8. 8

    Class 55xx

    British Railways
    A popular steam locomotive produced by the Great Western Railway, used for both passenger and freight services. Known for its reliability and versatility.
    The Class 55xx is a type of steam locomotive that was introduced in the early 20th century. It is known for its reliable performance, versatility, and distinctive appearance.
    • Type: Steam locomotive
    • Year of introduction: 1933-1947
    • Builder: Robert Riddles, North British Locomotive Company, Vulcan Foundry
    • Power output: 1,800 hp
    • Tractive effort: 40,000 lbf
  9. 9

    Class 66xx

    Great Western Railway (GWR)
    Another popular steam locomotive produced by the Great Western Railway, known for its power and speed. Used mainly for freight services.
    The Class 66xx is a popular type of locomotive that was originally built for the Great Western Railway (GWR) in the United Kingdom during the 1920s. It is a heavy freight locomotive known for its reliability and long service life.
    • Builder: Great Western Railway (GWR)
    • Year of Manufacture: 1924-1930
    • Gauge: Standard gauge (4 ft 8.5 in)
    • Power output: 1,800 hp
    • Tractive effort: 40,515 lbf
  10. 10

    Class 390

    A modern electric train used for high-speed services in the UK, capable of reaching speeds of up to 140 mph.
    The Class 390, also known as the Pendolino, is a popular electric tilting train used for long-distance passenger services in the United Kingdom. It is operated by Avanti West Coast and was introduced in 2002.
    • Manufacturer: Alstom
    • Year of Introduction: 2002
    • Power source: Electric (25 kV AC overhead)
    • Maximum Speed: 140 mph (225 km/h)
    • Number of Cars: 9

Missing your favorite locomotive?


Ranking factors for popular locomotive

  1. Number of units produced and in operation
    A popular locomotive will typically have a high number of units produced, indicating a strong demand from the industry.
  2. Reliability and performance
    A popular locomotive should have a strong track record of reliable operations, as well as demonstrate high performance levels in terms of power, speed, and fuel efficiency.
  3. Ease of maintenance and support
    Locomotives that rank high in popularity will typically have readily available spare parts, support and maintenance services, making it easier for operators to keep them running efficiently.
  4. Design and innovation
    Popular locomotives will often demonstrate innovative design features, which can include more efficient engines, improved braking systems, or enhanced operator comfort and safety features.
  5. Historical significance
    Some locomotives may gain popularity due to their historical significance, either because they were iconic models, played significant roles in various events, or were the product of significant technological breakthroughs.
  6. Environmental impact
    As environmental concerns become more important, the popularity of locomotives that are more fuel-efficient and produce lower emissions will likely increase.
  7. Cost-effectiveness
    A popular locomotive should be cost-effective, both in terms of initial purchase price and long-term operational costs, making it a good investment for operators.
  8. Operator preference
    Ultimately, the popularity of a locomotive can be influenced by the preferences of the operators who use them. Factors such as comfort, ease of use, and brand loyalty can all play a role in making certain locomotives more popular.
  9. Availability and accessibility
    Popular locomotives should be readily available in the market and easily accessible to potential buyers, ensuring there is a high level of demand and interest from customers.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular locomotive. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or locomotive is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 176 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each locomotive once every 24 hours. The rank of each locomotive is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular locomotive

Locomotives have been a crucial mode of transportation for over two centuries. These powerful engines have been instrumental in moving people and goods across vast distances, and have played a significant role in shaping the modern world. The earliest locomotives were steam-powered, and they revolutionized transportation in the 19th century. Today, locomotives come in a variety of forms, including diesel, electric, and hybrid models. When it comes to determining the most popular locomotive, there are many factors to consider. Some people may be drawn to the sleek and modern design of newer models, while others may prefer the classic look and feel of older locomotives. At StrawPoll, we've gathered data from thousands of users to help determine which locomotives are the most popular. Our polls and rankings provide a fascinating insight into the preferences of train enthusiasts and casual observers alike. So, what is the most popular locomotive? Keep reading to find out!

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