This website is dedicated to the BR built class 90s, which were manufactured and assembled in Crewe Works by BREL from 1985 until completion in 1990 under contract to GEC. The original fleet size consisted of 50 locos as new and these were numbered 90001-90050. However, In the early 1990s, those locomotives numbered higher than 90025 were renumbered to 90/1 and 90/2 for a number of years, but they all reverted back to 90/0 in the early 2000s. The total number of loco’s currently in traffic (1/2/24) is 25 engines which are split between LSL and Freightliner with the other half of the fleet being split between DB Cargo and the Crewe Heritage Centre. The DB Cargo 90s (24 engines in total) are in storage and were all up for sale at the time of writing 3/2/24. This leaves one further member of the fleet which is 90050 - this is currently on static display at the Crewe Heritage Centre. In summary, there are 25 active engines and 25 in store/on static display. The class 90 locomotive celebrated their 35th year of operations on the July 12th 2023. The first Class 90 to work a passenger train was 90003, having been attached to the 13:46 Blackpool North to London Euston service at Preston on July 12th 1988 owing to a failed class 86 the previous day (90003 was used as a driver training loco in the Preston area at the time). It could however be argued that 90005 was in fact the first Class 90 to work a service train after it performed a VIP service to Northampton in March 1988 in readiness for naming - she was subsequently called 'Financial Times'. It is interesting to note that the first loco to be out-shopped from Crewe was 90001 in October 1987 which went to Derby to be a test engine for several months and saw action on the WCML as well as on the Old Dalby Test Track until accepted into traffic during 1988. One of the most bizarre situations to arise with the class 90 fleet in the beginning was the deployment of 90008 to Hamburg fresh out of Crewe Works as part of the 'Hamburg International Transport Traffic Exhibition' in May 1988. The 90 went in a convoy of other locomotives and wagons including 91003 and 89001. It is unknown if the class 90 (90008) worked under its own power for any part of the trip to/from Hamburg (pictures show a raised pantograph at the Hamburg depot). If you like more information on this event, then go to The class 90 locomotives were built as a direct replacement for the then aging class 85s as well as being an opportunity to cascade a number of passenger class 86s to East Anglia. The design specification was based on a tried and tested system which BR had developed over the years. Furthermore, one must not forget that the class 90s were a later version of the class 87. Incidentally back in 1987 the original number sequence for the Class 90s took the form of 87/2s - I recall seeing what is now 90001 at a Crewe Open Day in 1987 as a young lad with 87201 written on the bodywork, but this numbering system was short lived and the rest as they say is “history”. The maximum speed of a class 90 is 110mph, although they have been known to go faster in days gone bye under test conditions. These engines are NOT permitted to operate at 125mph unless they are regeared and adapted to operating with disc brakes. The 90s entered service as a mixed traffic locomotive and have featured on both freight and passenger trains - this trend continues to this day (2/2/24), albeit most of the active fleet are dedicated to freight now , whilst those preserved by LSL generally work charter trains and the occasional passenger train. This situation may change if and when the DB Cargo 90s find a new home. A more detailed introduction and analysis of the class 90 fleet can be found in the 100th issue of “Today’s Railways (UK)” which was published on the 8th March 2010. Also further sub-pages of the website cover other areas of the class 90s history which includes operational routes, livery combinations, operating characteristics, technical capabilities and naming facts /nameplates. It is also worth reviewing the “train testing” website which has a wealth of information on the class 90s. Moving on to the present day (February 2024), the class 90s continue to operate freight trains under the stewardship of Freightliner only with approximately 50% of the fleet still in active use. At the time of writing though, class 90s no longer work daily passenger trains, having finished in East Anglia in late March 2020 due to the introduction of Flirt units. Furthermore, It was hoped that DB Cargo 90s would work with MK4s on passenger duties between Euston and Blackpool from the Summer of 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this plan was scrapped. Further updates will be added to this page as they become known, so in the meantime enjoy the BR Class 90s and if you have any questions or comments, please drop us an email. Present & Future The Class 90s entered their 35th year of passenger operations on the 12/7/23. It is unclear what will happen to these locomotives in years to come, but at the time of writing in May 2024, the current fleet size has stabilised with enough work to go around for the foreseeable future for Freightliner and Locomotive Services. However, there is a lot of uncertainty with the DB Cargo Class 90s following the sale of 90017, 90022, 90023, 90025, 90027, 90030, 90031, 90032, 90033 and 90038 to scrap merchants leaving just 12 locomotives left in the DB fleet which have not worked since the middle part of 2023 (the engines concerned are 90019, 90020, 90021, 90024, 90026, 90028, 90029, 90034, 90035, 90036, 90037 and 90039, which are all stored at Crewe IEMD).
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