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-
The class 90 locomotive celebrated their 34th year of operations on July 12th 2022. The first 90 to work a passenger service 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 90 to work a service train after it performed a VIP service to Northampton in March 1988 in readiness for naming -
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 http://www.traintesting.com/IVA_88.htm
The original 50 strong fleet of 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 90s took the form of 87/2s -
The maximum speed of a class 90 is 110mph, although they have been known to go faster in days gone by 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 work throughout their entire history a trend still seen today in 2020. They have operated (and continue to do so) on a number of electrified routes including the West Coast, East Coast and Great Eastern Region.
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-
Moving on to the present day (June 2030), the class 90s continue to operate freight trains under the stewardship of DB Cargo, Locomotive Services and Freightliner with approximately 75% 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 DB90s would work with MK4s on passenger duties between Euston and Blackpool. From Summer 2020, but due to Covid-
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 use the contact section or drop us an email and we will get back to you promptly and assist wherever possible.
Present & Future
As already noted the 90s entered their 34th year of passenger operations on the 12/7/22. It is unclear what will happen to these locomotives in years to come, but at the time of writing in 2023, the current fleet size has stabilised, with enough work to go around for the foreseeable future although the DB fleet is less certain.
Focus now turns to DB Cargo -
Now we turn to the Freightliner fleet -
In the short-