Class 91 Intercity 225

British Rail finally got the go-ahead and funds for the electrification of the East Coast Main Line (originally it was supposed to have taken place at the same time as the WCML) in the 1980s. For the ECML British Rail needed a new fleet of express passenger locomotive these were the Class 91 which were coupled to Mark 4 coaches in push-pull formation with a Driving Van Trailer on the other end [1].

This system was also called the Intercity 225 (replacing the Intercity 125 as it did on the ECML) the name referring to the fact they could go 225kp/h (140mp/h). However this has been restricted to 125mp/h in everyday use, on a test train one Class 91 reached 162mp/h in 1989 (the British locomotive speed record).

Number built: 31
Built: 1988-91
Builder: BREL Crewe
Motor: GEC G426 traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 6, 080 hp (4, 533 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Unusually the Class 91 has an asymmetric design with a streamlined cab at one end and a blunt ended one at the other. The Class 91 can operate fully in either direction though of course usually travels pointy-end first, especially when hauling an express. However the Class 91 can travel at up to 110mp/h blunt end first. As built the Class 91s were 91/0s but became 91/1s after refurbishment [2].

They remain on express duties on the ECML though are being replaced by the Class 800. They are currently operated by LNER, before that Virgin East Coast, East Coast, NX East Coast, GNER and BR Intercity. What happens to them next is currently unknown.
91 131 in LNER livery at Peterborough

91 101 at York

Front on with 91 115 at York

91 109 at London Kings Cross

91 121 at Darlington

A view of the "blunt end"
[1] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 80
[2] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 92