Class 91 Intercity 225

After a long wait 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 this electrification they needed a new fleet of express passenger locomotive. These were the Class 91 which were coupled to Mark 4 coaches 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).

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

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

They remain on express duties on the ECML though will be replaced by a new generation of high speed trains in the next few years. 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, although their reliability could be better it is likely they could find further use after being cascaded to other routes.
91 101 at York

Front on with 91 115 at York

91 128 in East Coast days at Leeds

91 109 at London Kings Cross

91 121 at Darlington

91 124 at York

[1] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 80
[2] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 92