Greater Anglia’s fleet of electric locomotives, which hauled Intercity trains to London for nearly 20 years, are moving to a new life as freight workhorses.
The company operated 15 Class 90 locomotives, which pulled and pushed its trains on the main line from Norwich and Ipswich to London Liverpool Street – but they are now departing from Crown Point depot in Norwich to their new operators.
Most are being leased to Freightliner, for hauling container trains. Some of these are likely to turn up back in Suffolk, because there are some electric freight trains that have originated in Felixstowe that have an engine change at Ipswich - before heading to the north of England or the midlands via London.
Greater Anglia has removed all the branding from the locomotives before they are sent to Freightliner depots to be overhauled and prepared for freight work. Eventually, they are likely to be painted into Freightliner’s striking new orange livery.
Two of the locomotives have been sent to Locomotive Services Limited, which operates rail tours around the country. Many of these tours feature steam locomotives for part of the journey – but need more modern power for the rest.
The Class 90 locomotives were originally built for British Rail passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London and Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. The first entered service in 1987 and 50 were built between then and 1990.
Some of the locomotives they replaced at that time were then moved to East Anglia when the Great Eastern Main Line was electrified in the mid-1980s.
The Class 90s were tested on the Great Eastern line in the early 2000s and took over most Intercity trains when National Express took over the franchise in 2004.
They powered their last Intercity trains at the end of March – the carriages they pulled did not comply with disability legislation and had to be modified or withdrawn by March 31.
The traditional trains were replaced by the new Stadler Intercity units shown below.