British Rail Class 87

British Rail Class 87

Infobox Locomotive
name = British Rail Class 87
powertype = Electric


caption = No.87028 "Lord President" in InterCity livery at Crewe station in 1988.
builder = BREL Crewe Works
builddate = 1973–1975
totalproduction = 36
wheeldiameter = convert|3|ft|9+1/4|in|m|3|abbr=on
electricsystem = 25 kV AC
collectionmethod = Pantograph
tractionmotors = convert|1250|hp|kW|abbr=on GEC G412AZ, 4 off
whytetype = Bo-Bo
uicclass = Bo'Bo'
weight = convert|83.30|LT|lk=on
trainbrakes = Air
topspeed = convert|110|mph|abbr=on
poweroutput = convert|5000|bhp|abbr=on|sigfig=3|lk=on
tractiveeffort = convert|58000|lbf|kN|sigfig=3|abbr=on|lk=on
trainheating = Electric Train Heating
railroad = British Rail,
Virgin Trains, GBRf, Cotswold Rail,
Bulgarian State Railways
roadnumber = 87001–87035, 87101
axleloadclass = Route availability 6
The British Rail Class 87 is a type of electric locomotive built from 1973-75 by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL). 36 of these locomotives were built to work passenger services over the West Coast Main Line (WCML). They were the flagships of British Rail's electric locomotive fleet until the late 1980s, when the Class 90s started to come onstream. The privatisation of British Rail saw all but one of the fleet transferred to Virgin Trains; they continued their duties until the advent of the new Pendolino trains, when they were transferred to other operators or withdrawn. The last Class 87 in UK mainline use was withdrawn from service on 31 December 2007.

History

A requirement for more electric locomotives came about after the electrification of the WCML spread north from Crewe to Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow. Initially, three Class 86 locomotives were used as test-beds to trial equipment (mainly electrical equipment and suspension) that would be used in the new locomotives; effectively, these locomotives were Class 87s in everything but appearance.

The external design of the Class 87 was clearly derived from that of the Class 86; the only major detail differences were two front cab windows on the 87 instead of the three of the 86, and also the lack of headcode indicator boxes; by 1973, visual recognition of train reporting numbers by signallers was no longer necessary. The 87s were also fitted with multiple working equipment which enabled locomotives to work with other members of the class (and some Class 86s) while controlled by one driver.

In the 1980s, the multiple working system was replaced with a new system based on time-division multiplexing (TDM) allowing 87s to work with other classes of locomotive (including most 86s, 90s and 91s) and most importantly, Driving Van Trailers (DVTs).

87101

Whilst the first 35 locomotives (numbered from 87001 to 87035, and known as Class 87/0) were identical, the 36th was numbered 87101 and had major equipment differences from the rest of the class. While the 87/0s were fitted with a traditional tap-changer transformer and rectifiers, 87101 had a new thyristor power control system, and spent over a year on test before entering service in 1976. [ [http://www.aclocogroup.co.uk/index.php?page=history87.php Class 87 history] AC Locomotive Group - Retrieved on 2007-07-28] The locomotive, named "Stephenson", worked the same services as the standard locomotives for many years, until British Rail was sectorised in the 1980s.

British Rail service

The great majority of the Class 87s' workload came on express passenger services between London Euston and Birmingham, and on the WCML. They did, however, see some use on freight, especially on heavy services that required two locomotives. In the late 1970s, British Rail named its entire Class 87 fleet, many receiving names previously carried by the "Britannia" steam locomotives. The rest were named after towns, cities or counties along the WCML. In the 1980s, British Rail locomotives were allocated to separate sectors and the 87/0s were transferred to InterCity (which meant their freight work largely came to an end), whilst 87101 went to work for Railfreight Distribution.

Post-Privatisation service

Virgin Trains

In 1997 Virgin Trains took over the WCML franchise from British Rail. All 35 Class 87/0 locomotives passed to the Porterbrook rolling stock company and were leased to Virgin as part of the deal. The locomotives continued to work the same services as before, the only outward indication of the change of ownership being the repainting of the locomotives in the red Virgin Trains livery. However, the Virgin policy of introducing a new fleet of trains inevitably meant that the writing was on the wall for the 87s. In 2003, No.87005 "City Of London" was the first locomotive taken out of service, and although withdrawals were slower than expected due to the unreliability of the Pendolinos, the final day in service was set for 10 June 2005, by which time many locomotives had been withdrawn, and others transferred to other operators. On this day, four locomotives hauled special trains to Wolverhampton, Northampton and Manchester. However, this turned out not to be the final workings for Virgin, as further problems with the new trains meant sporadic appearances by Class 87s hired from other operators. The final working, between London and Birmingham, eventually occurred on 22 December 2006.

EWS

EWS inherited the unique No.87101 from Railfreight Distribution. The locomotive was used infrequently on freight and charter trains but suffered a major failure in 1999 and was withdrawn due to its non-standard nature. It was eventually sold to Alstom for spare parts, and finally scrapped at Barrow Hill by HNRC in 2002.

Cotswold Rail

In April 2005, Cotswold Rail acquired three locomotives, all of which had been out of service for a number of months. The fleet later grew to eight, and were intended to work charter trains, for spot-hire contracts and a new possible intermodal traffic flow. They were based at Oxley depot in Wolverhampton. However the fleet saw very little use, and in July 2006 the locomotives went off-lease. Cotswold Rail no longer operates AC electric locomotives.

Direct Rail Services

In November 2004, Direct Rail Services (DRS) acquired four locomotives. They were used on Anglo-Scottish intermodal services, but never on a regular basis. In June 2005, the four locomotives were stored. The main reason for their lack of use was the need for a diesel to shunt the train in non-electrified sidings.

FirstGBRf

In November 2004, FirstGBRf acquired two locomotives which had recently been retired from Virgin passenger service. They were used as standby locomotives to rescue failed Class 325 units working FirstGBRf parcels trains. The fleet increased to four at one point, but finally consisted of two locomotives, No.87022 "Cock O' The North", and No.87028 "Lord President", which were both withdrawn at the end of 2007. What was to have been their final working, a charter train on 29 December 2007, was cancelled.

Export

In 2006, Nos.87012 and 87019 were sold to an operator in Bulgaria, although the transfer did not take place until after Bulgaria's accession to the European Union, in order to minimise customs formalities. Following trials, 25 further locomotives (the entire fleet, minus five that have been scrapped, the two already in Bulgaria and the four locomotives preserved or staying in the UK) were sold to the Bulgarian Railway Company and will be exported in stages during 2008-2009. [ [http://www.thejunction.org.uk/cl87.html Class 87] The junction.org, retrieved on 2008-02-10] The first batch, locos 87007, 87008 and 87026, prepared by Electric Traction Servces Limited, left the UK in June 2008. [ [http://www.electric-traction-services.co.uk/news.php#87_livery First three 87s almost ready] Electric Traction Services Limited, retrieved on 2008-04-17]

Preservation

Four Class 87 electric locomotives are currently preserved in Britain.
*87001 "Royal Scot" was donated to the National Railway Museum in November 2005. [ [http://www.nrm.org.uk/collections/loco/electricflyer.asp http://www.nrm.org.uk/] - Electric Flyer]

*87002 "Royal Sovereign" is preserved by the AC Locomotive Group, and has been returned to main line running conditions [ [http://www.aclocogroup.co.uk/stock87002.php 87002 page] AC Locomotive Group, retrieved on 2008-04-27] .

*87031 "Hal o' The Wynd" is preserved for use in an engineering training scheme, which may be a temporary state of affairs. It is located at Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham.
*87035 "Robert Burns" was the first locomotive to be preserved. It is based at The Railway Age in Crewe. It was handed over for preservation by owners Porterbrook at Crewe Works Open Day on 10 September 2005.

References

External links

* [http://www.eightseven.net Class 87 newsite homepage]
* [http://www.aclocogroup.co.uk The AC Locomotive Group]
* [http://www.thejunction.org.uk/cl87.html Class 87 - The Junction]


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