Class 88s make revenue debut

DRS’ new electric locos are now in service on Anglo-Scottish intermodals and coping well over the northern fells.

THE long-awaited revenue-earning debut of the Class 88s finally arrived on June 12, with No. 88003 Genesis taking the honour.

DRS’ Class 88 fleet has been entering service on the 4S43/06.16 Daventry to Mossend and 4M48/19.04 return Stobart/Tesco intermodal services. No. 88002 Prometheus debuted on the southbound service from Crewe on June 16, and is pictured at Littlegill – north of Abington in South Lanarkshire – heading for Daventry four days later. Steven Brykajlo

The early hours of that day saw it and No. 88002 Prometheus run light from Crewe Gresty Bridge to Rugby, where the latter was left to act as a spare loco. No. 88003 then continued on to Daventry to work back north with the 4S43/06.16 Stobart/Tesco intermodal to Mossend.

The evening of June 12 saw No. 88004 Pandora haul its first train, it coming south with the corresponding 4M48/19.04 Mossend-Daventry. The loco had only performed its first main line test run on June 8, when it headed No. 88002 on the 0Z88/07.15 Carlisle-Crewe before returning alone to Kingmoor as the 0Z89/12.20 departure.

June 9 saw No. 88004 become the first of the Stadler machines to reach Scotland when it undertook a 0Z06/08.36 Kingmoor-Motherwell TMD positioning move ready for its debut.

June 13 saw No. 88004 at the head of 4S43, with No. 88003 bringing 4M48 south that evening, both coping with the climbs over Shap and Beattock without issue, despite suggestions that a single Class 88 would struggle to maintain the timings over the northern section of the West Coast Main Line. Whether this will still be the case in the colder months remains to be seen, but for now a single loco appears up to the task, albeit reportedly with liberal use of sanding equipment.

Read more in the August issue of RE – on sale now!

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