The Anonymous Widower

Class 88 Locomotives To Start Testing

This article in Rail Magazine is entitled Testing programme in place for first Class 88.

The Class 88 locomotive could revolutionise locomotive haulage on some routes in the UK.

It is a go anywhere locomotive with the ability to use 25 KVAC electric or onboard diesel power. Wikipedia says this.

The UK version will be able to run either on electrified lines using the pantograph, which will be the UK’s standard OHLE current at 25kV AC, or away from electrified lines with the Caterpillar C27 950 hp (710 kW) engine.

The diesel engine is not as powerful the  2.8 MW (3,800 hp) C175-16 engine fitted to its cousin the Class 68 locomotive, which is used by Chiltern on their Main Line services to Birmingham.

The Class 88 has a powerful dual-mode capability, with the locomotive being able to haul a train on diesel power, despite having only twenty percent of the power on electricity.

It will be interesting to see which routes these locomotives serve.

With the completion of the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, the two major freight routes across North London will be electrified on much of their length, but some of the secondary routes like the Dudding Hill Line will not be electrified. Also, as many ports in the UK  are not electrified, could we see Class 88 locomotives replacing Class 66 locomotives on some of the cross-London freights.

If Sadiq Khan is serious about pollution and noise, then he should push Network Rail and the rail freight companies to go for electric haulage on all routes across London.

I also wonder, if the diesel power of the Class 88, is enough to take a heavy freight train out of the Port of Felixstowe to join the Great Eastern Main Line for London,

The Class 88 is also capable of hauling passenger trains, so could we see them hauling rakes of coaches on long routes, which are only partially electrified.

  • London to Holyhead
  • London to Aberdeen
  • London to Inverness
  • London to Sunderland

It could be a suitable locomotive for sleeper services, especially if the Class 88 can work North of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

I suspect though initially, as there are only ten of the locomotives, they will be used in high-profile services with an ecological dimension.

  • Services through sensitive areas for noise and pollution, where the line is electrified like North London are an obvious application.
  • Direct Rail Services provide motive power for Tesco’s delivery from Daventry to Inverness, which is electrified a lot of the way. This would surely generate headlines if hauled by a Class 88 instead of a Class 66.
  • It would be an ideal locomotive for a Whisky-Liner from Scotland to the South,
  • Would BMW like it to haul their miniLiners from Oxford to the Channel Tunnel?

The last two applications ask if the locomotive could use the Channel Tunnel. I doubt that using the locomotive to take Minis all the way to Germany though, would be an efficient use of the locomotive, so at some point the locomotive would change. Being able to use the tunnel though, would enable the locomotive change to be made in either England or France.

I think that Stadler will see an order for more Class 88 locomotives before the end of the year. After all, the Class 68 locomotive fleet has continually grown since its introduction in 2013 and not stands at 25 in service and seven on order.

 

February 7, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Quite a few questions!

    East Anglia is pretty flat, and without knowing the gradients near Felixstowe, I would reckon a 1Mw loco’ could pull a heavy train out of the port to the main line.

    They would also be suitable for sleepers, since the timings on these are normally pretty relaxed and away from the main lines running slower would avoid waking the sleeping passengers. Obviously even a long rake of passenger coaches weighs a lot less than a full length freight train.

    Using them in diesel mode in the highlands during the day might be a problem as they would get in the way of HST’s and even local trains.

    Comment by Mark Clayton | February 7, 2017 | Reply

    • Felixstowe is probably pretty easy, as I used to live in Felixstowe and regularly cycled to Ipswich. Judging by the sort of motive power on freight trains coming out of Felixstowe like 2x Class 66, it might not be as easy as we think.

      Sleepers are a possibiity, but I do wonder if the Class 88 can work the routes to Inversness.

      I do think though that DRS will highlight their environmental features.

      They are also faster than a Class 66, so that might come in handy.

      Comment by AnonW | February 7, 2017 | Reply


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