Electric locomotives line up before journey to new life away from East Anglia

Some of Greater Anglia's Class 90 fleet stored at Norwich and waiting to be taken to a new life with

Some of Greater Anglia's Class 90 fleet stored at Norwich and waiting to be taken to a new life with freight operators. Picture: GREATER ANGLIA - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia’s fleet of electric locomotives, which hauled Intercity trains to London for nearly 20 years, is preparing to move out to a new life as a freight workhorse.

The company had 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 all set to depart from its Crown Point depot in Norwich over the next few weeks.

Most are being leased to Freightliner, which hauls container trains around the country. Some of these are likely to turn up back in Suffolk, because there are some electric freight trains that have originated in Felixstowe and 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.

They have now lined up many of the trains at their depot ready for them to be taken to their new home depot. They are likely to leave very soon and may have to be pulled by a diesel locomotive, because their next journey could be along non-electric lines.

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.

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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.

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