British Rail Class 89

Ranked #223 on the list Best Locomotive class of All Time

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About British Rail Class 89

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The Class 89 is a prototype design for an electric locomotive. Only one unit was built, no. 89001, which was officially named Avocet by the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on 16 January 1989 at Sandy, Bedfordshire - the home of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (whose logo is an Avocet). It was built in 1986, by BREL at their Crewe Works, and was used on test-trains on both the West Coast Main Line and East Coast Main Line. It was fitted with advanced power control systems and develops over 6,000 bhp (4,500 kW). It was given the nickname "Aardvark" although railfans used to call it "The Badger" owing to its sloping front ends. The Class 89 locomotive was designed by Brush Traction of Loughborough to meet a specification issued by British Rail, which subsequently changed the requirements, but not before Brush had already committed to build the prototype locomotive. It was initially delivered in the old-style InterCity livery, with no British Rail double arrows, but these were added later when British Rail bought the locomotive from Brush. As the development of the ECML Electrification continued the engine was painted into the new style "InterCity Swallow" livery

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