IC225 and Class 91 commissioning - Part 2 of 9

Early days

The locos were intended to run at up to 140 mile/h (225 km/h - hence the name IC225) with new Mk4 coaching stock in push-pull mode achieved by having a Driving Van Trailer (DVT) at the opposite end of the rake and a Time Division Multiplex (TDM) control system using dedicated screened through wiring.

As the first ten locos were delivered in 1988 before the Mk4 coaches and associated DVT's, a number of HST power cars were converted to act as 'surrogate' DVT's and equipped with TDM, conventional buffers and drawgear. These included:-


Current Name Current Operator
43013   NR on NMT
43014 The Railway Observer NR on NMT
43065 (43465) City of Edinburgh - now removed Grand Central
43067(43467)   Grand Central
43068 (43468) The Red Arrows - now removed Grand Central

43080 (43480)

  Grand Central

43084 (43484)

Peter Fox 1942-2011 Platform 5  Grand Central
 43104 (43304) City of Edinburgh - now removed Virgin East Coast
43123 (43423) Valenta 1972-2010  Grand Central











Once the loco's early teething troubles were overcome during the running with the Mk2 stock, testing was extended to include a 5-car rake of Mk3 sleepers which could be run in push-pull mode with the HST DVT by use of a screened cable running the length of the train. This was most important with respect to the train's braking as the control system released and applied the brake from the 91 and the DVT. Hence when being hauled by the 91 the E70 brake valve in the DVT was held off by the TDM and any break in circuit (or a fault) meant a remote brake application from the DVT.

Early days testing the locomotives and surrogate DVT's

Click on the picture for a bigger image - pictures are courtesy Paul Wesley unless otherwise credited

43014 A surrogate DVT 43014 in the loop at Doncaster waiting for a path back to BN on 8th August 1988. This was when the DVT, which had a defective power unit at the time, was used purely as a driving cab
91004 On the other end is 91004 coupled to the R&DD's Lab 6 'Prometheus', the dedicated OHLE test vehicle
91004 On 16th August 1988 91004 propels its train away from Doncaster en route for BN
A test train hauled by 47655 passes the box at Everton Crossing (north of Sandy) on the ECML sometime in 1988. The first vehicle is the R&DD's Lab 6 'Prometheus'

Courtesy Roland Turner

Later in the day an unidentified class 91 propels the train south with Prometheus and 5 Mk3 sleepers plus surrogate DVT leading

Courtesy Roland Turner

43014 43014 passing Alexandra Palace station with the Mk3 sleeper test train

Peter Watson

Initially the DVT's power unit was only used to supply ETS for the Mk3 coaches, as they differed from the Mk4's, and hence the engines were only running at approx 1000 rpm, just above idling. However, prolonged use of the power cars in this way lead to an excessive build up of un-burnt fuel in the silencers and this eventually lead to fires. One occurred at Hornsey, just outside Ferme Park, and this brought the OHLE down too. After a repeat performance it was decided that the PC engines should be powered up as normal and this then meant that the test trains had a combined available power of over 7000 HP. A modification to the TDM control arrangements allowed the engine to be controlled from the class 91 and an increase in speed up to the maximum of 125 mile/h was accomplished with ease!

Three trips a day from Kings Cross to Retford was the norm by September 1988, the last trip necessitating a visit to the local chippy which was conveniently situated next to the Down loop at Retford where the train turned round - and there was a gate in the railway post and rail fence too! Last time I looked the inevitable NR 6ft paling fencing had put paid to this and the gate had gone too.

Transit moves and tests

There were a number of tests and trials in the early days of the project, not to mention transit moves, light engine tests etc

Click on the picture for a bigger image - all pictures are the author's unless otherwise credited

91002 Stonebridge Park The locos were delivered under their own power from Crewe. Pictured at Stonebridge Park at the bottom of the WCML on 16th July 1988 is 91002. The loco was on its way back to Crewe for modifications and the train crew were waiting for 91006 with which they would return to BN 
91002 and class 85 The old and the new................
91006 + 91002 ............and the two locos together before they went their separate ways
Gamston With Lab 6 and TC10 in the formation 91001 propels its test train back to BN and is pictured near Gamston, south of Retford on 16th June 1988

Frankie Leela

91001 stabled in Palace Gates sidings behind Bounds Green with a test train in 1988. Surrogate DVT 43014 was marshalled at the rear sandwiching Lab 6 'Prometheus', TC4 and TC10 in the first trials of TDM

Andrew Whitehead

The other end of the train

Andrew Whitehead

Test train at KX Yet another end of film shot shows 91001 on a test train with TC10 behind the loco in Platform 1 at Kings Cross

For more details of the various test cars which have been used by the DM&EE over the years look here

Inside Bounds Green Pictured inside the depot at Bounds Green is an unidentified class 91 with a rake of Mk3 coaches and surrogate DVT (HST power car)
43067 DVT 43067 on the stops at KX on 22nd June 1989

Treflyn Lloyd Roberts (Flickr)

91009 heading for BN on 5th August 1989 and pictured north of Grantham dragging the Mk3 sleepers blunt end first.

Craig Adamson

Crewe An unknown member of the class pictured at Crewe en route to BN

D Bower

91003 at BN 91003 pictured at Bounds Green in 1989


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