IC225 and Class 91 commissioning - Part 5 of 8

The Mk4 coaches arrive

Once the Metro Cammell-built Mk4 coaches had arrived these also began mileage accumulation too and as the electrification was extended up the ECML so the destinations changed. Initially running to Grantham - this was moved to York then to Leeds and eventually Newcastle, Edinburgh and finally via Carstairs to Glasgow.

The Mark 4 is an all-steel coach incorporating a number of improvements over the Mark 3 stock that preceded it, notably the inclusion of automatic pushbutton operated plug-type doors in place of the earlier manually operated slam-doors. After a period of evaluation in 1988, Swiss SIG type BT41 bogies were selected rather than the BREL type T4 bogies when BREL could not provide commercial guarantees on the demanding lateral ride comfort required for 140 mile/h running.

I remember that there were concerns about traversing the tight curves and pointwork at Carstairs when running between Edinburgh and Glasgow and that we ran a few initial trial trips when we were monitoring the clearances between vehicles on the curves.

During this period we also took a Class 91 rake to Craigentinny depot for clearances (on all the various carriage sidings etc)

The test and driver training trains were later based at Edinburgh Craigentinny Depot but in the early days we had to be content with stabling at Millerhill Yard - which was the back of beyond. There were also a few problems with train length as there was only one road which had been partially electrified and we ran off the wires a couple of times and had to be dragged back by a diesel and undertake a pantograph examination before running again. Aah, what memories!

Click on the picture for a bigger image - pictures as credited

Millerhill A DVT on the north end of a set stabled in Millerhill Yard in late 1988

Jim Howie ( see his site here)

Millerhill On the other end was 91009

Jim Howie

3 locos? Three class 91 locos at Millerhill, possibly connected with transit move to Craigentinny or Polmadie for training purposes

Jim Howie

91009 91009 to the fore

Jim Howie

Millerhill Another shot at Millerhill

Jim Howie

Huntingdon Another trip down the East Coast Main Line during August 1989 was terminated at Huntingdon for some reason.  The train is seen here on the Up platform waiting to return to Bounds Green via the Hertford loop

Garry Brookes

Huntingdon A quick changing ends by train crew saw the train quickly setting off back south, so as not to block the platform for too long.

Garry Brookes

Leaving York 91001 heads north from York with a five coach MkIV test train


During this period the line speed between Peterborough and Grantham was increased to 140 mile/h to allow the 91's to show their paces. This was the famous Stoke Bank where the Gresley Class A4 'Mallard' had broken the world speed record for steam in 1938. The signalling was modified to have a 'fifth aspect' utilising a flashing green to indicate that there were at least two blocks clear ahead of the train. Many was the time we had to brake for the last curve in the Down direction (uphill) which had a 135 mile/h restriction!

Click on the picture for a bigger image - all pictures are courtesy Garry Brookes

Platform 4 at Peterborough The scene at Peterborough on the occasion of the Mk4 train high speed tests, around 08:45 hrs on Sunday 17th September 1989.  The set has just completed the third (and fastest) run from Grantham, recording 162.8 mile/h south of Little Bytham.
Discussions The first working of a complete Mk4 train to reach Peterborough pictured in platform 2 one day during August 1989.

The consternation had been caused by the shattering of the outer skin of one of the glazing units in the Tourist Open End (TOE) coach next to the Class 91 locomotive.  

Platform 2 at Peterborough DVT 82200 waits to lead the train back to Bounds Green after a successful day's testing. Note the "Metro-Cammell" branding on the front of the DVT, this was applied to 82200 only, all other DVTs were fitted with the InterCity 'Swallow'" motif from new.

We also undertook a few demonstration runs when we ran at 140 mile/h, where the line speed was 125 mile/h, all the way from KX to Edinburgh arriving there in the record time of three and a half hours!

Did a five coach IC225 really average 112.8 mile/h non-stop between London and Edinburgh on 26 September 1991- yes! Some people bemoan the passing of BR and rightly so - can you imagine attempting such a feat today?


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