Reality Check: The ‘Electric Scot’ - BR’s Class 87s

For many years the premier express locomotives on the West Coast Main Line were the Class 87s, but they have now fallen from grace though surprisingly many are enjoying a second but rather less glamorous career, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.

Class 87

Above: Class 87 87001 has just passed Tebay and begins the accent of Shap with a down express in 1974. The locomotive is in original condition with a GEC cross arm pantograph, multiple working jumper cable and original central headlight. Patrick Russell/Rail Archive Stephenson.

ELECTRIFICATION OF Britain’s major railway routes was a major part of the Modernisation Plan, with the first north-south route to be tackled being the West Coast Main Line (WCML). Work commenced in 1959 and by 1970 it had reached the difficult and hilly section between Weaver Junction, near Liverpool, and Glasgow.

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