Crewe Heritage Centre unveils new look for our resident Class 87 Electric Locomotive ‘Robert Burns’

Crewe Heritage Centre unveils new look for our resident Class 87 Electric Locomotive ‘Robert Burns’.

Following an eight-month-long project by a small team of our volunteers, we are pleased to announce that the Heritage Centre’s resident Class 87 Electric Locomotive 87 035 can now be seen in the same livery in which it carried when it was withdrawn from service 22 years ago.

At a special event held on Tuesday 15th March 2022 in the Heritage Centre’s Exhibition Hall, the locomotive was rededicated with the Robert Burns nameplates and new crests. it was unveiled by Simon Kohler of Hornby Model Railways, and visitors to the event also included the Mayor of Crewe, Cllr Tom Dunlop, and representatives from Hornby Magazine.

The Heritage Centre would like to thank Virgin Group for their kind permission to use Virgin branding on this locomotive. We would also like to thank Durable Castings Ltd of Deeside for kindly donating the replica plaques.

A Brief History of 87 035 ‘Robert Burns’

The Class 87 is a type of electric locomotive constructed by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) between 1973 and 1975 at Crewe Locomotive Works. Thirty-six of these locomotives were built to work passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London and Glasgow. It was considered to be the flagship of British Rail’s electric locomotive fleet until the late 1980s.

The privatisation of British Rail saw all but one of the class transferred to Virgin Trains who continued to use the fleet until the advent of the new Class 390 ‘Pendolinos’. This particular locomotive entered service in October 1974, spending its entire working life based at Willesden Intercity Depot, London, working high speed services until December 2004, when it was withdrawn from service in and placed into storage. In September 2005 a deal was announced between the Crewe Heritage Centre and Porterbrook Leasing which would see 87035 preserved here at the Heritage Centre.

As the new Class 390 ‘Pendolinos’ were introduced, the demand for the Class 87s declined. Twelve members of the fleet were scrapped between 2002 and 2010. However, twenty-one members of the class were exported to Bulgaria. Two other examples, 87001 and 87002 are also preserved.

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