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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Class 87s for Bulgaria

Due to pressure from the high number of contributions, this 26th May 2010 post again follows quickly in the footsteps of the previous post. The post comprises three pictures from Alan Rigby and a fourth from John Smith featuring class 87 locomotives, all destined for Bulgaria.

In 1997 when Virgin Trains took over the franchise on the WCML the class 87/0 locomotives were transferred to Porterbrook, a railway stock company, who leased them back to Virgin. However, the advent of the Pendolino units rendered most of the fleet redundant in the UK from around 2005. Porterbrook intensified the search for disposal. In 2006 enquiries were made by the Bulgarian Railway Company, through a third party, about the feasibilty of using redundant, British class 87 electric locomotives in Bulgaria. As a result 87012 and 87019, both with requested modications, were sent to that country for appraisal in December of the same year. Following successful trials a further twenty-five, class 87 locomotives were purchased on behalf of the BRC. In the same way that the two successfully appraised locomotives had been treated, modifications / refurbishment of the twenty-five was carried out by Electric Traction Services Ltd., (ETS) at Long Marston followed by live testing at Crewe. Locomotives were exported in stages over the period 2008-2010.

Two of Alan's pics, taken on 13th June 2008, show grey-liveried locomotives sporting text and numbers, 87008-9 and 87007-1, awaiting dispatch to Bulgaria. A third pic shows the text in close up. All pics were taken in Arpley Yard. A fourth pic, taken by John Smith on the same day at Arpley, shows class 87, 87026-1 in full green and yellow livery of the Bulgarian Railway Company.

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