What’s in the Shops: Nicely done ‘Ninety’ from Bachmann Branchline

Refined tooling and carefully designed electronics come together to make Bachmann’s brand new Class 90 one of its most advanced models to date, writes Nigel Burkin.

Class 90 locomotives were constructed as mixed-traffic AC electrics capable of reliable operation on trains as diverse as push-pull express passenger trains, fast intermodal workings and the heavy overnight Anglo-Scottish Sleeper trains on the West Coast Main Line. 

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Since its introduction in the late 1980s, the 50-strong class has seen use on Intercity West Coast services, mail trains and freight services for Railfreight Distribution, primarily on intermodal traffic. They worked on East Coast operations too, sometimes with Railfreight Distribution Class 90/0 locomotives deputising for Class 91s alongside their Intercity counterparts. 

The neat and accurate application of Railfreight Distribution livery can be appreciated in this side view.

There is no doubt that the 1990s were the heyday for the class, because the arrival of the 2000s saw their mail traffic lost and transfer of the West Coast main line contingent to the Anglia main line as Virgin introduced the ‘Pendolino’ trains. At present Class 90s are used intensively on Liverpool Street-Norwich workings (a stronghold soon to be lost to new express multiple-unit trains)along with Freightliner maritime container trains and other occasional duties.

During their lifetime, the Class 90 locomotives have carried a wide variety of liveries, including several versions of Intercity livery, various Anglia main line schemes, Virgin Trains red, Rail Express Systems red, Railfreight European livery and some experimental and promotional schemes alongside the featured Railfreight Distribution triple grey, making them a viable locomotive to produce as a mainstream model in OO gauge. 

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Read more and view more images in the August issue of RMM – available now!

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt