Following the transfer of the 13x Class 90 locomotives made redundant by Abellio in 2020 to Freightliner for use on intermodal trains, they have been introduced to service gradually. Modifications were required for freight use after spending the first 30 years of their lives as express passenger locos with Intercity on both the West Coast Mainline and the Great Eastern Mainline. The modifications took place at Freightliner's Crewe Basford Hall VMF and have concluded with 90005.
Other than a few light engine runs the loco had yet to enter service with Freightliner Intermodal. On Tuesday 9th February, 70008 on the Harendale to Tunstead decided to pack up near Shap. 90005 was on route learning duties between Crewe Basford Hall and Trafford Park FLT and was summoned to assist. A path was created from Trafford to Shap Summit via Parkside Jn with the loco joining the WCML for the run up to Cumbria arriving at 14:51. By 15:33 the Class 90, with errant 70 and wagons in tow, was on the move. The revised path being put in place to run to Crewe Basford Hall rather than Tunstead with the train to be forwarded on at a later point. Running under head code 4Z51 it passed me just south of Farrington Jn on the approach to Leyland station in the last of the days sun at at 16:35.
|90005 'Vice Admiral - Lord Nelson' leading the disgraced 70008 towards Leyland station with the hastily arranged 4Z51 Shap Summit to Crewe Basford Hall 'Rescue Mission'|
The original plan was that once the mods were complete, the loco's would be sent one by one to Toton for repainting in the the G+W Orange livery. Covid amongst other things have changed this and the requirement for loco's has seen them enter service in debranded Abellio white even with nameplates till applied where applicable! 90005 carries the name 'Vice Admiral - Lord Nelson'
So quite ironically, 90005 has worked a Frieghtliner Heavy Haul service before it has an intermodal. I'm told it currently has a TDM fault so this is preventing it from being used in a pair with another 90 as is standard practice for Freightliner these days.