Image: James Pilbeam

Direct Rail Services’ (DRS) Class 88s run the length of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) for the first time.

Last weekend, for the first time, DRS ran a new diversionary route enabling their Class 88 engines to run almost the entire length of the ECML on electric power, as well as associated feeder routes linking up Daventry International Railfreight Terminal and Mossend Yard in Glasgow.

The route would normally follow the West Coast Main Line but engineering work required a diversion. This used to mean using diesel powered Class 66 locomotives but the new path allows the entire journey to be powered by the overhead lines on the ECML.

David Robinson, Deputy Director of Operations Delivery, said: ‘This is a fantastic new route which enables us to utilise our excellent Class 88 locomotives as usual rather than replacing them with a diesel-powered engine. Each freight train takes around 76 lorries off our roads and running on electricity allows the engines to be much more environmentally friendly and helps with our commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. We’re delivering vital goods across the length of Britain and this, over 400-mile, journey highlights the benefit of rail freight and the smart use of utilising our electrified rail network.’