DRS has released images of the first Class 88 to be branded in its colours
No. 88002 has been completed at the Stadler Rail works in Valenica (formerly Vossloh) and given the DRS ‘Compass’ branding. The first loco, No. 88001, has been on test in the Czech Republic in a plain blue livery.
Based on the Class 68 platform, the Class 88 is the first 100mph dual power loco to be built for the UK and DRS believe it will be a step change for delivery of freight and operation of passenger services. Using the Class 68 bodyshell, bogies, brakes and control equipment, it is a natural development of the Type 5 diesel of which there are 25 in the country but with the advantage of electric power. DRS has been operating pairs of Class 68s on Daventry-Mossend intermodal workings, so that could well be a candidate for early transfer to Class 88 haulage,
Testing of 88001 in Velim has concluded, and DRS reporting on the testing Stadler said: “During UKDual test campaign in Velim, two main goals have been covered. First, we have focused to perform all test related to homologation purposes by using the capabilities of Velim test center (TSI track, catenary characteristics, braking distances.). As second goal, we have tested and adjusted locomotive performances as traction control in different conditions, diesel engine and electrical power management, by hauling a train of 1500Tons and an ER20 locomotive.
“As our first dual locomotive, new functionalities of control software have been validated as dynamic mode changing between electrical operation to diesel operation (and viceversa) as well as fine tuning of automatic speed control.
Finally, Velim test site has been used as first scenario to show to DRS the behaviour of the locomotive and let to our customer to feedback us with the first impressions about UKDual locomotive.”
Testing was completed ahead of schedule with the locomotive performing extremely well.
DRS say that No. 88003 will be appearing at the leading international trade fair for transport technology, Innotrans from September 20-23 in Berlin.
Ten of the class are to be built, with financing from Beacon Rail Leasing Limited.