Class 86s become Class 85 in Bulgaria

By Anthony Sayer

SIX British Class 86s which were delivered to the Black Sea port of Varna, Bulgaria, on May 4 have been renumbered in the Bulgarian 85xxx range.

Nos. 86213/231/701/702 were moved to Ruse, with 86234/235 transferred to Sofia for repair work to be carried out.

No. 85005 (ex-86231) inside the Express Service facility on April 19, complete with Lady of the Lake nameplates. The work undertaken to achieve the transformation from a near scrap condition Virgin-liveried 86231 is exceptional. A P SAYER

Ultimately, all six locomotives congregated at the Express Service facility near Ruse prior to re-entry into service with private operator Bulmarket.

Initially, it was thought four of the six Class 86s would be resurrected, with the other two (plus 86233 in Bulgaria since November 2012) providing spares.

However, five have entered traffic hauling oil trains for Bulmarket throughout Bulgaria, with repair work on 86234 well advanced. All locomotives have been regeared to make them more suitable for freight traffic.

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