TS20: Badger Brush
The BR Class 89 was a prototype electric locomotive that was set to transform the East Coast Main Line, and while reality went in a different direction, one cannot deny the unique and powerful design that was the “Badger”, and this one-of-a-kind loco has arrived in Train Simulator!
With the ECML amidst major transformation in the form of electrification, British Rail were keen to source a brand new fleet of electric locomotives that would haul services under the new wires. The initial specification was drawn up by Brush at Loughborough and built at Crewe Works in 1986. Unfortunately, the fate of the type was essentially sealed in the same year, when BR changed their specification requirements after Brush had committed to building the locomotive.
The new loco rolled off the production line and was dubbed the BR Class 89, boasting 6 traction motors which would power it up to 125mph in service. Testing first began on the West Coast Main Line in 1987, however the loco was soon transferred to Bounds Green so ECML testing and eventual passenger service could commence. While still in testbed condition however, it did get the chance to be exhibited in Hamburg, Germany alongside other state-of-the-art traction of the time.
Passenger service on the ECML was rather brief, it was used on London – Leeds services for only about 3 years before a serious failure occurred, and the locomotive, now considered obsolete by BR and its manufacturers, fell by the wayside as the Class 91s had already started taking over on the ECML. The locomotive was rescued by some Brush employees, and appeared at some events across the country, but the future looked bleak.
But then came privatisation, BR and its sectors had been replaced by rail franchises, and the newly formed GNER franchise purchased the sole Class 89 for its own use following a motive power shortage. It was refurbished and entered service once again in 1997, but history rhymed, and in 2001 a major failure put the loco out of use and this time it was for good. The 89 was once sold into preservation once again, where it remains to this day with the long-term goal of making it operational for railtour use.
While its service life was brief, and it never got the chance to become the mainline workhorse it was meant to be, the BR Class 89 found a place in many enthusiasts hearts, its unique design earned itself the nickname of “Badger”, and it offered the occasional break from the norm for spotters. Its legacy can still be found in a few places, the technology was put to use on the Channel Tunnel shuttle locomotives and BR Class 92s, both of which are still running today. Fans of the “Badger” rejoice, as this unsung stallion is available now for Train Simulator!
The BR Class 89 has arrived for Train Simulator, and with it, you can take charge of prototype testing and passenger duties on the East Coast Main Line, or put it to use on modern-day railtours which the real locomotive is intended to do once operational.
A crowd gathers at Kings Cross to marvel at the unique "Badger" (above) before it embarks on a railtour down the ECML (below) - the included scenarios represent such a tour across 3 parts, with plenty of additional scenery and even a surprise in store!
The cab of the Class 89 is just as unique as the locomotive itself, while offering the same kind of expansive view as the APT or HST as you traverse the rails at true inter-city speeds.
The contrast between old and new as you race along the ECML shows just how much high speed travel has evolved in the past few decades (above and below).
Experience the one-of-a-kind BR Class 89, available now for Train Simulator!
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TS20: Badger Brush