British Rail Class 88

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British Rail Class 88
InnoTrans 2016 – DRS Class 88 (29818726855).jpg
Class 88 at InnoTrans 2016
Type and origin
Builder Stadler Rail
Model Stadler Euro Dual
Build date 2015–2016
Total produced 10
 • UIC Bo'Bo'
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 1,067 mm (42.0 in)
Axle load 21.5 t (21.2 long tons; 23.7 short tons)
Loco weight 86 t (85 long tons; 95 short tons)
Electric system/s 25 kV 50 Hz
Current pickup(s) Pantograph
Prime mover Caterpillar C27
Transmission electrical AC/AC type, ABB
Train brakes wheel disc, electropneumatic
dynamic (regenerative*)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h)
Power output 4 MW (5,400 hp) electrical
0.7 MW (940 hp) diesel
Tractive effort 317 kN (71,000 lbf)
Operators Direct Rail Services

The Class 88 is a type of mixed traffic electro-diesel locomotive manufactured by Stadler Rail for Direct Rail Services in the United Kingdom. The design is part of the Stadler Euro Dual family.


In January 2012, Direct Rail Services announced that it had ordered a total of 15 new diesel locomotives from Vossloh España (now Stadler Rail). These locomotives, which entered service in the UK as Class 68, were part of Vossloh's Eurolight family, redesigned to fit the smaller UK loading gauge.[1]

In September 2013, DRS announced that it was procuring a further ten locomotives. Unlike the Class 68s, these new units would be electro-diesel locomotives, capable of operating either via OHLE, or by using an onboard diesel engine. However, the new locomotives would feature the same bodyshell, cab, brakes, bogies, traction equipment and control software as the Class 68.[2] The new locomotives were announced as being Class 88.[3]

The first locomotive, no. 88 002, was delivered to the UK via the Port of Southampton and was transferred by road to Carlisle in January 2017.[4] They entered service in July 2017.[5]


The Class 88 is part of the Stadler Euro Dual family. This is a range of dual mode locomotives that are fitted both with a pantograph, to collect electricity from overhead wires, and a Caterpillar diesel engine. The UK version is able to run either on electrified lines using the pantograph, which is the UK's standard OHLE current at 25kV AC, or away from electrified lines with the Caterpillar C27 950 hp (710 kW) engine. Dual mode locomotives have been mooted for freight use in the UK, using the "Last Mile" principle, where a primarily electric locomotive is fitted with a small diesel engine to allow locomotives to run without a load to unelectrified freight sidings.[6] However, the Class 88 is a fully dual mode locomotive, with the diesel engine powerful enough to haul a train on its own, although with only 20% of the power in electric mode.[7] The Class 88s is the first dual mode locomotives in the UK to use the 25kV AC electrification, as the only other electro-diesel locomotives to have entered service on the British network were the Class 73 and Class 74, which operated in the Southern Region using third rail electrification.[8]


Cab interior

Direct Rail Services has procured the Class 88 to serve as a mixed-traffic locomotive, capable of operating both passenger and freight services.[7] Primarily they are used to enable DRS to haul freight using electric locomotives without the need to hire in electric traction from other operators.[8] However, as with the Class 68, they will also be capable of operating passenger trains.

Named locomotives[edit]

All of the Class 88 locomotives have been named, with seven of the ten locomotives reusing names from the 1950s vintage Class 77s, later sold to the Netherlands as NS Class 1500, while one locomotive (88002) bears the name of a former Class 76 locomotive.

  • 88001 – Revolution
  • 88002 – Prometheus
  • 88003 – Genesis
  • 88004 – Pandora
  • 88005 – Minerva
  • 88006 – Juno
  • 88007 – Electra
  • 88008 – Ariadne
  • 88009 – Diana
  • 88010 – Aurora

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Loco nos.
Class 88 Direct Rail Services 10 2015–16 88001 - 88010


  1. ^ "Direct Rail Services orders 15 Vossloh EuroLight UK locomotives". Railway Gazette International. 5 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Beacon Rail and DRS order dual-mode locos",, 12 Sep 2013 
  3. ^ "DRS orders ten dual-mode Class 88s" Rail issue 731 18 September 2013 page 7
  4. ^ Harris, Nigel, ed. (1 February 2017). "Direct Rail Services' first '88' arrives in UK". Rail Magazine. No. 819. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 15. ISSN 0953-4563. 
  6. ^ "Bombardier launches Traxx electro-diesel". Railway Gazette International. 10 May 2011. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Marc (1 April 2014), "Sleek Lines",, retrieved 12 February 2016 
  8. ^ a b Briginshaw, David (25 September 2014). "Electro-diesel locomotive debuts at InnoTrans". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 

External links[edit]