90s have been regular performers on Freightliner services since 1991
when 26 of the 50-strong fleet were allocated to British Railís freight
In the summer of 2015, Freightliner had ten of these locomotives, one of
which - 90044 - is the subject of this cab ride. The train is the 4M87
Felixstowe to Trafford Park service which this programme covers between
Ipswich and Wembley. The 76-mile journey takes in two major routes - the
Great Eastern Main Line between Ipswich and Stratford, and the North
London Line as far as Camden Road.
The starting point of the journey is Ipswich Yard. After passing through
the station and Ipswich tunnel 90044 opens up for the 3-mile climb up
Belstead bank. With 5,000 horsepower on tap the AC electric makes light
work of the 1,200 tonne trailing load and gradually eases the train up
to its maximum permitted speed of 75mph. The line descends to
Manningtree where the Harwich branch joins the East Anglian Main Line.
More branches appear as the 4M87 heads south - the routes to Clacton and
Walton-on-Naze appear at Colchester, the Sudbury branch appears at Marks
Tey and the single track to Braintree joins at Witham. Eighteen miles
further on, Shenfield is the junction for the routes to Wickford,
Southminster and Southend Victoria. Then itís into the outer London
suburbs through Romford, Chadwell Heath and Ilford to Stratford. From
there the 4M87 leaves the Great Eastern Main Line and heads for Lea
Junction and the busy North London Line.
Although our London Orbital programme (filmed in 1995) covers this
section of route, the next six miles to Camden Road through Hackney
Wick, Dalston Kingsland and Highbury & Islington are almost
unrecognisable following extensive modernisation. At Camden Road the
4M87 takes the short freight only chord past the redundant platforms of
the former Primrose Hill station before joining the West Coast Main Line
at Camden Junction. The final five miles of the journey are past Queens
Park station and Willesden TMD before accessing the High Level Goods
Line and coming to a stand alongside Willesden Royal Mail Terminal.