10th September 2020
Those of us following the real world activities and operations of the modern railway have been saddened to hear that as a result of the unprecentedented circumstances that we are living with across the planet are leaving their imprint on the world of the railways as well as everything else. Grand Central who have emerged as an operator delivering passenger services to the eastern side of the country to lesser stations than the main operators and were due to extend their reach across the West side of the UK with services from Blackpool North to London Euston using Class 90s, Mk4's and DVTs in the very much tried and tested push pull arrangement which has been in use since BR were doing this on the WCML back in the early 1990's, followed on by Virgin, West Coast, GNER, Virgin East Coast and later LNER as well as tertiary operators like Wrexham & Shropshire amongst others using 67s and DVTs and later 68s.
This planned extension to the reach of Grand Central has however come to an abrupt stop with the DB90s firmly stuck behind what seems like a permanent red light before even getting out of the starting station following an announcement from Grand Central this afternoon announcing that the planned launch of services out of Blackpool North which had been delayed and was, I understand, to be starting early 2021, will now no longer be starting as a result of the continuing lull in the rail users and the nation amongst every other stuck in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. This news, aside from the impact that it will have to those in Blackpool and those who were due to be working to deliver this service will now not see the stunningly liveried mk4 express trains making their way up and down the West Coast main line, hopefully something can still be done for the planned services, I had a suggestion from a fellow modeller that GC were exploring doing services using CL91s out of Liverpool Lime Street, so it could be a possibility that the ''trainsets'' could be used in this way - here and now, of course, the 90s, will in all likelyhood make their sorry way back to Crewe IEMD to await their livery fate, 90026 had only just been amended to show the DB logo on the side flank like 90029 and 90020 and the fourth of five, 90039 was at Toton for GC treatment, it has yet to revealed as making it into ''Bumblebee livery'' or not, it had gone to be repainted alongside class member 90037 which was set to be painted into DB Cargo red - if this has come out whilst readying for this process - maybe it will instead be painted into DB red or even an additional DB Malcolm variant, which would, at first hand, make sense, (given DB's continuing works with Malcolm on Daventry to Mossend, although I understand that the existing agreement on this was due to run till this year) whether as the Scottish highland style as per 90024 or as one or two the DB DRS 66s were done in dark blue and Malcolm branding, maybe this could be done - personally speaking, I'd love another of the Scottish Highland themes as per their lorries which I understand there are to be six different scene-scapes.
For those who have made the rather bold step to have a Grand Central Bachmann Class 90 reliveried, and are considering parting with this, I will say, I would still have a Grand Central liveried Class 90 at my forthcoming layout and should anyone be looking to sell one, then i would be open to discussing the matter further. In the meantime I am looking forward to the arrival of my latest DB 90, 90018 whilst still hoping that, like the Newcastle United takeover, that this matter isnt totally finished, not only for the modelling aspect but for everyone involved.