In Tune Society
Train-Spotting Composers

Can you imagine naming a whole class of trains after composers? That’s what British Rail did with its Class 92 electric locomotives. From Beethoven to Wagner (or, so cite British composers, from Britten to Sullivan), the names of composers from many different countries were applied to the 24 engines (other Class 92 engines took the names of writers). The Class 92 engines were specifically designed for Channel Tunnel operations hence the names from a range of European countries.

Handel engine

Schubert engine

Elgar engine repainted in DB Cargo UK colours

César Franck engine

Here’s some train music in honor of engine number 92042. Although Honegger was writing about a very different train that was steam rather than electric, it sounds just the way we imagine trains to sound.

A Pacific 231 (4-6-2)


Honegger: Pacific 231 (Symphonic Movement No. 1): Modéré (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa, cond.)

And here’s some from engine 92039.

Johann Strauss II: Vergnugungszug (Excursion Train), Op. 281 (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Oleg Caetani, cond.)

So, the next time you see a Channel freight train, check the composer!

Train Number

Composer

92003

Beethoven

92005

Mozart

92007

Schubert

92009

Elgar

92011

Handel

92013

Puccini

92016

Brahms

92019

Wagner

92021

Purcell

92023

Ravel

92024

J S Bach

92026

Britten

92028

Saint Saëns

92030

De Falla

92032

César Franck

92033

Berlioz

92035

Mendelssohn

92037

Sullivan

92039

Johann Strauss

92041

Vaughan Williams

92042

Honegger

92043

Debussy

92044

Couperin

92046

Sweelinck

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