31289 was built in 1961 by Brush Engineering, Loughborough, as part of an order generated by the modernisation plan of 1955. Originally built with a Mirrlees JVS12T 1,250 bhp (930 kW) engine, it was re-engined by BR with an English Electric 12SVT engine, capable of producing 1470 bhp (1,100 kW), and speeds of up to 90 mph.
The locomotive was first allocated to Gateshead and moved to several depots before being withdrawn from service at Tinsley and stored at Bescot near Birmingham. Final withdrawal occurred in March 1992 at Bescot Depot.
The class was originally intended for service on the Eastern Region, but gradually became common in both the Western and London Midland regions too.