Deliveries of new locomotives continued, again to Toton, with the last of the last Class 25/2s, D7567 being received in early January, whilst Tinsley received the first of the Derby built 25/3’s D7598.
Early January saw a shortage of Peaks on the Midland Lines, a number of Type 2’s filled in on services between Derby & Manchester. Brush Type 4’s were becoming more frequent on a variety of workings at the southern end of the Midland mainline with examples from Toton & Tinsley predominating. The Bedford – Dunstable branch was transferred from ER to LMR jurisdiction, the two or three daily round trips taken over by Midland Lines Type 2’s. Demolition of the Bedford – Hitchin line also used Bedford’s Type 2’s, on January 8th an inspection saloon reached Shefford, the limit of the line. On the Birmingham – Redditch services the usual Type 2 with four or five coaches were replaced by a two car DMU from January 3rd.
Approval was finally received to allow the Peaks to use the Ouse bridge at Bedford, their use on the Wellingborough - Goldington coal trains would take away a previously dedicated steam working, though the current shortage of diesels at the southern end of the Midland mainline would mean this change-over would not be immediate. 8F’s & 9F’s would be the most frequent steam locomotives on these coal workings.
In a very short lived inter-regional transfer between Leicester/Nottingham and Thornaby D5248 - 5256 were exchanged for D5370 - 5378. The actual transfer of D5248/49/50 and D5370/71/72 occurred on New Year’s Day with the Class 25’s being sent north from Leicester, the Class 27’s coming down from Thornaby, the crews changing at Masborough! Also observed in the North East and one typical of this time period was the continued movement of withdrawn steam engines to the breakers yards. So recorded on February 5th was D5158 dragging 48392, 76040 & an unidentified V1 south through Northallerton, the 8F being noted with its cab missing.
During January ‘Hawk’ (formerly 10800) moved from Rugby to the Gotham branch and later to the ex GCR line between East Leake & Loughborough for testing. A Type 2 was used to tow ‘Hawk’ from Loughborough Central to Nottingham Victoria, Netherfield, Nottingham Midland and down to the Brush Works alongside Loughborough Midland!
D5076 had a rough couple of days early in the year. On January 31st it failed at Canley on an engineers rubbish working to Bell Green, being rescued by D5033 from Coventry, whilst on February 2nd it passed Coventry three hours late on an early morning Stafford – Kilburn parcels, with the assistance of D298. The Thames Haven - Tile Hill Mobiloil working was Type 2 hauled north of Rugby, the return working was diesel hauled to Coventry, here the Type 2 was diagrammed for an afternoon Coventry - Northampton passenger.
The second week of February found D5281 on crew training between Burton & Banbury. Six passenger coaches and a brake van were used as a load. Freight on the Derby – Birmingham line was at this time evenly split between steam & diesel haulage. However by mid-February the Banbury – Burton –Toton freights were dieselised using Peaks or pairs of Class 25’s. Saltley Type 2’s were now used as bankers between Landore Street and Camp Hill, replacing the BR Standard’s which had only recently taken over from the ex Midland 0-6-0’s on this duty!
February 9th & 10th brought chaos and destruction to the Midland lines. The first event involved the 08:07 Harpenden - St Pancras eight car dmu which caught fire between Radlett & St Albans. Similar to previous events a drive shaft punctured a fuel tank, over thirty people were injured, many having to jump hurriedly from the blazing vehicle. The next day, a few miles away at Flitwick twelve loaded wagons hauled by D5218 ran into a stationary D5383 immediately north of the station. Most of the train was derailed, necessitating the attendance of D7503 and the Cricklewood crane. The lines was cleared by midnight, hindered additionally by a snowfall. The damaged locomotives were removed to Bedford, prior to heading north to Derby Works.
The familiar sight of borrowed Type 2’s filling in on the Glasgow - Wemyss Bay passenger turns ceased towards the end of February with the arrival of about fifty dmu’s from the NER, now based at Hamilton. These units removed the final steam workings from the Glasgow suburban lines and allowed track simplification at the Glasgow terminus to begin. Peaks continued to work out of Glasgow Buchanan Street, the 12.00 Dundee - Glasgow, 18.00 return and the 16.25 to Inverness (to Perth) were favourites with D89 noted on Feb 5th & 9th on the former two and D46 on the latter on 26th. Despite their presence in the Glasgow area the EE Type 4’s were rare performers on the Dundee turns, Peak failures were normally covered by Class 5s, with the 20.00 hours from Dundee being a favourite for steam substitution. Another working to bring Peaks into the area was the 14.20 Waverley - Stirling, this was normally covered by a Gateshead Peak. A stranger on the daily Auchlochan colliery turn (formerly the Coalburn branch) was D40 on March 8th.
The ECML was frequently visited by Peaks from Holbeck and Midland area depots, no doubt their inter-changeability at Holbeck saw to this. On February 8th D170 set fire to itself near Geldard signal box whilst hauling the 11.24am Northallerton - Leeds, it took the local fire brigade to quench the blaze, with a B1 rescuing the train for the short run into Leeds. On the Settle & Carlisle route a review of trains at Hellifield during (mostly) daylight hours found forty eight trains passing through, almost equally split between passenger and freight. Thirty five were hauled by steam, three Peaks handled only passenger workings and four Type 2’s only freight.
A stranger into Paddington on February 23rd was D148 arriving with the 08.15 from Cheltenham returning with a Kensington - Whitland milk empties, the Gloucester crew and the locomotive being replaced at Swindon.
The closure of the Somerset & Dorset route from March 7th saw the final Western Region allocated GWR steam locomotives retired, was this a route that the BR/Sulzer 2’s ever visited? A small group of standard gauge WR steam continued to operate from LM sheds in the Birmingham area, surviving until early December 1966. The greater versatility of the diesels was illustrated in the use of Burton’s allocation which amongst other jobs handled the Burton - Banbury freights, in the first week of February D5281 was the training locomotive. These freights were used to incorporate the local workings from Nuneaton shed, allowing closure of that shed (on June 6th) and withdrawal of its few remaining steam engines.
The ‘Eight Counties’ RCTS railtour of March 26th enjoyed the use of D5016, running from Northampton Castle to Market Harborough & Leicester, changing here to 8F 48467 for a run through the East Midlands/Sheffield environs. EM1 26000 took the train across the Pennines, Jubilee 45596 ran from Godley Jcn to Crewe via Northwich, with E3093 completing the last leg back to Northampton.
The late evening York - Stockport mails was during March double headed between Leeds & Stalybridge, a Holbeck Peak piloting the train, at Stalybridge it took forward the Manchester portion before returning eastwards with the 2.15am newspaper train.
Over the Waverley route the through freights remained solidly in the hands of BRCW Type 2s and EE Type 4s, the passenger workings however still remained a mixed bag, with steam frequently covering for failures. Although many Holbeck Peaks covered these workings frequent visitors from the Midland depots continued, the thrice weekly Bathgate - Kings Norton car flats remained a continued source of foreign power, D55 so noted on March 7th and D5239 on March 9th. A machine a little off course was D49 on March 5th’s 16.25 Glasgow Buchanan Street - Inverness, noted heading north at Stirling and presumably replaced at Perth.
The workshops at Darlington finally closed on April 2nd, although repairs had ceased in early January with 70004 as possibly the last machine worked upon. The last Type 2s to visit Darlington Works were D5166 & D5181, both outshopped by the third week of January. The last Peaks through Darlington Works, all in January were D33, D178 & D180, the last diesel present was D274 outshopped on February 1st. With the loss of Darlington workshops as a repair center and the ceasing of Sulzer Type 2 overhauls at Doncaster, Derby was now responsible for the heavy maintenance of all 193 BR/Sulzer Type 4s and the vast majority of the almost 400 BR/Sulzer Type 2s then in service. Eastleigh had received some Type 2s for overhaul during January, D5004/19 being present, by the end of April, Crewe Works had also started to accept Type 2s for heavy repair, so noted in the last week of April were D5196, 5221/29/31/65, 7581/91. This was no doubt possible due to the availability of resources created by the diminishing steam repairs and the winding down of the Brush Type 4 construction. Also pitching in to help on a contract basis was the Brush Works at Loughborough, D5100 had been noted there in November 1965 with further Type 2s visiting throughout the winter and spring. This workload situation at Derby clearly caused delays to delivery of the new Class 25s headed for the Scottish Region, which were badly needed to replace the ailing steam fleet in the Ayr and Hurlford region. In anticipation of these deliveries the mechanical condition of the local steam fleet had been allowed to run down, causing reliability issues, with only about 60% availability. Because of these delays many visited Cowlairs Works for much needed attention. The Inverness based Class 24s continued with their Highland duties tending not to stray far, however the transfer of the 20.25 Perth - Carlisle to diesel haulage early in March brought a number of these machines over the English border, D5119 being so noted on March 2nd.
The introduction of the new timetable on April 18th brought major changes to many parts of the London Midland Region. Most prominent was the major enhancement of services from Euston taking full advantage of the many line improvements and of the higher speeds and greater acceleration available from the new electric locomotives & multiple units. These improvements covered the services to Coventry, Crewe, Liverpool & Manchester. Electrification was still incomplete in the Stoke and Birmingham/Wolverhampton areas, though Birmingham continued to have through services out of Paddington in addition to Euston. The longer distance services north of Crewe also benefited by the consistent diagramming of the newer Brush Type 4s, with their greater acceleration and higher maximum speed as compared to the EE Type 4s. Because of these changes a number of Manchester - St Pancras expresses, including the ‘Midland Pullmans’ were discontinued as were some Leeds services. (These Blue Pullmans migrated to the WR for use on a new Paddington - Oxford service and supporting the Bristol and Cardiff sets). Balancing these losses were improved semi-fasts to Derby, Nottingham & Leicester behind Peaks hauling six/seven coaches. Better diesel multiple unit utility was created by keeping the Cricklewood allocated sets south of Bedford. For the time being the Midland Moorgate services were retained requiring the special width compartment stock with boiler equipped Type 2s. One consequence of the Euston improvements was the reduction of diagrams using the BR Sulzer 2s out of Euston, another was the final retirement of LMS pioneer 10001, withdrawn at the end of March from Willesden (1A).
Further north the through Southport - Euston services ended on April 15th with Cl.5 45156 doing the final honors. Dmu’s took over the following services: Liverpool - Bolton/Wigan, Leeds - Morecambe, Bradford - Morecambe - Carlisle, whilst the Bradford - Carlisle became the dmu powered Skipton - Carlisle. The Carlisle - Appleby local became diesel hauled, usually by a Type 2, D7595 being so noted on March 19. The Trans-Pennine diagrams started to see more of the Brush Type 4’s being utilized as well as the refurbished Peaks. The impact of all these changes clearly carried a heavy cost for the regular use of steam power, for the LM Type 2’s a gradual move north lay ahead, being positioned to assist in the removal of steam from North Wales & the North West strongholds. April also saw the final withdrawal of steam locomotives from the Eastern Region (GN), with the entire thirty three engine fleet of Doncaster shed retired en-masse. However facilities were retained to handle steam visitors, though these were normally turned round very smartly.
Steam also took a major nose-dive in the Glasgow area with the Kilmarnock and East Kilbride services moved from St Enoch to Glasgow Central, and converted to dmus. For a short while longer St Enoch still serviced the Ayr trains. Concurrently Derby finally commenced delivery of the first of thirteen locomotives (D7611 - 7623) to Eastfield shed (65A). These were the only Class 25’s delivered new to the ScR and were also the only Class 25s fitted with a cabside recess to accommodate tablet catcher equipment. D7611 being noted at Eastfield by April 29th. The arrival of these Type 2’s quickly sent many of Ayr’s Crabs, Black Fives & BR Standards to the storage lines and additionally helped Dumfries lose its steam allocation effective April 30th.
An Open Day held at Bristol Bath Road on April 30th featured several steam locomotives, although since March 6th there had been no steam operation on the Western Region diagrams. Also present was D15 amongst the regular diet of hydraulics.
Also during April the first stage of the National Freight Train Plan was brought into operation on April 21st. A study of wagons flows had identified primary and secondary distribution and reception points. The primary yards served local freight terminals and the associated trip workings, the traffic from which then fed into the secondary yards which were connected to other secondary yards by block trains. The hope was to rationalise operations, improve train loading and reduce line occupation.
During May D7650 arrived at Willesden for crew training, D7660 – 7672 were soon expected from Derby, these locomotives being dual braked, necessary to handle the motorail/sleeper services north from Kensington Olympia. Another new ex-works locomotive, Eastfield (65A) based D7615, visited Frodingham on May 13th with a morning freight from Washwood Heath, returning later with tipplers for Avenue sidings. Four days later D7615 was in more familiar territory working, rather unusually, a morning Corstorphine – Waverley passenger. A stranger on the Ayrshire coast was D26 with a Halifax - Largs excursion on May 14th, routed via Mauchline and Newton-on-Ayr. Way down south on May 11th Bristol turned out D27 for the 10.30am Bristol East Depot - Weymouth freight, the Peak came off at Eastleigh returning to Bristol on another freight.
The end of May saw complete dieselisation of the Consett route, via South Pelaw and Annfield Plain. This led to the closure of Consett depot, however it was still a signing on point and home to three shunters. Leeds Holbeck gained D5248 – 5255 during May, with the intent to cover much of the extra summer traffic generated from the area, without resorting to the use of local steam power. With the start of the summer timetable the Nottingham - Llandudno & return on May 30th produced D7581 & D7525.
A visit to the Brush Works at the end of May found the production line ending for the Class 47s with the last order of four D1957 - 1961 in the fabricating shop. Fifteen Class 46s were present for refurbishing and several Type 2’s for collision repairs.
June saw the frames laid at Derby for the last batch of Class 25’s, D7660 - 7677, under order number 11001. These were part of an order given to Beyer Peacock but their worsening financial position led to the company asking for a release from the final eighteen machines. The workshops also started to repaint locomotives in the new corporate blue livery, D105 being so noted on June 26 at Derby, frequently being matched with Leicester’s blue coaching set on St Pancras workings. Some of these services were regularly reaching 100mph over short distances, now intermingled with an additional eleven coal workings transferred from the GN.
Passenger services between Rugby and Peterborough ceased on June 6th, so ending a cross-country route long familiar to the BR Sulzer Type 2s. The line was used by a number of long distance services including the Birmingham - Yarmouth, which on the last day had D5085 with ten coaches including a buffet. It was running about twenty minutes late after holding a connection at Rugby for a Perth service. En route it passed, at Welford, D5145 on the Harwich - Rugby (the 16.13 off Peterborough). The Yarmouth service was re-engined at Peterborough with D5526, allowing D5085 to handle the four coach 20.12 final service back to Rugby. This left D5185 working the final 20.20 Leicester service, with Peterborough East closing completely after the 23.15 to March. Further north the closure of Nuneaton shed found the Type 2s taking over the few remaining freight/parcels workings that had been handled by Nuneaton’s steam allocation. And over on the Midland Wellingborough & Leicester sheds finally closed to steam on June 18th, making steam visitors south of there now highly unlikely.
At a meeting of the BRB on June 9th a decision was made to begin painting all locomotives in blue livery, the directive being formally issued the next day. Specifically the directive indicated that diesel and electric mainline locomotives were to be painted as follows: roof and body sides - BR Rail Blue; buffer beams, under gear, bogies - black; body ends - yellow (BS.0.003). The yellow area would extend from the top of the bufferbeam to the roof gutter. On locomotive bodies where the front was blended into the side by a curved panel the yellow would extend to the flat vertical surface of the side. For the BR 'double arrow' emblem, a white premasked 'Scotchcal' transfer in lengths of 1'6", 2'0" or 2'6" were to be used with the latter two sizes for diesel locomotives with two cabs. In order to gain visibility for the new emblem, they were to be applied below each cabside window (i.e. four per locomotive). The locomotive numbers were in Rail Alphabet, white and 6" in height, to be applied on the bodyside behind each cab door (i.e four per locomotive) and to be at the same height as the BR emblem. For Classes 24, 25, 26 &27 there were few complications when complying with the order to use the new blue/yellow livery. Perhaps the most notable deviation involved Class 25, 26 & 27 fitted with the tablet catcher recesses. History reveals that it would take awhile for conformity to appear in the application of the blue/yellow livery and the number/emblem positioning, in particular those mainline locomotives overhauled at Swindon.
The BR workshops also held considerable supplies of green paint, which would continue to be used, particularly on casual repairs and patching jobs. This also reached beyond the BR Workshops. On August 2nd Brush wrote to the CM&EE BR at Derby with concern over three points: would the polyurethane paint be used on those locomotives being refurbished at Loughborough; would it be used on new locomotives from the current order and would BR take their stocks of green paint off them if the change to blue livery was to include those locomotives at Brush? The CM&EE BR responded in the affirmative for each question. At the end of 1966 Brush held three collision damaged Type 2s: D5021, D5218 & D5283, instructions had been received to repaint them green, this took place for D5021 & D5218 but on January 5th 1967 instructions were received from A.E.Robson, Chief Engineer (T&RS) to repaint all three in the new blue polyurethane livery. However D5218 was outshopped with old-style small yellow warning panels, whilst both D5021 & D5218 received the old style crest!
With regard to the painting of green liveried locomotives with full yellow fronts the Chief Engineer (T&RS) would ask the General Manager Workshops on February 22nd 1967 to paint green locos with full yellow fronts when their paintwork only needed touching up and they were not being repainted blue.
D7611 rescued a failed Peak on the 21.25 Glasgow - St Pancras on the night of June 17th being relieved by Brittania 70001 at Carlisle.
Late June saw the arrival of EE Type 3 D6984 (and later D6912) at Shrewsbury for crew training and for testing on the Cambrian lines, being frequently used on the down ‘Cambrian Coast Express’. Shrewsbury’s steam fleet consisted of thirty machines, all BR Standards apart from three stored 8Fs. The only other diesels present were five shunters. A six week long seamen’s strike, begun on May 16th forced much extra coal traffic onto the rails. Typical of the extra workings were the arrival of Midland Type 2’s, often in pairs, with coal for Eastbourne, a cargo normally routed through Newhaven Docks. A little to the east other LM visitors were D105 & D122 on Nottingham - Ramsgate services, both on July 2nd. Peaks continued on these workings throughout July, whilst their smaller cousins D5210/19 brought in a special from Bedford on July 3rd. The thrice weekly car sleeper into Newhaven was now starting from Stirling and was diagrammed for Holbeck Peaks. Elsewhere on the Southern two Saturday summer dated services were booked for Peaks through to Basingstoke, trading here with SR diesels, the Peaks returning north on services to Leeds and Bradford.
The middle of July saw the final machine delivered from Beyer Peacock’s Gorton Works, D7659, this was also the last Class 25 to be delivered in green livery. A weekend visit to Toton at this time regularly found around 100 diesels on shed, consisting mostly of Peaks, Brush 4s and Class 25s, withdrawn steam lingered with 78013/20/21/28/44/55/61/64. Derby Works continued delivery of its batch of ScR Type 2s now arriving alongside Vulcan Foundry’s newly built EE Type 1’s and re-diagrammed Brush Type 4’s. These new arrivals were finally able to make a serious headway in ousting steam from the Ayr & Stranraer lines. The Newcastle - Stranraer summer weekend services regularly produced a steam/diesel combination, usually a Black 5 + a Type 2, typical of this was D7613 & 44995 on August 13th. Passengers on August 7th using the 10.30 Glasgow Buchanan St - Dundee relief found D7520 in trouble soon after departure, failing in Buchanan St tunnel, having the indignity of being shoved to St Rollox depot by D3901, the station pilot. Here D5128 replaced the defective unit, making the run to Dundee without further incident. The stock was quickly returned for Glasgow to provide another relief to Dundee, with D7520 as power!! Although the departure was fifteen minutes late D7520’s progress was much improved this time around.
During the summer the Eastern Region started a shake up of its motive power. Intent on stabilising its fleet principally with Classes 31/37/47, it began to divest itself of the Class 24’s, with D5057 – 5060 to Willesden (D01) and eleven others moving to Haymarket (64B). The first arrivals were D5061/65 on August 4th, with D5068/71 on 9th. On transfer to Haymarket they were used on the local ECS workings and the passenger services to Carstairs & Hawick. Haymarket was quick to use these on Carlisle passenger workings, on August 13th D5095 worked the 15.01 Edinburgh – Carlisle and 19.44 return, later D5071 was noted over the Waverley route on a passenger working. This move released the temperamental Claytons to the Thornton/Dunfermline/Dundee area, joined here by the ex WR EE Type 3’s, to subdue the local steam fleet. The Clayton’s reputation was none too good, even operating in pairs their reliability was inconsistent. Typical of their troubles was the failure of a pair on August 20th working the 05.00 Millerhill - Carlisle freight, rescue came from Kingmoor in the shape of D5298, the unfortunate Claytons being left at Riccarton. September 3rd was the final day for the Marylebone - Nottingham Victoria through services. Whilst working the 08.15 Nottingham - Marylebone 44872 (16B) failed at Aylesbury, rescue came in the form of D5089, with the return working, the 14.38 to Nottingham being handled by D5000. Other services that day were steam hauled. The final up service, the 22.50 (SO) Manchester Central - Marylebone, comprised of three coaches and parcels van started out with D6753, changing at Leicester to 44858, which was replaced at Woodford No 2 box by D5089. This was the last service to call at Woodford Halse at 3.21 am and the last over the Rugby - Calvert section clearing Ashendon Junction at 4.16 am. Following this finale a truncated service ran between Rugby and Nottingham Arkwright Street. On the GC line at Blackwell (MP61) by the LMR boundary 7504 & 7521 were noted on track lifting trains the week following closure. Authorities were anxious to remove the re-useable rail prior to the right of way being severed by the construction of the M1 motorway.
An unusual arrival at Swindon on September 15th was D7654 with an ecs working from the Midlands, having been routed via Gloucester. Two days later the Up ‘Cheltenham Spa Express’ utilised D119, the locomotive returning from Paddington with the Whitland milk empties, as far as Swindon, then light back to Gloucester.
The assistance provided by Crewe Works in the overhaul of the BR Sulzer 2s ended during autumn, leaving Derby & Glasgow to handle the heavy maintenance of the fleet. Peaks coming out of Derby were now receiving full yellow ends with the blue livery.
Sometime during 1966 two of Thornaby’s Type 2s were trialled with fluorescent front panels. Treated with a red paint was D5159. This machine was noted in this garb on September 12th handling the heavy ICI Haverton Hill block ammonia train, comprised of two WR brake vans with about 36 ammonia tank wagons.
A decree by the BRB authorized a ban on the haulage of all passenger trains by steam locomotives, with the exception of the SR, effective September 3rd. Whilst the LMR was somewhat lax in applying the ban & the SR were exempt from this, the Scottish Region was assisted by the recently arrived ex-ER Class 24s from Finsbury Park and WR Class 37’s from Cardiff. These Class 24’s had been allocated to the London area depots since delivery. On October 2nd six Class 24’s (D5050/51/53/55/56) were noted heading north on the ECML on transfer to the ScR. The completion of these transfers by November allowed the final dieselisation of the Edinburgh - Carstairs services, taking away the few remaining steam diagrams serviced by St Margaret’s shed, whose closure was now imminent, and making the occurrence of steam at Edinburgh Waverley now very rare. Another proposed closure was that of the Waverley route, to be effective January 1967, though public opposition to this proposal was swift and vehement. As well as the locals to Hawick the ex ER 24’s were often diagrammed for the return workings to Carlisle, formerly handled by the Clayton’s and the 26’s. Typical of these diagrams were the 07.06 Edinburgh - Carlisle, 12.56 return and the 17.54 back to Carlisle, staying overnight to take the 09.20 back to Edinburgh. These six coach trains saw many ex ER Type 2’s though on the last day of the year 70048 worked the 16.54 Carlisle - Edinburgh service, performance being so poor a Type 2 was added from Hawick! More Class 25’s appeared in the shape of D7602-08, relatively new machines transferred from Tinsley early in December.
Finally added to the fleet was the last of the new ScR Class 25’s from Derby, D7617 - 7623, although based at Eastfield, were used locally in the Ayr region. This transition from steam had gone smoothly, the careful use of diesel brake tenders allowing maximum use of the diesel fleet on the local coal workings. Steam was now banned south of Ayr due to the watering facilities being removed from Stranraer. With these arrivals twenty five diesels replaced forty five steam locomotives and from October 3rd Hurlford shed was closed completely. Additionally to assist the diesels brake tenders have been provided locally.
Blackpool Illumination specials on October 1st revealed a greater presence of diesels, D91 arrived from Nottingham, D28 from Leeds and D160 from Hinckley.
When Banbury shed closed on October 3rd the passenger pilot at Banbury reverted to a Type 2, with D7591 initially used. After a short while the duty fell to the more common Class 08. In mid-October D5144 arrived at Shrewsbury for crew training over the Cambrian route to Aberystwyth, quickly being assigned to the down ‘Cambrian Coast Express’, whilst another Class 24 had gone to Machynlleth for similar training exercises.
D38 worked a Rank Xerox special into Scarborough on November 11th, the train had started at St Pancras, picking up at Luton, D38 had come on at Derby. The special returned on 13th, motive power not recorded. Another Peak to reach Paddington was D52 on November 15th, working up with the 16.05 Cheltenham - Paddington, the same crew taking it back on the 21.30 Paddington - Milford Haven as far as?
November 22nd saw front line duty, of sorts, for D5174 (55A). Whilst shunting at Apperley Bridge it was called upon to assist D90 working the 09.42 Glasgow St. - Pancras after its failure at Guiseley Jcn. The rescuing Type 2 was used to push the train the remaining ten miles into Leeds!
Though the days were seriously numbered for Colwick shed, with closure expected any day the depot could still turn out a variety of steam and diesel locomotives. On December 4th forty diesels were present, half were Type 2s with Peaks D130 & D136 under repair, twenty active steam locomotives were present, additionally nineteen steam locomotives were awaiting a trip to the scrapper. Over on the ECML observations noted 5% of the passenger workings were powered by the Peaks, almost 90% of the workings were covered by the Deltics & Brush Type 4’s.
December 6th saw the electric service finally commence from Birmingham New Street. This allowed the transfer of a number of diesel multiple units to the north west, replacing steam on workings in the Blackpool/Southport/Manchester area. In Staffordshire a similar gap was closed with electric services established between Macclesfield - Stoke - Stafford. Twelve new Type 2s (D7660 - D7671) were allocated to Willesden to take over the empty coaching stock, parcels and local freight duties in the London area. With the arrival of these locomotives it was possible to release the remaining Class 24s to the Stoke Division, as part of the eradication of steam in the North West. Of this batch of Class 25s D7660 - D7669 were dual braked from new, whilst D7670 & D7671 were not, however these latter two were quickly transferred to the Nottingham Division (D16). When delivered from Derby D7660 had non standard number positioning, on the cab at one end and behind the cab doors at the other, and the yellow panel was only upto the handrails beneath the cab windows. D7667 was the 1,000th diesel loco built at Derby Works and in commemoration of this carried a worksplate style fiberglass plaque stating “This is the 1,000th diesel locomotive to be built at Derby Locomotive Works”. At least one of these plaques later escaped the scrappers torch.
Early December also saw the majority of the steam workings cease on the Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth line with the exception of the up & down Cambrian Coast Expresses, handled usually by Class 5s 75012/29/60. Effective December 5th Chester & Crewe depots became home to a number Class 24s, recently reallocated to Stoke Division (D05), whilst Holyhead depot closed to steam. The Class 24’s took over all freight workings along the North Wales coast. Likewise the passenger workings fell into the hands of reallocated EE Type 4’s, at a stroke steam became a rarity along the North Wales coast. As the New Year began Shrewsbury diagrammed Class 24’s to handle the Cambrian freight workings, on January 2nd 1967 D5073 handled the 04.20 to Aberystwyth, D5140 the 05.00 to Machynlleth and D5144 the 07.25 to Newtown. A stranger to Birkenhead on the night of December 22nd was blue liveried D186.
The derailment at Kentish Town on December 23rd impacted the Anglo-Scottish expresses. The very late running down ‘Thames-Clyde’ carrying the Waverley coaches was so far down that a Peak and two coaches were sent forward from Carlisle in the booked path, the Peak giving some very spirited running with its light load. The late running portion eventually went forward from Carlisle behind D6857.
Year end also brought the curtain down on steam haulage for the 07.40 Llandudno-Manchester and 16.30 return ‘Club’ services, Cl.5 44766 handling both trips. On 27th D5077 had done poorly on this working, losing about 30 minutes. From the New Year Newton Heath allocated BRCW diesel multiple units took over.
Blue livery finally reached the Class 24s late in the year, possibly the first outshopped was D5068 (from Glasgow?). As the year closed another line familiar to the Class 24s lost its traffic, the cross London widened lines via Holborn Viaduct saw all freight diverted to the North London lines.