January 6th saw 24137 moved from Bescot to Toton for use in rerailing exercises, the following week it was noted lying on its side! Better times were still with 24082 & 24133, they worked a St Pancras - Liverpool charter on January 14th via Leicester and Nuneaton. Harking back to earlier times, 24081 & 24087 were on the Shotton iron ore working on January 13th. On a rainy overcast January 21st 24133 had an unusual duty being used on the last advertised passenger working of the Class 44ís, working the Crewe - Chester leg behind 44008 to provide heating following the non-appearance of the heater van. January had been something of an unsettled windy wet month. A major storm on January 11/12th caused much flooding on the East Coast, with the storm surge demolishing Margate pier.
The last scheduled advertised passenger working of the Class 24ís occurred on January 27th, titled the ĎCambrian Coast Expressí, the Euston - Birmingham portion handled by 86224, the remainder of the trip powered by the Class 24ís, all was not well however as the multiple unit capability had failed, with a second driver assisting from Wolverhampton.
The Crewe - Cardiff services suffered from indifferent reliability during the month. January 12th found the 19.23 Crewe - Cardiff at Hereford with a Class 50 leading an expired Class 25, two days later 25038 failed on the 17.00 Cardiff - Crewe, with 37294 coming to the rescue.
Mid January found two boilered Class 37ís transferred to Eastfield, 37108 & 37111, intended to bring greater reliability to the West Highland line services.
The month end brought gales and blizzards to the Highlands of Scotland, beginning on the afternoon of January 28th. The Inverness - Aberdeen line was the only one in the area to remain open. The down ĎClansmaní had reached Aviemore before being reversed and rerouted via Perth, Dundee & Aberdeen. Crossing the 17.40 Edinburgh - Inverness at Kingussie the Inverness passengers transferred to the ĎClansmaní, the 17.40 gingerly going forward as a local to Carr Bridge. A brave attempt to go further led to the train and its two Class 26ís becoming stuck, literally within view of Carr Bridge station. A rescue attempt by two locomotives also failed, the passengers off the 17.40 spending the night at Carr Bridge station. On the nearby A9 twenty motorists abandoned their vehicles for the safety of a cottage at Slochd. An engineers train also became stuck between Dalwhinnie & Dalnaspidal. On the Aultguish - Ullapool road a British Airways helicopter rescued twenty passengers from a stranded bus, whilst in Glencoe ninety motorists found haven in a closed hotel.
North of Inverness conditions were worse. The 17.15 Inverness - Wick/Thurso derailed the last five coaches after hitting a drift at Forsinard. This train had started out with 26037, to which was added 26039 at Helmsdale, this locomotive having worked down from Georgemas Junction in an effort to keep the line clear and to assist the northbound service The pair of Class 26ís and the undamaged leading coach were detached and proceeded forward only to become completely stuck in the snow at Altnabreac. Passengers on the train included a man with a broken leg and another recovering from kidney surgery. Judicious use of the fuel supply on the engines kept the carriage heated until the next morning, when the driver, Stewart Munro and second man James Forbes struggled through nine foot drifts back to Forsinard to raise the alarm. By late morning 26031, stabled at Georgemas off the previous dayís freight from Inverness made an attempt to head south. It quickly returned to pick up a van, some volunteer staff and supplies for the stranded passengers. On this second attempt they reached to within two miles of the trapped train, allowing a young railway employee to reach the stranded passengers bringing hot soup. Once the exact location was known the seventy stranded passengers were eventually airlifted in six shuttles using an RAF helicopter from Lossiemouth and two commercial helicopters. They were operating in near white out conditions with the winds still gusting to 65mph.
By Thursday the line south of Helmsdale was cleared for traffic, it would not be until the following weekend that the derailed coaches would be dealt with. The Highland mainline remained closed until Tuesday, the ĎClansmaní continuing to be diverted via Aberdeen due to the Class 47ís not being snow plough equipped and to prevent snow ingestion into the coaches airconditioning systems.
Early February found Laira drivers training with 37142. The arrival of 25212 on the Peterborough - Liverpool St parcels at Ipswich on February 11th was nothing unusual, except that the March driver left the train with no local crew qualified to operate the Class 25. A Class 31 was found to remove the unlucky locomotive.
The weather again made the headlines commencing the second week of February. From 7th cold air invaded from the east, bringing with it much snow, six inches in Kent (9th), a foot at Newcastle (13th) and Edinburgh (12th) with temperatures dropping to minus 17F at the latter. The freezing conditions at Newcastle caused considerable dislocation of stock due to points failures and frozen up stock at Heaton. Icicles in Haltwhistle tunnel broke the cab windows of 37194 on February 19th whilst running light from Carlisle.
The annual Flower Parade at Spalding on May 6th saw twenty specials arrive, only one being Class 25 hauled, that from Swansea featured 25073 & 25074. Two days later brought regular scheduled working of the first of the new HST sets on the ECML. Initially six sets were in use, four sets on Kings Cross - Edinburgh workings, the other two on Kings Cross - Newcastleís. Concurrently the Hull and Yorkshire Pullmans were discontinued, a number of the Pullman coaches were later noted in use on LM Motorail services.
Local services in the Edinburgh area continued to see the diesel multiple unit services supplanted by hauled stock. May 1st brought 25240 on an unidentified working into Edinburgh whilst later that day 25246 handled the 17.30 Edinburgh - Cardenden. On May 6th 25247 was noted in charge of the 17.10 Edinburgh - Newcastle, a working which seemed capable of being hauled by anything Haymarket could turn out, including dmuís. This was also the day of the Scottish Cup Final between Glasgow Rangers & Aberdeen at Hampden Park, with five specials scheduled. The 09.30am left behind 25072 & 25087, the 10.00 had 25227 & 25033 whilst the other three featured 40167, 40063 & 40159.
A cautionary note for the Class 25 fleet occurred during May & June when 25077 (May) & 25295 (June) were withdrawn, these were the first two dual braked Class 25s to be taken out of service, albeit with fire and collision damage, which in better times would have been repaired. 25295 was also the first of the Beyer Peacock built Class 25s retired.
The Spring Bank holiday (May 27th) found 25129 & 25136 on the 08.02 Walsall - Plymouth. The Yarmouth services from Walsall & Derby featured a number of Class 31ís and Class 47ís this season, 25271 & 25280 handled the Derby service on June 3rd with 25303 & 25309 on June 17th. That same weekend pairs of Class 25ís were common on the North Wales coast, May 29th saw 25184 & 25196 on 09.20 Manchester - Llandudno and 17.20 return, 25297 & 25272 on 11.11 Manchester - Holyhead. A seasonal diagram featured the 09.42 Llandudno - Manchester, 13.30 return, 16.42 Llandudno - Crewe, 20.30 Crewe - Bangor and 22.45 return as far as Llandudno. On May 25th 24082 operated this diagram throughout, continuing onto the next dayís, but was replaced at Chester by 25161 whilst on the 13.30 ex Manchester. A little further south the reliability of the Cardiff - Crewe was still troubling. May 30th found 25219 expiring on the 15.08 Cardiff - Crewe, with 37292 assisting at Hereford. Meanwhile 25043 failed near Dinmore Tunnel on the 16.00 Crewe - Cardiff, 47042 on the following parcels pushed the train into Moreton on Lugg.
A Lincoln - Fort William ĎMerrymakerí on June 3rd reached Cowlairs on time behind 47218, here 25062 & 25230 took over, only to be replaced at Dumbarton Central by 25246 & 27029. On the climb to Glen Falloch 25246 lost its coolant, being replaced at Crianlarich by 25232 which had been travelling south. Arrival at Fort William was over two hours late. Despite careful examination of these two machines prior to the return working 25232 failed whilst on the climb to Corrour. The Class 25 was left here, 27029 continued single handed to Bridge of Orchy where 27043, sent from Eastfield was attached. Time was gained from this point onwards with 47218 waiting at Cowlairs to head south.
The Doncaster - Muir of Ord grain train, frequently a ScR Class 40 was noted north of Newcastle behind 25034 & 20219 on August 26th. Four days later 25247 working the 06.22 Thornton Yard - Craiginches hit a GPO van stuck on a minor crossing at Barrowfield (Montrose). Fortunately no injuries occurred and the line was cleared within 1 Ĺ hours.
The stock off the 07.25 Plymouth - Edinburgh is cleaned externally at Craigentinny but is then forwarded to Stirling for internal servicing, normally handled by a Haymarket Class 26, however on September 7th Springs Branch based 25213 made the trip. A surprising visitor on the 15.55 Bristol - Plymouth parcels on September 7th was Haymarket based 25011, which worked as far as Exeter, replaced here by 25155. However it continued its westward march by working the 19.30 Exeter - Paignton!. Visitors to Kings Lynn off the Whitemoor freight have included 25131 on September 11th and 25264 the next day.
September 22nd turned out to be the final day for 25171. Whilst hauling a ten wagon ballast train southbound at Arbroath the train ran out of control and was diverted into the goods yard since both main lines were occupied. It demolished the buffer stops and impacted the retaining wall causing major structural damage to the locomotive, not helped by two of the now derailed ballast wagons demolishing the rear of 25171. The guard and driverís assistant jumped to safety, the driver taking refuge in the engine room.
September 23rd found 25245 & 25275 working a Birmingham N.S. - Paignton relief . The 18.25 Morecambe - Leeds had 25293 hauling a two car dmu on the 25th, two days later the 19.30 Huddersfield - Wakefield Kirkgate parcels was in the hands of 24047.
With the close of summer only four Class 24's remained intact at Swindon - 24079, 24084, 24085 & 24134. By the end of September 24079 & 24134 had been scrapped, 24085 followed in October leaving 24084 as the last Class 24 at Swindon Works, it would be gone by late November/eary December. It would now be left to Doncaster Works to break up the remaining survivors.
Stone traffic from Mountsorrell to Kennett was now handled by new, air braked high capacity wagons. The second trip on October 4th ran behind 25249 & 25301 and twenty four wagons. A week later Laira based 25155 was at the nearby sugar beet plant at Ely. That same day (11th) 24063 was noted at Healey Mills.
An excursion out of Marylebone on October 14th was handled by 25040 & 31273, the locomotives having come light from Bescot, with 40018 taking over for the Nuneaton - Rotherwood leg. The round trip over the Woodhead route was handled by 76049 with 40018 coming back on at Rotherwood for the run to March where 40067 took over for the return to London.
On October 26th 25136 worked the 17.18 Kings Cross - Peterborough passenger.
On November 8th ex-works 25210 was tested at Northwich on the Tunstead limestone service, working the 17.21 Oakleigh - Tunstead and return followed by the 02.57 Northwich - Tunstead. It then beat a hasty retreat to Longsight for repairs, not unexpected after dealing with these 1,250 ton trains. Further testing on 28th didnít improve matters, it failed at Hazel Grove on the 11.03 Oakleigh - Tunstead, being removed to Buxton and then forwarded to Derby Works.
The new GLC Freightliner Refuse Terminal at Brent received a trail run on November 8th with 25249 in charge, regular service to Stewartby commenced November 23rd behind 45045. On November 13th 24082 worked the 11.41 Garston - Margam empties as far as Hereford. The locomotive off the 13.08 Bescot - Gloucester freight, booked for a Class 47, was used for the 15.15 Plymouth - Manchester passenger north of Gloucester. This led to a considerable variety of power on this working, ranging from Class 20ís to Class 37ís and combinations of each. Should a Class 47 be unavailable the train normally required banking assistance up Lickey. Likewise the 11.15 Gloucester - Swindon parcels saw much variety including 25267 in early November, this locomotive would go forward on the 15.40 Swindon - Bescot freight.
Early November brought a variety of Class 25ís to Kings Lynn, the 14.47 Whitemoor - Kings Lynn had 25143 (9th) whilst a block oil train for the sugar beet factory had 25212 & 25310 (8th), deputising for a defective 37264. From 13th three more GN services became HST hauled, now with twelve up and ten down regularly scheduled.
Nineteen years of service came to an end for 24047 on November 11th when it burnt out its main generator at Mickle Trafford whilst working the 08.39 Shotwick - Stoke freight. It was assisted to Northwich by 40020, where it was left on shed. 40125 towed it away on November 15th in the 22.44 Northwich - Bescot freight, being taken out at Stoke and dragged alone to Crewe by 40125. By December 13th it was on its way to Doncaster Works accompanying 24035. December 5th found 25067 & 25114 in charge of the 39 vehicle 21.50 Northampton - Willesden freight, whilst passing through Tring thirteen of them derailed, three overturning, closing the slow lines for four days. Little better was December 16th when a return Mountsorrell - Radlett working became derailed on leaving Radlett in charge of 25258 & 31299, the slow lines blocked for seven hours. On a different note a shortage of dmuís at Etches Park found the evening Matlock services in the hands of a Class 25 with a nine unheated Mk1 coaches in tow. Two days later (18th) 25063 disgraced itself on the 11.30 Cardiff - Crewe, rescued by 47017 but over an hour late into Crewe. Also on passenger duty was 25322 assisting the local dmu on the Windermere branch on November 13th.
November 18th found the 20.50 Tyne - York behind 31233 & 25069 whilst five days later the 19.30 York - Edinburgh parcels was powered by 25239.
The All Blacks Rugby international at Murrayfield on December 9th found four specials running between Glasgow Queen St & Edinburgh, 25226 hauled the last one, 27005/11/20 the first three. Sister engine 25227 was involved in a debacle on November 27th involving the 09.45 Aberdeen - Glasgow Queen St beginning when 47272 failed at Camperdown Jcn, Dundeeís Class 08 pilot was first to assist but a vacuum fault rendered it useless, 26045 off a nearby ballast working brought the entourage into Dundee. 25227 had been procured to take the train forward but promptly failed and was replaced by 27032. This succeeded in becoming a partial failure near Perth, requiring assistance from 26036, finally departing Perth over one hundred minutes late.
After 47500 failed at Bristol on December 27th with the 13.55 Glasgow - Taunton, the only available power was 25298 & 25318 for the run west.
The year closed out with bad weather in the Midlands and North East. Walsall station, as usual, was flooded after torrential rain on December 29th. Heavy snow over the New Year plagued services with delays and faulty equipment made life even more difficult to maintain the timetable. In the West Country Exeter proved to be a graveyard for frozen up locomotives, with temperatures reaching down to -13C most things simply froze up. The 00.05 Paddington - Penzance was reported eighteen hours late at Plymouth, the local services out of Exeter were cancelled since the dmuís were frozen solid. Exeter contained eighteen frozen up locomotives including 25052, 25206/225/263, the only serviceable machine being 46020, which had been equipped with steam lances for the freeing of pointwork and rodding.
On the Southern Region heavy snow fell on December 30th & 31st causing many equipment related failures especially snow blowing into the electrical equipment and the seasonal problems of shoegear failures on the Bournemouth line REP units. On the SE Division the heavy snow was followed by strong winds which brought the problem of drifting snow, a condition not normally associated with the south. One line so affected was the Ashford - Canterbury West - Minster line, which required the services of a snowplough. The Great Eastern lines faired no better, heavy snow disrupting Thornton Fields carriage sidings, causing considerable stock dislocation. This resulted in the 10.30 Liverpool Street - Norwich running with a six car diesel multiple unit of Derby/Cravens units. The Shoeburyness - Pitsea line had snow two feet deep on December 30th, being cleared by the Stratford plough on New Year's Day.