The year began with ten of Eastfield’s Class 25s being sent to Haymarket in exchange for a like number of Class 27/1 & 2s, whose duties had been taken over by the Class 47/7s on the Edinburgh - Glasgow service. Also in the Glasgow area, Classes 40, 45 & 46 were banned from Glasgow Central station due to problems with their ability to derail on the complex pointwork and curves in the station area. During the morning of August 21st 1978 40047 had become derailed blocking several platforms whilst on January 12th 1980 45126 became derailed in the station area while working the 11.50 Glasgow - Nottingham. The result of the ban saw Toton Class 47s replace the Class 45s on these diagrams.
January 14th saw the 17.07 Edinburgh - Newcastle in trouble behind 40060, the journey was completed with the help of 25007, albeit over two hours late.
On January 11th Trafford Park freightliner depot was blocked following the derailment of 25235 whilst picking up the 22.37 Trafford Park - Holyhead freightliner. The departure of this working finally took place at 6.00am the following morning with 47098 in charge. However all was not well with this machine for it failed at Phillips Park, requiring the assistance of the Manchester Victoria pilot, 25196.
There was a multitude of Class 25s in the area of Bushey & Oxhey station from January 17th onwards following the dramatic derailment there of the 16th’s 20.25 Euston - Manchester. The locomotive 87007 was the only part of the train to remain on the tracks, four of the MkIII coaches ended up on their sides, with one (M12162) bringing down the overhead gantries, which blocked the slow lines. Most fortunately there were only minor injuries. Three breakdown cranes attended, from Bescot, Finsbury Park - brought in by 25279 & 25256, and Old Oak Common - arrived behind 25152 & 25189. The slow lines were reopened late on the 17th, the dc lines late on the 19th, the fast lines by the 25th. Spoil trains used 25222 & 25243 and 25130 & 25173, this first pair returned with track panels on 21st, followed by 25256 on the re-wiring train.
Further to the above incident comes information regarding the following Euston - Liverpool service. It was held up because the guard did not arrive for the train. Therefore train left late and was immediately behind the Manchester train. Potentially it could have been the train that derailed that day, but became stuck immediately behind the derailment for over four hours. As mentioned 25222 was in the area and this locomotive dragged the train back to Euston arriving back at 1am. Passengers were then bussed from Euston to St Pancras, where a relief train had been laid on, which departed before the passengers on the last bus reached St Pancras. Another relief train arrived with a Class 45 which went to Nuneaton and changed to electric traction to Liverpool.
More destruction occurred to 1½ miles of track on January 31st north of Hemel Hempstead when a journal burned off a BOC tanker in the 01.16 Ditton - North Wembley train hauled by 82008.
February 2nd found 25268 arriving at Sunderland on the 21.40 parcels ex Bristol. It remained in the area being noted on the 15.45 Tyne - Carlisle on February 4th.
On February 5th an interesting test was carried out using the 04.15 Stanlow - Rowley Regis oil tanks. The 2,000 ton train hauled by 25307 & 25311 worked to Nuneaton, here 25307 was replaced by 56051 and 25311 was shut down. The train then set out for Leicester - Marton - Wellingborough - Bedford - Bletchley, where 56051 was removed and 25307 rejoined the train for the run to Rowley Regis. The next day 25301 worked the 16.16 St Pancras - Sheffield forward from Leicester. The afternoon of February found Norwood Junction host to a football special from Stoke behind 25222 & 25189 with seven coaches.
The Scotland v France Rugby game on February 16th drew a number of specials from Glasgow to Edinburgh, two being hauled by 25232 & 25244. The 17.24 Edinburgh - Dundee from February 11th used hauled stock, so noted were 25086 (15th) and 25240 (19th). Front line service came to 25282 & 25296 on February 25th, being used as pilots to WCML services following a broken rail near Rugby.
The continuing shortage of locomotives, partly caused by a backlog of repairs at the main workshops, led to Swindon Works receiving unclassified repairs for locomotive types it had not dealt with before. On March 9th collision damaged 31124 & 31154 were moved from Doncaster to Swindon. Likewise 25191 and 25236 were also received for repairs. During March approximately six hundred locomotives were awaiting attention of which only one third (about 160) were out of traffic for scheduled repair. For the Class 25’s fifty eight were laid up, the Class 31’s had thirty out of traffic, whilst for the Class 47’s one out of every five machines was awaiting some sort of attention. Eight Class 25’s had been out of traffic for at least three months (25035/42, 25113/147/177/191, 25234/252), obviously the aforementioned move of 25191 to Swindon was a start in repairing these bad ordered machines. To provide Swindon with a source of spares 25111/147/252 were withdrawn during March and consigned there (25111 was the first to arrive on May 6th), not surprisingly two of these machines were in the batch long overdue for repairs. By month end 25188, 25218/221 had also been received by Swindon for repairs. 25218 had received a crushed cab in a shunting incident at Stonebridge Park on March 19th. Having broken up a vast number of hydraulics and Class 24’s and with just 08006 & 08087 present for cutting a new chapter was about to begin with the arrival of these three condemned Type 2’s. Unfortunately the plan for Swindon’s newly found repair work was affected by the worsening economy causing a nationwide cutbacks in repairs, with the existing repair shops unwilling to hand off a diminishing workload, especially now as some of BR’s own depots were now carrying out more substantial repairs than previously.
The Garston car train was noted at Hereford on March 5th behind 46039 & 25296. Somewhat away from its normal haunts was Eastfield’s 25063 on March 15th’s 11.15 Cardiff - Crewe.
The Edinburgh - Glasgow high speed service had begun to settle down with its fleet of Class 47/7’s and MKIII coaches when the service was totally disrupted from March 10th by the closure of Falkirk High Tunnel. An emergency timetable was established using the existing stock but routed through Falkirk Grahamston, the peak hour service continuing to utilize one of the older Class 27 hauled sets of stock.
Football fans on March 22nd had the joy of a six car dmu on a special from Accrington to Chesterfield, the dmu going forward to Sheffield for stabling, but then promptly declared a failure! The return trip was made with eight coaches and 25135!
On March 29th a Paddington - Manchester special set out with 31188 & 31250, changing to 25038 & 25073 at Birmingham, taking the Derby line for a jaunt in the Sheffield area prior to heading west to Manchester, Warrington and down the WCML to Birmingham.
On April 1st an evening Coventry - Aston Villa match was cancelled at the last minute, of three specials booked to run, only one set out, behind 25264, this was greeted by police at Coventry, returning immediately to Birmingham without incident. On 5th the Landor Street banking duties was in the hands of Haymarket based 25023.
Unusual duty befell 25225 & 25080 on April 12th, taking over at Exeter from 31304 & 31163 on a Paddington - Meeth special, the Torrington - Meeth section top and tailed due to lack of run round facilities at Meeth. The special also covered the line to Meldon.
April 17th found the 12.46 Holyhead - Euston on time at Chester with a twelve coach load behind 25307.
May 5th found 25156 at Hexham with the local pick up freight from Tyne Yard.
Another broken rail occurred on the WCML on May 9th between Nuneaton and Rugby, a number of services were diverted over the line to Coventry, 25209 was used as a pilot. The following day featured twenty specials to the Spalding flower festival, none of which were Class 25 hauled, the majority being in the hands of Class 47s.
On May 17th 25198 worked the 09.42 Llandudno - Manchester, the 14.40 return and then the 18.17 back to Manchester. Two days later passengers on the 20.47 Bidston - Wrexham Central dmu were rescued by 25238 after failure of the dmu. Immediately after this the Class 25 returned to Dee Marsh to collect recently repaired Class 507 stock that was making its way from Horwich to Birkenhead.
The eleven coach Western Region Emergency Control train, for so long a fixture at Craven Arms was towed away by 25213 on May 17th towards Severn Tunnel Junction for eventual disposal. Most of the eleven vehicles were sold into preservation, however a couple of the generator coaches were retained by BR. Other Control Trains were kept at Newcastle Heaton carriage sidings, York Clifton carriage sidings and Doncaster locomotive depot. The coaches contained living accommodation, telephone exchanges and diesel generators.
A TUC ‘Day of Action’ on May 14th caused considerable disruption to services in Scotland, an unforeseen side effect was the inability of the payroll from Crewe to reach certain of the depots on time. In protest Corkerhill, Eastfield & Polmadie depots went on strike the following day for twenty four hours. 25021 came to the rescue of May 23rd’s 09.45 Edinburgh - Inverness when 20119 failed at Kingussie, the Class 25 was added to healthy 20110, the failed Type 1 being dropped off at Aviemore.
The summer season trains began on May 24th with the 08.02 Walsall - Yarmouth in the hands of 25248 & 25274, likewise the 07.35 Nottingham - Llandudno and 13.00 return was again diagrammed for a single Class 25. For the Cambrian coast line the news was not good, Barmouth bridge was closed to locomotives following the discovery of serious damage to the pilings by the ‘Teredo shipworm’. A considerable improvement took place on the Bristol - Portsmouth service by the replacement of the Class 31’s with five Class 33s, double manning was no longer required due to the heating of the trains by electricity rather than steam. Part of their diagram also involved night timefreights between Bristol - Westbury and Eastleigh.
The experimental railbus LEV 1 (RDB975874) was trialled between Westerfield and Saxmundham & Ipswich and Lowestoft during early June. The machine had arrived from Derby on June 2nd behind 25213 and returned on 12th behind 40052.
The continuing shortage of electric locomotives led to the novel use of pairs of Cricklewood’s Class 25s on the heavy Kensington Olympia - Stirling Motorail service. 25180 & 25190 handled the down working on June 2nd, 25189 & 25054 up on 3rd, the latter pair were also used the following night. Another Cricklewood machine, 25204 with collision damage had spent some time stored at Willesden depot, it was removed to Crewe for spares removal before making its last trip to Swindon on August 12th. Birkenhead North received the last of its new Class 507 units on June 5th when 25118 hauled 507031 from Derby Litchurch Lane. Further south on June 7th the 17.10 Cardiff - Crewe failed at Ludlow behind 25323, the following 13.20 Cranmore - Ellesmere Port with 25283 & 25318 pushed the train to Craven Arms where the two Type 2s took over the Crewe service. 25189, recently mentioned on the Motorail services, had by the 9th reached the Middlesborough area on local workings, before retiring for a couple of days to Gateshead for repairs.
June 15th found the 09.06 Birminghan N.S. - Bridlington doubled headed by 25129 & 25272. This day also saw an Open Day at Tinsley, partly to celebrate the centenary of ASLEF. Almost fifty locomotives were on display (fifteen different classes) including 25101 & 25253. Luckily the damp weather that had plagued the greater part of this month did not affect the Open Day, at the beginning of the month the north and west had been hit with thunderstorms with a tornado reported at Nairn. As the month closed more thunderstorms of considerable ferocity were the order of the day, 25cm of hail fell on Sevenoaks on 25th and 105mm of rain fell in as many minutes, summer had arrived! The York - Edinburgh parcels on June 21st was in charge of 25137. June 23rd saw 25220 & 25245 haul the eight coach 10.00 Crewe - Cardiff service.
The end of an era closed during June when the last of the North British Type 2s (Classes 21/22/29) No.6122 was finally scrapped by Woodham Brothers, Barry.
On July 4th a Willesden - Salfords (SR) oil train was worked throughout by 25175 & 25309, returning at least as far as Acton with a train of empty stone hoppers for Westbury. The next day the Saltley crane was hauled to Birmingham New Street by 25272 to attend to the aftermath created by the head-on collision of 47337 and the 12.29 Longbridge - Lichfield diesel multiple unit. Despite serious damage to the locomotive and unit 50115, the injuries were only minor apart from the driver of the multiple unit. 47337 was removed to Saltley by 47536 whilst 47534 took the leading unit vehicle to Kings Norton, where it would eventually be broken up.
July 10th found 25049 south of Perth rescuing 40066 on the 13.35 from Glasgow, the Class 40 was removed at Perth with the Class 25 going forward to Dundee. The next day 25085 came to the rescue of an ailing 47210 working the 17.40 Edinburgh - Inverness. The Class 25 was sent from Perth to push the failure from Stanley Junction to Murthly, here detaching the failure before heading out alone northward. 47040 was added at Dalwhinnie, arrival in Inverness was less than one hour late.
July 13th saw 25254 & 25269 taking a spin up the ECML with a Berkhampstead - Scarborough and return excursion. The annual holiday fortnight at Leicester beginning July 15th saw a reinforcement of services through the city that day. Amongst many workings the 08.02 Walsall - Yarmouth utilised 25254 & 25258 with a relief 10.03 service handled by 25143 & 25129. Earlier services that morning had seen 31409 going to Yarmouth, 20071 & 20097 to Skegness, 45050 to Scarborough, 45077 to Blackpool, another Skegness working had 45065 whilst a relief to Paignton had 45061! Not that the poor weather of June had improved for the holiday makers, July continued to be cool, wet and thundery, the heavy rain leading to much flooding. The 11.35 Poole - Newcastle on July 17th was noted at Sheffield behind 25249 & 25279. Double duty for the Class 25s on July 20th involved hauling electric services between Birmingham New Street & Nuneaton and Rugby & Bletchley, assisted by a number of Class 47s. The next day 25157 & 25187 were in charge of the 07.20 Newcastle - Leeds parcels.
Possibly due to a shortage of Type 4s the Highland Line took a step back in time with consistent double headed Type 2 workings in mid July, so noted were 26024 & 26033 on the 13.44 ex-Inverness - Edinburgh, 26014 & 26021 on 12.40 Inverness - Edinburgh and 26018 on the 11.05 ex Perth. Elsewhere doubled headed Type 2 working featured the (Fridays) 17.25 Glasgow Central - Stranraer and the next days 09.43 SO Blackpool - Stranraer, from Ayr. On July 11/12th 27012 & 25076 were noted, 25238 & 26032 on 18/19th, though 25238 was replaced by 25109 on the Ayr run, 25235 & 25079 on 25/26th, 25246 hauled the first leg on August 1st, 47353 did the second leg! 25246 was also noted on the 17.43 Glasgow - Ayr and 19.22 return on August 5/6th, 25072 worked this turn on August 13th and came back on the 15th with the 17.25 Glasgow Central - Stranraer.
A shortage of diesel multiple units towards the end of July saw the 01.23 Stafford - Liverpool Lime Street and the 06.30 Liverpool Lime Street - Manchester Victoria worked by a locomotive and hauled stock, noted were 25325 (22nd), 25186 (23rd), 25172 (24th) & 25199 (25th).
The last week of July brought a mixture of unusual weather conditions including much torrential rain. On July 23rd a morning of severe electrical storms eventually disrupted signaling in the area south of Rugby, it was late afternoon before full service was resumed. On 26th heavy rain in the south disrupted Euston - Birmingham services, a number of services turned round at Coventry rather than New Street, the 10.10 Euston - Aberystwyth was an hour late going forward behind 25197 & 25276. On 27th the 21.00 Euston - Stranraer became marooned at Barrhill with a washout in front of the train and deteriorating conditions behind. The Class 47 and train were rescued on the 30th, the passengers having walked out over the damaged line to buses taking them on to Stranraer. Further north flooding in the Culloden area caused considerable disruption to the evening services.
This year again saw the 09.42 Llandudno - Manchester and 13.42 return, 16.42 Llandudno - Crewe and 20.30 Crewe - Bangor back in the hands of diesels, usually Classes 25 or 40. This service utilized the stock off the SO York - Llandudno which laid over for the week at Llandudno. On August 28th 25168 & 25216 worked the 20.30 to Bangor, and 25292 the next day. The diagram reverted to dmu haulage from September 15th. Further west August 9th found 25261 & 25267 in charge of the 12.23 Manchester - Paignton.
By the middle of August Swindon had started to receive locomotives for storage and/or scrapping with as many as 150 expected. The July & August withdrawals had included classes 08/40/45 & 46, clearly Swindon most certainly had a dark purpose. The locomotive shortage on the WCML found a new diagram for pairs of Class 25’s: 16.08 Northampton - Bescot, 20.05 Bescot - Willesden and next day’s 03.16 Willesden - Northampton, the first two legs of this had previously been electric hauled.
More heavy weather on August 15th caused many problems. A landslip at Wymington (near Sharnbrook) derailed the 05.45 Kettering - St Pancras dmu, blocking all lines until late afternoon. The slow lines were already underwater with a flooded stream using the track as a shortcut. On the WCML the weather is believed to have been a factor in a rear end collision near Roade cutting on the Northampton line. The previous day’s 21.57 Dewsnap - Willesden with 85015 rear ended the 01.16 Ditton Jct - North Wembley BOC nitrogen tank train. The line was closed until late on Saturday, recovery being aided by the Bescot breakdown train.
The 12.22 Bedworth - Lindsey oil tanks of August 22nd ran behind 25305. On the same day a New Street - Paignton relief was powered by 25301 & 25290. This day also saw 25221 in trouble on the 17.10 Cardiff - Crewe, requiring the assistance of 37290. On the 27th the same train was again in trouble, at Hereford with 25027 requiring the assistance of 47484, going north almost an hour behind schedule. This ailing Class 25 was one of the locomotives on display at Landore Open Day three days later (August 30th), keeping company with visiting 20042/87, 31293, 40079 & 45017 amongst the locally based machines.
On August 25th the 07.30 Birmingham - Newcastle and 13.40 return to Swansea were in the hands of 25257 & 25301.
The last iron ore train to Consett ran on September 10th with 37053 & 37055 working the 6K60 18.15 from Redcar, the empties leaving a week later.
With the end of the (wet) summer timetable came considerable changes in the Class 25 fleet. Laira’s entire fleet of Class 25s was either transferred or withdrawn. From October 6th there was only one diagram for a Laira Class 25, on the St Blazey - Truro - Penzance trip working, by November 3rd this too had been taken over by a Class 37. Likewise the Scottish Region sent eight machines to the LMR and withdrew five more. The LMR itself condemned seventeen machines and placed six into storage. A number of these transferred machines on arrival at their new depots were found to be only fit for scrapping, such as 25026, the first 25/1, and 25155. To cover some of these moves Inverness sent four Class 26s to Haymarket, Immingham sent two 37s to Eastfield and three WR 37s were moved to Laira. And during October 24081 was finally withdrawn, though its place was quickly secured for preservation.
October 5th found 25038 & 25073 in charge of a special from Marylebone to Barrow Hill Open Day via Birmingham. The trip continued to Doncaster for a visit to the Plant before returning via the outward route. Although eleven different classes were on display at Barrow Hill there were no Class 25s. Another charter, this time from Alfreton reached Exeter behind 45061 with 25223 & 25080 taking the train onto Barnstaple. On the 10th 25043 expired at Abergavenny on the 07.50 Cardiff – Crewe, rescue coming in the shape of 40079. All must have been repaired quickly for it was noted the next day with 25039 in charge of the 20.51 Barrow in Furness – Euston, as far as Preston. An unusual duty for 25070 on October 15th was to take the Springs Branch breakdown train to Millgate near Manchester Victoria. Here an empty four car Bury Line electric multiple unit overran a siding leaving the leading vehicle overhanging a city street, into which had fallen the leading bogie. A melancholy duty for 25202 & 25036 during October were their use with the ‘Rail Away Gang’ in the removal of the trackwork of the closed Rowrah – Whitehaven line.
The winter timetable found several lengthy journeys operated by diesel multiple units. The 03.45 Shrewsbury - Swansea took 4 hours 21 minutes, the 14.35 Shrewsbury - Pwllheli 4 hours 18 minutes, the 14.45 Carlisle - Preston 4 hours 21 minutes, with the longest being the 12.45 Carlisle - Preston at 4 hours 25 minutes.
The Barmouth line, long familiar to the Type 2s was closed temporarily from October 12th due to major repairs being required on Barmouth bridge. Bus services were provided for passengers between Machynlleth & Barmouth. Fourteen multiple unit vehicles (2 three-car sets & 4 two-car sets) provide a service between Barmouth & Pwllheli, they are fuelled and maintained at Pwllheli. Freight traffic, mostly from Penrhyndeudraeth was taken by road to Blaneau Ffestiniog and then tripped to Llandudno Junction and taken forward by the 15.07 Llandudno Junction - Warrington freight. Difficulties in arranging for financing of the repairs would keep the line closed for longer than anticipated. It would reopen to diesel multiple units only from May 1981. The eventual repairs to many of the 113 bridge supports would cost GBP1.8 million in eradicating the damage caused by the shipworm Teredo Norvegica. During April 1986 with the repairs complete, locomotives were allowed to cross the bridge.
Late October found parts of the network troubled by adhesion problems caused by leaf accumulations on the track. On October 30th the 06.55 Gloucester - Birmingham behind 37180 stalled near the top of Lickey incline. The following Stoke Gifford - Redditch stone train with 25264 & 25327 & banked by 37208/231 were called up to assist in the rear. This stone train was only one of two scheduled double headed workings over Lickey, normally operated by Class 25s, the other working a Port Clarence - Bromsgrove oil train used pairs of 31s. The previously mentioned 06.55 service was worked by 25035 on November 19th. At Clapham Jct the freights using the West London lines were often brought to a halt here, 25243 on the November 6th’s 02.20 Willesden - Norwood required assistance from 33004 & 33046. In early November the BR/LT dmu service north of Rickmansworth suffered from leaf-fall as the line climbed through the Chilterns. A number of Class 25’s, including 25313 (4th) and 25251 (6th) were used to assist northbound diesel multiple units the commuter service being considerably disrupted.
November 5th’s 15.17 York - Swansea arrived at Birmingham N.S. behind 25320 & 31213, the Class 25 being removed here. The following weekend (10th), 25056 worked the 07.38 Barrow - Liverpool throughout, 25323 was in charge of an Edinburgh - Cardiff freightliner, whilst the next day 25180 was used to assist 46229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ and its thirteen coach special up Miles Platting Bank, the Duchess working a Liverpool - York special. Several movements of retired locomotives passed through Oxford during the third week of November, of note on 16th was 25001 towing 25013/21/19 & 31274 as the 07.20 York - Swindon Work, whilst on 18th 45013 hauled 46030/34/37/40, on 19th 25198 hauled 40146, 46041/42/43.
Passengers on November 19th’s 12.42 Carlisle - Newcastle dmu received a tow from 25272. Ten days later 25069 worked the 13.15 Birmingham - Norwich.
The 08.09 St Pancras - Derby was noted on December 2nd passing Wellingborough behind 25205 running about twenty minutes late. The next day 25139 came to the rescue of 47443 which had caught fire at Sharnbrook whilst working the 04.27 St Pancras - Derby. The remote location hindered the fire department in reaching the scene. A Euston - Bridgnorth special on December 20th worked forward from New Street behind 25221 & 25224 running via Sutton Park, Dudley & Stourbridge, services in the area were somewhat in turmoil due to freight train derailments at Barnt Green & Rowley Regis. Two days later 25048 was noted at Peterborough in charge of the Manchester - Harwich Boat Train, running fifty minutes late.
The last members of the 25/0 subclass were also withdrawn from service during December. It was not only the Type 2’s that were going to the wall for a number of class 20/31/46’s were stored at this time, whilst the remaining members of Class 44, 44004/7/8 and Class 84, 84003/10 were withdrawn. As the year closed 243 remained in stock whilst 47 awaiting scrapping.
Availability for LMR locomotives towards the end of the year was: