The New Year revealed a depressing scene at Derby Works with only seven locomotives undergoing repair. The only Class 25 present for repair was 25262, category N4. However the Works would soon see the influx of a number of Scottish Type 2's for repair, caused by a maintenance backlog in Scotland and the effects of the continuing harsh weather. At Swindon interest had been shown by London Transport in possibly acquiring three Class 25 locomotives, however nothing concrete materialised from this idea, although possibly 25246 & 25305 were set aside in the North Yard following from this enquiry. January's locomotive transfers totaled over 120, mostly reallocations within the Eastern Region, however Toton received 31129/152, 31204/287, 31300/326 from a variety of ER depots, with 31326 actually being reinstated from store at Swindon Works. And of course January witnessed the withdrawal of the last members of the Deltic fleet, the final run taking place on January 2nd amidst much press and TV coverage.
The mild spell over the New Year did not last whilst industrial action by ASLEF commenced. Heavy rain swept south on January 3rd, followed by much colder temperatures. The first industrial action of the year saw strikes on January 4th/5th. Heavy snow fell in the Far North on the 7th spreading south over the next two days. Many of the local Euston services were particularly affected due to a shortage of Class 310 emu's. Typical of many journeys on this day was the 17.15 Birmingham N.S. - Leicester, departure was an hour late, with Nuneaton reached after three hours, the Derby suburban unit lacked toilet facilities. 25042 worked a service over the Crewe - Cardiff route on January 5th.
In the midst of all this coldness, on January 5th 27041 set fire to the fuelling point at Eastfield. Apparently none the worse for wear 27041 later set fire to itself at Huntly, this time working January 22nd's 21.04 Aberdeen - Inverness service. The Class 27 was removed from the train and later towed back to Aberdeen. This unlucky machine would reach the end of the year in store at Glasgow Works with collision damage!
The 8th also claimed a Barmouth - Aberystwyth dmu trapped in a snowdrift near Tonfanau, the few passengers spending a chilly night with the dmu until rescued by the RAF the next morning. A rescue train from the south became stuck south of Tywyn, whilst a snowplough sent from Crewe faired little better between Tonfanau & Llwyngwril, all obstructions were cleared by 10th. Further north at Talybont the leading vehicle of a two car dmu derailed, passengers were able to return in the trailing vehicle to Porthmadog, heavy lifting gear being required to re-rail the front car. Near the Welsh border at Newport (Salop) the nighttime temperature on 10th fell to -26C, an English record, further north at Braemar the thermometer fell to -27.2C, equaling the British record.
A late afternoon Manchester - Newcastle relief ran behind 25051 & 25152 on January 10th, one hopes the boiler in 25051 was operating. In Scotland an emergency timetable was instituted including the withdrawal of all sleeping cars and a reduction in the number of overnight services. The cold overnight temperatures on 11th crippled the push-pull sets with only two being serviceable, dmu's having to fill in where possible. The emergency timetable halved the Class 26 hauled Edinburgh - Dundee services, whilst the Glasgow - Dundee runs were cancelled except in the rush hours. The shortage of locomotives led to incoming foreign power being borrowed with a number of the named WR Class 47's being particularly well used north of the border. The harsh weather stopped use of the BSC terminal at Hunterston, sufficient to divert the traffic to road hauliers, a matter which was not quickly rectified, causing an outcry from the local authorities between there and Ravenscraig.
In the West Country the long distance services on the 9th were reduced to a shambles. At Exeter the 06.35 Bristol - Plymouth behind 45132 was 280 minutes late, the HST powered 07.20 Paddington - Bristol - Paignton service was over 400 minutes late whilst 47535 on the 00.05 Paddington - Penzance was over 700 minutes late. The Carmarthen - Milford Haven line succumbed to drifting snow on 9th, remaining closed for two days. The Central Wales line was hit by blizzards on the 8th, the line remaining closed for ten days. A number of lines in the Welsh valleys suffered similar closures, most freight traffic having been stopped since the 8th, priority being given to the passenger services and just simply keeping the lines open. On 9th the first Paddington - Swansea (diverted via Bristol) took about twelve hours to complete its journey, the 08.42 Swansea - Paddington reached the capital early in the evening! Freezing conditions late on the 10th severely curtailed the few working local services.
On the Southern Region heavy snow crippled services between Eastleigh & Bournemouth, after clearing the casualties it was necessary to institute a diesel hauled service due to the severe icing conditions, these continued until 10th. Inter regional services into this area also suffered badly, not helped by the rolling stock dislocations. The Central Division's woes began on January 4th, with an ASLEF ban on overtime & rest day working, the cold weather took over on 6th, followed by the prolonged blizzard on 8th, with the local services bearing the brunt of the disruptions. The South Eastern division despite the severe weather and isolated equipment failures ran a near normal service until the evening of 11th when a series of failures led to passengers abandoning the trains near Herne Hill. Traction current had to be switched off, with the consequent delays affecting services for the rest of the evening.
With no services running on January 13th/14th, two days of extremely low temperatures assisted in the formation of massive icicles in Kilsby tunnel, causing rerouting of service via Northampton. Further north frozen coal stocks created difficulties at various East Midlands collieries, with many of the wagon doors freezing solid. In the Huddersfield area large icicles and major ice accumulations in local tunnels had to be cleared prior to the re-starting of services on January 15th. From this date the weather eased although the melting snows left flooding in its wake.
The woes of the SR were not helped on January 16th by a violent rear end collision at East Croydon between a Three Bridges - New Cross engineers train and a Brighton - London Bridge parcels service. The driver of 73115 was rescued after some eight hours trapped in the cab, the second man could not be found in the wreckage, not surprisingly because he'd signed on and gone home, a state of affairs quickly picked up by the national newspapers. Further west the blizzards seriously damaged signaling on the Salisbury - Exeter line. A temporary timetable was instituted until the end of January when repairs were completed.
On January 22nd the 11.30 Ditton - Corby BOC special was hauled by 25250 & 40127, a combination more normally associated with the Sheffield BOC working.
January 28th was another day of ASLEF woes, the strike would not be settled be until February 18th when the BRB accepted the demands of the union. Progress in dealing with these demands had been so slow that one Nottingham ASLEF driver showed up for work on a strike day in protest at the slow resolution of the strike. He worked a very lightly loaded Derby - Lincoln round trip under the protection of a British Transport policeman and a number of journalists! Even after the strike ended the network was still plagued by sporadic localised industrial action which coupled with the bad weather affecting stock and permanent way alike left the travelling public with a very poor opinion of parts of the railway system.
25135 came to the rescue of a Walsall - Chesterfield football special after 46035 failed at Derby on February 6th. Two days later the 18.15 Birmingham - Norwich utilised 25034. Late in February lifting of the Three Spires Jct - Gosford Green branch began, the demolition train on February 23rd was handled by 25256.
Class 25's and emu's seemed to mix during February, the 2nd saw 25027 & 25195 haul 507009 from Hall Road to Tyseley. On 17th 47425 failed whilst working the Wigan breakdown crane to an emu derailment at New Brighton, 25221 came to the rescue. During the evening of 21st 25069 was noted southbound through Huntingdon with 313001 in tow. And on March 1st 507022 moved to Allerton for wheel turning using 25130.
The arrival of March brought gale force winds to the Scottish Region during the night of 2nd/3rd. Much catenary was brought down south of Carstairs, leading to diesel haulage for several days, strangers filling in included 45037 & 46016. Trees down on the East Kilbride branch interrupted services and seas covered the line at Craigendoran Jct. Class 25's could still be seen at Glasgow Central on passenger workings, principally the 8.40 from Carlisle (via GSW) and 12.40 return. Noted in March were 25057 (6th), 25219 (9th, 11th, 18th) and 25062 (15th), 25027 (24th & 25th) although 25219 was declared a failure on two of the days! April saw 25218 used on 2nd, whilst Classes 26/27 were well represented.
The allocation of further Class 31s to Toton inevitably brought greater chances of Class 25/31 parings, so noted on March 5th was 31131 & 25309 on a Toton - Acton working and 31228 & 25243 on an Acton - Toton job. Noticeable now was the use of these recently transferred machines on many local workings out of Toton. On the Crewe - Cardiff line a number of Class 25's filled in for missing/failed Class 33's, 25027 worked March 4th's 19.10 Crewe - Cardiff whilst an unidentified Class 25 rescued an out of fuel 33001 at Bromfield on March 11th's 16.02 Crewe - Cardiff. Three days later the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels failed at Shrewsbury behind 25314, nearby 25318 & 25319 on a Cranmore - Ellesmere Port tank train took the parcels forward to Hereford. Here 25318 continued south, still with 25314 attached, whilst 25319 returned north to continue on with the tank train. The use of Class 33/1's on this route was rare, if they did show up they tended not to complete the diagram, as happened to 33104 on March 26th. After spending a day and a half on the regular diagram 33104 jumped ship onto the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels, leaving the 16.02 Crewe - Cardiff in the hands of 25067. On March 28th the Wolverhampton - Euston services were diverted via Nuneaton with diesels covering the non-electrified section, 25269 had to fill in on the 13.00 ex Wolverhampton due to the late running of 56101 covering another service.
With the Class 56s representing BR's only new diesels in the past decade there was clearly a major need to review the motive power needs in the aging Type 1-3 range. Plans called for an initial 32 Class 20's and 24 Class 31's to be given overhauls, including major refurbishment, dual braking and for some of the 31's the addition of electric train heating equipment. In addition the dual braking program for the class 37's which had ceased in 1978 recommenced during 1982. A number of the selected Class 20 & 31's had sat side by side with Class 25's in Swindon Works during 1981/82, now they would make the journey to the other BR workshops for repair. Also reinstated were six Class 31's, their new home being Toton, as quickly as they arrived condemned Class 25's moved south to Swindon. Strangely Tyseley sent condemned 25290 to Swindon in error, it being quickly rerouted to Derby, such were the vagaries of the condemned fleet!
Cleethorpes was host to two unusual machines on April 8th. Firstly 50030 filled in for a failure on the 06.20 service to Kings Cross and the 08.26 to Doncaster ran behind 25086, normally a Class 40 working. Further north on April 14th a York - Crewe Works 'hospital' train featured 25027 hauling 47404, 47129, 47441 & 40106! The Foss Islands branch, home to the Rowntree factory saw the local trip working receive Type 1 & 2 haulage during May, 25032 (13th) & 25193 (14th) noted in lieu of the regular York Class 08.
The Mountsorrel - Radlett 'Redland' stone working regularly required two Type 4 machines to handle the forty eight loaded wagons, however on May 14th 25212 & 25207 were in charge of forty seven wagons. The West Midlands saw plenty of Type 2's on passenger specials during late April/early May. On April 24th a St Pancras - Bewdley special worked forward from Birmingham behind 25050 & 25199, that same day 25058 & 25084 took over a Norwich - Weston super Mare excursion also from New Street. On May 8th an eleven coach Sutton Coldfield - York school special utlilised 25044 & 25133, the latter failing en route, 25044 successfully reaching York unaided. On the same day a Five Ways - Chester church special ran behind 25072 & 25138. On scheduled services the Birmingham - Norwich featured 25044 (April 28th) & 25072 (May 2nd), whilst 25042 & 31226 handled a Birmingham - Norwich service on May 1st, 25042 returning with the regular diagram to Birmingham, the next day handling a Birmingham - Leeds service!
On the North Wales mainline April 24th found Type 2's in abundance on Manchester - Bangor passenger workings. 25093 worked the 7.42 Manchester - Bangor and 11.03 return, the 9.42 (and 13.38 return) & 17.42 Manchester - Bangor had 25067, whilst 25120 powered the 15.42 Manchester - Bangor, on the 19.25 return working 25086 took over at Llandudno Jct. Despite the continuing inroads made to the Class 40 fleet they were also still common on the North Wales workings.
Service changes in the Midlands saw the arrival of more MKII air-conditioned stock for the Midland Mainline, these services now going no further than Sheffield, cut back were those services to Leeds & Manchester. May 15th also saw the last runs of certain locomotive hauled NE/SW services, suitably headboard adorned locomotives powered the many 'last' runs prior to HSTs taking over the next day. Only five services now remained locomotive hauled on the NE/SW route. Also changed was the daily Nottingham - Glasgow service, routed now via Preston & the WCML rather than the Settle & Carlisle. On the stock side of things a handful more Class 25s were withdrawn or considered unserviceable. On the Scottish Region a swapping of Class 37s took place between Eastfield/Motherwell & Landore whilst nine were moved from Eastfield to Inverness. In turn Inverness sent seven Class 26s to Haymarket joining seven Class 27s transferred in from Eastfield. In the middle of all of this activity Haymarket released six Class 25s to Eastfield, receiving four different examples in return! Further south seven more Class 31s arrived at Toton, this time from the Western Region, whilst a number of those that had arrived earlier in the year were now receiving extensive overhauls at Doncaster. Late April saw the brief return of Class 25s to Glasgow Works for minor repairs, so noted were 25059 & 25237 (N4) and 25247 (N1). However by late May operational Class 25s would be gone for good from Glasgow Works.
On May 26th 25198 was noted at Consett East with scrap wagons, possibly the last Class 25 to visit Consett.
The visit by the Pope to various venues at the end of May led to many extra services being laid on to handle the large crowds. On May 31st he visited Manchester, a half hourly service provided from Blackpool, with Class 40's predominating, although 25032, 25130/189 & 25282 were noted. The visit to Cardiff saw many specials run, mostly in the hands of Classes 37/45/47, no Class 25's were noted amidst all the extras. However the class were still frequent visitors through Hereford, usually on freights, noted were 25282 on a Severn Tunnel Jct - Walton (May 25th), 25193 on Manchester - Bristol parcels and Haymarket based 25072 spent several days in the area. In the York area many specials ran on May 31 for the Pope's visit, like Cardiff no Class 25's were recorded. The following day however, with the Pope at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow many specials ran including 25057 handling an eight coach special from Cumbernauld, other specials used almost every class the Scottish Region had available.
June 5th's 20.52 Sheffield - Derby had superpower in the shape of 25157 & 25297. On June 12th 25145 clearly had an adventure when it worked the 08.35 Birmingham - Paddington returning with the 12.50 Paddington - Liverpool.
June 24th found 25060 running through Westbury with 47901 in tow en route to Bristol. Two days later 25075 was noted southbound through Darlington with a Corkerhill - Chesterton weedkilling train. Perhaps because of the NUR action 25057 worked June 30th's 21.05 Edinburgh - Kings Cross as far as Newcastle, returning north with a parcels working.
October 4th saw further upgrading of the Midland Mainline services, an influx of HST's taking over about half the diagrams, relieving the problems associated with the summer shortage of Class 45/1's. A through daily Leeds - St Pancras service was resurrected, whilst the last headboard adorned up 'Master Cutler' ran on October 1st behind 45137. The HST's have no provision for the fitting of headboards. The new timetable alterations also brought a major shakeup in the locomotive transfers for October. WR Class 31's transferred to March allowed a further seven Class 31's to move to Toton. The WR also sent seven Class 37's to Eastfield, no doubt these were just part of the major reshuffle that affected the ScR Class 25's with the entire allocation of twenty two machines from Eastfield & Haymarket moving south of the border, the majority destined for Crewe. Additionally all thirty three Springs Branch 25's were moved to Crewe as were the twenty Class 40's there! This reshuffling allowed twenty six Class 25's to be retired between October and December 1982. The only 25's now remaining in Scotland were 25028/46 and recently arrived 25160, all withdrawn at Polmadie. The timetable change also saw the loss of the Class 25's on the early evening Manchester Piccadilly - St Pancras parcels, this had been a solid Class 25 working for some time. The Class 25 only worked through to Derby, here it was replaced by a Class 45/1. Class 40's would now replace the Class 25's although the latter would occasionally appear on the working.
The withdrawal on October 11, 1982 of 25310 (CW) at Tyseley with bogie damage should have been recorded as just one more casualty, especially as it had run for eight years since its last classified repair. However late in December it journeyed to Aberdeen Ferryhill where the local staff would convert the machine to a non powered electric generator vehicle. It would be renumbered ADB 97250 and named 'ETHEL 1'. The use of Mk III sleepers on the Fort William service had caused an operational dilemma as this service was operated by steam heat 37/0's and the 37/4 conversions were was still some ways off. In light of these changes it is not known why the recently released eth equipped 27/2's were not utilised for this service.
The winter timetable changes included a couple of booked turns, at least on paper, that would produce pairs of Class 45's. These included the 19.19 Derby - St Pancras (Saturdays) and the weekday 05.52 Derby - St Pancras. On Mondays the 00.19 Derby - Nottingham - St Pancras was booked for two Class 45s between Nottingham & Leicester, the second Class 45 then remained at Leicester until added to the 10.19 Derby - St Pancras. On Sundays two Class 45/1s were diammed for the 13.05 Nottingham - St. Pancras and the 15.40 Derby - St Pancras.
The LT/NLR section of Richmond (SR) station was visited by 25069 and an inspection/instruction saloon on the afternoon of October 12th, its stay was brief prior to heading off towards Kew Gardens. 25083 & 25219 took over a Bridgnorth - York school special at Bewdley from 4930 'Hagley Hall' on October 16th. A week later (22nd) the 12.46FO Portsmouth - Leeds went north from Birmingham behind 25180 & a Class 31, this train was frequently in the hands of Type 2's, and often arrived from the south behind a Class 33.
Despite the loss of the ScR allocation of Class 25's they were still frequent visitors to Glasgow, 25224 worked the 17.30 Glasgow - Carlisle on October 20th & 21st. More normal power for these services over the GSW featured eth equipped Class 47's.
On November 25th the Prince & Princess of Wales travelled from Euston to Central Wales by Royal Train. From Shrewsbury to Aberdovey/Towyn 25259 & 25278 were in charge, with 25044 on standby. Due to restrictions on Barmouth Bridge the train went no further north than Morfa Mawddach. An overnight stop was made at Rossett prior to the Royal party visiting Wrexham & Hawarden on 26th. This believed to be the last use of the Class 25s on Royal Train workings. Two days later 25083 made one of those unusual trips by working a Manchester - Bournemouth newspaper train throughout, and then managing to return with the empties. At the opposite end of the country November 30th's 13.45 Glasgow - Carlisle produced 25218.
The withdrawal of 25093 during November was unremarkable apart from it being British Rail's most transferred machine to date, with twenty eight moves to its credit. Following its withdrawal the honour passed to 47556 with twenty four moves.
The 12.46FO Portsmouth - Leeds used 25224 north of Birmingham on December 3rd, the next day this machine was in charge of the 10.15 Birmingham - Norwich and 16.45 return. The 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels provided consistent work for the Class 25's although the run on December 14th was marred by the failure of 25144 at Hereford, rescue coming in the shape of 37233.
The beginning of December saw 25131 withdrawn, it was stored at Toton and renumbered 97202 for use by the C.M. & E.E.. It was renumbered back to 25131 in January 1984 and then promptly withdrawn again. The move of ADB968008 (24054) and the two former Class 31 train heating units to Cambridge proved to be shortlived due to the excessive noise created especially with the close proximity of a residential neighbourhood. By mid December all three machines had moved to March. As the year drew to a close just under half the class (162) remained in service. Derby Works had seven receiving attention, whilst fourteen lay there withdrawn. Swindon had 27 examples present, whilst Glasgow had none, although Aberdeen had future Ethel unit 25310 under repair. Additionally thirty one withdrawn 25's lay scattered around the country at various depots, including 25177 & 25214 at Stratford, keeping company with condemned eth vehicle 24142.
Page added February 22nd 2003