And what of the four Class 25's on the tour?
All four of the railtour participants survived into 1987.
25249 was the first of the four to be withdrawn. On the evening of January 27th 1987, almost four months to the day after the railtour 25249 was at Derby Etches Park scheduled for the 1M38 to Crewe. After arrival at Crewe Depot investigation was made into a reported 'low power' problem. However repairs were not forthcoming with the locomotive taken out of service the next day!
25249 reached Vic Berry's early in June 1987, becoming one of the infamous stack. The locomotive was still in the stack in March 1989, but by April 1989 had been broken up.
25313 spent its final days in the Manchester area, even assisting a defective 47532 on March 13th's 07.07 Newcastle - Liverpool. It reached Crewe on March 18th 1987 and was taken out of service that evening. It moved to Berry's during July 1987, remaining here almost a year prior to reaching preservation.
25904 survived until March 23rd 1987, arriving at Crewe in the early morning hours and was immediately taken out of service. Its final duties had been in the Chester area, though on March 16th it had worked the 17.12 Sellafield - Bridgwater BNF train as far as Gloucester. It reached Berry's Yard by July 1987, remaining here until January 1988 when it moved on to preservation at the Severn Valley Railway.
25910 ended its days at Crewe on the afternoon of March 18th 1987 after local workings and trips into Scotland at the beginning of the month. On January 4th it had been stopped at Chester for inspection/repair following a fatality. During the middle of July 1987 it reached Berry's Yard, it remained intact until early September 1987, but by month end it was no more.
The following report of the railtour comes from the keyboard of Nick Ross:
Hertfordshire Railtours -Merseyside Ratcatcher Tour 29/9/86
Complete with cabside "handle with care" stickers specially cleaned 25313 and 25249 stood at an otherwise deserted Euston. Front coach seats and loud Sulzer thrash up Camden Bank generated a sound atmosphere which was to remain on this sell out 500 mile rodent jaunt all day. The usual Sunday surprises saw on the day changes to the route. At Bir Int'l we were routed into Platform 1 where some unspecified traction was to haul us Int'l-New St. We hoped the kick out would be some big 47 on our vacuum braked stock. Alas, 86237 was provided!
The rats rejoined us at New St on a rateable route to Leicester, Derby, Hope Valley, Manchester Pic and Liverpool taking in many of their old haunts. Lime St saw many scratch men swelling our already full consist with Petroleum Sub sector 25904/25910 making a rare passenger outing to Runcorn, Frodsham and Chester. We were then turned on the Chester triangle to the jubilation of the front coach crowds. A people power photo stop at Chester then onwards to Crewe where 25249/313 took over for the last WCML passenger run. A classic steady Sulzer storm taking in Bescot, Stechford, Weedon and Bletchley where all the power box crew watched us pass. A late evening return to Euston, then a dash for a train home, a hugely enjoyable tour was over.
In the leading "comic" a few months later, had very rare positive write up on the "rats" epic last tour performance which astounded many of us. The east coast eh brigade finally realising that small sulzers were gutsy, "hell fire" locos that deserved respect!