The New Year brought continued deliveries to Toton of new Class 25/2s from Derby and Darlington. Derby would produce D5240 - D5298 & D7500 - D7520, Darlington finished out its batch with D7582 - D7597. Typical of the ‘knock-on’ effects of the new diesels was the transfer away from Wellingborough of some Ivatt Class 4 2-6-0s, their new home was Heaton Mersey, allowing storage for some of their 4F 0-6-0s. And by this time the once vast fleet of Midland 3Fs (once totalling 935) was now down to three examples, allocated to Derby for use on the restricted Shirland branch, by the end of February however these too would be retired. Services that the diesels would not be used on for too long were the Sheffield - Nottingham/Derby locals, notices were posted on January 27th about their demise and the closure of fourteen stations effective June 15th. These services were currently operated by diesel multiple units, Types 2 & 4 and a variety of steam locomotives. The Nottingham - Chesterfield parcels working, dieselised late in 1963 frequently ran with a Peak & one coach! A greater number of diesel hauled freights were now being noted through Chesterfield, including several using boiler equipped Peaks, perhaps made possible by the continuing delivery of EE Type 3s & Brush Type 4s to other parts of the country.
The failure of D29 at Newcastle on January 3rd’s 12.15pm Newcastle - Bristol led to some entertaining events. D256 deputised, some thirty minutes late departing, however it was replaced at York by V2 60847, leaving about thirty minutes down. Handled by a Derby crew the twelve coach train was able to recover eight minutes despite a water stop at Sheffield. No replacement diesel was available at Derby so the Bristol crew taking over received some brief instructions from a locomotive inspector, the driver had never driven an LNER locomotive and this was the fireman’s first look at a V2. Quite how far 60847 got is not reported.
Early in January D7581 was transferred to Carlisle for crew training. Amongst other duties this machine spent time on local passenger turns between Carlisle & Appleby. It was transferred away during September to Cricklewood (14B).
February 1st saw the closure of Bishop Auckland shed, many Thornaby Type 2s had worked various turns from this depot. Its duties and engines were taken over by the delayed opening of Shildon. The last day found seven diesels and two steam engines working off the shed. Cl 3 2-6-0 77010 was the last steam locomotive to leave, working the 6.35am pick-up to Stanhope. The last engine off was D5154 on the 2.55pm mineral turn from Brancepeth Colliery to Belasis ICI plant. As the locomotives ended that day’s duties they returned to Shildon for stabling. With this changeover an intensive set of twenty diagrams were set up for seven Sulzer 2s based at Shildon, with weekly visits to Thornaby for fuel and scheduled maintenance. No provision was made for a spare unit, causing the later turns to operate at all hours if problems were encountered earlier in the day! Further south the first all-diesel depot, Devons Road, Bow closed on February 10th after five years of operations, with its resources divided between Willesden & Stratford.
An unidentified Brush 2 hauling a Norwich - Bishopsgate goods on February 17th, became derailed on the London side of Shenfield station, blocking both mainlines, strewing wreckage over ½ mile with much damage to the permanent way. Bearing down rapidly on the scene was the 11.50pm Liverpool Street - Ipswich with D5041 in charge, which suffered considerable damage in the ensuing derailment. The lines were reopened within twenty four hours with a 20 mph speed limit. D5041 requiring a visit to Doncaster for repair, being noted there in March. The Brush 2s were themselves in the throws of a crisis concerning their power units. The Mirlees engines had proved troublesome, suffering from crankcase fatigue failures, the failures becoming a serious threat to the viability of the fleet. To overcome this a power unit similar to those fitted to the English Electric Type 3 was installed into D5677, but downrated to 1,470hp. This would prove a success with general replacement beginning in 1965. Until that time the existing Mirlees engines were downrated to 1,250 hp.
Peak transfers for the last few months had been minimal but during February fifteen were transferred to depots at Toton and Derby, with one, D101 moving to Crewe (5B). The majority of these transfers may have been to reduce the number of steam powered workings on the Midland main line, previously in the hands of 8F & 9Fs. Further transfers would occur in March between depots covering the Midland mainline.
During March a works re-organization was authorised for the ScR, with considerable investment planned for the St Rollox workshops. The other shops in Glasgow at Cowlairs, currently only handling steam repairs, would be closed. Diesel repair would continue at Inverurie, which at this time was still the principal shops for the Inverness based Type 2’s. Further south at Crewe Works general overhauls for steam locomotives ceased, the heaviest now undertaken were ‘heavy intermediates’. The week prior to Easter found Thornaby’s diesel fleet joined by Clayton D8588, the first of a number to be allocated here. Steam had been scheduled to be gone from Thornaby shed during December 1962, however it would be several more months before this was accomplished. Easter also brought something new to the country, commercial radio in the shape of ‘Radio Caroline’. Easter Saturday found the 702 ton MV Caroline anchored in international waters off Harwich, broadcasting began at noon with the Beatles ‘Can’t buy me love’. It was not only the railways that were undergoing change.
The Southern Region's South Western Division was experiencing serious timekeeping issues, with much of it placed squarely at the feet of their steam fleet used to power the Waterloo - Bournemouth services. The electrification of the Bournemouth line would resolve the motive power issues, until then the expected transfer/loan of London Midland Region Brush 4s was dependent on the completion of the LMR electrification of lines out of Euston. Maintaining the West Country / Battle of Britain / Merchant Navy 4-6-2 class Pacifics to a high standard would alleviate this issue, but the first inroads into the Merchant Navy Class locomotives with the withdrawal of 35002 & 35015 at the end of February did not bode well for this option.
On March 2nd a number of diesel multiple units took over former Type 2 workings on the Leeds - Morecambe service, the displaced Type 2’s returned a week later to cover other diagrammed passenger workings from Morecambe to Leeds or Bradford Forster Square. Noted workings included the 8.30am Bradford - Morecombe and return 12.30pm Morecombe - Leeds with D5190, D7585 & D7580 noted on the first week. Three days later a serious collision occurred at Itchingfield Junction when two freights collided early in the morning. The crew manning D6502 crew were killed and the locomotive so severely damaged that it was broken up on the spot. This was the first Sulzer powered locomotive from the Modernisation Plan orders to be condemned.
On March 9th the previously steam operated Broad Street - Tring passenger service was taken over by Class 24s.
On March 21st twelve specials were laid on to cover the Grand National horse race at Aintree, two were worked by Peaks, D79 from Birmingham & D69 from St Albans, six others arrived behind Britannias. The return workings did not go smoothly after D79 derailed at Bank Hall carriage sidings, bottling up a number of trains. Its working was covered by 44958 & 45229! During the week before Easter, with its attendant holiday extras, March 26th’s 3.30pm Manchester – Newcastle ran behind D7578 hauling eight coaches.
During the last two weeks of March at least sixteen withdrawn Southern Region steam locomotives passed through Cricklewood in twos & threes en-route to Cohen's Cransley scrapyard. Although Southern Region diesels brought some of the steam locomotives as far as Cricklewood, it appears the LMR provided only steam power to take the withdrawn locomotive forward to Kettering. These movements would continue into April and would also see condemned London Transport stock headed for Cransley.
Trouble befell D5195 on April 24th whilst working the final leg of the ‘Devonian’ from Leeds City South to Bradford, a regular working for these machines. In a conflicting move at Leeds City Junction a collision ensued with the 17.36 Leeds City North - Knottingley diesel multiple unit, derailing a number of vehicles, leaving D5195 with a very battered cab. This locomotive was later removed to Derby Works for repair. The following day (25th) the Schoolboy International Cup Final at Wembley produced 28 special trains run to local stations, departures included D7580 & D5231 and D5030 - destinations not recorded.
Two diagrams illustrate the increased use of the Type 2s. One Toton allocated locomotive worked the 06.13 Nottingham - Sheffield local, 12.36pm Sheffield - Leeds parcels and returning south with the 5.27 Bradford - Derby local. The second example, using a Saltley Type 2, started with the 23.30 Lawley Street - Sheffield Engine Shed sidings freight, then taking the 07.42 Sheffield Midland - Bradford (as far as Leeds). It returned south to Sheffield on 11.11 parcels, followed by a round trip passenger local to Chinley, 16.31 out and 18.32 return, the return to Saltley is not detailed. The Derby - Sheffield locals, previously in the hands of Class 5s, Jubilees & Canklow based B1s fell to the newly arriving Type 2s, these services were due for withdrawal in mid-June, but enough objections were received to postpone the withdrawals. Freight in this area (Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield, ex MR lines) still saw regular steam hauled workings though diesels were booked to haul most fitted freights and were encroaching on other longer distance workings. A modication to one of the previously mentioned diagrams saw the Type 2 pilot the 7.40am Bristol - Bradford (1N32) from Derby to Sheffield, then the 12.36pm Sheffield - Leeds parcels (3N12), returning with the 5.27 Bradford - Derby slow (2M76). Type 2s were now frequent visitors to Barrow Hill on incoming freights from Toton and Peaks operating from Hasland took over the freight workings to Gowholes. They were also being diagrammed for the Storefield - West Hartlepool fitted iron ore trains. Other Midland based Type 2s, diverted from their regular diagrams quite frequently traversed new lines. Such was that on May 2nd with D5236 from Saltley being used by Carlisle to handle an afternoon local round trip to Langholm. May 16th saw D5234 haul the 08.06 Newcastle - Birmingham, whilst the next day an unidentified BR Sulzer 2 worked a signal engineers special from Newcastle to Tweedmouth, across to St Boswells, Carlisle and back to Newcastle. And Huddersfield was visited by D5215 on May 21st, arriving with a special from Margate.
The departure of 8F No.48756 on May 6th following its classified repair at Horwich Works brought to the end 88 years of locomotive work at this location. In recent years many Peaks passed through the Works to receive modifications. The Works would continue in the repair and building of wagons.
An unusual visitor to Birmingham Snow Hill on May 22nd was D58 ‘The Royal Warwickshire Fusilier’ which was present for its naming. After the ceremony it worked a special train for the guests over the North Warwickshire line to Stratford.
An example of the new look railways was unveiled on May 28th in the form of the new blue & grey liveried XP64 stock hauled by blue liveried D1733 on a run from Marylebone to High Wycombe and back. Earlier in May it had worked a trial run up to St Pancras.
During June excursions from the Derby area to the North Wales resorts were hauled by D5030 & 5002 (14th), D5260 and D5279 (both 21st). The previous day had seen D5279 noted at Chesterfield with a Saturday’s only Paignton – Newcastle, assisting 45597. On June 4th a new car-sleeper service was initiated between Newcastle and Newhaven, connecting with the cross Channel ferry service. Initially the train was hauled over SR metals by Black 5s or BR Standard 5s, but this working would soon see LMR Peaks reaching the south coast. Cross London freights were no strangers to the Type 2s but it was a little unusual to find D74 working the 19.05 Brent - Hither Green (via Barnes & Clapham Jct) on July 29th.
Late July into early August found the Waverley route between Carlisle and Longtown in use for Kingmoor crew training on a number of Type 1 & 2 machines. In use were D8114/8120/8122 from Polmadie and D7581 from Carlisle, in a number of cases the specials were doubleheaded. D7581 had also spent some time working the 07.34 Carlisle - Appleby passenger and 18.05 return. After its return to Cricklewood (14B) late in August these services reverted to the familiar Ivatt Class 4s.
On August 4th the Class 25s plunged into new territory to take over the ICI company limestone trains running between Peak Forest and Winnington, with D5274 - D5279 & D7586 transferred from Toton to Trafford Park (9E). For the time being no other freight service in this area was dieselised, another three years would pass before major inroads commenced. These had not been the first diesels used on these trains, one year earlier English Electric Type 4s D227 & D228, from Longsight, had been tested with sixteen wagons over this route, and during February 1964 the Metro Vick Co-Bos were put through their paces on these services. These trains employed the venerable vacuum braked ICI bogie hoppers, first introduced in 1935, which were now used in rakes of eighteen (1,100tons), providing a considerable challenge to the single Type 2s. The diesels had replaced Heaton Mersey & Northwich based Stanier 8Fs, which had generally been allowed sixteen wagons (980 tons), the 8Fs having spent many years on these company trains. The wagons themselves outlived most of the power that hauled them, including the Class 25s. They (147 left in service) were finally retired on December 28, 1997, being the last vacuum braked wagons in service. A surplus of airbraked stone hoppers (PGAs) allowed this retirement.
Two pilgrimage specials from the LMR to the Kent coast on August 6th were booked to be hauled by Sulzer Type 2s throughout. However the specials turned up at Kensington Olympia with Britannias 70010 & 70023. As no replacements were available here the Britannias continued to Hither Green where they were replaced by D6587 & E5023.
The saga of the V3s at Heaton Carriage sidings was finally laid to rest with the return of the Sulzer Type 2s during August made possible by the delivery to Tyne Yard of a batch of new Gateshead based Claytons (D8596 - D8600). On August 14th the 11.28 Peterborough - Edinburgh with nine bogies was hauled from York to Newcastle by D5226, it replaced 60146 and itself was replaced by 60129, arrival in Newcastle had been eleven minutes late.
Early August found several unusual workings, on 8th D5017 worked a lunchtime Glasgow Central - Lockerbie passenger whilst on 10th D7593 hauled a Leicester – Brighton excursion throughout. On 6th two Kent coast pilgrimage specials off the Midland mainline were diagrammed for pairs of Type 2s to work throughout over Southern metals, when the specials appeared at Brent in charge of Britannias 70010 & 70023 there was no choice but to work the steam power onward to Hither Green where E5023 & D6587 took over. Meanwhile over on the Great Eastern D1531 was tested for time trials on the Liverpool St - Norwich services, a prelude to major changes in the New Year, which would affect the Great Eastern Classes 24 & 40s. The end of August saw Darlington Works release the last locomotive to be built there, D7597. The Works was still overhauling a reduced number of steam and ER diesels, the only other BR Sulzer 2 present was D5097. Visitors to the annual Works Open day at Derby on August 30th found brand new D5293 & D1756 on display alongside D94, D3016 and steam 92053 & 42645. D94 was finally able to return to traffic after sustaining major damage at Stanton Gate. There were now no steam locomotives under repair at Derby, the only examples in Works were withdrawn.
A prohibition on many steam locomotives operating under the electrified lines south of Crewe commenced on September 1st. This was rigidly enforced, with only the Standard types, Stanier Cl 5s & 8Fs permitted. This restriction caused the greater use of steam north of Crewe. Banned steam locomotives carried a yellow diagonal stripe on the cab sides. Further north Newcastle had only one regular steam passenger working, the 16.30 Newcastle - Berwick which ceased on September 5th. Gateshead A3 60092 hauled the last steam working on 4th, with the final run the next day being handled by D5178! In the winter timetable this became a diesel multiple unit working.
Another loss of this period, in addition to the closure of different goods yards within one town (Carlisle for example), was the abandonment of parallel local services, leading to station closures and eventual withdrawal of freight facilities. On Saturday September 5th, the passenger services between Nottingham Victoria & Derby Friargate ran for the last time. These services were steam hauled to the end and would leave little traffic for the impressive Nottingham Victoria station. Another famous name to be lost was that of the ‘Waverley’, the through Edinburgh - St Pancras daytime service was discontinued from September 7th. It would now only operate as a portion of the ‘Thames-Clyde’ service on slightly different timings, worked by a Holbeck Peak and four coaches, the Peak filling in as it laid over between its nocturnal Edinburgh - Leeds sleeper workings. The former path of the ‘Waverley’ was now partially filled by a DMU between Edinburgh & Hawick. The ‘Thames-Clyde’ also found itself a new home, the winter timetable saw the service diverted from St Enoch to Glasgow Central, the last down working of the train arrived behind D21 and the last outbound working to St Pancras, the 21.25 up sleeper departed behind D22.
During September deliveries from Derby reached D5298, from here the numbering skipped to D7500, with these new machines going to Toton. The missing machine, D5299 was intended to be a test bed for an uprated 1,750hp ‘R’ series engine. This strengthened engine block had four valve cylinder heads. Two prototypes were built by Vickers but the project was abandoned in 1965, with one of the power plants going to Zurich University, the other became a standby generator in the West Country (or West Midlands). Unfortunately testbed and personnel shortages became unacceptable with the arrival of the major problems associated with the 12LDA28C, the unit fitted to the Class 47. D5299, the ‘might have been Type 3’ would be placed in traffic twelve months after its numerical neighbours. More shuffling of the Peaks took place in September, again internally within the Midland mainline area depots.
Towards the end of September the Southern Region encountered a severe motive power shortage with many of its E5000 series electrics stopped for repairs (mostly awaiting tyre replacements from Eastleigh Works) along with an unusually high number of Hither Green allocated Class 33s out of service. Class 33s were loaned from the Central and South Western divisions and six Class 25s were borrowed from the LMR. Many freights were cancelled whilst the Uddingston cement workings were handled by Brush Type 2s over the ECML.
The week beginning October 10th was a particularly nasty one for operations on the main lines out of St Pancras and Euston. On 10th the 12.35 St Pancras - Bedford dmu ruptured a fuel tank south of Bedford, engulfing the last vehicle in flames and leading to one fatality. This was just one of a number of fires affecting Bedford’s diesel multiple units. Three days later a hanging obstruction in Linslade Tunnel caused minor damage to two trains, with D307 working the 17.05 ex Euston being replaced at Bletchley by D5077. Earlier that morning all four lines at Nuneaton were blocked by the collision, in thick fog, of the 02.47 Northampton - Crewe hauled by 70044 and the 23.45 Somers Town - Crewe. Normal working was not resumed until the following day. Over on the Midland, again near Bedford D74 on a Nottingham service suffered severe fire damage despite the efforts of the local fire brigade. This machine was quickly removed to Derby Works for repair. On November 1st, again in thick fog D5022 derailed on the fast line crossovers at Bletchley, causing traffic disruption until late in the afternoon.
The continuing use of Sulzer 2’s on the Aston ‘Condor’ service often found them pressed into service whilst laying over in Glasgow prior to the next evening’s southbound working. Often employed on local passenger workings, a popular choice being the 11.25 Wemyss Bay - Glasgow service with examples noted in November being D5186/92/94, 7584/92/93. During October this 'Condor' working had seen some remarkable loadings - on October 12th D5083 & D72 handled forty five vehicles, on 14th it was D269 and fifty vehicles, the next day D5083 & D8117 and forty eight vehicles. Despite its declining importance the Waverley route gained a new train, the thrice weekly Kings Norton - Bathgate & return car carrier, diagrammed for Peaks, but occasionally worked by Saltley Type 2s. This train often carried as many as one hundred cars with a journey time of twelve hours. A car carrier working over the S&C early in December had several Vauxhall cars blown off the train as it crossed Ribblehead viaduct, the strong gales causing many other delays as well. In the Birmingham area the Washwood Heath – Redditch freight was taken over by Type 2s, releasing Standard Class 4s for banking duties on the Camp Hill line, previously in the hands of ex-Midland Class 4Fs. On the Scarborough – York line driver training during November normally used local power, but a stranger from the LMR on 6th was D5184, other diesels were D392 (14th) and D15 (20th).
The Whitworth branch saw the use of D7576 bringing in a breakdown train to assist a derailed Class 2 2-6-0 at Shawclough on November 9th. This same Type 2 also had charge of the first Southport-Rochdale residential to be diesel hauled over the Central Lancs line. On November 18th D5019 was unable to heat the 09.50 Birmingham - Euston, it was replaced by 44942. As the month closed out regular electric working on the WCML advanced southwards from Nuneaton to Rugby.
With Derby now delivering about five - seven Type 2s a month the increasing fleet was large enough to allow the closure of Cricklewood to steam on December 13th. Steam south of Bedford would be permitted only in cases of emergency. Cricklewood’s seven remaining steam locomotives (47432/35, 76035/37/39/41/89) found a new home at Willesden, which continued to supply motive power for the ever shrinking Great Central line services. Quite frequently the Type 2s would handle the Marylebone - Nottingham passengers. The Christmas season, previously a sure bet for steam to fill in on the Midland lines extra parcels and freight services did not occur. Also threatened was the coal trains from Wellingborough to Goldington power station. These had been consistently in the hands of 8Fs, the large Type 4 diesels were banned from crossing the Ouse river bridge. Now however Derby’s Type 2’s were plentiful enough to be trialled in pairs on this working. Gone also in this area were any booked jobs for the once numerous Midland 4F’s, now taken by Class 5s or the Sulzer 2s. Even the Class 5s at Burton were under threat as a new fueling/servicing shed rapidly took shape. Further north Type 2s were allocated to work an evening Oldham Road – Tyne Class 4 freight as far as Healey Mills, returning west via the Sowerby Bridge line.
Whilst the Peaks were no strangers to Scotland they could end up on unusual workings. On December 2nd the 13.45 Carlisle - Edinburgh was worked by D97 in lieu of the more normal BRCW Type 2. On December 23rd Gateshead allocated D183 worked the 12.00 Bathgate - King's Norton empty carflats, normally an LMR Type 4 working. The next day (24th) the 02.22 Millerhill - Carlisle class 4 freight and the 06.30 Carlisle - Craiginches class 4 freight was worked by D180, both normally steam turns at this time.
Passengers on a Derby - St Pancras relief on Christmas Eve had the delights of D5206 & D5220.
As the year closed news from Scotland indicated that twenty of the NBL 6100s would be re-engined with Paxman units, similar to the test bed in D6123. Also missing in the New Year would be the local passenger service from Glasgow Central via Lockerbie to Carlisle, although steam worked until the end, one service - the 12.25 Glasgow - Lockerbie was diagrammed for an LMR Peak! Another frequent Peak working at Glasgow Queen Street, normally a Gateshead allocated locomotive, was the ‘North Briton’, which was known for its fast working with only eight coaches to Edinburgh. More traffic for the Waverley line included the Milford Haven - Thornton block oil train, which provided the route with a vast array of motive power, steam and diesel, on January 7th an unidentified Peak with brake tender was in charge.