The beginning of the year started with the withdrawal of the Glasgow Central - Carlisle local services. Although steam handled most of the last-day workings D106 worked the 12.25 Glasgow - Lockerbie on Saturday January 2nd.
Deliveries continued from Derby with D7519, again these were allocated to the Midland lines. However by August the first of thirty five Beyer Peacock examples, D7624/25 were delivered to Wath. At the beginning of January D5296 was loaned to Colwick (40E), D7578 later replaced D5296 at the end of April, whilst D7526 was loaned to Norwich (32A), then March (31B) as D5612 was loaned to the Leicester Division (D15) for crew training. London Midland Type 2s venturing over the Scottish border invariably found themselves ‘borrowed’, such as D5232 on the 12.00 Dundee - Buchanan Street on January 15th and D5220 on the 11.30 Wemyss Bay - Glasgow on the 28th.
The LMR electrification continued its march south with full electric service now in place from Rugby to Crewe, commencing January 4th. The English Electric Type 4s continued as front line power for the Rugby - Euston section, with the Type 2s now in heavy demand for the many extras required for the electrification work south to Euston. To speed up the dieselisation of the southern section diesels were brought in from the North Wales & Crewe - Carlisle routes, allowing for a number of services over those routes to revert to steam! The Type 2s were also encroaching on the steam hauled Coventry locals to Northampton & Birmingham, with three more workings converted to Type 2 haulage. The arrival of the new AM10s (beginning with E046) in March would allow cascading of the existing local power. January 9th saw over 5,000 tickets issued for the local Aston Villa - Coventry football match. Eleven specials were provided whilst D5134 on the daily Lowestoft - Birmingham had its load doubled at Rugby to 12 coaches, with the service extended to Witton! Willesden’s Type 2s might also be found on the few remaining diesel hauled Marylebone – Nottingham Victoria passenger workings.
From January 11th the Great Eastern services out of Liverpool Street to Norwich and Lowestoft became diagrammed for Brush Type 4s, using D1554 - D1567 recently transferred to 31B. This displaced the EE Type 4s to numerous freight diagrams and allowed a considerable re-allocation of Brush Type 2s to Finsbury Park. This did not greatly affect the Sulzer 2s (D5050-72/94/95) allocated there, though their use on freights increased and permitted the Brush Type 2s to infiltrate further a field. Perhaps allied to this was the closure of New England shed (Peterborough) to steam early in January, making steam at the southern end of the East Coast main line even less likely. On January 25th the 4S37 cement train was run over the Hither Green, Blackfriars, Farringdon & Widened Lines route, in charge was D6573 with a Finsbury Park D50xx banking from Farrington to Finsbury Park. Further north part of Gateshead’s Sulzer Type 2 fleet (D5102 – 5111) found a new and challenging set of duties in the dieselisation of the Tyne Dock - Consett iron ore workings. They had replaced Tyne Dock’s fleet of Class 9Fs, the diesels required the addition of additional air pumps and piping to operate the wagon doors at the Consett unloading facility. For the steep gradients into Consett, 1 in 51/35, the newly transferred diesels did not require banking assistance as did the 9Fs.
On January 15th the London Midland Region common user policy was introduced to the Midland Lines. Main line locomotives would no longer be allocated to individual depots, but to Divisions, in this case D14 London, D15 Leicester & D16 Nottingham Divisions.
From January 18th the Cambrian lines saw major service cuts enacted, with steam ousted on all but a few workings. The ubiquitous diesel multiple units took over the remaining services, with a number of sets transferred in from the Birmingham area. This was accomplished by service withdrawals, gone was the service over the Midland branch to Walsall & the Rugeley - Walsall local. In addition the 07.34 Lichfield - Birmingham and 17.45 return reverted to diesel haulage after five years of mutiple units! On the first day of this diagram, January 26th, D5008 worked both trips.
By the beginning of 1965 the majority of Toton’s diagrams were in the hands of the Sulzer Types 2 & 4, including the newly arriving Brush Type 4s. These workings out of Toton particularly to Wellingborough, Northampton and Birmingham featured ‘out & home’ turns in an attempt to maximize crew schedules, ensure the return of the locomotive and a reflection that traffic flows were not always evenly balanced. To the north of Toton however steam was still active, though Toton’s few remaining Classes 8F & 9F were being replaced by the arrival of Brush Type 4s D1806 – D1836. The increasing use of others of this Type from Wath & Tinsley (D1792 - 1805) would similarly oust the once familiar steam visitors from Barrow Hill & Canklow. To the east Toton’s Type 2s found increasing use on the former steam turns to Colwick and Peterborough. Typical of the knock-on effect of the arrival of the newer diesels to Toton was the mass transfer of sixteen ex-Midland 9Fs to Dallam (Warrington) to oust their Jubilees effective March 22nd.
D5176 hauled the NE Region General Manager’s saloon on an inspection of lines encompassing York, Knottingley, Goole & Hull on February 4th, this was normally in the hands of a B1. Driver training continued on the York – Scarborough line with Holbeck Peaks and Midland Type 2’s featuring frequently. An odd choice for the DMU only 17.12 slow Manchester Central - Liverpool Central on February 15th was D140, over the following months workings on this line’s local stopping services would produce quite a variety of steam & diesels including Derby Type 2 & 4’s. A week later on 21st D76 was borrowed from Cricklewood to test its use over the junctions at Gloucester Road in light of their intended use on the car sleeper services to Newhaven later in the year, this working was still handled by steam.
The failure of an un-identified Peak on February 19th’s down ‘North Briton’ at Darlington led to the things that a gricer’s dreams are made of. A1 60124 took the train forward to Newcastle some forty five minutes late, replaced here by D345 which made it to Edinburgh before expiring. D1578 was then placed in charge for the up working, but itself got no further than Morpeth where D6793 on coal train duty took over. Newcastle had D1518 standing by for the remainder of the run to Leeds. Out of Liverpool the 9.00am & 11am to Newcastle was frequently doubleheaded, February 13th saw D186 & D272 on the 9am with D277 & D346 on the 11am, on February 24th the 11am ran with D177 & D277.
March arrived with blizzards causing considerable grief throughout the regions during the first week. D174 worked an early morning relief on March 4th, the 02.23 Leeds - St Pancras, filling in for the main train after it had tangled with snowdrifts at Thornhill, whilst the up Condor, behind D81 was twelve hours late at Hendon. Newcastle was also affected by the arctic weather, with steam covering a number of diesel failures. D81 also featured on the Oldham branch over the Easter week covering two specials. On March 3rd the 09.42 Newcastle - Liverpool had the booked Peak fail at Heaton, a replacement Peak made it to Newcastle station only to fail prior to departure, V2 60810 was refused by the driver, the train finally getting away some eighty minutes late behind A1 60146. That same week saw total closure of the Whitby - Scarborough & Whitby - Malton lines, although the final services were in the hands of dmu’s, these rails were familiar territory to the Thornaby & York BR Sulzer Type 2’s.
An unusual working for D7597 on March 17th was the hauling of three preserved steam locomotives from Derby to Hellifield for further storage. This former steam shed was now in the hands of the Curator of Historical Relics, Museum of British Transport and was a temporary repository for a number of venerable machines, both steam and electric. The running of the Grand National on March 27th brought ten specials to Aintree, the only one handled by a Peak was D124 on the 1X38 from Grimsby, which included three Pullman cars and an observation car. Unlike the previous year the Peak was able to leave without derailing itself.
Peak transfers during 1965 were pretty much limited to the shuffling of a small number of locomotives between the LMR depots throughout the year. However during March four Peaks were transferred to Saltley (2E), they returned to the Midland Lines (ML) during May.
March found Doncaster Works without any Sulzer Type 2s under repair. This Workshop had dealt predominantly with the ER Brush Type 2s, English Electric Type 3s and the Deltics, the repair of the Sulzers usually found less than half a dozen of the ER allocation on Works at any one time. However at this time Doncaster had received Brush Type 2s D5540 & D5848 for scheduled Classified repair, however these overhauls marked the first replacements of the Mirlees power unit with an English Electric 12 cylinder 12SV of 1,470hp. D5677 had been the testbed for the re-engining and at a cost of GBP6 million it would take until March 1969 for the entire Class to be dealt with.
Further north Darlington Works was also without any BR Sulzer Type 2’s, though still busy with steam overhauls, repairs to the ER diesels had been curtailed somewhat. On April 15th the down ‘Heart of Midlothian’ with D9001 in charge became a complete failure near Welwyn Garden City, rescue came in the shape of D5062 taking the train northwards to ? A diesel exhibition was held at Marylebone Goods Yard, April 30th – May 1st in conjunction with the 7th International Congress on Combustion Engines. Representing Sulzer were Type 4’s D1678 & D1702, whilst D7544, fresh from Derby Works, represented the Type 2s. In the opening speech a BRB representative on technical matters forecast the end of steam on BR by the end of 1967.
In an unrelated matter Brush of Loughborough obtained a contract with BR to repair various Type 2, 3 & 4 locomotives over the next four years, D154 was the first locomotive to be dealt with under this contract. The Class 44/45/46 had been introduced quickly into service without the benefit of rigorous prototype testing. So with the Class 46s in particular failures occurred at increasing rates leading to unacceptable availability. The lower cost electrical control gear and cabling was adversely affected by the harsh environment, the dirt and vibration, resulting in component failures and fires. The hydrostatic system leaked oil at the pipe joints, which apart from flooding the engine room with inflammable, corrosive oil, rendered the cooling system ineffective. Leaking fuel and water contaminated the terminals of the multiple working control connections under the floors. As use of this equipment was rare, from 1963 onwards the terminals were simply disconnected and a note of this was posted in the cabs. This function was never reinstated.
Sound insulation posed another problem. The inner faces of the bodysides and nose end panels were lined with Navy board. In principle the material worked but suffered from rotting after becoming wet. In September 1965 noise level tests were carried out between D138 in as built condition and D154 which had all insulation removed and air filters fitted to the inside of the engine room grilles. Whether stationary or on the move their was no discernible difference in noise levels.
Thus contracts were agreed on refurbishment programmes with Brush to carry out electrical and mechanical modifications at their Loughborough works, and with Sulzer for engine modifications. The first six 46’s to be refurbished were guinea pigs to determine the work content and price for the remainder of the fleet. The first to enter the programme was D154, early in 1965, emerging for trials in late September. The programme was completed in May 1968 and ran in conjunction was the Class 25 refurbishment. Principal changes involved re-siting electrical cabling away from potential contamination, a change to heavier duty control gear, and a change of hydraulic fittings to reduce leakages. Externally the four digit single piece headcode panels were adopted and replacement of the solid triangular panel found under the engine room grilles with that of a louvred panel. The multiple working connections were removed. Nose end grilles were fitted with hinges and catches to gain easier access to air filters. The mechanical oil lubricator was removed from the leading driving axle box, together with the adjacent reservoir, this had pumped oil to the pony truck, it was now replaced by grease lubrication. With the bodies at Loughborough the power units were removed and despatched to their builders, Vickers Ltd, Barrow. Various modifications were made to strengthen the engines against their prior history of crankcase and cylinder block stress failures.
At the end of this programme close monitoring took place, a measurable improvement in reliability was recorded on the LMR, however the ER machines continued to give some engine and electrical problems, including continuing hydrostatic leaks, which were finally cured by the use of flexible piping. Use in freight and passenger service was about the same, though the ER machines predominated on freight, averaging about 1,500 miles per week.
The Birmingham area saw new adventures for the Type 2’s for during May a number were diagrammed for Birmingham N. S. - Gloucester passenger workings, at least as far as Worcester where a WR steam loco took over, so noted on May 15th was D5243 giving way to Hall 5971. Saltley had also received a number of Brush Type 4s which replaced the Type 2s on a number of Saltley’s freight turns. The two daily Burton - Stafford freights were now frequently hauled by Class 25’s. Southwards from Stafford the Birmingham - Liverpool/Manchester services were solid EE Type 4 or Sulzer Type 2 workings, on April 17th the 12.15 Liverpool - Birmingham went forward with D330 & D5033. It was also sad to relate that during April Birmingham New Street was reduced to one regular diagrammed steam working, an early morning service from Walsall, which was already covered by Type 2 haulage on Mondays. New Street was also seeing increasing usage of Brush Type 4’s from Bristol & Landore on the NE/SW services, taking over a number of workings covered by the Peaks for several years. Perhaps this was allowing the Leeds - Glasgow services to be 100% Peak worked at this time with other Peaks filling in on the Leeds - Morecambe services alongside Derby Type 2’s, Stanier Class 5’s and Ivatt 2-6-0’s.
D64 was officially named ‘Coldstream Guardsman’ on April 29th.
One of the lines first introduced to the BR/Sulzer Type 2’s, the Rugby - Market Harborough - Peterborough line lost its freight service from April 10th. A few short miles away the Great Central continued to have its traffic diverted elsewhere, with Willesden’s Type 2s being regularly diagrammed at the southern end. Steam still held title to the remaining long distance passenger services, usually Class 5’s By June the Annesley - Woodford freight diagrams were ended along with the through service to London. Such was the vigour in clearing the local yards that by June 11th only engineers vehicles remained at Woodford. By the next day Woodford shed had been cleared of steam locos, the last three departures were 8F’s 48005/061/121. The existing Bournemouth - York and Swindon - York were handled by diesels. This period also saw the opening of the new electric depot at Willesden leading to a transition of servicing and stabling from the steam depot to the new electric depot.
The BR Sulzer Type 2s in Scotland had seen little change from their Highland Lines duties since their introduction. Most Scottish news on the diesel front related to the introduction and later troubles with the NBL & Clayton types. However as rationalisation occurred the loss of traffic allowed re-diagramming of duties. The closure of the Aberfeldy branch on May 3rd allowed use of an Inverness Type 2 on an afternoon round-trip Glasgow - Dundee working. Also on this route an early morning round trip was handled by LMR Type 2s, D5144/5190/5211 so noted in May, possibly the power off the overnight ‘Condor’ workings - Peaks could also be seen on this working. Typical steam power for these duties had been A4’s and Class 5’s. May 3rd also saw the closure of Dundee West. That afternoon the 17.00 ex Glasgow Buchanan Street arrived behind Willesden allocated D5144. The last service out, the 20.00 to Glasgow was behind 73145 (65B), whilst a short while later the last train in, the 18.15 from Buchanan Street produced 73153 (65B). The empty stock was removed by D5144. Within a year Dundee West station would be demolished, the site becoming part of the road network leading to the Tay bridge. Heavy maintenance of the ScR Type 2’s had originally been split between Inverurie and St Rollox, the recent modernisation of latter led to a greater influx of the BR Type 2’s, not only the Inverness based ones, but also those from Gateshead and various LM depots, early June found D5012, 5107/5119 & 5129 under repair.
During May Colwich’s loaner Type 2 changed from D7578 to D5195, whilst D7526 was loaned to March in order to cover a roundtrip Colwich - Whitemoor working.
May 1st’s FA cup final found at least twenty five specials from Liverpool coming down the WCML, electrically hauled to Rugby where diesels took over, with at least five reaching Wembley Hill via the Great Central, including two hauled by D16 & D18. A month earlier on April 3rd four specials from the East Midlands had also reached Wembley via much running over the GC lines, D11 being noted on one of the specials.
On the south coast the Type 2s made regular visits on excursions and specials, visiting Eastbourne during May were D7513 & D5291 (11th) and D7595 & D7574 (25th), both trips had originated on the ER. D5025 visited Littlehampton with an excursion from Hemel Hempstead on May 22nd. A remarkable visitor on May 16th to Newhaven was D67 (?) for testing in the area prior to approval being given for the Peaks and EE Type 4s to handle the summer car sleeper workings. They were restricted to working between Latchmere Junction and Newhaven/Eastbourne dependent on severe speed restrictions at certain junctions.
Early June saw a major rationalisation of London area freight depots with approximately ten closing with the intention to centralize existing sundry freight traffic at just six depots. It is difficult to establish the impact of this on the diesel fleet but clearly less shunting and trip duties would exist, allowing more steam locomotives to be idled and existing diesels to be utilized elsewhere. Rationalisation was also approaching on the Midland route north of Matlock. With the electrification progressing well on the Euston - Manchester route, the Peak diversionary route’s days were numbered. The large facilities at Rowsley were in serious decline. This depot was still home to Derby based Class 25s handling the local workmen’s trains and banking duties north of Rowsley.
On June 3rd high speed tests were carried out on the Western Region using Class 37s Nos. D6881 & D6882 and a train of nine XP64 coaches and a track-testing car. Dispensation had been granted to allow the locomotives to exceed 90mph. The Paddington - Plymouth run was completed in 196 minutes, with 94mph attained whilst descending Hemerdon Bank. The track-testing car was removed at Plymouth, the train then taking 120 minutes between Plymouth and Bristol. For the final run from Bristol to Paddington speeds in excess of 100 mph were recorded between Swindon & Reading.
An Edinburgh - Bournemouth party special on June 13th was noted arriving at Bournemouth with D12. The Peak returned north the next day from Bournemouth on a morning Weymouth - Clapham Junction van train.
For the period of the summer timetable (June 14th - October 2nd) the ‘Waverley’ was restored to service in its original timetable paths - 10.15 ex Edinburgh & 9.15 ex St Pancras, diagrammed again for Peak haulage. The Kings Norton - Bathgate car trains were also frequently Peak hauled at this time over the Waverley route, up & down workings would often swap locomotives at Carlisle, with Peaks from almost every depot working these trains.
Peaks were not regular visitors to Broad Street station but on June 9th D89 was name ‘Honourable Artillery Company’ at this location.
Whit Monday, June 7th saw thirty nine excursions return from Blackpool, the majority were steam hauled, however the 19.00 to Coventry was graced with D5010, the 20:15 to Northwich had D5275 and the 22.45 to Manchester Victoria had D124. York was frequently visited by Midland Type 2s on excursions to Scarborough, whilst on June 10th D5096 handled a Malton – Coventry private excursion throughout. York’s small fleet of Class 24s were frequently diagrammed to the lighter secondary passenger duties, handling workings to Newcastle and Lincoln. In the course of berthing its train off the Newcastle service on June 15th D5149 propelled the stock into a Scarborough - Leeds diesel multiple unit in York station! The slow speed collision derailed both vehicles involved with the multiple unit suffering damage to the driving cab, the front part of the passenger compartment and underframe. On June 19th the 09.03 Leeds - Llandudno featured D5181 on June 19th & D5235 on June 26th. D5007 was noted on excursion duty on 27th taking day trippers from Rugeley to New Brighton.
Although not un-common to Banbury a regular double headed Type 2 working was initiated between Banbury & and Burton to handle the recently diverted, ex-Great Central, Middlesborough - Banbury freights, with many of the latest outshopped Class 25s noted on this service. Another Type 2, this time from Rugby shed had charge of a new oil tank service from Warwick to Immingham, as far as Burton. Another doubled headed Type 2 turn on a regular basis was the 06.35 Birmingham - Bradford, D5246 & D5247 so noted on June 29th. A week later the 13.00 Birmingham - Derby local was rescued at Coleshill by D7524, which assisted the diesel multiple unit at least as far as Burton. During the summer this service suffered a shortage of multiple units with many locomotive hauled substitutions, usually behinds Peaks or Type 2s, these included D7558 (July 8th), D5201 (July 8th), D5294 (July 9th) & D102 (August 8th). These substitutions continued into September.
Derby now started to outshop the Class 24s in the newer two tone green livery, D5038 was noted as such early in July. Observations at Derby on July 3rd during daylight hours revealed only two steam passenger workings, the 13.40 to Llandudno with 45350 and the 17.26 from Sheffield behind 45211, the Peaks and Brush Type 4’s were dominating on the long distance services., though the 10.28 Newcastle - Bristol was noted an hour late behind D5258.
July saw D5208 transferred on loan to the Scottish Region for a month. This was a regular performer on the 09:30 Glasgow Queen Street - Kings Cross as far as Edinburgh. At the same time the first of the Beyer Peacock built machines, D7624/25 were delivered to Tinsley (41A). The bringing online of the large Ferrybridge ‘C’ generating station at the beginning of July saw D5096 and a two coach inspection special utilize the new rail connection for the first time. Another unusual ER working was D5206 with a Whitemoor – Temple Mills and return freight on July 3rd. In the Nottingham area D120 had the sad task of towing away the last steam locomotive on Nottingham (Midland) shed, 47645 to Messrs T Ward’s, Killamarsh on July 13th.
The Southern Region still operated a Glasgow - Newhaven car-sleeper, being frequently worked by Peaks and EE Type 4’s, though both classes were banned from the diversionary route between Herne Hill & Tulse Hill. D181 on July 8th did use that route following blockage of the proper route through Clapham, however on 10th when the diversionary route was again required D5023 & D5080 were diagrammed for the train. Another long distance working into the area were the occasional pidgeon specials, usually from the Newcastle area, that would bring EE Type 4’s into the area. On July 2nd such a working reached Hove behind D308, in the evening this locomotive was joined at Brighton by the car sleeper locomotive D311 for refuelling, there being no fuelling facility at Newhaven. This service now made possible the diagramming of Peak locomotives on all five regions of British Railways. Steam was now almost totally absent from this area following the closure of Redhill shed (& its sub-depots Eastbourne, Tunbridge Wells & Three Bridges) on June 14th. On July 3rd D5034 had been at Eastbourne off a Leicester holiday extra, taking the ECS to Forest Row via Uckfield. Further east that same day D7532 was noted through Faversham with the ten coach 13.44 Ramsgate - Nottingham Midland passenger.
A visit to the Brush Works at Loughborough at the beginning of August found almost fifty Brush Type 4’s on the premises, either as new construction or locomotives returning for repair or adjustment. Also present were seven BR/Sulzer Type 4’s (Class 46’s) undergoing refurbishment. The NER retained its two blocks of Peaks during these refurbishments, Gateshead having D166 - 193 and Holbeck with D11 - 32, though D33 was at this time transferred to the NER, the first inter-regional transfer for a Peak in eighteen months. Because of the presence of LMR Peaks at both Holbeck & Gateshead their use on Trans-Pennine or ECML services was a relatively common occurrence.
The Wellingborough - Goldington CEGB coal trains still remained strongly in the hands of steam power, usually 8F or 9F’s although on August 12th D5261 handled one of the turns. August 18th saw another fire occur on one of Cricklewood’s dmu’s, the 12.00 St Pancras - Luton being quickly brought to a halt at Sandridge. All passengers were successfully evacuated but the local fire service took about an hour to attend to the vehicles. A little further northward at East Langton on the evening of 20th D5383 was involved in a violent collision, leading to the loss of the driver’s life and causing considerable damage to rolling stock and track. On July 24th D5073 expired at Bedford whilst working the 04.55 Chaddesden - Brent, once repaired it spent several days in the Bedford area. The increasing fleet of Brush Type 4’s were now frequent visitors on the passenger workings out of St Pancras. This did not stop the Type 2’s continuing to blaze a trail over this route on July 23rd D7553 & D5243 covered the 12.12 Sheffield - St Pancras, August 13th D5211 on 17.37 Derby - St Pancras & D5225 on the 18.20 Nottingham - St Pancras.
Passengers on August 28th’s Dudley - Nottingham day excursion enjoyed the delights of D5088 in both directions, the next the Type 2 was used to haul D5288 & D6843 from Saltley to Derby. Whilst exiting the down goods loop at Elford D6843 became derailed and ended up blocking all lines, the line was not cleared until the evening, with the help of the Bescot & Saltley breakdown cranes. On the Bank Holiday (Monday?) D5088 worked the 1Z66 Birmingham - Blackpool, one of eighteen specials at Blackpool that day, twelve of which were steam hauled. The service from Bradford, the second extra arrival that day at Blackpool North had D78.
To ease delays to the Class 24’s awaiting repairs a number were sent to Eastleigh Works for shopping during September – December. On September 18th brand new Tinsley allocated D7629 handled an early morning round trip Brent - Feltham before heading back north with a fitted freight to Leeds.
October saw Derby lay down the frames for D7598, the first of order N10001. These machines would later be designated Class 25/3. They still carried the RTB 15656 generator, now a ten pole machine with a modified assembly that was now incompatible with earlier equipment. The latter half of the 1960’s had seen the widespread introduction of solid state electronics with transistors making such equipment accessible and affordable to increasing sectors of industry. Thus these machines were to incorporate an infant electronic control system, whereby speed was detected electronically rather than mechanically. This was then used to activate the field weakening process in the motors, rather than through contacts and relays as in earlier types. Maximum tractive effort was adjusted to 41,500 lb allowing maximum speed between 7 and 80 mph. Only two stages of field weakening were employed, previous machines employed six fields, these were later reduced to two. Mixing of the main generators between class 25/0 & 25/3 was not allowed.
A visit to Toton during early October found just over 100 diesels present, alongside were nineteen steam engines, none being in steam. Received by Toton at the end of October was newly built D5299, the Type 2 that nearly became at Type 3. A few miles north on October 29th Lord Beeching opened the new freight marshaling complex at Tinsley, replacing nine others in the Sheffield area. Also opened was the new diesel depot, built in a style similar to that at Stratford and the soon to be completed shed at Immingham. Tinsley was home to a fleet of 270 locomotives, the only BR Sulzer Type 2’s allocated at this time being the newly built D7624 - 7634. Apart from D5195 at Colwick (40E) these were the only Class 25’s on the ER, being used for inter-regional trains to the LMR whose drivers were not familiar with Tinsley’s large fleet of Brush Type 2’s. The NER still held onto its thirty two Class 25’s being shedded at York, Gateshead & Thornaby. Another major change in the Sheffield area, commencing October 4th, was the diversion of about half of Sheffield Victoria’s passenger services to Sheffield Midland. This led to the ‘Master Cutler’ providing Sheffield Midland with a service to Kings Cross. Still using Victoria were the Sheffield - Manchester electric services, and GC routed trains to Bournemouth & Swindon, plus the York turn and the Harwich boat train. Further south on the GC the Type 2’s were generally kept south of Aylesbury, only the early morning Marylebone – Nottingham newspapers used a Type 2 beyond Aylesbury, and that only as far as Woodford, returning light to Marylebone or utilised on the overnight passenger Manchester – Marylebone from Woodford.
An unusual visitor to the Waverley route on October 13th was D5151 with an afternoon Carlisle – Millerhill freight.
October 30th saw the end of steam workings on the Liverpool – Preston route, DMU’s took over the next day, though from time to time loco hauled trains substituted, including Class 25 hauled trains.
An unfortunate arrival at Derby late in November was newly built D7634, received for repairs to minor collision damage. On December 7th D5054 was derailed on the fast lines at Millbrook (Bedford) causing delays to numerous passenger expresses. D5241 & D53 were noted at Flitwick on November 28th in charge of two large cranes in use at a bridge renewal project.
Over on the West Coast mainline electrification finally reached Euston, with scheduled services commencing November 6th and a full long distance and local service effective November 22nd. In addition the Rugby - Stafford local service had converted to e.m.u. operation during October. Many of these services had been in the hands of BR Sulzer Type 2’s, now surplus to requirements they would make steam extremely difficult to find on the southern end of the WCML. And similar to the southern end of the Midland lines a start was made on the removal of the infrastructure that the steam locomotives required. That same month Willesden finally closed to steam, the dozen steam locomotives present being all withdrawn. On the Birmingham – Bristol line Christmas parcels traffic was in the hands of Type 2’s from Saltley.
At this time Cricklewood crews were not trained on the Brush Type 4’s, so they were not too common south of Wellingborough, though training specials in November from Derby using those allocated to Toton would soon allow them full access to the St Pancras workings. Training included their working the ‘Condor’. The gradual availability of these new diesels assisted in the Holbeck Peaks becoming scarce at St Pancras, their only regular diagram was the 21.45 parcels to Bradford, and that frequently saw many substitutions.
Holbeck’s Class 45’s were also frequently used on a mid-afternoon Kings Cross - Leeds/Bradford working. During November Holbeck received D33 from the Western Region, exchanging it for D148. D113 was also loaned to Tinsley (41A) for a brief period, by December it was back on the Midland Lines (ML). Over at Loughborough the Brush Works was well into its refurbishment of the Class 46’s, at the beginning of December nine were on site in various stages of repair & refurbishment. Maintenance troubles on the Midland mainline was taking its toll on the diesels, some steam locomotives were brought into the Leicester area to cover Type 2’s sent south to cover the ailing diesels out of St Pancras.
Peaks laying over in the Glasgow area, like the Type 2's continued to be used on fill in turns, D59 being noted on December 29th with the 11.30 Wemyss Bay - Glasgow. They could also be found on other internal Scottish workings, particularly on the Glasgow - Dundee route, being diagrammed for the 7.15 to Dundee and 12.00 noon return. Remarkably an ex-works D5017 was noted on the return working on December 23rd.
As the year closed Beyer Peacock announced its withdrawal from locomotive building, intending to close its Gorton plant to stem the continuing tide of red ink. During 1961 Beyer Peacock had invested considerably in updating its plant for diesel production, hoping for a long run of Hymeks for the WR. The order for Hymek’s was curtailed after 101, a bid for a share of the Brush Type 4’s failed, leaving only a small batch of BR Sulzer Type 2’s under construction. Interestingly this was the only time a BR designed ‘Modernisation Plan’ locomotive saw production at a private builder.