On January 3rd 5180 had the unfortunate task of removing the last active Class 22s from the south west. 6336 & 6338 left St Blazey in the early hours, adding 6333 & 6339 at Exeter for the run to Bristol Marsh Junction. It would not be long before the sight of Class 25s at Penzance and all the Cornish branches would be a very common sight. It would now be possible, if you were very lucky and the circumstances were right, particularly during the summer season to have Sulzer powered Type 2 haulage from Penzance to Wick/Thurso, albeit no doubt requiring numerous changes, but nevertheless potentially possible. All the Class 22s had been in revenue earning service up to their final movement towards Swindon. The newly transferred Class 25s in the South Wales area spent time at Severn Tunnel Junction, Ebbw Junction, Cardiff, Radyr and Margam for crew training. Twelve diagrams were established with four out of Severn Tunnel Junction, two at Cardiff and six at Newport, the latter including the double headed Newport Docks - Llanwern iron ore workings. A total of sixteen Class 25s were allocated to Newport for these diagrams.
From January 9th locomotive availability increased somewhat due to the commencement of the coal miners strike. This may explain an increased usage of Class 47s on the Trans Pennine services alongside the Gateshead 46's. By February it was rare to see a Class 40 on the passenger workings. On February 23rd the 10.00 Liverpool - Newcastle was noted at Huddersfield with 1551 piloting 7570! The use of the Class 47's on the Trans Pennine service diminished greatly during March when the coal miners ended their strike.
Blizzards struck the Grampians on January 17/18th blocking the Highland main line, delays to an overnight Inverness - Glasgow/Edinburgh service caused a five hour late arrival. Continued snowfalls over the following days caused minor delays, the parallel A9 road remained blocked for four days, partly due to abandoned vehicles.
An interesting visitor to March on January 23rd was Gateshead based 5110.
Possibly the first visit of a Class 45 to the Gosford Green branch was that of 81 on January 24th to take a car train out, normally a Class 47 turn.
On February 16th 5021 & 5033 were noted at Bletchley on the northbound 'Clayliner'. Normally an electric working the diesels, along with others were used to ease the power crisis due to the ongoing coal miners strike. In the Birmingham area over sixty local electric services were cancelled, others ran without heat, with the longer distance services making additional stops. On the Cambrian Coast line the freight traffic suffered heavily due to the lack of movement of coal, whilst traffic from the explosives factory at Penrhyndeudraeth was greatly dimininshed because the NCB was the primary user of the explosives. Elsewhere a visit to Toton in early February found one hundred and twenty diesels present, many sidelined because of the lack of coal shipments. On the SR the majority of lines and services saw major reductions to conserve electricity, the most severe perhaps since the fuel shortages that followed the end of World War Two. The miners strike ended in the last week of February leading to many extra workings to restock the depleted businesses and power stations.
5021 & 5033 were again in action at the southern end of the WCML on February 23rd, in charge of an Eastleigh - Oldham empty van train. Other Class 24's had been seen in charge of the St Blazey - Stoke 'Clayliner'. On February 24th the 09.45 Hooton - Helsby dmu became a failure, 5037 off the local trip working was commandeered to assist.
Present at Stratford Works at the end of February was Gateshead based 5106. After release from the Works it was noted at Colchester on February 25th.
With the closure of Polmadie depot early in March its locomotive allocation was transferred to other Scottish depots with Polmadie's fleet of Class 24s moving to Eastfield. Locomotives would still stable here, either on the site of the former shed, or on the west side of the running lines.
March 11th's 14.40 Manchester - Harwich failed near New Mills behind 5619. A following Northwich - Peak Forest limestone empties with 5152 buffered up to the failed train, pushing the eight coaches and locomotive to Chinley where 312 was waiting to take over the passenger working.
On the last day (date ??) of services at Snow Hill visitors included a special Pullman service shuttling between New Street & Snow Hill utilizing alternately 1543 & 20.
March 13th found 1200 Falcon in trouble with the 07.45 Bristol - Paddington, it failed shortly after departure, 112 came to the rescue, though it is not known how far east the Peak worked. 1200 had only just returned from an extended Works visit, following this it languished at Bath Road for quite a while.
An unusual visitor to the London area was 5277 (with 5212), the former normally used on the Great Rocks - Northwich stone trains. Having arrived on March 15th with empty coaching stock from the north, they were borrowed by Willesden for a couple of days before returning north with a freight. Equally as unusual was the arrival of 127 on March 16th at Wolverton with a train of roadstone from Loughborough for projects in the Milton Keynes area.
Bristol based 161 was a little off its regular routes on March 25th when noted in charge of a York - Llandudno holiday special.
Haymarket based 5071 was noted on the ECML on April 1st heading north from Darlington with a parcels train.
On April 8th a Crewe - Pwllheli enthusiast special started out behind 5056 & 5062. At Welshpool 5080 replaced an ailing 5056, which quickly headed back towards Shrewsbury, complete with the Welshpool - Newton "staff" still onboard! The locomotive was finally stopped at Westbury and promptly reversed course back to Welshpool, where the special finally got away over an hour late.
Labour troubles which had been simmering for some time, came to a head in the third week of April with much working-to-rule, overtime and rest-day bans and other nefarious means of causing disruption. Services on the Southern and Great Eastern were seriously affected. In the middle of these troubles, on April 25th an early morning Coventry - Thames Haven empty oil tank train, hauled by E3083 derailed on the slow lines at Bletchley station, causing considerable damage to the platforms and some of the structures. For the clean up 7518 arrived with the Bletchley crane, and 7532 with the Willesden crane, full services did not resume until May 3rd.
Eastern Region freights to Cumbrian destinations frequently brought Peaks to these lesser visited locations, on April 25th a Class 45 was noted at Workington with a freight from Wath, whilst on May 2nd 16 arrived at Barrow with a freight from Hunslet.
From May 1st two local freight turns commenced from Northampton, one for Tamworth, with wagons for Baddesley colliery, the other for Rugby, Southam and Bilton Cement Works, this trip also involves shunting the AEI sidings at Rugby. These were generally Class 25 workings.
An interesting summer Saturdays diagram operating on the Western Region brought double headed Class 25s to Cornwall between May 6th and September 23rd. The diagram started with the previous day's 7B34 19.40 Bristol Temple Mills - Ponsandane freight, leaving Plymouth at 02.05 and arriving Ponsandane at 07.13. They were then booked to work the 1E21 10.30 Penzance - Bradford service to Plymouth arriving at 12.30, light engines to Laira and then the 7B31 18.20 Plymouth Friary - Par freight.
During the evening of May 8th 5028 in charge 38 wagons on the 19.30 Ellesmere Port - Mold Jcn, via Helsby freight ran away at Guilden station, eventually colliding, in platform 11 at Chester station with dmu's 51195 & 56229. The diesel ended up partially on top of the railcars, the third wagon, a sulphur oil tanker caught fire bringing down parts of the roof. Most remarkably amidst all the destruction no serious injuries were reported. The battered remains of 5028 along with the wrecked dmu's were removed to the goods yard, official withdrawal came on June 4th.
Sunday May 14th was a day of complete inactivity on BR, with all services withdrawn, leading to many extremely full depots of idled locomotives and stock.
Bristol lost all but two of its fleet of Class 25s during May, the majority going to Cardiff to cover the loss of the Hymeks in South Wales. From Ebbw Junction radiated a number of Class 25 turns, two pairs on local steel workings in the Newport area, two pairs on iron ore workings, one pair on coal traffic from Llanharan to Uskmouth & Margam, with one pair held at Severn Tunnel Junction for special duties. The four other diagrams at Severn Tunnel Junction covered trips to Pontypool, Margam, Gloucester, Swindon, Radyr & Filton. Following the failure of the diesel multiple unit on May 15th's 13.55 Exeter - Barnstaple and 16.10 return 7508 was attached, however the diesel also failed before taking out the 17.40 to Newton Abbot, a fresh multiple unit being provided.
On May 30th (Bank Holiday Monday) the Derby - Llandudno ran behind 5274 & 7662, neither being Nottingham Division allocated locomotives. The next day 167 put in a sterling performance on the 15.20 York - Bristol, making up twenty two minutes between Sheffield & Bristol - this despite an unexpected one minute signal stop at Belper and a 10mph slack south of Cheltenham. Beyond Bristol the Peaks were now regular visitors to Penzance, being noted on many workings, both passenger & freight. The morning Penzance - Leeds (1E21) frequently had a Class 25 pilot to Plymouth.
Peaks still remaining in green livery were by now getting thin on the ground, all the Class 45's were now blue but 3/6/7/10 & 147/163/165 still carried green livery.
Locomotives outshopped from Glasgow Works and requiring road testing frequently used the 10.10 Glasgow Queen Street - Dundee and 12.50 return. So noted on June 9th was Inverness based 5125.
On June 10th the through Paddington - Barnstaple service was hauled by 7573 & 7647 beyond Exeter. This was at a time of a serious shortage of motive power in the west, a number of Hymeks & Warships having been reinstated to cover the shortages. Perhaps because of this, June 12th's 12.30 Paddington - Paignton was worked by 142 (throughout?), it also continued with the next two legs of the diagram. Special duty for 5047 occurred on the afternoon of June 11th when it towed newly completed 41001 from Crewe Works to the Research Center, Derby. Similarly 7623 was noted through High Wycombe on June 16th bound for Ruislip with new Northern line underground stock. On the cross-London workings it was still common to find Class 25's reaching Hither Green. On June 20th & 21st 5277 & 7568 were noted on the Toton - Southfleet coal train. The same day found 193 definitely away from its normal duties when it showed up on a Daw Mill - Ironbridge mgr coal train, normally a duty for a slow speed control equipped locomotive.
Somewhat west of their normal haunts, 5182 & 7588 were noted at Llandilo Jct with a special freight comprised of 'Grampus' wagons on June 21st.
A short but unusual working for a Class 25 involved the preparation of the Newton-le-Willows - St Austell Motorail. Because the coaches and the Motorail vehicles are separated, the train locomotive and a Class 25 are involved in some manouevres to combine the vehicles, requiring a move between Newton-le-Willows and Earlestown with the train locomotive at the rear prior to the train heading out over the WCML.
A wet June 25th found 5081 in charge of a nine coach Liverpool - Barmouth mystery excursion, on the return fifteen minutes were recovered due to a late departure. Apart from being dull & wet this June turned out to be the equal coldest on record this century. A Marylebone - Aberdeen exhibition train reached Tyne Yard behind 5855, Crewe based 5037, one of the few to receive two-tone green livery, which it still carried, took the train forward to Scotland.
Normally an LMR Class 40 working the Saturdays only 10.35 Edinburgh - Blackpool produced 60 'Lytham St Annes' on July 8th, it appears 336 took the return working back to Edinburgh.
A shortage of power on the Western Region found many of the Type 2's & 3's filling in on turns normally handled by the Class 47s. The twelve coach Derby - Weymouth was often handled by a Class 35 Hymek south of Bristol, whilst pairs of Class 25s handled Birmingham - Portsmouth/Bournemouth passenger workings as far as Reading. These shortages were not helped by such failures as 64 on July 3rd's 08.30 Plymouth - Leeds requiring assistance from 7077 into Birmingham. When the Plymouth - Exeter cement train reached St David's behind 1592 & 152 on July 1st the Class 47 was found to be a failure, after a variety of moves by 152 it took the train up to Central station unassisted, a banker would frequently assist this working. With Class 25's now allocated to depots in the south west they frequently worked through in pairs on the Hope - Exeter Central cement, though normally LMR 25's would be in charge. Other pairs of Class 25's on the WR mainline included freight workings from Severn Tunnel Jct to Didcot or Acton, so noted on July 18th were 5179 & 7519 eastbound on a coal train. Ballast extras from Chepstow also brought the Class 25s to various locations on the Paddington mainline.
A lengthy train of vans powered by Haymarket based 5019 was an unusual visitor to Preston on July 18th. 5231 was provided on July 21st to work an afternoon Birmingham - York relief. Two days later 129 hauled a twelve coach Huddersfield - Ayr mystery tour, it is believed the Peak worked the service throughout. After a bright start to the month the last two weeks were filled with heavy thunderstorms, with flooding and landslides prevalent especially in the southern half of the country. Hail and lightning also caused considerable damage in many places.
Late in July a new traffic flow commenced between Invergordon and Gateshead. Imported oil pipes through Invergordon were sent for special treating at Gateshead prior to being returned to Invergordon. The first train of southbound pipes left during the evening of July 25th behind a pair of Inverness Class 24's, these going as far as Millerhill. When the plant at Invergordon finally came fully on-line the Gateshead service was discontinued.
On August 3rd services north of Crewe were seriously disrupted when 7636 & 7635 became derailed near Winsford station whilst hauling empty oil tankers. An overhead gantry was hit, the lead locomotive nearly falling into a country lane. The crew fortunately escaped with only minor injuries. Two days later 7590 powered a Falkirk - Mallaig SRPS special as far as Fort William, a Class 27 finished the journey to Mallaig, 7590 worked back with the special from Fort William.
After two months dumped in Chester Goods Yard the remains of 5028 were finally removed to Crewe Works by 1856 on August 14th, by month end the shell had been broken up - the only Class 24 to be broken up at Crewe.
Out on the GWR mainline 82 was in charge of an afternoon Bristol - Paddington passenger working on August 14th. Three days later the Barnstaple - Exeter Riverside freight was powered by 7624 and 7038 & 7085, the two Hymeks had been used for bridge testing on the Meeth branch. Light duty on August 27th for 5065 & 5094 was one BG on the Edinburgh - Carstairs portion of the Up West Coast Postal.
On September 1st 5236 handled a York - Manchester passenger service, the next day front line duty befell 7574 & 7575 when they were noted leaving Penzance in charge of the 'Cornishman'. A week later (8th) 5177 was in charge of a late afternoon Manchester - York service.
On September 2nd Old Oak Common held its annual Open Day. A novelty on this day was the opportunity, for the small cost of 10p, to remove any part or parts from withdrawn Hymek 7036. The cabside metal numbers were soon removed as were many of the cab fittings.
A mystery excursion from the Malvern area to Barmouth on September 16th was powered by 5074 & 5075, the Class 24s being infrequent visitors to the Hereford - Worcester line. The next day Barmouth was host to 5214 & 5228 with a mystery tour from the Huddersfield area.
On September 20th 5149 caught fire on an Auchinleck - Killoch colliery train, with condemnation coming in October, other ScR machines withdrawn that month were 5067/68, & 5114.
On September 22nd a relief 07.25 Glasgow Central - Euston was hauled by 166, the relieving driver at Carlisle was not familiar with the Class 46's so the Polmadie driver worked through to Crewe with the Carlisle driver as conductor. The Blackpool Illuminations over the weekend of September 23rd/24th provided a wide variety of specials in to the area. Perhaps those with the most interesting motive power came from Scotland, noted were 5096 & 5001 and 5178 & 5385 on two of the ten specials from the ScR. The Saturday was also the date for an Open Day at Laira, amongst a variety of exhibits were 163, 7506 & 6544. A notable long distance working for pairs of Class 25's continued to be the Hope (Earles Sidings) - Exeter Central cement, on 23rd 7501 & 5239 were in charge of this.
A stranger at Derby on September 27th was 1200 'Falcon' towing 7520 destined for the Works, the Class 53 returned promptly to the WR.
With the transfer of 5155/56 to Eastfield in September, the first ten Class 25's were now all on the Scottish Region. And in October all the Holbeck & Gateshead Class 25's were transferred to Tinsley, this was now home to 5162 - 5175. Three Class 25's returned to Bristol, the booked diagrams taking them to Gloucester, Ashchurch, Quedgeley, East Usk, Severn Tunnel Jct, Cardiff, Plymouth, Barnstaple & Hemyock. All were freight turns except a late evening Bristol - Cardiff passenger, other locomotives frequently substituted on this turn due to the local Class 25's not being boiler fitted. The visits to Quedgeley often meant a trip with the concrete sleeper train to Theale, Newland or Fairwater. Class 31's were now also passed for workings to Barnstaple, Torrington and Meeth. A revision of the workings in the Penzance area led to better turn round time for locomotives there, a Class 25 was available for duties from 11am to 3pm prior to its return east on the 15.25 to Exeter Riverside freight.
Further refinements in the Penzance area indicated a St Blazey Class 25 works light to Truro for the 04.30 round trip freight to Falmouth, coming back from Truro on the 07.28 to St Blazey. Then it was off to Drump Lane for the 10.05 to Penzance, the Hayle Wharf trip, the Drump Lane shunt, Chacewater cement traffic before ending with the 17.44 Drump Lane - Truro and 19.08 Truro - St Blazey. Nightime working for a pair of Class 25's included the 20.44 Par - Plymouth Friary, returning at 22.35 to Truro, then light to Par for the 02.45 to St Blazey. The arrival of six Class 46's at Laira did not bode well for the four remaining Warships, though the newly arriving Peaks were intended for stone train workings. Transfer activity for the Peaks had been minimal during 1972, apart from these transfers to Laira, the others had all been of a minor nature.
With the end of the summer timetable and the continuing delivery of new coaching stock, the Midland mainline services now had full rakes of Mk II vehicles (restaurant cars excepted) on over half the workings, more were expected from the Western Region and the NE/SW services were soon to receive MK II's. Derby Works were shortly to begin the equipping of fifty Class 45's with electric train heating equipment for use with these services. Not the first choice for the 11.50 Derby - St Pancras & 16.05 St Pancras - Leeds on September 29th was 8 'Penyghent', but it somehow managed to get on the diagram, how much of these two services it actually worked is not recorded.
The Blackpool Illuminations on October 7th drew twenty one specials from across the country. Most were hauled by Class 47's but the Peak hauled ones included 11 & 112 from Bradford (two trains) and 128 from Derby.
The 13.30 Glasgow Queen Street - Edinburgh service, normally Class 27 hauled featured 7578 & 7591 on October 13th, two days later they were noted on the Edinburgh portion of the Up West Coast Postal.
On October 17th 5217 came to the rescue of an ailing 83 on the 19.05 St Pancras - Sheffield, taking over at Napsbury. On 26th 7604 was commandeered at Finedon Road to assist ailing big sister 77 on the 18.00 Derby - St Pancras.
Much to the consternation of the SR authorities October 24th's morning 1,800 ton Brent - Northfleet coal train turned up with 66 in charge, pairs of Type 4's (usually 47's) were preferred for this working due to their better acceleration whilst working over the suburban lines. Excursions to the Central and Eastern Divisions of the SR were invariably powered throughout by Class 47's or incoming power was swapped for a 'native' Class 33, however on October 28th an Ashburys - Brighton was worked throughout by 5176 & 5197.
Toton based 5281 spent the last days of October working local trips out of Thornaby, due to a shortage of suitable locomotives on Teeside.
Early November saw the arrival of about a dozen Class 37's, mostly from Scotland to Canton and Landore. These machines were used to selectively replace local diagrams covered by Class 25 & 35's. The 25 turns replaced included Severn Tunnel Junction trips to Abergavenny and Cardiff, trips to Pontypridd and Marshfield and the Severn Tunnel Junction 'special's turn - normally rostered for a pair of 25's. A new working that was rostered for a pair of 25's was a late evening Newport/Severn Tunnel Junction - Dagenham car train. Power was exchanged at Swindon for a Stratford 47 coming in on the westbound working. On occasion the trains were extended to Burrows Sidings, Swansea. Beginning in the New Year Canton 37's replaced the 25s west of Swindon.
November 6th found 5160 working a ballast train from Girvan to Stranraer. Its progress was halted after it caught fire and ran away over the steep gradients near Pinwherry. The loco was quickly evacuated to Eastfield for assessment of repairs. In the south Tinsley's recently transferred Class 25/0's were frequent visitors to the Birmingham area on freights over the NE/SW route.
On November 7th a remarkable sight was that of 160 and three Warships (812/832/814) running light from Bristol to Laira.
November 16th saw 5221 & 5222 convey a five coach Royal Train with Princess Anne aboard from Euston to Hope. The train returned as empty stock to Wolverton via the Midland to Market Harborough. ASLEF inaction on November 23rd caused severe disruption in many areas, Birmingham being hit very hard, with less than a dozen trains passing through the station during the day. Such was the stoppage that Walsall was visited by just one train, an empty coaching stock working to Derby hauled by 79, presumably with an NUR driver. In Scotland very few services ran, the available NUR drivers coming out in sympathy or refusing to work a train without a secondman. On the Southern Region the stoppage was virtually complete and affected many of the following day's early morning workings.
December 18th found front line duty for 5234 hauling the 1N31 Poole - Newcastle, noted 25 minutes late at Darlington. Five days later the 10.00 Liverpool - Newcastle failed outside Manchester behind 1576. Class 24 5024 brought the train into Victoria station, there replaced by 287, which itself was replaced at Leeds by 77, since the Class 40 could not heat the train. The Peak stayed with the next leg of the diagram, the 15.42 to Liverpool.
Cleethorpes was an unusual place to find 174 in charge of 14.14 Cleethorpes- Kings Cross on December 28th, Class 40/47's being the more normal power. Stratford Works was frequently visited by Gateshead Class 46's for minor attention, 168 was noted there on December 31st, surrounded by the more normal shunters and Classes 31/37/47.