Although cold & snowy weather predominated in January, the New Year began with a major fire at Ayr depot, destroyed or damaged in the conflagration were seven diesel multiple units and considerable parts of the structure. Apart from this hot-spot much of January was plagued by storms causing dislocation of services, especially on the WCML where the overhead line equipment was particularly vulnerable.
Gales in the north on January 2nd affected services south of Carstairs. The next day saw the first Class 25 passenger haulage for 1984, with 25211 taking over a failed Class 47 at Manchester Victoria with a Liverpool - Scarborough service, the Type 2 working as far as Leeds. Another Class 47 in trouble on 4th required assistance from 25323 between Church Fenton & York. More gales accompanied by heavy snow returned on 13th/14th damaging the overhead equipment near Thankerton and further south at Preston, causing disruption and cancellation of many WCML services. 25048 made a round trip between Wigan & Preston assisting two WCML electrically hauled services through the damaged area. To ease congestion some WCML services worked out of St Pancras on 14th, the 17.40 to Liverpool Lime Street featured 25207 all the way to Nuneaton! A chilly trip was handled by 25284 working the 13th's 08.40 Carlisle - Glasgow Central, it did not return on the balancing working! Saltley not to be outdone provided 25042 for the 18.35 Birmingham - Bristol service that evening, the Class 25 working throughout. It is uncertain whether the snow storms contributed to a Glasgow - Largs service colliding forcefully with the stop blocks at Largs, five passengers requiring hospital attention. In the south heavy rain fell, making it the wettest January since 1948, extremely high winds were reported with tornadoes seen in Doncaster (14th) and Teignmouth (26th).
Heavy snows on January 22nd in places to a depth of two feet blocked both the GSW & CR routes into Scotland, with drifts of fifteen feet being reported. Engineering work on the ECML was quickly postponed, although too late to prevent one ECML passenger train being diverted towards Carlisle, then having to retrace its steps after word of the snow blockages spread. The failure of the 23.40 Edinburgh/Glasgow - Bristol near Crawford was not helped by the rescuing locomotive becoming stuck in a sizeable snowdrift. The gale force winds did nothing to help matters, quickly undoing the arduous work of the snowploughs. The down 'Clansman' became stuck at Dalwhinnie, somehow an ex-Glasgow service forced its way alongside taking all the passengers to Inverness. It was several days before the stock of the 'Clansman' was freed from the snow. In later snow clearing operations here 26044 suffered serious fire damage, leading to withdrawal. The most affected train was an overnight Inverness - Euston service that was initially diverted via Aberdeen, suffered a partial locomotive failure, reached Motherwell only to find the way south blocked. A circumnavigation of the Hamilton circle found the train headed for Kilmarnock and the GSW route to Carlisle, having taken fifteen hours to cross the border. The 23rd's 10.15 Euston - Glasgow used 25185 & 25212 between Carlisle & Newcastle, as nothing was available at Newcastle to replace the Type 2s the train was terminated here, with the empty coaching stock returning to Carlisle. Many services were cancelled, others running many hours late, to ease the problems all freights north of Carlisle were cancelled.
Further north the 21st's 14.15 Fort William - Glasgow Queen Street ran into a snowdrift near Bridge of Orchy, services not resuming until 27th. Passengers from this train spent several days in local hotels. The lines north of Inverness were closed by snowdrifts, with the 17.55 Inverness - Kyle stuck west of Achnasheen and the 18.00 Wick - Inverness trapped at Scotscalder. RAF helicopters quickly located the ex-Wick train rescuing all the passengers despite appalling weather conditions. For the Kyle passengers helicopter rescue took place the next morning.
Class 25s on the Crewe - Cardiff line were now rare, but on January 17th the failure of 33011 led to 25044 taking over the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels near Shrewsbury. On the 25th 25276 failed near Leominster causing heavy delays to services, rescue arriving with 47056 off a Margam bound coal train.
In the late evening of January 25th both 25249 & 25257 failed near Roade working a Stanlow - Salfords oil train. Bletchley provided two more Class 25s and a fitter to resolve the problem, with the train finally getting past Bletchley in the early hours of 26th.
On the allocation front January saw twenty two Class 25s transferred from Cricklewood to a variety of LMR depots, replaced by sixteen ER Class 31's. Derby Works continued to increase its stock of condemned machines with twenty two now on hand whilst Swindon Works was down to only 25106/184/243 out of sixty five withdrawn engines present. By month end these first two were gone but February saw eight new arrivals, which were quickly relieved of their dual brake equipment (the conversion of Classes 20/26/31 was now in full swing). Glasgow contained but two withdrawn examples 25028 & 25318. Also arriving at Swindon were further Class 37's for minor repairs and from the Scottish Region three Class 27s (27002/19/36) to ease the power shortage in Scotland, the intent being to make two good locomotives out of those supplied.
45136 working January 31st's 12.05 Liverpool - Scarborough failed at Greenfield, 25154 pushed the train to Huddersfield, here removing the Peak. Replacement 47145 got no further than Dewsbury before requiring assistance from the following train, a Bangor - Scarborough service headed by 45145, which pushed the failed train into Leeds. The bad weather continued into the first week of February with heavy snow and storms accompanied by high winds. Possibly these conditions led to an afternoon Inverness - Aberdeen service being double headed by 25175 & 47157 on February 1st. Three days later Perth turned out 25236 for the 17.10 to Arbroath, continuing with the 18.35 Arbroath - Dundee.
The Class 25 which eventually accumulated the most passenger miles during 1984 was 25035, with a total of at least 3,261 miles. Its first mileage occurred on February 5th working the Sunday's only 02.35 Euston - Bletchley, this was a non-advertised service for staff, newspapers, mail and anything else that had nowhere to go in the wee hours of a Sunday morning. Power was supplied by Bescot, two locomotives being sent south, the second one used for the 02.45 Hemel Hempstead newspaper train. Previously a solid Class 25 turn, it was now worked by almost anything, though Class 31's predominated.
Class 25s were still frequent visitors to Parkeston, often heading back to the LMR on the evening Parkeston - Ditton working, so noted were 25211 (Jan 27th), 25199 & 25231 (Feb 8th), 25095 & 25212 (Feb 16th). On a related note between February 20th & 24th at least seven Class 45s were noted in the Ipswich/Parkeston area on a variety of freight workings. Pairs of Type 2s were still common on the Ellesmere Port - Riverside bitumen tanks, 25192 & 25089 on February 8th and 25244 & 25211 on 14th. A most unusual working on February 16th involved 25230 & 25325 on a Llanwern - Margam freight followed by a Margam - Severn Tunnel Jct trip. On 28th the bitumen tanks arrived at Hereford behind 25202 & 25060 only to be delayed for twelve hours by trade union action, something which there seemed to be plenty of at this time.
RDB97201 (24061) hauled a Derby - Carlisle (via York, Berwick & Edinburgh) test train on February 12/13th. On 24th 25032 managed a Tees Yard - Dringhouses Speedlink working, whilst 25266 having brought in a Garston - Newcastle freightliner returned quickly south with a Heaton - York ecs working. On the last day of February 25154 worked the afternoon Elswick - Ardrossan tanks returning the next day with the empties.
During February the last built Class 25, 25327 was withdrawn, whilst after a long period of testing the first of the new Class 58's, 58001 officially entered service at Toton.
Visitors to Newcastle from across the Pennines included 25181 & 25037 on the 8th's evening Hardendale - Lackenby freight, returning later with the empties. The following week (15th) 25089 & 25209 handled these workings. 25181 paid another visit to the North East being noted at Thornaby depot on March 24th!
On March 12th the coal miners went on strike leading to big reductions in freight traffic in certain areas. By 18th all coal production had stopped in the South Wales area, leading to the almost complete cessation of coal movements in the area. A change in the distribution of bitumen from Ellesmere Port saw the end of paired Class 25s to Exeter. Going forward now as an as-required working to Severn Tunnel Junction, with distribution effected from there by other services. The Class 25s returned north on an early morning working, possibly to Aintree.
The end of March saw much continued activity of Class 25's in the North East. 25181 worked a Tess - Scunthorpe freight (23rd), 25326 worked the Haverton Hill - Stevenston tanks (23rd), 25059 & 25064 Stranraer - Tyne Speedlink (28th) working back with the Eastgate - Carlisle cement, 25192 on local Tees duties (29th) & 25191 & 25205 on the Stranraer Speedlink and Carlisle cement workings (30th). A continued shortage of diesel multiple units in the Newcastle area created a number of locomotive hauled workings, 25078 being noted on a Carlisle - Newcastle service on April 6th. Also on this date the well-traveled 25181 was used to assist 86249 at Watford when the wires were brought down near Hemel Hempstead. The Class 25 had difficulty in releasing the brakes on the electric locomotive, creating a three hour delay for this Carlisle service. The first two weekends in April had seen other Class 25's busy in the Euston area, shepherding electrics around engineering works between Euston/Camden & Willesden. On April 1st 25209/213/218/256 were in action whilst 8th saw 25057, 25209/218/236 used. The seaside beckoned for 25048 on April 7th taking up a mid-morning Cardiff - Bristol passenger working, after arriving at Bristol it worked a round trip to Weston-super-Mare.
Two more reinstatements took place, 25316 & 25322 being put back into service. For 25322 this included a modification to the livery, with full yellow cab ends and black window surrounds, all made possible by apprentices at Tyseley depot! It also gained the painted name 'Tamworth Castle' the locomotive being a highlight of Tamworth Rail Week in late May. Swindon finally received the three Class 27s from Scotland at the end of April, they were noted arriving at Gloucester on April 26th behind 25176.
April 14th saw 25035 on the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels, since December a Class 47 turn. A busy three days ensued for 25083 & 25245, on April 21st they worked a round trip Wolverhampton (ex Manchester) - Aberystwyth excursion. The next day started out with a Coventry - Scarborough excursion as far as Birmingham New Street, here taking over a Leamington - Blackpool special, and working the entire return leg. Next came a trip to South Wales on 23rd with a Derby - Tenby excursion between Shrewsbury & Llanelli. A late running diesel multiple unit created quite a photo-stop at Llanwrtyd Wells. At Llanelli 47140 took over for the run to Tenby whilst the Class 25's were refuelled, working the return leg via Cardiff and the Lickey Incline, changing locomotives at Birmingham New Street. The performance of the Class 25's required the assistance of the Lickey bankers on the return leg. The 'Easter Highlander', a twelve hundred mile enthusiast railtour over the weekend of April 20 - 22 provided typical '25' haulage though of a mediocre nature. Diagrammed to handle the St Pancras - Derby portion the trip commenced behind 25042 & 25057, only for the latter to loose power almost immediately, becoming a total loss at St Albans. Heroic efforts by 25042 took the train to Bedford where 31118 was added for the run to Derby. On the return leg 25057 & 25202 were waiting at Derby to relieve 40028 for the run upto St. Pancras. All was not well with 25202 which expired, again at St Albans. Here the train was cancelled and the hapless excursionists transferred to a following late night service from Sheffield hauled by 45131.
Class 25s filling in for pairs of Class 37s on the morning Earles Sidings - Widnes cement included 25207 & 25230 (April 9th) and 25287 & 25300 (April 16th). The Ditton - Broughton Lane BOC tanks continued with its familiar pair of Classes 25 & 40, so noted were 40196 & 25254 (April 28th), 40155 & 25059 (May 5th) & 40001 & 25209 (May 15th) whilst an extra working on April 29th produced 25249 & 25262. Another unusual working was on May 1st with 25076 & 25176 on a Lackenby - Scunthorpe special.
Commuter duty befell 25192 on April 28th covering a round trip Birmingham New Street - Great Malvern following the failure of the more normal diesel multiple unit.
May 7th brought two long distance excursions to Aberystwyth, 25154 & 25209 brought in one from Swindon whilst 25265 & 25283 arrived with day trippers from Stratford, the train comprised of Mark 2 coaches, a first for the Cambrian line.
May 19th brought an unidentified Class 25 to the rescue of a charter train at Cheddington when 85038 became a complete failure, it was two hours before 85010 took over causing considerable delays on the WCML. Elsewhere 25200 visited Parkeston on the early morning passenger from Wolverhampton, having replaced a failure at Nuneaton, it returned west on the booked passenger to Peterborough. 25300 went for a considerable journey three days later deputising for a Class 31 on the 10.20 Birmingham - Norwich, it was diagrammed for the return working but was failed shortly before departure. 25258 & 25288 came to the assistance of 86222 in the late evening of May 26th after the Euston - Manchester was targeted by vandals, the driver requiring assistance from an ambulance crew. The Type 2s were replaced at Rugby by another electric locomotive.
The miners strike continued through May, with an additional TUC 'Day of Action' on May 9th & 21st, which no doubt resulted in much in-action. In particular May 9th saw services in the Glasgow seriously disrupted.
The new timetables introduced in May eliminated all wagon load vacuum braked traffic, just under half of the revenue wagon fleet was comprised of 23,300 vacuum braked vehicles, for use in block workings. The introduction of the summer timetabled services (May 25th) found the first Walsall - Yarmouth behind 31189 & 31246. After the appalling service levels from the Class 25s during the summer of 1983 over the Cambrian lines all locomotive hauled trains over this route were to be powered by Class 25's supplied by Bescot, no longer would other depot's Type 2s be allowed beyond Wolverhampton/Shrewsbury. However the 10.10 Euston - Aberystwyth had 25042 & 25224 from Birmingham New Street to Wolverhampton, with 25051 & 25244 taking over for the remainder of the trip. The first pair returned to New Street with an ecs working for a charter to Folkestone. Class 25s noted on the Wednesday/Friday's only early morning Gartson - Forders brickliner during May were 25209 (16th), 25234 (23rd) & 25226 (25th), the latter failing at Ditton with traction motor troubles and being replaced by 25266. The afternoon Halewood - Whitemoor (later Dagenham) car train, a booked Class 47 turn occasionally featured Class 25's. So noted during May were 25297 (8th), 25194 (15th) & 25196 (17th). Preston continued to see Class 25's on passenger duty, the 16.20 Glasgow to Liverpool on Fridays produced 25200 (May 18th) & 25054 (June 1st), whilst the 18th also produced 25173 on the 17.03 Euston - Blackpool, normally a Class 47 turn. Fine tuning of the Crewe - Cardiff timetable caused the Sunday's only 13.35 to Cardiff (& 19.05 return) to be a scratch set of stock with a variety of motive power, on May 27th 25154 and five Mk II coaches were used.
The month of May saw a dozen Class 31s moved to Longsight, the first allocation of this Class here. Ten of Longsight's Class 25s moved elsewhere on the LMR, allowing for withdrawal of further members of the Class. This growing infestation of Class 31s in the Manchester area would see familiar Class 25 & 40 workings affected, including the late afternoon Manchester Piccadilly - St Pancras parcels. In a move to replace the Class 25s on the Northwich - Tunstead ICI limestone trains pairs of Toton Class 20's were used during May. To assist this change Springs Branch crews were trained on Class 20s during May, 20181 & 20227 were present at the beginning of May, later replaced by 20211 & 20212. The continuing coal miners strike and the ongoing delivery of Class 58's led to many local workings in the North West (and elsewhere) being taken up by the Classes 56 & 58, no doubt having an impact on the use of Classes 25 & 40. Despite all this gloomy news the Class 25's had gathered a dedicated enthusiast following, one such group, the Midlands based 'Rat Roadshow' were usually found in various states of dereliction on many Class 25 hauled excursions and scheduled service trains. As evidence of their dedication to the cause an un-official headboard was frequently carried by the locomotive, one occasion being May 26th, when 25315/037 worked the 10.10 Aberystwyth - Euston.
Heavy summer demand for evening travel on the NE/SW route saw the addition of a relief 18.10 York - Birmingham. York used whatever power they had available, on Friday June 1st it was the turn of 25145 for the 120 mile jaunt. June 9th's 15.20 Manchester - Bristol parcels was powered by 25185, normally a Class 47 turn. During the summer a double headed Class 45/46 diagram appeared with the 22.35 Newcastle - Paignton service, with doubleheading westwards from Bristol. When it was doubleheaded the combination varied with Class 45/45, 45/47 & 46/47 combinations, and frequently with just a single locomotive.
The ECML was no stranger to the Class 25s though the use of 25278 on June 13th on a round-trip Newcastle - Durham evening commuter run was! The Class 25 had made a morning run from Carlisle to Newcastle covering a diesel multiple unit turn, Newcastle sent the locomotive back, only to have Carlisle reuse it on a similar afternoon passenger turn, leaving Control at Newcastle no choice but to use it on the Durham service.
The aging diesel multiple units on the Crewe - Lincoln service, already way beyond their best provided a number of diesel locomotives with additional passenger mileage, either dragging the DMU's or substituting with rakes of coaching stock. Typical of this was 25191 working the 14.20 Crewe - Cleethorpes as far as Derby on June 19th, two days later 25089 made a round trip between Crewe and Derby and for the remainder of the year diesel substitutions would continue, using Classes 20/25/31/47.
June 16th witnessed 33207 on the 'Birmingham Boomerang' tour, whilst the 10.40 Euston - Aberystwyth featured 25282 & 25322 'Tamworth Castle' from Wolverhampton. Also out on the Cambrian line was 25249 & 25303 on the 07.44 Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth and 10.10 return, the next day this pair hauled a Nottingham - Llandudno Town Working Man's Club charter, travelling both ways via Chesterfield & Manchester. Further south heavy rain and storms found emu 310054 hit by lightning near Bletchley, damaging the pantograph. A following service pushed the emu into Bletchley, however this coupled with the heavy rain and numerous track circuit failures disrupted the WCML timetable for the rest of the day. On the Aylesbury line the storms caused a number of minor landslips, interrupting services for several hours. 25229 assisted the 17.05 St Pancras - Nottingham between Harlington & Leicester, it is not known whether this was storm related. June 21st's Tyne Yard - Carlisle Speedlink featured 27059 & 25278, the Class 27 having arrived on the Stranraer Speedlink. Three days later 47452 and the 19.50 Aberdeen - Kings Cross sleeper made the headlines following its high speed derailment at Morpeth. Fortunately there were no fatalities despite the locomotive and several coaches rolling over, with some coming to rest in the gardens of several residences. A TUC Day of Action on June 27th was not widely supported, however the ongoing miners strike and the refusal of train crews to cross picket lines was now starting to impact South Wales steel production, leading to a reduction in the iron ore services between Port Talbot & Llanwern. The frequent presence of over twenty Class 37s stabled at Severn Tunnel Junction reflected the impact of the loss of coal movements in the South Wales area.
During June Aberdeen's ADB97250 Ethel 1 made the long trip south to Swindon Works for replacement of its main generator and bogies. With Swindon working on several Class 27's, including recently arrived 27040 and collision damaged Class 37's the variety seen here was remarkable for a Works under threat of closure. Also arriving at Swindon in late June/early July were over twenty Class 25's for stripping and scrapping.
The 13.35 Sunday's only Crewe - Cardiff featured 25034 on June 24th and 25229 on July 1st. Two days later the Ellesmere Port - Severn Tunnel Jct bitumen tanks were hauled by 25234 & 25190, the latter became a failure near Shrewsbury. 47352 on the following Bristol parcels switched with 25234 to take the heavier train forward.
July 9 saw the withdrawal of the first built Class 25/2, 25083 with a main generator fault. For some reason this locomotive reached Crewe Electric depot for storage, a move that saw it outlive all its non preserved sisters, somehow evading the scrapman, being still extant at Crewe in July 1997, eventually to reach preservation. This day also saw York Minster severely damaged after being hit by lightning, one presumes these two incidents were unrelated.
July 14th brought the arrival of air conditioned (fully??) stock to the Cambrian lines for the first time, being taken forward from Wolverhampton to Aberystwyth by 25296/307. On the return working 25296 became a complete failure at Machynlleth leading to 25307 overheating. Eventually '307 was revived and took the service on single-handedly. The following day 25296 did little better, it failed at Hereford whilst working the 13.35 Crewe - Cardiff, being rescued by 47157.
For three weeks commencing July 16th the APT was operating on the ECML near Thirsk undergoing coasting trials to measure drag resistance. 37132 & 37242 were used to propel the APT to over 100mph, then release the APT for the testing purposes. The trials took place during the nighttime hours.
Media attention on July 17th was centered on the Research Department's Test Track at Old Dalby with the televised coverage of the staged collision of three Mk I coaches (E25154, M4514 & E25564) hauled by 46009 into a specially positioned Flatrol wagon holding a nuclear flask. The 100mph collision confirmed the ability of the nuclear flask vehicle to withstand such an impact, not so the unfortunate 46009 which would be broken up in-situ the same month. More constructive excitement occurred on July 23rd when 25224 took over the 20.50 Carlisle -Perth at Mossend. Perth sent it to Aberdeen on the 01.05 working, Aberdeen forwarding it to Inverness on the 04.49, where for a time its passenger adventures temporarily ended.
Pairs of Class 31s had become frequent on the Earles - Widnes cement train, however on July 25th 25262 & 25302 were in charge of the working.
The month of July closed (30th) with tragedy on the Glasgow - Edinburgh route when the 17.30 Edinburgh - Glasgow service hit a cow near Redding. The entire train derailed with the first two vehicles being spun round and severely damaged. Thirteen lives were lost in the accident, a figure that could have been higher had not the vigilance of the driver on an approaching westbound service led to that service being halted only coach lengths from the wreckage. The DBSO was cut up on site several days later, in the process it caught fire, requiring the return of the fire brigade.
The result of 33001 catching fire on August 7th on the 17.20 Cardiff - Manchester near Moreton on Lugg led to 25254 & 25269 on the following Severn Tunnel Junction - Mossend freight being split up. 25269 replaced 33001 on the Manchester service whilst 25254 took the Class 33 back to Hereford. Two days later 25218 & 25078 came to the rescue of 47354 which had failed south of Hereford on a Severn Tunnel Jct - Walton freight.
A visit to Derby Works in the last week of August found only one Class 25 under repair, 25199 in for rectification work, however the Works was still littered with almost thirty withdrawn examples. Following the Works summer holiday at Swindon returning staff were presented with the arrival of over twenty Class 25s called in from all over the country for breaking up. The summer months had spared the Class 25 fleet from withdrawals, apart from 25083 in June, whilst reallocations between depots were few. And this was in spite of the locomotives idled by the miners strike and the arrival of new Class 58s from Doncaster. In South Wales the movement of coal and iron between Margam & Llanwern was now taking place by road transport, daily 150 lorries moved the iron ore whilst 50 lorries moved the coal.
The Ditton BOC - Broughton Lane tanks continued the use of a Class 25 & 40, during August such combinations were 25178 & 40181 (4th), 25176 & 40155 (9th), 25213 & 40192 (13th), 25181 & 40044 (17th) and 25201 & 40028 (22nd), incursions by 47's becoming more frequent, by October they would be the norm.
August 20th found the Severn Tunnel Jct - Whitemoor 'Speedlink' service, normally a Class 37 turn, in the hands of 25211 & 25258. Four days later 25259 & 25279 worked an early morning Ditton - Margam special, whilst 31st saw 25285 & 25286 on an afternoon Llanwern - Dee Marsh steel coils working. The failure on August 23rd of 33008 at Abergavenny on the 11.45 Cardiff - Crewe led to 25211 rescuing the train and completing the diagram for 23rd & 24th. Likewise 25173 for reasons unknown took over the 16.00 Crewe - Cardiff on August 27th, continuing with the diagram until the early part of 30th. Class 33's were in short supply at this time, a spate of failures on the Class 73 powered Gatwick Express services had seen all spare Class 33's returned to the Southern Region. The 16.20 Glasgow - Liverpool continued to use Class 25's for the journey south of Preston. Noted were 25072 (Aug 24th), 25229 (Aug 31st), 25210 (Sept 6th), 25190 (Sept 7th), 40009 (Sept 12th) and remarkably 20212 & 20219 (Sept 14th). An evening Southport - Manchester summer relief was frequently hauled by a Class 25. A special Wigan - Ipswich on August 31st arrived behind 25080, the locomotive returning light at least as far as Bury St Edmunds. A working once familiar to the Class 25s was seeing a greater use of other classes, the 18.12 Manchester - St Pancras parcels, as far as Derby. Noted during August were 25185 (1st), 25316 (20th) & 25249 (22nd) as were a number of the fast disappearing Class 40s.
No doubt deputising for a missing diesel multiple unit, on August 30th 46052 worked the 08.15 Newcastle - Carlisle, the return 10.45, the 12.36 back to Carlisle and the 14.43 to Newcastle.
September 6th found 25080 in charge of the early morning Manchester - Leeds newspaper train and 25321 in charge of the Scunthorpe - Aberdeen Speedlink, being so noted at Northallerton. Sister machine 25322 came to the rescue of failed 86230 working a Manchester - Euston service. The electric had suffered a partial failure earlier in the day, finally expiring completely at Tring where passengers were transferred to a following service, the Class 25 taking the empty train on to Euston. Five days later a defective coupling caused a Wolverton - Hornsey empty stock working to split in two at Cheddington. Tring loop was used to stable the front portion of the train whilst 25034 was sent out to retrieve the rear part.
On September 19th 25072 worked a Derby - Craigentinny ecs throughout, returning south light engine. On 25th a down 'Speedlink' service was noted through Huddersfield behind 31156 & 25245, the following day the Manchester - Leeds newspapers passed through here behind 25224. The next day 25044 brought Class 508 units 030 & 034 from Cricklewood to Wellingborough. When Saltley couldn't produce a Class 47 to take forward a Plymouth - Keighley excursion on September 29th they whipped out 25060 & 25235 instead, probably much to the annoyance of the ER, the locomotive change taking place opposite Saltley depot.
On the last day of September the 11.40 Manchester - Gatwick behind 47331 became completely derailed approaching Dorridge station, car transporter wagons on an adjacent track prevented the derailing vehicles from tipping completely over. The Bescot crane arrived behind 25298, the re-railing train behind 25034 and a little later the Toton crane appeared behind 45017.
With both Classes 25 & 40 slowly succumbing to withdrawal the infamous Ditton - Broughton Lane BOC working saw a number of trials involving Classes 37, 47 & 56 during late September/early October. However October 3rd found the working behind 40099 & 25239, whilst 8th saw 25199 & 40194, which on returning to Speke took out a Halewood - Dagenham car train as far as Crewe. By month end Class 47's would be in charge of the BOC working.
On November 4th three Class 25's were present at Severn Tunnel Jct, their booked workings being 25058 to Bescot, 25284 - Gloucester and 25322 - Mossend. This Mossend freight on October 27th had been noted behind 37243 & 25034. November 8th saw a number of Class 25's on front line passenger duty. 25199 was noted at Huddersfield in charge of 08.47 Holyhead - Newcastle whilst 25058 assisted failed 45136 on the 15.10 Bangor - Scarborough. On the same day at Leeds 25249 & 31434 were noted arriving on an afternoon service from Lancaster. An unusual pairing on November 13th's evening Aintree - Garston freightliner was 25268 & 47190. Four days later 25195 worked the afternoon Manchester - Bristol parcels whilst on 19th 25313 & 25262 handled a southbound steel coils. On the same date the Ellesmere Port - Severn Tunnel Jct ran behind 40150 & 25269.
After a summer/autumn hiatus on Class 25 withdrawals the month of November saw the condemnation of six Class 25's. Withdrawn at the same time were several Class 40's including the last vacuum braked example, 40009, a machine which had been very active during its final summer in service. Also taken out of service effective November 26th were the remaining Class 46's. Cricklewood lost its four remaining Class 25's (25048, 25176, 25244 & 25311) to other LM depots, leaving the London area depots without any BR/Sulzer Type 2's on allocation.
Whilst in charge of November 22nd's morning Bangor - Bletchley vans 25200 became a total failure on the Northampton line south of Rugby. A following diverted Liverpool - Euston service pushed the failure to Watford Lodge loop, rescue eventually coming in the shape of 31178.
After its romp round the Highlands in late July 25224 spent five days on the Carlisle - Glasgow passenger circuit, putting in over 900 miles between December 4th & 8th.
December produced two serious incidents, one involving loss of life and both being materially destructive. On December 4th the 10.05 Liverpool Lime Street - Scarborough headed by 45147 rearended the 09.00 Ellesmere Port -Leeds oil tank train with 47310. A signal passed at danger led to the death of the driver of 45147 and of one passenger. The Class 45 was seriously damaged by the impact and the ensuing fire. Sixteen days later on December 20th the 01.40 Haverton Hill - Glazebrook oil train with 47125 derailed in Summit tunnel, damaging some tankers with the leaking oil catching fire. The locomotive crew uncoupled the first three wagons, taking them to safety. The fire was left to burn itself out, with all the wrecked wagons not removed until March 1985 and the line reopening during August 1985.
Considerable permanent way work in the vicinity of Rugby station on December 9th found five Class 25's present, in charge of a variety of pw trains. At lunch time whilst 25181 was propelling a wiring train 'wrong line' a departing southbound passenger service led by 87023 ran into the last vehicle in the wiring train. Considerable damage was caused, the driver having jumped to safety prior to the collision. A number of trains became trapped in the area whilst others were diverted to Paddington.
Front line service befell 25325 on December 13th, being put in charge of the 14.05 Liverpool - Scarborough, but only as far as Manchester where 47145 took over. This same day 25265 worked the 15.02 Manchester - Bristol parcels. Two days later on this route 25285 & 25231 handled a UKF Fertilisers working.
On December 22nd due to unspecified delays 25057 worked the 12.28 Birmingham - Norwich service. Christmas Eve travellers in North Wales had the delights of 25315 on an afternoon Llandudno Town - Scarborough, the Type 2 replaced at Manchester Victoria.
As 1984 drew to a close Derby Works contained only two Class 25s under repair, 25037 with electrical problems and 25234 for power unit repairs. Many sent to the works were often found to need more serious repairs and were simply withdrawn. Ninety eight locomotives (30% of the original fleet) remained in service with eighty nine awaiting scrapping. But the flag was still flying on this New Year's Eve, 25044 with 27023 worked the 06.05 Carlisle - Glasgow Central. Unfortunately the steam heat pipe fell off the Class 25 just before departure, leading to an increasingly chilly journey.