26002 the rarest xos

D5302/26002, the rarest of the xos 26’s

5302 emerged from the BRCW works in Smethwick entering traffic in October 1958 as a 34B Hornsey based mixed traffic machine working  suburban passenger, freight and ballast jobs across the Southern end of the Great Northern network. From a local point of view it is quite likely that 5302 worked the evening 1807 Hatfield-Dunstable passenger turn in 1958/59,  but as yet no records have been found, (although we have records of other Hornsey 26’s working this train before the mass transfer to North of the border.).

Sample early “English” turns…

5302 1731 Hertford N – Kings X 251058

5302 light engine at Harringay 210260

5302 1724 Broad St – Hertford North 110360

As the vast fleet of Brush 2 (class 31’s) were slowly delivered to the Great Northern the exodus of the 26’s began. This decision was perhaps in part the result of trails with various classes including 31’s on the Highland and other Scottish lines with 31’0 D5511 on Perth-Inverness runs during trials in July 58!

5302 was officially a 64B/Haymarket machine from April 1960 and remained a Haymarket machine for most of her 34 year BR career. She was dual braked and slow speed control fitted during a Works visit in late 67. This saw her spend much time working heavy MGR traffic to Cockenzie Power Station plus Lothian coal traffic to Leith Docks etc. Weekends would often see her spare at Millerhill being stabled in the long lines of type two’s alongside the refuelling shed there. Heavy maintenance saw her summoned to Haymarket   As below though it wasn’t all coal turns, a fair bit of mixed traffic too but very little passenger action.

Sample “Scottish” turns below  

051160 with 5308 1600 Aberdeen – Edinburgh

050467 1045 Edinburgh-Birmingham

261071 Haymarket TMD       

040775 26002 at Inverness in pair with 26025, off Oxwellmain cements?

080876 Edinburgh Waverly light engine with 26003

230477 Millerhill TMD

300779 Ayr TMD

160580 St Rollox works

160780 2L35 1044 Glasgow QS -Dundee and 1339 return with 27010 inside, ex works test run

290981 1E26 1630 Aberdeen-Leeds (WaverlyNewcastle!) with failed 47435 in tow

060883 Haymarket TMD

050584 Haymarket TMD

210784 Dundee Station pilot

010285 Cartics at Perth

110585 Skirl 6 Railtour (Edinburgh suburban lines circuit with 26006)

150486 St Rollox works last HGO

030785 2G31 1705 Edinburgh – Cardenden (failed on return!)

230586 Millerhill TMD

150888 Bilston Glen – Cockenzie Power Stn MGR’s

180888 1B29 Carstairs-Edinburgh portion off 1S87 1315 Brighton – Glasgow

060988 Freight with 26006 at Singer

080789 Eastfield depot

250591 “Coal Scuttler” Railtour Killoch and Waterside to Ayr (with 26007) 

181091 Barrassie engineers working

120992 1130 Edinburgh – Inverness pilot 26001/26042 Perth-Aviemore..last working..?

 Mark Beal was at Perth to catch 26002 on cartics, 010285

Some varied 26002’s moves thanks to “MIB”

“On Saturday 21 July 1984 I did the 2124 Bristol to Edinburgh and had HA xos 26005 forward on the 0431 1G08 from Carstairs. Another Haymarket machine 27010 was done throughout on 2L18 0618 Edinburgh to Dundee and I went off for breakfast. I came back to the station to do 2G38 0928 Dundee to Edinburgh and was rather surprised to find Haymarket’s 26002 acting as station pilot which was a winner so I scratched it on the station shunt which lasted all of 4 minutes from platform 3 to 4. No doubt some would describe this shunt move as “dubious” in terms of counting it.

It would take me another 4 years to get 26002 (now Eastfield) on a proper move when it performed on the 1315 Brighton to Edinburgh on 18 August 1988 during another of my 12 or 13 overnight bashes. It was on the infamous 1B29 2216 ex-Carstairs that could drop anything in the time honoured portion tradition.

The last time I recall having 26002 was when it was paired with 26007 on Pathfinder’s 1Z36 0612 Bristol TM to Ayr Coal Scuttler Railtour on Saturday 25 May 1991. This involved having the pair from Killoch to Falkland Yard and Waterside to Ayr scratching in some new track in the process….”.

 “MIB”s trusty Instamatic catches 26002 at Dundee prior to a shunt release move, 210784

 A good few of us were on the Coal Scuttler tour, 26002 and 26007 bathe in a bit of deserved glory in Ayr’s evening sun on 250591

Final Years

Under sectorisation 26002 became a coal sector loco and finally a civil engineer’s machine. She was transfered away from her Haymarket home becoming an Eastfield machine in May 88 although often still outbased at Millerhill, and in later years Ayr for long periods.  26002 was involved in a collision with PW stock in Barrasie yard in October 91 and many thought this would see her withdrawn.

She was repaired and even repainted in Dutch livery at Eastfield but her final working was not far away with her famously joining classmates 26001/042 for the Perth-Aviemore section of the 1130 Edinburgh-Inverness service train on 120992. With umpteen faults, she was officially withdrawn on 091092 at her then home depot of Inverness

 “GJ” caught this fine “teacup” trio of 26002, 26032 and 26004 on Ayr TMD, 150490

 Mark Beal with this Millburn Yard view of withdrawn 26002 with all 3 “Ethels” in the background, 040993


26002 was then stored at Inverness and was purchased for preservation, going by road to MC Metals for asbestos removal before arriving on the Strathspey Railway in November 1994. 26002 has probably never worked in preservation, being left in open storage, “awaiting repair” at Boat of Garten on the Strathspey Railway for an awful long time.

26002 under repairs on Aviemore shed on August 3rd 2004

 A gloomy scene at Boat of Garten yard 160211, 26002 under wraps alongside 26025

What does the future hold for this fine xos machine?????? 

Thanks to MB,MIB,DS,GJ and 6LDA for much of the 26002 gen

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