The Roarer Requim tour remembered

The “Roarer Requim” Railtour, June 30th 1991

In what seems the far-off days when a Saturday night overnight service was provided on the WCML complete with the luxury of a seat, the Northbound “splitter” steadily loaded with enthusiasts heading for an early Sunday morning Manchester start.

85018 did the ECS in from Longsight and 85101 complete with her old number E3061 plus 006 in stencils on the cabside backed on as the farewell tour’s power. For a class one magazine dubbed as “BR’s most unloved class” there was a real sense of irony as the crowds gathered to photograph 85101 complete with headboard proudly proclaiming “30 years of service”.

85101 at Manchester Piccadilly proudly showing her tour headboard, as some Gloucester based “neds!” add the Chingfinder headboard too.

To be fair you would have struggled to fill 2 coaches of a tour with diehard “roarer” bashers. Numbers doing “roarers” had picked up slightly in the late 80’s as the railway became more rancid generally. For example the classic “roarer” overnight of 1S06 2110 Euston – Stranraer to Carlisle (arr 0145) for 1M14 2200 Stranraer – Euston 0220 off Carlisle back rarely still had more than 2 “roarer” men on board for all that mileage!

By 1990 as they became rare on passenger generally most “roarers” had as many as 10 “bashers” aboard although the high “stoat” factor influenced this. So conversation on the tour amongst many was which 37 would assist us, apparently the quoted 37888 and 37892 were “big ones!” not that i cared one jot! After a gap since the last passenger farewells in Sep/Oct 1990 this was one last chance to sample those magic “roarer” sounds one last time.

As we headed South, news of an Up Sleeper derailment between Coventry and Rugby filtered through. After an understandable long delay at New St we were routed “wrong line” past wrecked catenary and derailed Motorail vans which had originated from Carlisle. After this 85101 stormed South and after a drag across the North London lines behind 37888 we reached the rare class 85 haunt of Shoeburyness.

The late Tony Ewer catches 85101 roaring South at his favourite haunt of Bourne End, South of Tring

37892 returned us to Liverpool St with 85101 “”dead” on the back. With her reverser switch on she proceeded to roar all the way. A top and tail outing on the GE followed with photo-stops at outrageous roarer locations followed. Liverpool St, Walton and Colchester St Botolph’s being first and last “roarer” photting venues for most. I recently found out through Facebook that the LTS and GE lines were covered by a Ripple Lane driver who were trained on them for freight duties to Ripple Lane via the NLL with a Stratford conductor.

On approach to and at the blocks at Colchester St Botolphs (now Colchester Town) 85101 is a rare, probably unique visitor to this unit served Colchester termini

Basking in the afternoon sun 85101 again a unique visitor to Walton on the Naze in deepest Essex!

Once back at Brent Sdgs 85101 was detached, roaring past the tour along the equally doomed “engine line” before the rarer 85105 backed on for the final leg of the tour. With the evening sun providing a fitting sunset she put in a last bout of 100 mph running before the last ever arrival for the class on a passenger train at Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly. For me it was 380 memorable miles!

Bridge 139 at Old Linslade sees a class 85 on a passenger train for the last time as 85105 heads into the sunset…………

The following week was the very last one for the “roarers” on main line operation. With the abolition of the Speedlink network on July 5th 1991 the “roarers” had no work and apart from a few ECS turns at Euston, Lime St and Manchester Piccadilly the class were withdrawn that July weekend

The moves

                                                                        29/6/91 Sa

321446   2134 Euston – M.Keynes                                                               LB-MK

                                                                        30/6/91 Su

86213  1G49 2350 (29/) Euston – Wolves                                                    MK-RU

86241  1F10 0010 Euston – Manchester                              (via BS)           RU-Stafford

47831}  1F10  0010 Euston – Manchester                                                   Stafford -CR


47821}  1F10 0010 Euston – Manchester                                                    CR-Stockport



47821}  1F10 0010 Euston – Manchester                                        Stockport – Man Picc


85018 tour ECS

85101 0625 Manchester Picc – Walton “Roarer Requim”   (via New St)

                                                                                                            Man Pic – Willesden

37888} 0625 Manchester Picc – Walton “Roarer Requim” (via NLL) Willesden – Strat


85101 0625 Manchester Picc – Walton “Roarer Requim”   Stratford – Shoeburyness

37892 0625 Manchester Picc – Walton “Roarer Requim”   Shoeburyness – Liverpool St

85101 0625 Manchester Picc – Walton “Roarer Requim”   Liverpool St –Col’r St Botolphs

37892 0625 Manchester Picc – Walton “Roarer Requim”    Col’r St Botolphs – Walton    

85101 1618 Walton – Manchester Picc Rtn “Roarer Requim” Walton – Willesden (via Colchester, NLL)

85105 1618 Walton – Manchester Picc Rtn “Roarer Requim”   Willesden – New St

58007} 1A72 2155 Wolves – Euston                                                                                    NS-NU


86231  1A72 2155 Wolves – Euston                                                                         NU-WJ

                                                                        01/07/91 Mo

321419   0034 Euston – M.Keynes                                                                           WJ-LB

                                                                        04/07/91 Th

85110 4S52 d.liners

A lovely Summers evening on Thursday 4th July. 85110 “roars” North with 4S52 the driver was waving and hooting, we waved back, farewell class 85……memories are made of this

                                                                        06/07/91 Sa

85109 Glasgow – Willesden liners….the end          

Wasnt expecting this, dear old 85109 (formerly 85035) roars through Northampton early on July 6th with a Glasgow – Willesden liners probably the last main line duty for this underated class..


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