85003 remembered

85003, the Network Roarer

85003 until November 9th 1987 was, to me, just another 100mph “roarer”. She was as likely a sight on vans, liners or Inter City turns despite her NSE sector sponsorship. November 9th 1987 was to give a memorable day out on a quality loco.

On a day when the WCML was positively gushing with class 86’2, 86’4 and 87 power on passenger turns it was 85003 to the rescue. The day had started badly at Milton Keynes around 0550 with 86209 appearing on the normally solid “roarer” turn, 1M16 1930 Inverness – Euston. With 86’s passing on down morning Cobbler ECS I returned dejected to Leighton Buzzard on a 310 unit.    

Just before Linslade Tunnel an 85 with ECS for the Bletchley – Euston “Cobbler” passed us, things were suddenly looking up! To summarise, haulages behind 85003 that day were:

1A55 0749 Bletchley – Euston    (L.Buzzard – Euston)

1B01 0925 Euston – Northampton (Euston – M.Keynes)

1A22 1102 Northampton – Euston (M.Keynes – Euston)

1G31 1310 Euston – Birmingham, diverted via Northampton (Euston – New St)

1A54 1518 Birmingham – Euston, diverted via Northampton (New St – Euston)

Back at Euston in the early evening, I hoped 85003 would do an Evening Cobbler especially considering her  NSE sector ownership. That nights Cobblers were however to see solid 86’2/86’4 power. 85003 remained on the loco road opposite platform 15 at Euston, but just before 1920 she moved off. A desperate run for the 1924 Euston – M.Keynes unit followed and was just made! Would 85003 be doing vans, sleeper ECS, a freight or the 1750 Dover – Manchester “Inter City” forward from West London Jn?     

Passing 85003 stabled by West London Jn answered that question and from Watford Jn the last move of the day followed…

1M31 1750 Dover – Manchester (Watford – M.Keynes)

Watching the old girl roar away into the night, it was time to reflect on 6 consecutive trips behind her and a hugely enjoyable 364 miles.

85003 is on the spare road at Euston once again, December 28th 1985

85003 at Euston with Cobbler stock used on a Preston – Euston relief on February 27th 1988

85003 at Piccadilly after working 1M80 0920 Padd – Manchester on September 8th 1990. This was one of 85003’s last passenger turns. Her last passenger turn was 1N10 0853 Birmingham – Blackpool to Preston where she failed on September 29th 1990

85003 remained a 100 mph loco until the demise of the sub-class in early October 1990. She was then renumbered 85113, spending her last months as a dedicated freight loco. July 1991 saw her continued survival as one of the Euston ECS only loco pool. She remained on these duties until at least the morning of November 2nd 1991, but was towed North to Crewe two days later. 85003 was withdrawn on November 8th 1991, almost four years after that special day. After a long spell dumped at Crewe Electric depot she was cut in January 1993 at M.C Metals, Glasgow…RIP 85003  

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