The Rat Requim, March 91

The Rat Requim Tour, Saturday March 30th 1991

Leighton station on a silent Saturday at 5am, yuk! 321426 and 321437 soon arrived i exchanged pleasantries to Steve Chapman in 437’s power car and then returned to my slumbers. We had a good plus 90 to make the tour out of the Cross, so photted dedicated ECS roarer 85040 on the Euston A Sidings.

85040 at Euston stabled in the A sidings, by now this fine roarer was confined to ECS turns to and from Wembley yard

The expected raspberry ripple Mk I stock (load 10-1Z45) was loading up as we arrived at the Cross, 91006 the tour power to Leeds this was a winner too! More doss and it wasnt until around 10am that i woke up as the immaculate green 25322 was viewed at Leeds.

25322 the Eastern region apprentice training loco since 1989 had lived a celebrity life since Holbeck depot adopted her in 1989, she had done several tours and specials but alas this was to be the last turn. Sectorisation didn’t allow for training locos so March 31st 1991 was to be the end. Pretty outrageous really considering the rest of the class had all been withdrawn 4 years earlier!

We left right time (1024) but being in the rear coach we couldnt hear much and progress seemed steady, if not unspectacular, we lost time on the “Coast” but few cared , this was  a special day and we had 342 rat miles to enoy. At Holyhead where the loco was shunt released we could phot the loco, admire the headboard and most importantly we were now in the front coach (M5007) for the thrash all the way back to Leeds.

Thanks to “TC” for this image at Holyhead, the headboard says it all

25322 backs onto the tour at Holyhead, the 08 looks on

Even the roof of 25322 was immaculate, fitting testomy to Holbeck’s staff

25322 looking superb during the Bangor photo stop

A nice side view of 25322 at Bangor , thanks to “TC”

The classic angle of the return tour at Bangor, thanks to “TC”

After a final photo stop at Bangor the rat was opened up in style and she thrashed through old class 25 haunts like Chester, Eccles, Man Vic, Hebden Bridge and finally a triumphant arrival at a dark Leeds around 1920. The only blip on the return trip was that we slowed for a banker at Man Vic and 31242 proceeded to bank us up Miles Platting bank, still i needed the “ped”!!. The tour atmosphere had been highly charged all afternoon and too much cheering, clapping and “bye bye” hoots from 25322 the green machine returned to Holbeck depot.  

This final goodbye is superbly captured by 15038’s video that rekindles the memories much more than any text or phot, absolutely brilliant! Linked here..

After all that 91006 was again the tour power back to the Cross, some got excited as it was blunt end first but to be honest we couldn’t give a toss, we had just experienced the last 25 action on the main line, the end of an era. Thank you Holbeck depot you did yourselves proud that day.

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