A “Scottish Jolly”, Saturday January 14th 1984.
Thanks to Dave Spencer for the nostalgia rich text and phots
14th January 1984, a trip to Edinburgh had been booked with a view of having two or three 27’s on the infamous Edinburgh-Dundee “circuit”.This was a cold and grey day in the West Midlands and those days no-one bothered to check the forecasts. One just went out.
The journey was to be made by Advertised Excursion (ADEX) and was formed of ten vacuum braked electric heated coaches’ net load of approximately 350 tons. Birmingham’s ADEX services when involving AC electric power was quite a good bet for 81 to 85 traction. Today we hoped it would “roar”.
The ADEX started as the 1Z09 07:00 Leamington to Edinburgh and arrived behind a “prize strummer” 47474. To everybody’s dismay the AC traction forward was 86246 and consideration was given to “flag the excursion” and go on the 08:07 Bham-Glasgow/Edinburgh service train. That may at least produce an 87. In the end we stuck with the ADEX.
Wolverhampton saw 25322 and 25327. At Stafford, four “dinosaurs” were on display, 004, 008. 012 and 034. Whilst 86003 passed on a freightliner. Crewe had a line up of withdrawn 25’s and 40106 in evidence. 25286 was seen on Springs Branch with 25289 at Preston. 87009 was on a southbound service at Lancaster
Carlisle held 25140, 25205,25284. 25278, 27030 and 45019.
As we went further north it started to get colder and snow was in evidence. At 1141 the train halted at Abington with a red signal.
A big sexy red for 86246 at a very wintry Abington
Shortly afterwards we were advised that the overhead wires were down and that we were to wait for a diesel to haul us to Carstairs. Not long after stopping the 08:07 Birmingham-Glasgow/Edinburgh came to a stop in the down loop adjacent to us. This was 86311 a “roarer bowler” so we had made the right move.
At least we had heat on the train but no trains came south. Around 14:25 we heard signs of life as diesel noises could be heard. Looking out of the window, we could see two light class 20’s but could not see which way the points were set for. Had they backed on to the service train, I suspect that there may have been a “leap to the ballast” as bashers swapped trains.
This dubious move was not to be as 20002 and 20114 backed on to the ADEX which they worked to Carstairs. It appears that the wires were down between Carstairs and Lamington as we went “wrong line” over that section.
Abington dep 14:34:45
Lamington 14:48:00 Stop 14:48:30 X over Start 14:54:40
Strawfrank J 15:13:00
20156 on the wiring train at Carstairs, thanks to Stephen Clarke for the photo
At Carstairs 20156 was on the wiring train and whilst 1Z09 was changing locomotives the 08:07 from Birmingham arrived, being dragged by 47107. 20083 dragged 86315 on a Glasgow to Euston service.
Stabled was 47429 47423 86247 47702 47588 and 37040. No 26’s here today.
20114 with the can dit behind after a “long drag” from Abington
Lead rescue 20 20002 rests at Carstairs
47599 took 1Z09 to Edinburgh where I managed to photograph 27018 on the blocks, the return 16:17 to Dundee being worked by 47410.
27018 at the blocks at Waverly with a service from Dundee
To quote the infamous “Reverend” we had “Time to get there, time to come back, but no time to do anything”. Bashing moves were out of the question and with a return time of 17:34 we “adjourned to a pub”. This was “Coppers” where right arms were exercised and speculation made as to what would we get from Carstairs if the wires were still down.
47599 duly produced on the return to Carstairs where 37045 was viewed dragging the Edinburgh-Birmingham service train. So the wires were still down! 20083 backed on to 86246 and worked as far as Abington Delays weren’t too bad going back so must have made the last day bus home.
As I write 27 years later I consider what would happen now.
There would be little chance of any assistant traction.
If a loco had been found, it would have been put on the service train.
If warning had been given in time, the ADEX would have been curtailed at Carlisle and either sent back south immediately or given a few hours there whilst a crew was called up
In 1984 they tried to run a railway and not capitulate like Network Rail does now
Thanks again to “DS”