Thirty Years On (Confessions of a Peak Basher)
Its hard to believe that nearly forty years has passed since the ending of the last proper timetable when Birmingham New Street had connections.
The creation of the timetable was such that services from North East and North West could connect into trains to the South and South West and vice versa.
This timetable was to be swept away from the 17th May 1982 when the majority of trains went over to High Speed Trains or IC125’s. I had other names for them.
Ironically if the UK had not joined the Common Market, funding may not have been available to purchase them. I voted No in the first referendum so I can’t be blamed!
The first infestation of 125’s began on the 5th October 1981 when old friends such as 1E10 06:55 Gloucester Leeds and 1V94 14:37 Leeds Paignton and the up and Down “Devonians” 1E37 and 1V86 went over to 125 sets.
For the record, the last 1V94 out of Birmingham at 17:15 on the 3rd October 1981 was 46011. I recall this was a very murky night reflecting the gloom that was to come. The transfer to 125’s meant that some diagrams changed, M74 coming off E70 in at Gloucester, instead of V94.
It was with some trepidation that we entered the last week.
This was a working week for me. However working above the station I could be on a train in two to three minutes. With a fast office clock I used to make 1V91 due off at 16:00.
Monday 10th May 82 was not brilliant. I had a spin on the “Cornishman” E21 off Birmingham at 16:50 to Derby this turned out to be my last run on either V71 or E21. Had 45123 to Leicester, returning with 45106.
V98 was 47416 so waited for V99, this bowled me with 47507
Tuesday 11th May was a wretched day with not much out.
Problems with a derailment at Bridgwater had messed things up.
V92 was 47523, with no V94 I took a unit to Tamworth and got caught with 47032 on V96. Fortunately V95 was 45131 so had that to Cheltenham for 45048 on M74
Wednesday 12th May was slightly better. V92 was 45033 which I took to Cheltenham for E70 45069 to Derby. Once again V98 and V99 were both duffs, so suffered 47509 on V99
Thursday 13th May was excellent. Had an early finish and went to Derby on 45044 on a SAGA special Torquay to Newcastle. Had a choice as E63 was 45017.
45002 Derby to Cheltenham on V96 and back with 45001 on M74.
Friday 14th May I’d booked off. So went to Bristol on V67 with 46029 to Gloucester with 45033 forward. Had 46009 back to B’ham on M72.
45145 back to Cheltenham on V90. Coming back with 45065 on M71.
Finished the day off with 45139 to Cheltenham on V96 and back to Birmingham on M74 with 45033. E73 should have been 45101 but it was removed at Gloucester due to a defective horn. 47578 worked forward so was instantly flagged.
I had considered doing an overnight move on the last weekend but frankly I didn’t fancy it. Wanted some sleep so I could enjoy Saturday.
For the record E38 22:40 ex Birmingham was 46049. V50, 00:26 ex Derby was 45038 and E61 03 something off Worcester was 46014. I seem to recall that one of the 46’s failed. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Saturday 15th May am saw a hiatus at Birmingham as bashers were phoning control to try and get E04 the 07:30 ex Birmingham fixed. I always viewed E04 as a bit of a sideshow except when I was going to Newcastle. The “Fixer Twins” always fixed it for me.
Today the controller was having none of it. He was going north off nights and sent out 47136 to bring down the curtain on E04/V96.
Control however “did the business” as far as the Peak Bashers were concerned. Today the “army” was on a mission V67 to Paignton and E70 back.
Traction was the same as Friday with 45033 on V62 and 46029 V67 out of Birmingham. 45033 was taken to Gloucester then 47482 on E54 to Cheltenham. E54 had been terrible all week being a solid EH duff everyday.
Took 46029 on V67 to Gloucester for 45033 forward running via Weston Super Mare on the outward.
Much bellowing along the sea wall, it was not just the first coach; it was the whole damn train.
The buffet chap had been forewarned and ordered extra supplies but it was not enough and he had to replenish stocks at Paignton.
The return saw a repeat of bellowing along the wall with quips about certain bashers now taking up residence in Dawlish! There was a certain “Great Cliff Hotel for the retired!”.
At Exeter E70 had a short wait so an impromptu photo-stop took place.
It appears that during this wait, 45033 had its old D39 number painted on with tippex. This “treatment” being done to many of 45/0’s as they still had signs of the D number. The 45/1’s having had full repaints at works obliterating the old number.
Questions were being asked, what was E70 going to be north of Gloucester?
This was a loco off a freight working now. Had we got to fester two hours for M74?
It was not to be, Gloucester had repaired 45101 and sent that forward.
E73 was 45127 and M74 should have been 45033.
On the Sunday 16th May I had a few runs, 45107 to Cheltenham on 09:00 Leeds-Penzance. Back with 45107 on the 15:05 Bristol-Glasgow, I took 45033 to Derby on the 16:50 Birmingham-York I had a fill in trip to Leicester with 45130 and 45109.
It ended with 45042 from Derby on V98 the 17:19 Newcastle-Bristol.
I had been busy recording workings for the 10th to 15th May and been given information that enabled me to see what the best and worst trains were.
I was pleased to note that both up and down “Cornishmen” were solid 45/1 all six days.
O19 and E63 down and up Newcastle-Poole services were also regular 45/0 or 46 all six days.
I didn’t record S19 the Bristol-Glasgow into Birmingham but its return working V56 the 23:55 Glasgow-Bristol was a 45/1 five days out of six, the only blip being 50022 on the 11th May.
50’s were only reported on six services.
31418 worked V72 to Gloucester and back on M22 on the 10th May then we were free of them for the rest of the week.
37135 worked V76 on 10th May and no more produced.
The remaining workings were solid Sulzer 4 and I have to praise 45107 for its reliability. It was on the same diagram all week working V75 Newcastle-Bristol and back with E18 the same day. The only day it did not come back E18 was the Saturday 15th May when 45145 worked. So another solid peak turn for the week.
There can’t have been anything wrong with 45107 as it worked up on the Sunday 15:05 ex Bristol.
One of the machines raked in during May 82 is seen here 2 years later with 45065 largely now confined to Summer Saturday workings like the 0855 Newquay-Manchester on 280784 at New St, prior to the roarer taking it forward
As I wrote this article, I cannot help reflecting that this was the ending of an era and the first descent down the slippery slope that has put the National Network in the position it is now.
My 1982 moves book has the notation for 17th May as “ENTER RANCID RAIL”.
I think that I was correct in putting that on.
We enjoyed the hobby and with the ending of the majority of the loco hauled services on the NE/SW route. I started doing other railway orientated things.
If any benefit can be drawn, it at least got me more diverse in railway activity.
Thanks to Dave Spencer/45009