Marching all together, July 1982


Many thanks to “MIB” for the entertaining, informative text

Thinking back to the past can be a depressing experience in the way it makes you see just how much has been lost from your youth. Back in 1982 I was in my infancy at work down at the Department of Transport ruffling a few feathers with my unconventional approach to things and for my liking of punk. In those days the people I worked with seemed to be more colourful than today but maybe when you are young everything seems that way. It was also the year when I started to gradually commence serious bashing.

1982 was an interesting year for me personally as I found myself out stationed in Barking for 3 months and living in a hotel in Ilford. My footie team, despite being in the second division at the time, reached the FA Cup Final for the only time in their history and were very unlucky to lose the replay to a penalty to top flight opposition. I was well into music such as Human League, Visage, OMD and Ultravox to name just a few and I had a thing about the Welsh Rarebit, Sian Adey-Jones. Today 80’s groups have made a bit of a comeback and I now have a thing about Fiona Bruce and Nina Hossain so not much has changed there.

Setting my Tardis for 23 July 1982 let me take you back to a warm Friday night on Bedford station the start of my one-day bash encompassing two overnights on the post-Deltic East Coast in the process. I was expecting the usual fare of an EH Peak to whisk me to St Pancras but in fact the 2155 departure from Bedford (2010 ex-Nottingham I seem to recall) produced a gleaming freshly painted 47439. In those days most trains seemed to be given an hour to get to London fairly slow compared to today’s timings. This made things a bit tight to nip next door to Kings Cross to cover the 2300 to Bradford as in theory I was only on a plus 5 but as it happens the timings for my Brush were a bit slack and we were a little bit early into St Pancras.

I can’t for the life of me remember what piece I was on but I seem to think I had a return to Leeds, but having had to buy so many tickets in my lifetime not being on priv, time has faded the old memory cells. What I do seem to remember is that the 1L22 2300 to Bradford was in platform 8 and formed of Mk1’s and it was load 11. I was expecting to see a 47 up the front but was thrilled when I discovered a double score pair of boilered vacuum brake 31’s at the helm. 31207 + 31317 was the pair in question as I clambered into the empty compartment of a BCK as the whistle was blown to depart. The window was opened as we climbed out of the Cross and I settled back for some doss that wasn’t that easy as I was not overly tired. I was oblivious to the fact at the time but it appears from the Timewarp site that the corresponding 2121 from Bradford to Kings Cross that night was 31404 + 31125 but I didn’t notice, as I must have burst by the time our trains crossed.

I would have liked to do the train throughout but at this stage in my bashing career I simply needed far too many engines and as I was awake I got off at Doncaster to cover 1L00 running about two and a half hours behind.

Attempts to sleep in the waiting room were in vain so it was a relief when the 0110 from the Cross arrived with a new 31188 on load 5 to take me to Leeds. By now it was about 0420 on the morning of Saturday 24 July and I went straight to sleep almost as soon as I sat down in the Mk1 open. I wasn’t happy having to wake up in Leeds when I was comfortable but I had to go and have some breakfast and tidy up my shambolic state.

The problem with living on the Midland was the regular diet of EH 45’s on everything so I was quite bored with them and wanted lines in the book. At least in Leeds you could get some 45/0 haulage with Tinsley Peaks so when required 45007 produced on the 1V69 0656 to Newquay I had to have a brief blast with it to Wakefield Westgate with its trailing consist of 10 Mk1’s. Here I had a 45-minute fester for the 0759 to Scarborough hoping for a big NB but what I got was Tinsley’s EH 31411 on load 8 so no 25056 again like a few weeks earlier! However, in what some might consider a disgraceful admission, I did need the 31 so I did it to Normanton to rake in a new station as well.

A cart duly arrived at 0816 so this was taken back into Leeds where I could cover the 1M09 0857 to Carlisle. However, instead of sampling the delights of 5 Mk1 compos to Skipton with a new 31313 I suffered another cart out to Huddersfield. I had overhead excited waffling about a big rat on the 0840 Manchester Vic to Scarborough so went to check it out as I expected that train to be a 40 and failing that something with an equal amount of wheels. I was not to be disappointed when the late running 1E19 produced a little monster 25300 heading 7 Mk1’s and naturally I scored it for haulage. The front was wedged as you might expect, as rats in Yorkshire were not overly common by 1982 so I retreated to a compo down the back.

 WN based 25300 back on home territory at Leighton Buzzard with an ole electrification train on 050683

I seem to recall we passed 40006 on the 0900 York to Llandudno and I breathed a sigh of relief, as it was dud albeit I wanted it for new number having had it to Blackpool in 1972 on my annual illuminations trip. I didn’t really enjoy the trip behind my winner because I was not down the front to hear the guttural snarl of the type 2. If I thought having one rat today was a surprise, as I was not expecting any unless one produced on a Carlisle service, then I was positively stunned when it was ejected from the train at Leeds (unscheduled stop if I remember correctly) only to be replaced by 25158 another scoop. I didn’t think for one moment another rat would be lying spare in the Leeds area. The driver must have been thinking if I fail 300 then I can have a type 4 forward so they gave him another rat! However, going forward to York would be costly as I had more winners to chase so I decided the rat would work back on the return working to rid themselves of this interloper so I would have it later all being well.

Doing any bash over the Pennine route would not be complete without raking in some Generators so when the new 47401 North Eastern rolled in with 1M58 0850 Scarborough to Liverpool it was the ideal move on a plus 7 at Huddersfield for 1E34 0900 Blackpool to Newcastle. In my pursuit of winners in 1982 I was not aware that 23 years later I would fancy a product of Huddersfield. I knew nothing about a Nina Hossain who lived there at the time of this tale but she was an 8 year old on her school holidays whilst I was flailing around on the trains. As for Fiona Bruce at this juncture of her life she fronted a band sporting blue hair a far cry from her image of today presenting the news. Clearly by comparison I’m unambitious as I still work for the same organization today as I did then!

Anyway getting back to this tome of tripe, my first 40 of the day rolled in with 1E34 and it was 40009 a vacuum braked winner with 8 Mk1’s in tow. This time I invaded the front BCK so I could get my first tape recording of the day as the whistler made its way to Leeds. This working positioned me nicely for the corresponding working, 1M66 0926 Newcastle to Blackpool. Just 10 minutes after arriving in Leeds another disc 40 appeared in the shape of 40008 of Kingmoor also still vacuum braked and its number etched in white on the front. There were 9 Mk1’s in tow as again I went down the front and stood in the corridor recording the thrash back to Huddersfield.

It was at Huddersfield where I have one very vivid recollection of my days as a basher. We all wanted to make the plus 2 onto the 0900 Llandudno to York and on approaching the station things were very tight. 1E86 was already in with a centre panel whistler at the helm with 9 Mk1 opens in tow. As we rolled into the platform the 40 was a Springs Branch beast 40177 with its old number 377 on the side so I had to make it. At that point the station bert started blowing his whistle at 1208 for the train to depart and suddenly, in a scene reminiscent of a slam door train arriving at Cannon Street in the rush hour, doors all along our train were flung open as bashers leapt from the moving train me included. It is this image that inspired the title of this piece of all us bashers leaping as one and the fact it was a move from and to Leeds and Marching all together is the anthem of Leeds United fans.

To the general alarm of the normals who had got off 1E86 they had to scatter as what seemed like hundreds of cranks but probably only about 40-50 stormed down the stairs and ran like hell through the subway under the tracks and up the steps to the other side. Bert was totally finished when the first of us reached the scene and flung open a door as 40177 aborted its departure as we all piled on the nearest door. After catching my breath I made my way towards the front and encountered one of the legends from the bashing world in the shape of John Sandham many years before he would be renowned for his “Shires Lynx” quotes. I don’t know if Mr Bradford made the same leap as the rest of us or was already on the train but unusually for him he only had one bag with him and not a selection of carrier bags and overloaded caravan.

 Made by “MIB” on a dead at Huddersfield, heres 40177 prior to leaving Llandudno with 1E86 0900 to York earlier that same day, 240782

It seemed a pity to have to bail at Dewsbury just 10 minutes later but there was no way I could go to Leeds as I would miss my 4th new whistler in a row if I stayed on. Before we bailed John showed me my first ever “bog cocktail” in the front coach and what a mess with a light bulb sitting on top of the heap. I was surprised Mr Sandham also leapt at Dewsbury but he did but then maybe a 40 on 7 Mk2’s was worth the leap. 40099 rolled in with 1M63 1100 Scarborough to Liverpool. A BG was at the front but it didn’t stop us going inside to be nearer the thrash back to Huddersfield. This was the furthest I could go as I had a date with a rat back in Leeds so I had to be on the 1300 unit to Leeds.

It was no surprise to hear after arriving that the 1200 Scarborough to Manchester Vic was 20 minutes down as the train should really have been a type 4 rather than a single type 2. When 25158 did appear with 1M69 I made a point of being at the front this time of the 7 Mk1’s to hear the snarl and burble of my latest scratch fairly disbelieving I had two of the class over the Pennines today one in each direction. I knew at Huddersfield that some semblance of normality would return on 1E84 being the1310 Blackpool to Leeds and sure enough 31317 slid in with 7 Mk1’s as I headed off to the front BCK. I had wondered what had done the 0831 outward working so now I knew it was one of the pair off 1L22 on the overnight.

Rather than go through to Leeds I opted to do a few normal Pennine train moves so leapt at Dewsbury and was blown by the appearance of 47441 to take me back to Huddersfield on 1M75 1322 Newcastle to Liverpool. However, this move did work out as it dropped me into position for 47414 back to Dewsbury with 1E53 1505 Liverpool to Scarborough for a plus 6 onto 46029 this time with 1M76 1500 Scarborough to Liverpool back to the home of the Terriers.

Next up was a solid 40 turn 1E82 1353 Llandudno to York the return working of the 0752 from Leeds. I seem to recall this train divided and 31311 worked a Sheffield portion from Huddersfield whilst the 40 carried on with what was left of the train to York. Today split box 40131 another Springs Branch requirement was left with just 4 Mk1 compos so I went into the corridor to record this lightweight working best remembered for the idling and distinctive whistle rather than thrash value. Shortly after the whistler left Leeds for York a hissing sid appeared on Mk1’s in the shape of Southern 777 “Sir Lamiel.” Try as I might I cannot ever recall seeing that kettle since!

 40131 was again straying deep into Eastern Region on territory being seen here light engine at March on 050582

There was still a bonus whistler to be scratched as a Healey Mills 40 had worked to Scarborough earlier in the day on what I thought was a Peak / Brush turn and was due back at Leeds at 1828 with 1M32 1700 Scarborough to Liverpool. Sure enough 40195 whistled into the station and I invaded the front BG leading the 6 Mk2’s to tape the 40 winding its way to Huddersfield. By the time I alighted the squiggly line services were predominantly over for today so it was a case of eking out my time with the regular Pennine services.

I was bitterly let down when 45141 appeared on the first service back 1E59 1805 Liverpool to York so I leapt at Dewsbury as I hadn’t come all the way up here from Bedford to ride behind locos I can have anytime. Fortunately the new 47405 Northumbrian arrived with the first train to Huddersfield in the shape of 1M79 1718 Newcastle to Liverpool so this was reeled in and no doubt to the disgust of those reading this I actually scooped 47416 on the next service back to Leeds being 1E93 1905 Liverpool to York. In my defence Generator’s were unknown on the Midland and unless one worked out of Kings Cross I had to cover the Pennines to reel them in. 

It was now 9pm so time to start concentrating on the overnights back to London as I switched to nocturnal owl mode again. I rode out to Bradford on the lovely unit on the 2105 ex-Leeds to cover the 2146 Bradford to Kings Cross. I was to be disappointed as it yielded 31188 that I had the previous night on 1L00 but nonetheless the tape recorder produced again in the compo to preserve the sound of the 31 climbing up to Laisterdyke with 5 Mk1’s with the BCK leading.

As we had 20 minutes at Leeds before continuing forward to Doncaster I was expecting 31188 to run round as happened a few weeks earlier with 31183 but I was pleasantly surprised when 31313 the winner I flagged on the Carlisle in the morning appeared from Holbeck to work forward so a nice claw back. Being on this portion meant I was in prime position to scratch in the Doncaster gronk that dropped onto the back of us to shunt us onto the rear of 1A40 2100 Newcastle to Kings Cross. 08876 duly performed the everyday ritual at 2322 and after doing so I had 13 minutes to walk up the Doncaster platform, as the length of the train was now 15 vehicles to see what was up front. It was worth the walk as 46056 headed the train and like the shunter was a line in the book.

I went and parked my behind in another compo on the train but basically kept myself awake for getting out at Peterborough, as it was a plus 8 onto 1N13 and the previous time I had done the train it was 46044. At 0130 on Sunday 25 July I found myself at Peterborough poised to jump on the 0005 Kings Cross to Edinburgh and couldn’t believe my good fortune as another new Gateshead 46 rolled in for my pleasure ahead of open Mk 1’s.  With only 8 on 46039 had no problem in keeping time whisking me back to Doncaster on a plus 15 for the 0333 London departure that had delivered 46032 previously so I was hoping for something similar.

There was still no denting my luck as when we arrived at Doncaster Haymarket’s 47001 sat on my train being the 2350 Edinburgh to Kings Cross and this requirement would return me to Peterborough. I counted 15 vehicles again and went and caught up with some sleep in the Mk1 compo none too fussed whether I woke up at Peterborough or not. If I did wake I would get out for the Kings Cross service running 30 minutes behind but if I didn’t I would get home a bit earlier.

The record books will show I did wake at Peterborough and at the wonderful hour of 0516 on a Sunday I scratched my 6th loco on this very worthwhile overnight as 46009 took me on to Kings Cross with 1E40 1920 from Aberdeen. I was well unconscious in the Mk1 open, as what was to become the sacrificial lamb to the slaughter when 009 was violently disposed of a few years later, slowly made its way to London on load 11 for a 7am arrival. With that I popped next door to St Pancras and crashed out on a 127 unit to Bedford, as I was fearful if I did an express I would end up oversleeping I was that shattered.

Whilst the Timewarp site has produced oodles of gen the sting in the tail and downside of it all is discovering what you missed. I was gob smacked to discover over 20 years later that 40091 had piloted 46009 from York to Doncaster the night I did the train from Peterborough as how often would you see a 40 and a 46 in tandem? That is just the sort of pairing I would scoff at if it was to happen on a preserved line but actually happening with a BR service train is something else. Talk about being withered years after the event as I only had that as D291 in 1971 on another family illuminations jaunt. Sometimes too much retrospective gen can lead to shocking discoveries that what you thought was the right move at the time was not so right all along!

The other drawback in writing this tale is that I never made any notes 24 years ago so I’m working completely on memory and many weekends were very similar to others. Whilst the moves were written down at the time nothing else was recorded like why 25300 failed or what was working the cross-country services but then I never envisaged writing about bashes a few decades later so never thought to make notes as too busy working out moves in those days to worry about the plastic future.

Once again thanks to MIB for the text and memories.


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