The last “Cobbler”, May 90

The last “Cobbler, 86401’s big day, May 11th 1990

It had been rumoured enough times but Friday May 11th was confirmed as the last day of the “Cobblers”, trains we had bashed since 1982. Journeying North on the 0624 we bailed off the 321 at Bletchley. This us allowed us to confirm the quoted 86233 was on the final Bletchley Cobbler and allow us to rake in 3 miles on the infamous 0714 Bletchley – Stoke  310’1 train

The big yellow TV platform monitor screen at the Keynes read as below…., a nice touch by Bletchley PSB

“To mark the end of the Northampton Cobbler era we have arranged for the 0758 train to Euston to be hauled by locomotive number 86401 named Northampton Town”    

86401 duly arrived and whisked us plus silent commuters South at good haste. At Euston both “Cobbler” rakes stood alongside each other on platform 5 and 6 for the last time.

A fill in move saw the 4 of us heading East for unfamiliar Fenchurch St. As rthe moves gen below we had an enjoyable “storm” on former BY 310’s in their latest new haunt. Helped by our gen from Bletchley PSB’s finest we raked in a 12 car set (half the fleet) plus a few more 310’s out of Liverpool St

Back at Euston the final 1722 Euston – Bletchley was flagged with 86233 up front. 85011 was on the line opposte platform 15 but my colleagues attempts to convince the local traction arranger that “85011 was much better than 86233 on 1N51” and “nobody would notice anyway” was met with a sorry but no..The “Cobblers” were renown for the Crewe allocated 86’2 to be locally swapped for an 81-85 with “tops not showing the change so the quoted 86257 was often 85028, withered a fair few this did!.

So after a beer we walked down platform 16 at Euston and were a bit disappointed seeing an Inter city liveried “can” at the head of the final 1814 Euston-Northampton “Cobbler”.  The first coach had balloons and streamers up at one end plus a large bottle of champagne being passed round!.There was also a party atmosphere, all very unusual on a commuter train!

Just before departure time, an announced “loco being the wrong colour” problem saw 86406 uncoupled and 86401 appeared from nowhere to work the very last Cobbler North. A few “neds” we’d never seen on the trains before hogged the very front door windows but it was nice that a small group of local bashers were seated round a few tables in the quieter end of the front coach. On passing the downside shed it was now obvious that, as allocated 85011 was on the 1903 Manchester.

At the Keynes it was farewell to NSE loco, stock and the Cobblers as we awaited the 1903. Our Wolverton colleague went one better, doing 86401 to his home shack before returning on a unit and with gen that a “big siphon” was out on the Marches.

Hurried bible consultation saw a move worked out where we could get home, albeit late. 85011 screamed down the Trent like only a roarer did then a short wait saw 37221 with considerably more bashers than we’d seen all day aboard. From Shrewsbury it was units home including the legendary 0015 Birmingham-Euston.

So there it is another bit of our local railway finished, although the “Cobblers” have returned in various guises they proved a pale substitute for a roarer screaming along on a rake of NSE liveried Mk 1’s 

The moves ..

11/5/90 Fr

321442  0526 Euston-Wolverhampton                                                       LB-BY

86233    0746 Bletchley-Euston (last)

310108  0714 Bletchley-Stoke                                                                    BY-MK

86401    0737 Northampton-Euston  (last)                                                  MK-EU


310092}                1000 Fenchurch St-Shoeburyness                                   FS-SH


310088  1126 Shoeburyness-Fenchurch St                                               SH-PI

302206  1150 Southend-Fenchurch St                                                         PI-FS

310077}                1532 Liverpool St-Cambridge                                       LS-BS


310064}                1620 Bishops Stortford-Liverpool St                                 BS-LS


86401    1814 Euston-Northampton (last)..86406 repl!                                 EU-MK

85003    1903 Euston-Manchester                                                                  MK-CR

37221    2010 Manchester-Cardiff                                                                    CR-SH

150167  2230 Shrewsbury-Birmingham                                                            SH-NS

                                                                 12/5/90 Sa

321401   0015 Birmingham-Euston                                                                   NS-LB


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