The Luton – St Albans “bash” 1978/9

Peak power at Luton a year earlier, 45105 arrives at Luton with the 0950 Leicester- St Pancras on January 7th 1977

 During the late 70’s some Midland loco hauled services that had historically stopped at Luton also made additional timetabled stops at St Albans. By 1981 the St Albans loco hauled stops had been severely reduced and in the privatised era,  just Thameslink units serve St Albans.

Luton – St Albans mileage was short at just 10.35 miles and the journey time was equally brief at 11 minutes but a “peak” thrashing over the scenic Chiltern Green summit was always a pleasure. As with the Midland from the dark ages the diet was eth peak and more eth peak apart from the odd 45’0 or eth 47. 47514 as below produced on both these days which was a welcome bonus. 47514 was Toton’s pet 47 and spent much of her 70’s career on test trains from Derby RTC. By January 1979 the loco was transferred to Haymarket becoming push pull machine 47703.

There were long “festers” between the trains we travelled on, but the Midland in 1978 still saw heavy coal traffic albeit as  MGR’s, much oil including the Eastern 47 hauled “Immingham oiler” from Langley to Lindsey, cement with Southern 33’s as added interest and much parcels traffic. Class 25′ were always pottering about on local parcels and freight traffic. Virtually all passenger traffic was “peak” powered to,  so any variation was an event. St Albans was also renowned for its many pubs…!.      

Tuesday January 3rd 1978

45108  1005 Derby-St.Pancras                                               Luton – St Albans      

47514  1212 St. Pancras-Derby                                             St Albans – Luton      

45124  1207 Derby-St.Pancras                                              Luton – St Albans

45108  1412 St.Pancras-Derby                                             St Albans – Luton

51619/59619/59612/51637 1515 Luton – St Pancras           Luton – St Albans

45120  1519 St.Pancras-Nottingham                                   St Albans – Luton

45143  1407 Derby-St.Pancras                                           Luton – St Albans

51633/59640/59591/51614  1605 St Pancras – Luton            St Albans – Luton

Thursday January 5th 1978

45140  1207 Derby-St.Pancras                                             Luton – St Albans

47514  1412 St.Pancras-Derby                                              St Albans – Luton

51646/59614/59631/51592  1515 Luton – St Pancras          Luton – St Albans

45119  1519 St.Pancras-Nottingham                                     St Albans – Luton

45146  1407 Derby-St.Pancras                                               Luton – St Albans

45123  1820 St.Pancras-Leicester                                           St Albans – Luton

Sunday August 19th 1979

45112  1612 St.Pancras – Derby                                     St Pancras – St Albans

45142  1717 St Pancras – Nottingham                             St Albans – Luton

A bog standard St Albans bail for the train an hour behind, eh peak for eh peak!

Monday August 20th 1979

25243  1025 Bedford – St Pancras                               Luton – St Pancras

45123  2015 St.Pancras-Derby                                   St Pancras- Derby

For around 15 months the local Midland “bash” was enlivened by the “new” loco hauled 0825 St Pancras – Bedford and 1025 return.  Using a load 9 commuter rake off the 0727 Luton – St Pancras “commuter” the 0825 St Pancras – Bedford and 1025 return served St Albans, Harpenden, Luton, Leagrave, Harlington, Flitwick and Bedford. It had a classic Cricklewood “kick out” feel for it as not just eh peaks worked it, class 25 ,45’0 and 47 also featured.

Electrification, HST’s and general rancification of the Midland saw few of us do local moves as the 80’s progressed simply using the few surviving hauled trains to get from Bedford or Luton to St Pancras. One late Spring Sunday in 1989 perhaps produced the last local “hurrah!”

Not rare but never common, class 47s sometimes deputised for our trusty Peaks on the Midland, heres 47534 arriving at Luton with the 1234 to Nottingham on January 14th 1977

As we all know you will today wait at the likes of Luton for a loco hauled passenger train in vain, even loco hauled “specials” are now virtually unheard of, and very much eh Peaks no more….

Any more local haulage moves on the Midland to share?


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