This blog is focussed around my interests in Diesel and Electric locomotives and the modern rail freight scene. I particularly like the humble Class 08 and 09 Shunter and also anything with a pantograph, notably Class 86, 90 and 92 locomotives.

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This is my personal blog and as such, all views are those of myself and do not necessarily represent the views of my family, friends, or employers.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Freightliner Class 86's - The End

2 mins before the sun was scheduled to set, 86609 and 86608 have snuck out of Garston FLT slightly late this evening and are seen passing Halebank. I believe the delay may have been caused by a late running DB Cargo Garston to Dollands Moor job which was running a couple of mins ahead of this. 24/08/2020.

Wednesday the 17th February brought down the curtain on the career of possibly the greatest Class of AC Electric locomotive ever built in the UK. The humble Class 86, or AL6 as they were introduced, have been an ever present since they were introduced in the 1960's. Equally at home on express passenger services or freight, the class has stood the test of time. 

They have been an ever present in the Freightliner fleet since privatization, with an initial fleet of 30 locomotives. In recent years, the operational fleet was maintained at a static 16 locomotives with additional locomotives purchased for spare parts etc.

When 4M42 ran in to difficulties at Shenfield in the early hours with 86613 and 86610 at the helm, 86608 and 86605 (which were allocated to 4M45) ran light from Ipswich and recovered the service. Seen here at Halebank, the foursome now working as 4Z45 04:55 Shenfield - Garston FLT on 10/01/2020.

2020 saw the first withdrawal's as Freightliner planned to remove the type from service with the ex Greater Anglia Class 90's, which themselves were being replaced on the Intercity services between Norwich and London Liverpool Street. The COVID-19 pandemic saw this accelerated with reduced timetables coming in to play.  The type working their last passenger services in March 2020 and 13 locomotives released to Freightliner shortly afterwards. 

As the Class 86's become due more expensive attention, they were removed from traffic, with 86610 becoming the first to be stood down in January 2020. The reason for it's withdrawal being that it's wheelsets were worn down and needed replacing. With no major exams/repairs being sanctioned, it was initially kept 'warm' at Crewe pending developments. In the end nothing came and the loco has remained stored for the duration, now parked at the head of the storage line at Crewe in an unwired siding. 

In miserable conditions, with a dark grey sky and the rain coming down, things soon brightened up with the appearance of 86610 and 86609 on the Saturdays only 4K64 0916 Garston FLT - Crewe Basford Hall intermodal run on 02/11/2019.

86614 was the second to be stood down in April followed by 86627 in May. An unlikely reprieve came for 86614 however with the loco reinstated in May lasting a further 5 months until finally being stood down in October. 86605 and 86612 were both removed from traffic in June and 86628 with a blown transformer followed in July. The fleet was maintained at 11 locomotives until 86614's above mentioned second storage in October. 

86614 86639 4L60 Halebank 13/07/2020.

The final 10 being 86604, 86607, 86608, 86609, 86613, 86622, 86632, 86637, 86638 and 86639. Only 9 would see 2020 out with the first 'Powerhaul' liveried member of the Class 86622 succumbing in November to brake rigging issues.

86637 86638 4M45 Halewood East Jn. 22/12/20

On Friday 20th November, 86632 along with 90049, was dragged to Leeds Midland Road for tyre turning. On site until the 17th December, the pair were returned to Cheshire behind 66590 on 0M86. 86632 returned to action on the 21st December working with 86607, initially running light engines to Garston FLT along with 66518 and 66567. The pair worked the 4L60 19:46 Garston FLT to Felixstowe later that evening as far as Ipswich. By the middle of the week the same pair were working between Trafford Park and Ipswich with 86637 and 86638 having taken over on the 4M45/4L60 Ipswich - Garston circuit. Wednesday 23rd December 86638 and 86637 worked 4L60 off Garston and the next mornings return from Ipswich as far as Crewe, where they were replaced by a 66543. I believe this was the final working of 86637 which was out of hours and due for a B exam.

86609 86604 4M11 Hartford. 21/10/2020.

Although no longer booked for Anglo-Scottish turns, the services they had long been in charge of, there was a return to these workings in December with 86609 and 86604 appearing. Seeing in 2021 the final 9 were all in a serviceable status on New Years day with the exception of 86637 which was showing in 'X' status at Crewe indicating it was receiving attention. The loco did not return to service and with no action in 2021 for it, was officially stored on the 5th January. 

86604 86613 4M45 Halewood East Jn. 27/11/2020.

86604, which had been quite the survivor having been run on very thin tyres for some time, could not escape the chop any longer and it's last working was the 0Z47 15:00 Trafford to Crewe Basford Hall Route Learner on 15/01/2021.

86604 86613 4M45 Halewood East Jun. 26/11/2020.

Notable workings included 86607 and 86608 on perform the final run from Scotland on 05/01/2021, this being the 4L89 2133 Coatbridge FLT to Felixstowe North FLT as far as Crewe Basford Hall. This pair would stay together as 86607 saw out it's final days in service, the pair working on the 4M45/4L60 circuit all the following week with the final run for 86607 being on Saturday 17th January. After arriving in at Garston with 4M45, the 86's were put on the front of 4K83 12:23 departure to Crewe along with 66420. A fitting tribute saw 86607 lead the train back and to end it's 55 year career. 

86607 86608 66420 4K83 Halebank. 16/01/2021.

86609 was next to go, it's final workings being the Trafford Park route learners, returning to Crewe 0Z43 on Monday 19th January.

86638 quietly slipped out of service on 21st January despite having 120 hours left available for it to run.  It's final working by my records being the same as 86637's on Christmas eve and had sat at Basford Hall, received an exam between Christmas and New Year (hence the 120 hours) before a mechanical issue surfaced and the loco was not to run again. 

86608 86607 4M83 1033 Coatbridge F.L.T. to Crewe Bas Hall S.S.M. 17/08/2019.

86608 and 86639 worked from Ipswich with the 4M87 11:13 Felixstowe North-Trafford Park on 21/01/2021. After running back to Crewe from Manchester, 86608 was put to store. 86639 worked for one further day to use up it's hours, with some training runs between Crewe BH and Trafford Park FLT. It's final run back to Crewe being the 0Z43 13:05 from Trafford.

The final 2 loco's standing being 86613 and 86632. On the 25th January 86613 was sensationally allocated to 4M98 23:09 Crewe Basford Hall to Garston FLT and the 4O14 return the following morning.

86613 86632 0K83 Acton Bridge. 19/10/2019.

The final Southbound liner was the 4L60 Garston to Felixstowe North FLT (to Ipswich) which saw 86632 and 86613 perform the honours on the 4th February. The pair to Crewe the next morning on 4M45 and were replaced there by 66508, as that evenings departure from Garston was planned to take the cross country route requiring the use of diesel traction and running as 4L61.

86632 86613 4L60 Hartford. 04.02.2021.

86613 lasted until the 9th February, it's final runs being 0Z90 Crewe BH to Northampton 'Route Learner' and 0Z91 return.

86632 as the 'Last Can Standing' was deployed to these route learners also. Although planned to run on for a couple more days, a split pipe on the compressor brought its career to an end, and on the 16th February the loco ran back to Crewe BH on 0Z91 for the final time.

86632 86605 4M45 Halebank. 22.01.2021.

As for the future, no one really knows what it holds anymore. Freightliner had themselves, prior to Covid, stated that they intended to withdraw the locos, before putting a number of them through an overhaul programme at a later date, to allow it to expand its electric operated services. Depending on who you ask this is/isn't happening. Time will tell what the future holds for 16 of the most resilient and battle tested locomotives to ever run on British Rails.

A relatively calm scene at Garston FLT as ‘Arrol 1’ goes about it’s business. 86613 and 86604 are seen resting prior to this evenings 4L60 departure to Felixstowe North FLT and had not long arrived in on the 4M45 run in the opposite direction. 66598 is seen lingering behind and was to depart shortly afterwards, running light engine to Ditton FLT were it will assist with the 4L92 departure. 27/11/2020.


Saturday, 13 February 2021

Loco in Focus - 08822

 08822 'Dave Mills' stands at St Phillips Marsh Depot, Bristol during the open day back in 2016.

New as D3990 in late 1960 as a product of Derby works, this loco has had a long association with the south west. First allocated to Wadebridge, it has never ventured too far. With spells at Gloucester, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff during it's BR career. Withdrawn at 33 years of age, the loco had a period out of traffic between 1993 and 1995.

Thankfully, the call came and the loco was repaired and reinstated making it's way to Swansea Landore. It's post privatization career has seen it owned by First Group and used at depots on the Great Western. In truth, I don't think it has served anywhere other than Bristol St Phillips Marsh since the early 2000's?

The loco has carried several names during it's career including 'Ivor' 'John' and now 'Dave Mills'

Friday, 12 February 2021

Loco in Focus - 08631

On site for contract repairs, Locomotive Services Ltd.'s 08631 is seen outside the workshop at RMS Locotec's Wolsingham base on 29/08/2020.

Amongst other things, the generator was away for overhaul at this point with a tarpaulin covering the top with the roof hoods and body side doors removed. Since this picture was taken the generator has returned and the loco has had some test runs around the yard. Should not be too long until it is back in Cheshire all being well.

And about the loco.... started life as a product of Derby works in late 1959 as D3798, the loco was first allocated to Stoke but was loaned out to Saltley for a very brief period. It's time allocated at Stoke was also relatively short with the loco moving the short distance to Crewe. A slightly longer spell at Shirebrook followed before once more making its way back to Crewe. The loco also called Wigan Springs Branch home from 1982 but by the mid 80's was stored unserviceable at Toton. Repairs at Swindon were forthcoming and the loco was back in use by summer 1985 initially being allocated to March were it stayed for approx. 3 years. Movement to Cambridge came in 1988 where the loco was painted in to Network South East livery and the name 'Eagle'. Ultimately returning to March for the last days of it's BR career, withdrawal came in 1992 and the loco offered for sale in 1993, initially being purchased for preservation at the Mid-Norfolk Railway.

In it's post privatization days the loco has served on hire at locations such as Tyseley and Derby for Fragonset. The loco also making an appearance at Norwich Crown Point in 1999 on hire to 'Anglia'.

Now owned by LSL the loco will be kept busy at the expanding business and should return to Crewe in due course.

*Please note all photos were taken with permission on an organised visit*

Thursday, 11 February 2021

90005 finally enters service with Freightliner!

Following the transfer of the 13x Class 90 locomotives made redundant by Abellio in 2020 to Freightliner for use on intermodal trains, they have been introduced to service gradually. Modifications were required for freight use after spending the first 30 years of their lives as express passenger locos with Intercity on both the West Coast Mainline and the Great Eastern Mainline. The modifications took place at Freightliner's Crewe Basford Hall VMF and have concluded with 90005. 

Other than a few light engine runs the loco had yet to enter service with Freightliner Intermodal. On Tuesday 9th February, 70008 on the Harendale to Tunstead decided to pack up near Shap. 90005 was on route learning duties between Crewe Basford Hall and Trafford Park FLT and was summoned to assist. A path was created from Trafford to Shap Summit via Parkside Jn with the loco joining the WCML for the run up to Cumbria arriving at 14:51. By 15:33 the Class 90, with errant 70 and wagons in tow, was on the move. The revised path being put in place to run to Crewe Basford Hall rather than Tunstead with the train to be forwarded on at a later point. Running under head code 4Z51 it passed me just south of Farrington Jn on the approach to Leyland station in the last of the days sun at at 16:35.

90005 'Vice Admiral - Lord Nelson' leading the disgraced 70008 towards Leyland station with the hastily arranged 4Z51 Shap Summit to Crewe Basford Hall 'Rescue Mission'

The original plan was that once the mods were complete, the loco's would be sent one by one to Toton for repainting in the the G+W Orange livery. Covid amongst other things have changed this and the requirement for loco's has seen them enter service in debranded Abellio white even with nameplates till applied where applicable! 90005 carries the name 'Vice Admiral - Lord Nelson'

So quite ironically, 90005 has worked a Frieghtliner Heavy Haul service before it has an intermodal. I'm told it currently has a TDM fault so this is preventing it from being used in a pair with another 90 as is standard practice for Freightliner these days.