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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Saturday, 29 January 2022

08873 - A Belated Obituary...

Another Gronk lost is former RES 08873 which was a few months shy of it's 61st Birthday. Seen here in better times at Southampton Maritime in November 2016 when the veteran had just been powered up to shunt the terminal whilst on hire to Freightliner. 

History wise....

Introduced in November 1960 as D4041 and a product of Darlington works she was put to use in the Sheffield area, spending just short of a decade floating between Darnall and Tinsley etc. A trip to the big smoke in 1969 saw the start of a long association with Finsbury Park. It received its TOPS number of 08873 in 1974. When the depot closed in the autumn of 1983, the loco was reallocated to Bounds Green. Transfer to Stratford came 3 years later but the loco spent most of it's time still at Bounds Green and the duties associated with the depot. Repainted in to Intercity livery, complete with yellow cab roof and Stratford Cockney Sparrow logos in 1987, the loco was displayed at the Bounds Green Open Day. A brief period of store came in 1993 but the loco was later reinstated. Continuing it's tour of London, the loco came under the command of Willesden in late 1993 however had moved up to Crewe Diesel by the spring of 1994. A career with RES followed with a repaint in to the Red/Grey livery and becoming a regular feature in Crewe Station shunting the once busy mail/parcel traffic. 

Following the purchase of RES by EWS and having been side-lined at Crewe DMD, the loco was eventually offered for sale and in 1998 became part of the RFS fleet. Resold again, 08873 joined Shunter Hire specialist RT Rail at the turn of the Millennium and spent a good period of time on hire at Crewe Carriage Sidings. Somewhat surprisingly, she was sold on once more in 2005 to Hunslet Engine Company/Andrew Barclay Locomotives. A full overhaul and repaint in to RES with Hunslet branding followed. During it's time with Hunslet it served at a good amount of locations including Trafford Park (for both FLT and Kellogg's traffic), Felixstowe FLT, Round Oak Steel Terminal (West Mids) and Hams Hall. 

The most significant hire of the loco was by Freightliner whom it spent most of it's time with. This was in part due to the dire availability of Freightliners own 'Gronks' at the time. 2008 was a particularly torrid time with FL's own 08891 having decided to give up the ghost in the early part of the year with engine issues at Maritime and was carted away for assessment/repair. 

To further add to the woes 08077 and 08575 were involved in a shunting mishap at Maritime in July 2008 which saw 08077 pushed right through the stop block and end up completely off the track. 08575 was mangled in the incident too and both were subsequently side-lined. For 08873, which at the time was working at Felixstowe North FLT, this prolonged it's hire with FL and further cemented it's unofficial position as their 'First Reserve'.

FL were down to six operational Gronks in 08530, 08531, 08585, 08624, 08691 and 08785 with six remaining duties (2x Felixstowe, 2x Southampton, 1x Tilbury and 1x Trafford Park). With usually one locomotive away for exam at LH Group, Barton-under-Needwood, the fleet was stretched without the hire in cover. 

Cover it would continue to provide, mostly at Southampton but also a couple of spells at Hams Hall. In 2017 she left Southampton for the final time, coming off hire and returned to Barton for repairs. The loco never received these repairs and over the next 3.5 years or so the loco was gradually stripped of all reusable parts. In June 2021 the loco was little more than a shell, even it's cab internals had been completely gutted. Late June she was transferred to Beaver Metals at Water Orton who made light work of disposing of this workhorse. 


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