Friday, 24 June 2016

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered ...part I (1980-1983)

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

The 'Staffordshire Potter' was one of many evening rover tickets made available within the Stoke division of the LMR during the early 1980's and there was an interesting leaflet to publicise it that advocated a pub crawl by train.

I can't remember now just when they started, but it was autumn of 1980 when I had my first 'Potter' so it would be a date somewhere about that period and the adult fare was then the grand sum of 50p, rising slowly during that decade to the even grander sum of £2. The way that we used the ticket also changed over the years and a short series of four articles have been planned to outline those changes and illustrating how the local service changed too. Part one features the transition of many local enthusiasts from spotter to haulage basher and/or photographer initially using the ticket to get to Crewe or Stafford for a bit of spotting.

At first glance, a ticket that gave validity between Crewe - Uttoxeter and Stafford - Congleton does not seem to have a great deal of haulage bashing potential, but over the years that followed it was to prove surprisingly useful for picking up interesting haulage's from time to time. Although strictly speaking you were NV direct between Crewe - Stafford I don't recall anyone ever having problems, the ticket usually being excepted by most, and it was only in later years that 'via Kidsgrove' was added to the piece.

Being an evening rover, during the week, the ticket was only valid on trains booked to run after 1745 (time off Stoke) and I can remember, on many occasions, when earlier trains were running late, being kept waiting before I would be allowed to book my ticket. In the early years, the ticket was also available for all day use on Sundays and that was when they could have come in really useful for the haulage basher, or they would have done if I had been bashing seriously that far back. At that period most of us locals were still Spotting though the appeal was on the wane. A few of our number had already become Bashers and were chasing Class 40's to the almost total exclusion of all else. I did have the good sense to record my haulage all the same, but not necessarily the service details, and often, back then, we would arrive at the station on a Sunday morning only to find the hauled trains had been diverted away from us, running instead via Crewe and replaced through Stoke by a DMU and bus shuttle. That was the case with the first half a dozen or so Potter's I had. We would still go to Stafford for a hour or two spotting in the morning then to Crewe in the afternoon.

For anyone who was not familiar with the railway scene in North Staffs and South Cheshire at that time, the service between Crewe - Uttoxeter - Derby and beyond was an approximately hourly DMU service, which scine 1969 would usually the DMU's would be Derby based Class 120 Cross Country Swindon sets supplemented from time to time until October of 1981, by Class 104 BRCW sets which had worked the line since 1958. While between Stafford - Stoke - Congleton, the weekday evening turns were mostly Class 304 EMU's, although Class 310's also appeared on some diagrams but were not considered unusual, plus there was a couple of electrically hauled expresses that called at both Stoke and Stafford that you could cover and the one London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly service 1H20 that called at both Stoke and Congleton. On Sundays, trains before 16:00 were usually booked diesel haulage. There were four booked diagrams off Manchester via Stoke, and those to Euston were booked to call at Stoke and Stafford, all diesel hauled or dragged most weeks and all diagrams could be covered as there were also two Euston - Manchester's calling at Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent to get back.

A sequence of personal accounts of Potter's follow:

Sunday 04/01/81.
For the first Sunday in about a dozen attempts we arrived at the station and found that a bus or DMU had not replaced the first hauled service to Stafford! So it was 47512 working 1G60 Manchester P - Birmingham NS and so we took that to Stafford for a few hours spotting. The earlier 1A11 to Euston was not officially booked to call at Stafford at that period, but usually it did, so as to detach a diesel that would be dragging an electric more often than not. On one occasion, a mate of mine arrived at Stoke to see a Forty dragging 1A11, so he jumped on regardless. 1A11 did stop at Stafford for the Forty to detach, but on the centre rd. Though he considered baling there, the presence of ‘Bert’ prevented this, so, he found himself raking in some bonus sparky mileage until 1A11 was signal checked at Watford! But back to this occasion, and it was the combination of 47468+87035(Drag) on the 1H?? Euston - Manchester P back, the 47 being attached at Stafford after working in from Manchester earlier.

Sunday 25/01/81.
Same move again, this time it was 47443 on 1G60 and 47405+87027(Drag) on the same trains. We were disappointed to get only ETH engines again.

Sunday 13/09/81.
This was to be my last 'Potter' of 1981 and it was to be a little different. 40080 was most welcome on the 1V69 0908 Manchester Piccadilly - Plymouth, which it would work as far as New Street. However due to engineering works, 1V69 was diverted from Stone to Colwich to call additionally at Rugeley. My one and only run over the Stone - Colwich route with a Class 40 providing lots of thrash before I leapt at a, rare for me, location, Rugeley, before then taking an EMU shuttle to get to Stafford, while 40080 continued onwards with 1V69 via Cannock. After a quiet morning at Stafford it was back to Rugeley on the EMU and 1H?? with 86103, an unusual straight electric haulage home.

Early 1982.
For much of early 1982 Sunday services via Stoke were lost due either to industrial action or engineering when they were diverted via Crewe.

Sunday 30/05/82.
The overnight 'Pope-ex' trains had all produced EMU's, just as we had been informed they would, so we were glad we hadn't bothered with an overnight to cover them... unfortunately we had not been aware at the time of what what had worked elsewhere...
After asking around, no one was sure if the advertised train to North Wales would be hauled or not, so we went down to see for ourselves. Again there was disappointment. It was a very sick five-car DMU formation that finally departed Stoke and then only after fitters attention and even then, it was a departure accompanied by a dense cloud of smoke and it was a major stagger. With an hour to kill, we paid a flying visit to Cockshute HS to see what might be stabled. Not much, as I recall. We made it back to Stoke-on-Trent station with only minutes to wait for with 40079 to Stafford on the 1V79 0908 Manchester P - Bristol TM. 87008 was a disappointing find on 1H30 1000 Euston - Manchester for the return. Having witnessed the departure of that mornings North Wales service it came as no surprise to us when we were informed by JL that 40091 and a rake of AIR CONS had replaced the sick units en-route and would work the return. So we took an afternoon DMU service to Crewe in good time for another good but short 40-hauled run, this time on the 1748 Llandudno - Stoke behind 40091. The train was packed and very hot, the air inside foul, no wonder then most of us chose to flail all the way! Mileage men we were not!

Sunday 13/06/82.
Not very exciting again! 47438 to Stafford, for 47533 back. So it wasn't all NB and boilered locos even back then.

Sunday 27/06/82.
This was the weekend that I had planed to start a rover for my first all out bash, but uncertainties over threatened industrial action saw that plan canned, so instead, another 'Potter'. 47409 to Stafford on 1V79. 47536+87019(Drag) back. And my poor luck and always dropping onto the EH locos continues.

Thursday 01/07/82.
Due to this being 'Potters fortnight', (the Stoke-on-Trent area industrial holidays - if you're not local), the 1P14 0925 Crewe - Blackpool was starting back at Blythe Bridge with loco and stock provided by Derby. Having viewed and photographed this train behind 45002 that morning and not having seen the peak return during the day, I felt it must be worth taking a trip to Crewe to cover the return 1K04 1707 ex Blackpool, which was A Crewe service extended to Blythe Bridge. 45002 was noted on Crewe diesel upon my arrival so things were looking promising! 1K04 arrived behind a Roarer and 45002 backed on. It wasn't too often you got a chance cross the always Orange(!) waters of the Trent and Mersey canal and travel up the short but steep Kidsgrove bank behind a Peak! So sheer Hellfire novelty value then and why I didn't go at least to Blythe Bridge I can't recall!

Thursday 05/08/82.
To Crewe by DMU to bring back 40164 which was expected on the 1K38 1737 Llandudno - Stoke. On the journey out I was introduced to Glover, who was an interesting character! I was talking to my old mate Steve Cotton regarding the unit as a crowd of us headed for Crewe. I mentioned I liked the oval mirrors that featured on those Swindon built Cross County units. It was around that point that, unnoticed, Glover went missing. When he got back, he opened his coat, flasher style, revealing one of those oval mirrors! I was then informed by Glover's mate that he was 'building a Class 120 DMU One piece at a time'! Then, Glover points at a small square metal plate fixed to the side of the unit, beneath the window. "What's that for?" Glover asked. "Well" said his mate "When you've nicked the ashtray that's what they cover the hole up with!"

Monday 09/08/82.
Required 40168 had worked 1D32 so I went to Crewe for it on 1K38 1737 Llandudno - Stoke. But unknown to me, the engines had been swapped and it was 40172 that turned up, not that I was complaining - 172 was required as well. Despite having arrived at Crewe off the north Wales line, 40172 arrived on what was, at that time, platform 6, since renamed platform 1 - such a movement became impossible with the 1985 station rebuild.

Monday 13/09/82.
Required 40168 had worked 1D32 so I went to Crewe for for a second attempt at getting 40168 and this time it did come back on the 1K38 1737 Llandudno - Stoke.

Sunday 19/09/82.
After a Summer long absence, Sunday hauled trains had returned to Stoke-on-Trent and now, with 1A11 booked to call at Stafford officially there were now five south bound trains to cover. 'The lads' had asked if I was up for a 'Potter', but I def'd it in favour of taking a few photos line side. 1A11 was expected first but after half an hour there was no sign. Instead first to appear was 40184 with the lads all on board 1G60 hauling the usual WR Mk I rake. When the peg again changed moments after the 40 cleared, it went straight to Green and it was unclear if 'Bobby' was playing his usual Sunday game of 'peg it two hours early and keep 'em guessing' or if 1A11 was now imminent. I decided to wait and moments later 1A11 did indeed appear with the memorable combo of 25037+25044 dragging 86252! The 'Rats' would no doubt work 1A11 to Stafford as booked and should return North later. As I could not remember Rats on the Sunday drags before, the lure was too great and I just had to go out and get them! So now I had to take 1A16 1040 Manchester P - Euston to Stafford and in it rolled with 47432 dragging 86212. It was, I noted, a 'dead time' at Stafford, but with 40 minutes allowed on a Sunday I felt sure I would still make it, but I hadn't reckoned on stopping to pick up a pilotman at Barlaston, before setting back and stretch of single line working to Stone. With Stafford station finally in sight the 'Rats' were already in and on the train! A 'desperate leap' followed by a mad dash and I'd made it by the skin of my teeth onto 1H30 1000 Euston - Manchester P this time the 'Rats' were dragging 87035. I made my way forward expecting to find the lads, but no, they were nowhere to be seen, in fact I don't remember seeing any other bashers on board. Had pangs of hunger not got the better of me I would have hung around for 1A21 1242 Manchester P - Euston and taken that to Stafford, but I figured, with my luck it would be another 47/4 just like 1A16, so I went home for food. I made the mistake of viewing 1A21 and wished I hadn't once I realised I'd been bowled out for 40027 dragging 86235!

Late 82.
Now that I had made the transition from spotter to basher, during the last three months of the year, almost without exception, the Sunday trains before 1600hrs were diverted leaving the DMU and bus shuttles filling the gap, while, once the Stoke - Llandudno had finished in mid September there was, no longer reason to go out on "A Potter" for a few months...

Sunday 2nd January 1983.
A much larger Roadshow than usual and we all let 47543 on the first Euston go. It would only drag to Stafford and then work back on 1H30, while what ever worked the 1G60 0908 Manchester P - Birmingham New St wouldn't be seen again. So it was that we waited for 1G60 which was to be our first move and this appeared behind 47205, which was boiler fitted, and was duly taken to Stafford. Here we waited for the return working of 47543, which was 1H30 1000 Euston - Manchester P, this brought in by 86238. As usual, the pan of the electric was lowered as the Brush backed on. We baled back at Stoke, then came the move with 47502 dragging 86102 back to Stafford on 1A21 1242 Manchester P - Euston. As soon as 86208 arrived with 1H32 1200 Euston - Manchester P, Crewe based 47448 was added for the move back to Stoke again! As can be seen, it's all getting rather repetitive, with the motive power that produced being fairly standard fare for the period. The rest of the day continued with a DMU trip to Crewe and back, followed by a few Electric moves between Stoke and Stafford with 47205 becoming the undoubted highlight. In fact, the only reason for this day to be noteworthy for anyone I would think was that this was to be the last time ever that "The Staffordshire Potter" was to be available for all day travel. From now on a "Staffordshire Potter" was strictly an "Evening Rover" available Monday - Saturday and therefore only very limited use to us 'local' enthusiast types... in fact, it would be over eighteen months before I would next partake... Little did we then know that for some of us, many of the best ever "Potter" moves were yet to come!

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part II follows.

Does anyone else out there have any 'The Staffordshire Potter' memories?
Post in the Comments box below.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered ...part II (1983-1986).

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

The 'Staffordshire Potter' was one of many evening rover tickets made available within the Stoke division of the LMR during the early 1980's and there was an interesting leaflet to publicise it that advocated a pub crawl by train.

As well as the ticket price slowly rising, the way that most local enthusiasts used the ticket also changed over the years and a short series of four articles has been planned to outline those changes and illustrating how the local services changed too. Part two features the period after 9th January 1983, the first Sunday that the 'Staffordshire Potter' ticket was no longer available and valid for all day travel on Sunday's.

With the loss of that all day validity on Sunday's 'the Potter' ticket appeared to have little use for someone who's main interest in the Railway scene was now haulage 'Bashing' and photography. The ticket was only valid on trains booked to run after 1745 (time off Stoke) and with the area covering the lines between Crewe - Uttoxeter and Stafford - Congleton, the haulage potential seamed rather limited.

A further selection of personal accounts of ‘Potter’s’ follow:

Thursday 29th November 1984.
There had been increasing instances of loco and stock vice Class 120 DMU's substitutes over the Crewe - Derby route during the year. Especially during the Autumn months. It was 2K53 15:25 Derby - Crewe and the 2P28 17:20 Crewe - Derby return that seemed to be most often effected, especially on Fridays for some reason (and that clashed rather badly with 'The Tube', a classic 1980's TV music show, shown on C4, usually featuring some of the bands that I liked at the time). On this day I'd already seen, only by chance, 45142 with a short load 3, work the 2K49 13:20 Derby - Crewe, then returning with the 2E51 15:23 Crewe - Lincoln, (presumably replaced at Derby by DMU?) so I decided to check out 2K53 just in case. There would be no gen available to me, so if I wanted to know what, if any thing was out I had no choice but to wait around in the cold and fast falling darkness just in case it should produce. Often when I made this lonely vigil, I had waited in vane as the booked unit had then appeared, or, if it was a loco it would then be ETH fitted or dud or both. On this occasion when I'd waited I was rewarded by the sight of 25244, also on load 3, and working 2K53. Well, the word was spread, and there was a small gathering waiting for 2P28. As we were about to join, our old mate Steve was about to bale, but upon seeing his reception committee, he elected to stay after all. Once in a nice, warm compo, Steve explained how he had carried out his 'standard move' of a weekly rover, used at the weekend, then each afternoon after working early shift. He'd gone out this occasion and had had little luck, made even worse once he found out he'd missed 45142 on 2K49. Deciding to call it a day, went for the unit home and found... load 3 + 'Rat'! Typical of his luck - always dropping on things!

Onwards into 1985.
The DMU situation settled down somewhat early in 1985, far less hauled substitutes were recorded, and thus, little need for a 'Potter'. But a change to motive power requirements in far off East Anglia, would have a knock on effect that would revive the usefulness of our favourite local 'piece'.

In order to free up some electric locos for the newly electrified London Liverpool Street - Ipswich section of the main line to Norwich a number of cross county turns that had previously been electrically hauled between the West Midlands and Northwest were now through diesel. Two such trains passed Stoke and these were : 1M88 06:25 SX/06:33 SO Poole - Manchester Piccadilly ( from Reading) and 1V16 17:25 Manchester Piccadilly - London Paddington. In those days, pre A50 / Britannia Stadium / Palisade Fencing days, you could get some surprisingly scenic shots, on the mostly spare ground just to south of Stoke in the Sideway area, and so, when ever possible, I would combine photing the 6M72 China Clay's with viewing the northbound 1M88 (due Stoke 1144). Whatever worked 1M88 should then come back on 1V16 (1811 off Stoke) and could be covered on a 'Potter', although it should be said, that the diagram didn't always stick. During the period of the 'Crewe blockade' (02/06/85-21/07/85), once the Stoke - Llandudno started, loco and stock would be provided by Derby. This would not be the usual solid 47/4 and the return working could also be covered on a Potter.

Monday 24th June 1985.
That morning 47257 worked 1M88, 45070 turned up on the clay and departmental Class 40 97408 was a bonus phot on a southbound spoil train. A 'Potter' move was on, because 47362 had worked 1D32 (Llandudno) and 47318 1P90 Blythe Bridge - Blackpool additional, both on top of the expected 47257 on 1V16. Whenever you did 1V16, there was always an anxious wait until you knew for sure that the engine had not been switched... thankfully 47257 did produce as expected. 1V16 was taken to an unusually busy Stafford. Thanks to the Crewe blockade, a number of trains were changing engines here rather than at Crewe and as a result, there were a number of engines stabled, mostly in the yards to the south. Our next move was to take the 'Dino', 304001 on this occasion, to Kidsgrove to await 1K90 Blackpool - Blythe Bridge Additional (running for 'Potter's fortnight') on which we expected 47318. As 47362 was a few minutes behind on the return ex Llandudno and also required, the already sad mileage would need to be split, with 47318 taken for the 3 'bus stop' miles to Longport, for 47362 onwards to Stoke. Three NB's scored in an evening, albeit for sad mileage, but at least they're now 'in the book'.

Tuesday 25th June 1985.
On this day, 47362 was once again 1D32 (Llandudno) with 45068, a big surprise working 1P90 (Blackpool), also very unusual was 47318 out again, this time with an additional Llandudno. 45076 worked the China Clay, then came 'massive' 47299 with 1M88 - so another 'Potter' just had to be done!
As I rushed to the station that evening, I bump into Rob. I pass on 'the gen' : 47299 - 1V16 ; 47362 1K38 ; 45068 1K90 ; 47318 on the additional, and he needs all four! Can he get them all in, he asks? Yes, I explain, but it means he must bale at Kidsgrove, Longport & Etruria - even worse than my move the night before! The anxious wait for 1V16 was even more anxious that usual. For me, the main objective of the evening was 47299 - a massive machine at the time, even more so due to the mystery of just why it was renumbered from 47216. Thankfully, 47299 stuck and came back with 1V16 as booked. The move to Kidsgrove was with 304007. 86314+86319 passed through Kidsgrove with a Southbound liner - very rare in daylight then. Rob (and no doubt other's) left Kidsgove with 47318 on the relief ex Llandudno, while I waited for the Peak on 1K90, which I did to Stoke (Looking at it now, I can't recall why I didn't go to Blythe Bridge)?

Wednesday 26th June 1985.
And this is getting to be a habit! 47403 is 1D32, 47334 1P90, later its 45046 on the China Clay and a disappointing 47449 on 1M88. Still, two required engines out, and you never know, the loco for 1V16 is yet to be switched this week, could this be the first swap of the week? Well... no, because, to everyone's further disappointment 47449 comes back on 1V16. Then, its 304027 to Kidsgrove and I then take 47334 to Longport (1K90) for 47403 to Stoke (1K38).

Tuesday 9th July 1985.
With the Crewe blockade still on, loco and stock for 1D32 is still ex Derby and it produces 47128. 'Potter's Fortnight' is behind us now, so no Blackpool service today. 45013 is the China clay and 47002 works 1M88. That evening I go out and 47002 does works 1V16 as expected and 47128 returns with 1K38 ex Llandudno and so I take it to Stoke. I find out later, that 1K38 was extended to Derby after I'd left. Anyway, two more lines are now in the book.

Thursday 11th July 1985.
47437 was a bit of a dull choice of power for 1D32, but later that morning I was quite pleased to phot 45022 on the China Clay, while large logo / Stag 47467 off Inverness was on 1M88. We were not aware of the engine off 1M88 being swapped and thus not working 1V16 in some time. I wanted 47467, and felt that this would be my best chance of getting it. On this occasion the anxious wait would result in a disappointment of the highest order when it was 47432 that returned on 1V16 and not 47467. One stroke of minor luck though, 1V16 'made the minus' at Stafford into 1H38 1750 Birmingham New Street - Manchester Piccadilly for once, but it was only 86208 and not the always hoped for Roarer that 1H38 often produced. 47437 came back on 1K38 as expected. This evening declared A no-score bore!

Tuesday 16th July 1985.
47326 works 1D32, 47029 does 1M88, and 45004 was the China Clay phot of the day. Two 'Biggies' expected out, so it's another Potter! More disappointment... 47274 comes back on 1V16, everyone else is pleased by this, as it's a Heymarket machine and seen to be even better than 47029 and it is scored by everyone (except by me, had on 1G06) including a couple of lads who didn't even need 47029 anyway. We all do 274 to Stafford, then it's off to Kidsgrove again by Dino. During the fester there, one of the Kidsgrove lads, notices his mate 'Charlie' is on duty at the box. 'Charlie' makes a call as to the whereabouts of 47326 and we are now informed that 47326 has been removed at Llandudno and it is 47069 that is now working 1K38. More disappointment for me then, but at least there were a couple of NB's out and recorded in the moves book.

Wednesday 17th July 1985.
47069 worked 1D32, required 47188 does 1M88 with the China clay a 'no show'. Another day, another swap that's not to my advantage... 47623 comes back with 1V16, while 47069 sticks and works back with 1K38.

There appears no further 'Potter' moves in my records for 1985, it's all rover's and other trips much further afield. With the end of the Crewe remodelling, the Llandudno turn became a regular 47/4 turn once again, and by the end of that summer, 1M88 & the 1V16 return working had become a near 'solid' 47/4 turn too. If they couldn't find a 47/4, they tended to dig up a 31/4 from somewhere instead. All the same, in the new year, a few of us would gather to view 1M88 and record it's passage for history, occasionally going out of an evening to catch 1V16 if it looked promising...

Friday 10th January 1986.
In the 'moves book' appears the entry "85038 Stafford - Stoke 16.25 1H38 1750 Birmingham New Street - Manchester Piccadilly". I must have seen it work south during the afternoon on 1G08, which was the previous leg of the diagram. But I have no memory of this at all...

Thursday 16th January 1986.
...unlike this occasion. By chance I saw 1M88 on this day and was extremely surprised to see it was hauled by 33115! With no gen to be had, with regard 1V16, quite a few of us had gathered to await the 1V16 service, not ever really believing that the massive Crompton would come back, but not wanting to miss out if it did! In the event it was 47450 that did the honours on 1V16 rather than the Crompton, but better safe than sorry and at least we made the minus onto 1H38 that night, which was 85021.

Monday 17th March 1986.
Immingham's 31451 had worked 1M88 that morning. So I covered 1V16 only to find 47610 in charge, by chance, a score. We didn't make 1H38 as usual, but it was only 86219 anyway.

Tuesday 22nd July 1986.
20029+20147 worked the 1525 Nottingham - Crewe (possibly after a Derby start?), the same train had been 45115 the day before, while 31224 had worked the 0840 Crewe - Nottingham on this morning. The word was soon out and a number of us made sure we were on the next Crewe bound service and waiting at Kidsgrove (back again) for the Choppers on the 1737 Crewe - Derby. Once onboard, it was only as we passed our local park and spied Ade walking his dog that we realised no one had called him. All we could do was wave... and he, gestured back at us! Then came anti-climax in the shape of Plastic back home from Uttoxeter.

Thursday 11th September 1986.
We knew this was going to be the last year of the hauled Stoke - Llandudno, and this was to be the last week of all We had found out, well in advance, that last remaining English Electric Class 40, D200, was to be rostered for the final two weeks. The penultimate week went well with D200 performing the full diagram each and every day. The last week did not go quite so well. On Monday the 8th D200 set off as planned, but the return working was cancelled due to a derailment at Llandudno. Tuesday saw 47453 working instead, but D200 was back on diagram and in action on the turn by Wednesday. We also now knew that D200 WOULD NOT now be made available for the last day of the Stoke - Llandudno, it's last appearance, and therefore the last ever appearance of a Class 40 on 1D32 & 1K38 would now take place on September the 11th! That night there was a very large Stoke contingent on the Sprinter to Crewe. Others were already on the train when we joined it... There were quite a few of the local lads whom we had not seen on the railway for several years, while still others were making their first appearance of the year.... Needless to say, 'the Reunion tour' was to prove quite rowdy, but good natured (even the apparent punch-up going on in one of the compos was only 'in fun' and there were no lasting injuries!).

Upon arrival at Stoke, everyone baled and made there way to the engine, with much raucous banter and lots of photos being taken. Some 'normals' wandered up too, wondering what all the fuss was about but not quite getting it. It was, after all, just another train with just another engine... The 'normals' didn't' get it when a big cheer went up as the shunter arrived to hook off. The unfortunate 'Bert' was none other than local legend, Mr Alan Pullen. Now, as part of Al's duties, he often got to hook engines on and off the Llandudno, and, the local lads all knew he'd been getting lots of stick for making heavy weather of it. so, as soon as he appeared, a spontaneous round of applause broke out together with rowdy chorus... "Alan Pullen, Alan Pullen, can you hook this engine off!" Once the engine was hooked off and away from the consist, a bemused Al climbs back on to the platform and instantly he's lifted shoulder high and carried back along the stock towards the rear of the train. All the way, the chanting and singing continues but now it's changed to... "Alan Pullen, Alan Pullen, can you hook this engine on!" Once the rear of the stock is reached, Al is dumped unceremoniously off the platform onto the ballast! The chanting and singing continue as D200 backs onto the stock and is coupled up! More applause for Al! The chanting finally stops and Al makes himself scarce! Not everyone present was local, but they were all singing along just the same. One out of towner, who had been singing and chanting louder than anyone else present then says to me... "Who is Alan Pullen anyway!" Then, with the RA finally given, D200 erupts beneath Stoke's overall roof, that mighty sound almost, but not quite drowned out by the clatter of camera shutters as the English Electric beast departed Stoke's number one platform with the stock of the Llandudno for the final time! The crowd stays just long enough for the sights and sounds of D200 to disappear into the distance before dispersing into the night. The next day, 47459 worked the last ever Stoke - Llandudno and return, not that anyone much, cared at the time...

For further notes on the Stoke - Llandudno follow this link .

Wednesday 3rd December 1986.
With the end of the summer timetable of 1986, a season that, in many ways had been a disappointment to me, because, despite spending more time and money than ever on my railway hobby, the amount of 'quality power' I had caught up with was much less than in previous years. A situation that I realised was almost certainly to continue... I even 'Seriously considered packing it all in', but then, it finally occurred to me that the social side of the hobby was just as important as the engines, and, as long as there was a 'roadshow' and some haulage to be had, it was still worth continuing, and thus I was coaxed out again. Well, 1V16 had been lost to us back in May, so there were no diesels that could be covered on a 'Potter'. So what could be done? Well, I was introduced to 'the Congleton leap' for a start. The 1H20 1700 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly was the only northbound hauled service to call there and on this occasion 1H20 produced a Roarer in 85019, and so we took it Stoke - Congleton (another big mileage move then!), this must have been my first loco hauled leap there! Then it was back to Stoke on a unit to await 1G76 1921 Manchester Piccadilly - Birmingham New Street. Now, where 1H20 very rarely produced a Roarer, 1G76 was a much better bet, but not on this occasion, because 86252 turned up. It was usually the engine of the 1M50 Brighton - Manchester Piccadilly, and that service was also via Stoke during the afternoon, and so, if anyone was around, it could be viewed? At Stafford off 1G76, we dropped into another Roarer, 85003, working a 1900 London Euston - Carlisle Relief which we took to Crewe. As it wasn't possible to get back to Stafford in time for a hauled train home we took the last Derby service (A Sprinter) home. Although not quite the same as the run out with D200 in September, this had been enjoyable too

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part I (1980-1983).
'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part III (1987-1988).

Does anyone else out there have any 'The Staffordshire Potter' memories?
Please post in the Comments box below.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered ...part III (1987-1988).

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

As 1987 starts we were now in the middle of the second 'EH winter' and we are well away from the remaining pockets of steam heat (still going in Scotland… nowhere else really), and so there was very little prospect of anything but EH fitted power working passenger turns and in our area that meant a couple of 47/4's workings (more turns on Sunday's if not diverted away) and a selection of AC electric diagrams. Rather than wait for the summer timetable to arrive before going out again, the local 'Roadshow' made the collective decision to pick off those few, still required, AC electrics that we all seamed to need a few odd, examples of. The class 86/0 sub class had been rare performers on passenger duties, in daylight hours at least, since the spring of 1980 when a 80mph blanket speed restriction was imposed on the type. As a result, we had all still needed a few of them for haulage. Now that most of those 86/0's had been fitted with modified bogies and reclassified as 86/4's, these once elusive, on daytime passenger' engines had now been returned to 100mph status and they were once more available to be picked off. We also all needed a few odd Roarers too.

There were two problems to be overcome. The 1st was the almost total lack of gen. What little gen that did filter through to us, never included any info on the AC electrics. We did, however, know details of the diagrams thanks the 'Loco-Hauled Travel' books backed up by our own local observations. If you did see a required loco pass by, and could identify which service it was working, you could then work out what service it might come back on. This system was not fool proof as there was always the danger that a loco might not come back even if it was diagrammed to do so. The 2nd problem centred on the simple fact that we all needed different engines. The solution to this problem was a 'design classic'. Dave B provided every member of the local 'Roadshow' with a green card, which, on one side carried a list of each Roadshow member's required locos, while the other side featured a list of everyone's phone number, the green cards were then to be carried around everywhere or so the theory goes.

The cheapest way to travel with some kind of validity, albeit locally, was still obviously on a 'Potter'. Armed with this ticket there were a number of trains that could drop a Roarer while a 86/4 could turn up on just about any electric diagram at any time of day. Of the trains that could be officially covered on a 'Potter', the 1G76 1921 Manchester Piccadilly - Birmingham New Street was the best bet to be something useful, and the loco for this was booked to work north on 1M50 1015 Brighton - Manchester Piccadilly, due Stoke-on-Trent at 1420. At that time, at least one member of the local Roadshow could usually make themselves available to go out and view 1M50 pass through on most days, and on some days, quite a few Roadshow members would turn out to see M50. This would be as close as we would get to solving our 'lack of gen' problem, for the time being at least. Sometimes, during the first few weeks of 1987, we would, by arriving lineside a little early, (or if the train was running late) or by waiting around longer than the normal, by chance we would view a couple of other services. These services were the 1A49 1330 Manchester Piccadilly - London Euston, due Stoke-on-Trent at 1411 and 1H10 1230 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly, due Stoke-on-Trent at 1430. The loco's off both 1A49 and 1H10 could also work back later in the day to effect an evening's 'Potter' moves, but more of that later. If 1M50 produced a loco that appeared 'on the green card', then we'd all probably do a 'Potter' that night. If no one got a new engine after a few days and a Roarer did work 1M50, then we'd go out for that anyway, and if we hadn't been out for a few days for a Roarer, then we'd go out anyway just for fun. So, most nights then, at that time, at least some of the Roadshow members would be out on a 'Potter' more or less every night until the May 1987 timetable change.

There follows a further selection of 'Potter' moves, some of which are memorable for some reason, while others are included just because they are typical of the period.

Thursday 1st January 1987 - Happy new Bashing year!
86229 worked 1A49 while 87016 worked 1M50 that afternoon. Dave B stopped by shortly afterwards and was then told the disappointing prospect for 1G76 (87016), but he was keen to do a 'Potter' anyway, wanting to get his first moves of the year 'in the book'. Word went out that a Potter move was on and I asked the lads if any of the services we might want to catch would not be running due to the fact it was a bank holiday and I was assured by the lads that everything WAS shown as running, so I took their word for it, and so, a 'Potter' it was then.

We decided on doing the 'Congleton leap' which, you may recall from previous accounts on these pages, that this involved taking the 1H20 1700 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly due Stoke-on-Trent at 1845, to Congleton, where it was due at 1903. 1H20 was the only northbound hauled turn to call at Stoke both and Congleton. As the 'Potter' was an evening rover it didn't cost us any more to cover this turn as well as 1G76, so why not make an evening out of it? We did this move all the time they said, so no need to look again at the timetable, they said, and so I went along with it without checking for myself (big mistake). 1H20 was a, nothing to get excited about, 86219, which we did anyway. The move then, was to return on the 1815 Manchester Piccadilly - Stoke-on-Trent all stations EMU, due Congleton 1912 and back at Stoke-on-Trent for 1931, in good time for 1G76, which left Stoke-on-Trent at 2001… except, this local service was clearly marked 'BHX' in the timetable, as we only discovered upon arrival at Congleton, and this WAS a bank holiday, so it didn't run on this occasion! We had a good laugh about that one… Anyway, having 'bowled' ourselves well and truly out, we even saw 1G76 go through flying through Congleton, and thankfully 87016 had stuck to diagram, and then we all caught the following 1900 Manchester Piccadilly - Stoke-on-Trent all stations service back, which was running, and unusually formed of a pair of 304 'Dinosaurs' 002+020. When we got back to Stoke, and with no other move on, Dave B (who else) was desperate enough to then hitchhike to Stafford, but by the time he got there, his only possible move was to do 1M31 1745 Dover - Manchester Piccadilly straight back home with a not very exciting at the time 87002 as power. An evening that was memorable for all the wrong reasons really.

Thursday/Friday 15/16th January 1987 by Dave B
As I remember, the weather was unusually wintery 4 winter.
"Truly amazing evening! Arrived at Stoke station about 18.30 and waited 2 hours 4 the first decent train, everything hideously 2 Stafford 2 find eleventeen foot of snow !
Fast 86 2 Crewe which was so bloody slow you wouldn't believe it. Played cards in carriage which was minus lights & heating.. Arrived at Crewe approx 21.40, no sign of SOT unit, big moan 2 Mr station supervisor...
Extremely helpful man, he organised loco & stock 2 take us home, snag - had 2 wait almost 3 hours 4 it 2 arrive. Good fortune was on hand: 47 119 & 1 pullman & 1 bg 2 take just 7 of us home.
Arrived in at 01.30... truly amazing."
Looking through the main book, details are as follows:-

19.21 Man Picc - BNS (1G76)
85 023 Stoke - Stafford

19.00 Euston - Holyhead (1D70)
86 249 "County of Merseyside" Stafford - Crewe

0034 Crewe - Stoke special relief
47 119 Crewe - Stoke

What makes this night even more memorable is the fact it was done on the old Staffs Potter and the whole evening cost £1.
"Happy Days"

Tuesday 20th January 1987.
Due to a spell of bad weather and the resulting unpredictability of train services locally, this was the first time anyone had actually seen 1M50 since 85017 had worked it on the previous Tuesday (13th), and even then 1M50 had been so heavily delayed that it had terminated at Stoke-on-Trent rather than go through to Manchester. Today, 85012 had worked 1M50 more or less on time. This was enough to trigger a 'Potter' after several blank days in the moves book. These notes that follow, then, are shown as an example of what was a typical 'Potter' move from the period, not very exciting, but a cheap evening out at the time. The main event, 1G76 and the expected return of 85012 was not until 20:01 but we would arrive at the station much earlier. In between quizzing the station staff during their quieter moments as to what, if anything, of interest had happened, or might be about to happen, we might do little filler moves on 304 EMUs or even if really desperate for something to do, Sprinter DMU's, and we would visit otherwise rarely visited local stations such as Stone or Longport as well as the regular possibility of 'the Congleton leap' on 1H20 (Which was 86219 once again on this occasion) for an EMU back. 85012 didn't come back on 1G76, this was always a distinct possibility, but this time, our luck was in, for it was 81021 that came back, and so, although dud, this 'big fish' was seen as even better. A good fast, albeit short, run was then had and we even made the minus 2 onto 1H27 1810 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly at Stafford. While I elected to come straight back with 1H27, the lads all planned to crossover platforms and wait for the 1D71 Holyhead, and their planned move would then be D71 Stafford - Crewe. As they made their way to the steps, they encountered the local character that we all knew as "Socket" and 'annoying' wasn't the word for him! He walks straight past the lads, who deliberately give him the slip, by going behind a crowd of 'Normal's' making for the stairs, and "Socket", he misses them completely, but he clocks me, and he heads straight on over. Of all the local Cranks, "Socket" was the one that you hoped not to bump into and it looked like I would be stuck with him, for once he latched onto you, then, there was no escaping him. Once you got stuck with "Socket", everyone else would stay well clear, and this was not good for getting the gen. The lads, meanwhile, feeling rather pleased with themselves having skilfully avoided "Socket" and landing me with him, were now on the opposite platform and all having a right good laugh at my expense! "Socket" then asks me, what my move was, so I tell him that I'm off straight back home on 1H27… Then adding… "But the lads are going to Crewe on 1D71!" I say this, pointing him in their direction. He likes that move much better, thankfully, and so he scurries off to annoy them, as I get to join 1H27 in peace, with 86235. As 1H27 pulls away, on the opposite platform, the lads encounter "Socket" and warn him off, but, as usual, despite their hostile reception towards him, he fails to take the hint, and still latches onto them, and tags along as he usually did anyway! Eventually they all left with 87022 on 1D71 for 1M47 back Crewe - Stafford with 86417, and then home from Stafford with 1H45 1940 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly, which was 86101, by all accounts.

Wednesday 28th January 1987.
This was the 'Potter' that wasn't (at least for me). I'd been flu'd up and getting a little stir-crazy. Finally feeling a little better, and well wrapped up against the weather, I'd ventured out and viewed 1M50 during the afternoon. The sight of 86415 working 1M50 was my limited reward. Gen hardly likely to trigger a mass 'Potter' move that evening or so it would seam.
Later the phone rang. Lenny had dropped onto 45143 which had worked the 1514 Derby - Crewe Sprinter turn. Normally a loco out on table 80 vice Sprinter would trigger a mass 'Potter' move, but after my little more than ten minutes in the fresh air just viewing 1M50 go past, I was withered for the rest of the day. The return working for the Peak was the 1648 Crewe - Boston (presume hauled only to Derby?) so the lads went after it without me (Nor Lenny, who was not really a big Peak fan anyway, and for whom his 'bus stop' mileage earlier was already enough). Never mind, it would work again (As Steve Cotton would have said, and frequently did, at the time!) The 1648 was strictly too early for a 'Potter' which left the lads looking at a single to Uttoxeter and to then buy a 'Potter' to get back and also to then make an evening out of it by covering 1G76. The Peak finally arrived some 20 odd down and the lads all took it. As the erstwhile Boston service reached Stoke junction, 1M07 1302 Portsmouth Harbour - Manchester Piccadilly hove into view with something of a surprise up front!
The Phone rang just after six when the lads reached Uttoxeter (No mobiles just yet)! 50027 had worked 1M07 vice AC electric. What, they asked me, would it come back on? "The stock forms 1G76 and the Hoover 'might' run round and work back on that?" I told them. There wasn't anything else it could come back on as far as I could see. The lads joined Sprinter 150116 on the 1644 Grantham - Crewe to get back to Stoke for around seven.
The Phone rang again just after seven. The lads had managed to find a member of station staff willing to make discrete enquiries regard 50027's possible return and it is now confirmed that it is to return on 1G76, so, now they want to know, am I going to turn out for it after all? Regrettably, I have to say I'm just not up to it. Back in the days when Class 50's had been LMR locos and based at CD, they would turn up from time to time on passenger duties around Stoke-on-Trent, most likely Sunday drags if the power went off, or on specials, but since those days, which already seamed a long way behind us even back then, Class 50's had been uncommon in our area.
As it turned out, 50027 did work back on 1G76. I at least got to hear it go past even though I felt much too rough at the time to go out after it! The lads arrived at Stafford just too late for the move on 1D71 to Crewe for 1M47 back, so instead, they festered at Stafford until 86242 had turned up on 1M31 1745 Dover - Manchester Piccadilly.
But just how does a Class 50 end up working through to Manchester on a service from Portsmouth? Well, the following tale, as told to me, is from memory, so it may not be 100% correct; so if you can confirm or deny any of what follows, then please let me know?
Apparently, shortly before this incident, the powers that be had noticed a lot of appearances by classes 81 and 85 (Roarers) on cross county duties, most notably those between the West midlands and Scotland and vice versa. As these locos were being run down, they were also becoming more unreliable and this was said to be having an effect on timekeeping, so a memo was then issued to 'control' to the effect that Roarers were only to be used on these duties as a last resort. While until recently, it was Roarers that had seamed to dominate these diagrams.
On this day a Class 87 had been rostered to work the 1O11 0950 Glasgow Central - Brighton as far as Birmingham New Street. Upon arrival at New St, the 87 was detached as usual, and then ran light engine to Coventry to await the arrival of 1M07 as per diagram. Meanwhile, 1M07 had set out from Brighton, presumably with the usual 47/4 up front, but only a short distance into the journey 1M07 was involved in a fatality on the line and was terminated. In those days BR didn't like to cancel trains and would run them if at all possible. The WR managed to find a spare loco, 50027, and a spare rake of MkI stock at Old Oak and this ran ECS to Reading to restart the service from there. At Coventry, the booked forwarding engine was AB only while the stock was Vacs, and with nothing else available in the area, the Hoover had to work it through. Of cause I can't say that that memo, if, indeed it ever existed, was to play any part in the working of 50027, but it was implied that it did, by he who told me this tale. Can anyone shed further light upon this incident?

Monday 23rd February 1987.
Just just a single member of the local roadshow required most of the locos that featured upon 'the Green Card' Gen sheets, occasionally two people might need the same loco, but there was a single loco required by almost everyone, and that loco was 81005. Should 81005 ever turn out on 1M50 then it was generally understood that everyone would want to know all about it and if that ever did happen there was sure to be a large 'local' turnout. Only minutes after the appearance that afternoon of 87028 on 1A49 1330 Manchester Piccadilly - London Euston, (a turn in serious danger of becoming 'solid' Laser at the time) 81005 had bounced around the curve and into view on 1M50. Word was spread and the long expected near full turnout did indeed 'produced on a Potter'. To make an evening of it, most elected to do the full 'Potter Experience' which, as I've said before, often included a few filler moves on units, and 'the Congleton leap', 86261 working 1H20 on this occasion and then a move back with a 'Dino' all helping to build up the tension before that crucial moment when 1G76 would finally hove into view, ever hopeful that it would still be roaring. As the twin lights first appeared, it was 'Roaring' at least, and indeed as it got closer, it was a flying fish… 81005 had finally produced! Only Lenny was disappointed… somehow he had been informed that we were all expecting 81006 to appear, which only he needed at the time, rather than the, for him, dud 81005. Everyone piled on, and we made our way to the front coach, which was otherwise empty, which meant we could open a few windows without upsetting anyone despite it being a freezing, frosty evening and we could soak up those once familiar sounds that only a 'Roarer' made as we travelled through the darkness. Many heads were out for the first couple of minutes until beaten back inside by the cold as we accelerated out of Stoke and into the freezing night. Then we all settled back to enjoy the thrash, looking out for the illuminated Wedgwood sign, to see which of the Blue neon letters would be working and which would be out… it had read "We woo" for what seamed like months amusing Dave B every time we passed it. After the short thrash, on came the brakes for the familiar junction just short of Stone station and the sharp right hand bend. After that restriction was safely negotiated, and as we accelerated again, away into the night, there came a Bright flash, a Bang, and what appeared to be a small fireball that flew passed the coach windows. With sufficient momentum we made it to the peg protecting Norton Bridge just short of the mainline and only then did we come to a stand at a Green colour light but it was obvious to all that something was up. We had failed. The guard confirmed to us that 'the carbon had been lost from the pan' as we had all suspected, and we were told we were awaiting rescue from Crewe or maybe even Stoke where we had left 47359 & 20032+20209 parked up. With all the windows now firmly shut to keep in the last of the heat, time passed quickly as we played cards and speculated upon possible rescue locos. After about 90 minutes, a Light Roarer passed by ahead of us on the main, southbound, then minutes later, it reappeared and dropped onto the front of out train. Soon, we were under way again, but it wasn't until we got to Stafford and all baled that we were able to discover that it was 85023 that had rescued us. Due to our late arrival there was now little in the way of moves to be done, but wait, what's this? Within a couple of minutes arriving at Stafford, here was the 1M31 1745 Dover - Manchester Piccadilly, the last hauled train to take us home, and it too, appeared to be Roaring… indeed it was another 'big fish' 81002! No one present could recall 1M31 ever dropping a Roarer before… A short, but blistering run home followed.

Monday 30th March 1987.
1M50 had produced 86416. Not one of the former rarish 86/0 conversions, but the former 86316, which after all had been rather commonplace leaving a Potter move looking unlikely. But the chance viewing of the appearance of 31458 on the 1511 Derby - Crewe Sprinter turn turned things around. 31458 would be back as the 1648 Crewe - Boston (tonight terminating at Derby). Not everyone in our roadshow was that keen on the 'Goyles', so just three of us went out after it. With plenty of up hill thrash and two intermediate station stops, 31458 seamed like good value on a Potter and taken out to Uttoxeter, the easterly limit of validity. Lengthening Spring days meant there was enough light for photos at Uttoxeter, not only of the departing 'Goyle' but of the half hoped for / half expected 47223 that passed through on a rake of oil tanks before our return move on another plastic Sprinter. With a valid piece we may as well cover 1G76, and just as well we did, for it was an unexpected bonus Roarer in the shape of personal mileage machine 85003, this having replaced the expected 86416. A good fast run with 85003 even sees us making the minus into 1H27 1810 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly, so it's straight back towards home, and true to the usual expected form, that 1H27 only gets a Roarer if the minus isn't made, it produced 86220. From Stoke it was back to Stafford on a Dino. We were beginning to appreciate these old units more and more, and by now they had been reduced from four to three cars, we were noticing that all the different sets each seamed to feature little detail differences, and some sets had seemingly taken on different characteristics all of there own. Some sets gained nicknames as a result of these characteristics, while other sets gained nicknames with a slight 'comedy value' (but only if you knew the story behind it). A list of these 'Dino' nicknames was floating around back then, but I don't have a copy of it, and can only remember a few odd ones. Off the 'Dino' we hoped to make 1M31, which had produced another Roarer (since 81002 at the end of the last month), but we just missed it and ended up having to wait around for 1H45 the 1940 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly, with a disappointing 86258 instead.

Wednesday 6th May 1987.
I decided against the full 'Potter Experience' and turned down the Stoke-on-Trent-Stone-Longport-Stoke-on-Trent unit bash prior to 1H20. 'The Congleton Leap' was raked in however, with commonplace 86250 working 1H20 1700 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly for Dino 001 back on the 1815 Manchester Piccadilly - Stoke-on-Trent stopper. That afternoon, 1M50 had been 87033 so was expected back with 1G76, but no, it was 85008 which made a nice change to Stafford. 86255 taken on 1H27 1810 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly back homeward for an unrecorded Dino on 1935 the Altringham - Wolverhampton back to Stafford and a choice of 1M31 ex Dover or 1H45 1940 London Euston - Manchester Piccadilly to finish the day. 86404 working north with 1H10 had followed 87033 that afternoon and should have gone back south with a Newhaven service and thus was 1M31 as booked and turned down as 1H45 was unknown but turned out to be a rather uninspiring 86428. And so, the end of an era, though I don't think I realised it at the time as the 6 month or so period, that saw the most intensive use of the Potter ticket by the local bashing road show drew to a close…

Timetable change May 87.
There were no booked evening diesel turns, not ever summer dated ones, 1G76 runs no longer, but is now replaced by 1V19 1920 Manchester Piccadilly - London Paddington in similar times. The loco for this came off 1H88 1517 Birmingham International - Manchester Piccadilly (1641 through Stoke-on-Trent), but because the circumstances of the Roadshow members had also change, there was rarely anyone around to view 1H88 anyway, so there was usually no Gen on 1V19 to be had. The road show itself had splintered, with the various members now becoming more specialised. Now, there were factions chasing Class 50's, Class 47 or Class 37's exclusively, and the Potter ticket was of little use for any of those. Previously, the local road show's only specialists had been the followers of the Class 40's, and their appearances had already become as sparse as those of their favoured locos. Wayne and John had both already come out on a Potter with us one night and then announced that they were both quitting railways altogether, for fishing, and true to their word, I don't think I've seen neither of them out on the rails ever since.

Potter tickets would now be of little use to the Roadshow. It was to be over twelve months before I was to have another Potter.

Thursday 14th June 1988.
The phone rang. It was Lenny. He was at Derby and had just seen 31259 heading for Stoke hauling a failed DMU and was I interested? As it was a score, yes I was interested. 31259 was working what I believed was a late running 1604 Derby - Crewe dragging a rare, for the route, Gloucester RCW co set formed 51101+51071 vice Sprinter. Strictly a service too early for a Potter, but I just asked for a piece for Crewe and that's what they sold me, so who am I to argue? I was treated to quite a lively run behind a smoky Goyle and I don't recall any other bashers being there for it. A signal check West of Alsager, just before the single track section, saw a Sprinter pass on what should have been the return leg of the service that I was already on, and that now meant a Plastic ride back was now guaranteed, putting a dampener on the rest of my run to Crewe. Upon arrival 31259 then worked into North Wales still with the dead unit in tow, while my ride back was on Neville Hill based Sprinter 150248 on the 1839 Crewe - Derby. NL sets were booked on this service at the time!

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part I (1980-1983).
'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part II (1984-1986).
And now onward into the final 18 months of 'The Staffordshire Potter' part IV (1988-1989).

Does anyone else out there have any 'The Staffordshire Potter' memories? Post in the Comments box below.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered ...part IV (1988-1989).

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

The 'Staffordshire Potter' was one of many evening rover tickets made available within the Stoke division of the LMR during the early 1980's with an adult fare that started out at princely sum of 50p, rising slowly during that decade to the grand sum of £2. At first glance, a ticket that gave validity only between Crewe - Uttoxeter and Stafford - Congleton and then only after 1745 (off Stoke-on-Trent) Monday to Saturday does not seem to have a great deal of haulage bashing potential, but over the years that it was available, the ticket was to prove a surprisingly useful piece for picking up interesting haulage's from time to time.

Between December 86 and the May 87 timetable change when the local Roadshow were busy picking up their required electric's, the only time that I'd had a Potter it had been issued to me in error, but it would soon become a useful piece for one final spell.

Friday 28th October 1988.
Around the middle of October 88, I became aware that loco and stock was substituting for Sprinter DMU's, usually on the same turn which involved a maximum of four round trips and the last leg of the turn could be covered on a Potter ticket. Typically the locos used were 31/4's or 47/4s but still worth keeping an eye out for just in case? On my first Potter for many months, I took the NL Sprinter diagram which was 150202, working the 1708 Derby - Crewe to Longport to meet 31409 on 2P88 1738 Crewe - Derby taken to Blythe Bridge and a more usual DY Sprinter 150101 brought us back to Stoke-on-Trent. With validity in hand, we decided to cover 1G66 1840 Manchester Piccadilly - Birmingham International taking 86414 to Stafford and back with the booked diesel on 1M23 1508 Poole - Manchester Piccadilly which was an uninspiring at the time 47629. Over the next few months, we would go after 2P88 from time to time before taking a trip to Stafford and back on 1G66 for 1M23 back and on many other occasions, the move would be caped at the last minute when the loco on 2P88 had been ripped.

Thursday 8th December 1988.
Loco and stock substitutes for Sprinter's over the Crewe - Derby were, if anything, getting more frequent but not very exciting or memorable so most are omitted from these notes. On this occasion, I did a fast car move with Chris and the most memorable thing about it was getting run off the road by a speeding ambulance which pulled out from behind a very long line of on coming traffic leaving us nowhere to go! 2P88 was a very dull 31416, 1G66 was 86226 , 47639 on 1M23 plus we had 304010 to Stafford and then 86432 back on 1H37 2132 Birmingham New Street - Manchester Piccadilly.

Monday 13th March 1989.
Loco and stock substitutes for Sprinter's over the Crewe - Derby were now occurring most days, and had been covered regularly, a loco was out sometimes on more than one diagram and not always predictable. Several of the Derby departmental Class 47s such as 97545 and 97480 had already worked and been sampled and later 97472 and 97561 would also appear. Today it was the turn of the departmental Class 31, 97204, which was on the usual turn and thus covered on 2P88, taken to Blythe Bridge. 86406 was on 1G66 and 47639 on 1M23 again.

Tuesday 23rd May 1989.
For the May timetable change, table 80 Crewe - Derby trains became, for the most part, self contained and the bulk of the hourly service was now expected to be covered by 3 Sprinter diagrams with most of the through services beyond Derby and Crewe curtailed. At short notice, 2 of the 3 turns were to become loco and stock, two short sets and four loco diagrams were introduced, usually 31/4's.
The two sets had started out from Derby (97545) and Crewe (31425) first thing but 97545 was soon replaced once returned to Derby after just a single round trip by 31451. After 3 full round trips, 31425 was to be replaced at Crewe on 1549 departure by 31430. 31451 had made 2 and a half round trips, though (normally it would have been 3 and a half but for 97545, until a fresh engine was booked to come out for 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby and with no gen, a group of us went out to cover the turn on a Potter. It was a total fluke, but this was to be 31242 only the second NB since these turns went loco-hauled on the 15th (31155 was the 1st, working 1549 Crewe - Derby ONLY before 97545 had taken over and completed the diagram back on the 17th). We already knew 31430 had become very late before we left Stoke-on-Trent with 31242 on 2P82 and when we reached Longton and not having passed it, we baled in case it was the pair of Class 20's we'd seen earlier heading off that way. Eventually, 31430 appeared, 2K57 1711 Derby - Crewe and it was just running late and when we got to Stoke-on-Trent it terminated, ran around then formed a 2P84 1909 Stoke-on-Trent - Derby (The 1842 ex Crewe starting here). So we took 31430 on 2P84 to Uttoxeter to meet 31242 coming back, and while we waited for its return, we explored the area where the old steam shed used to be and noted much evidence that we were in the right place. 31242 came back with 2K49 1913 Derby - Crewe and we then took it to Crewe. If 31451 had been fuelled and had no issues it would probably replace 31242 for the 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby, which it did. We took 31451 on 2P88 to Etruria crossing the island platform onto the 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe which was 31430 as expected and taken to Crewe. 31430 then formed the last Derby departure, the 2144, which we took to Stoke-on-Trent. We could have gone further, to meet the last turn off Derby, which should have been 31451 again, but after 96 miles of Class 31 haulage on a Potter I decided to call it a day, so can't say if 31451 came back or not!

Monday 12th June 1989.
Loco-haulage of the two Sprinter turns only lasted two weeks and a day before the loco hauled sets were joined and then they replaced to booked 2x2 heritage DMU's on a Derby - Llandudno round trip, which in turn, could be released to work the Crewe - Derby turns, but even then, a loco hauled could and did turn up at some point during most days. On this occasion, I was able to inform Chris that 97204 was out once again, on 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby, so we did it to Blythe Bridge rather than Uttoxeter to avoid a major fester there. Suburban heritage DMU set 53060+59757+51142 was on 2K57 1711 Derby - Crewe and then Sprinter 150105 on the 1935 Crewe - Derby was taken to Longport. This mix of loco haulage, heritage DMU and Sprinter was typical of table 80 at this time. Here, our paper lad turned up, having overheard me telling Chris the gen re 97204 earlier; I didn't know he was a fellow crank! 97204 was taken Longport - Crewe on 2K49 then back to Stoke-on-Trent on 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby.

Tuesday 13th June 1989.
Steve rings. He's at Derby and 20053+20094 are about to leave on the 1611 Derby - Crewe. I set off to walk to Longton, but after a long walk down a path the Fire brigade wont let me pass due to a serious gas leak and the trains aren't running anyway! I return home and I've had a message from Steve, 'train terminated Uttoxeter due to gas leak'. Then Steve rings again, says 20053+20094 are coming again, but now running as the later 1711 Derby - Crewe restarting Uttoxeter, so I set off for Stoke-on-Trent this time and I just miss 20053+20094 by seconds. But now there is another Crewe train being announced… it's the 1711 Derby - Crewe again, but this 1711 Derby - Crewe is formed of 51372+59490+51414. I take the heritage set and decide to play safe and bale at Alsager. 20053+20094 are now working the 1935 Crewe - Derby and I have them Alsager - Uttoxeter and my move back is with Class 104 set 53425+53476 forming 2K51 2011 Derby - Crewe to get back home.

Friday 16th June 1989.
A more straightforward move, Sprinter 150126 on 2K57 to Longport to meet required 31232 on 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby taken to Uttoxeter for a miss formed Sprinter 52132+57117 back.

Thursday 13th July 1989.
20070+20072 were out and working 2K57 1711 Derby - Crewe but were late and getting later while I was waiting at Longton for them. Once they arrived I took them to Crewe. Because they were running so late the return was caped and they were to go back ECS, but 'suddenly' a large group of passengers who urgently needed to get back to Derby just 'appeared' out of nowhere, and so a control relief was to run non-stop to Derby. What about us passengers for Stoke-on-Trent? Nothing doing! At least nothing doing for us, until it was discovered that a motorbike that was being 'Red Starred' to Stoke-on-Trent had been left in the van. So now there was to be an extra stop at Stoke-on-Trent to drop off the bike and we could get off as well!

Tuesday 1st August 1989.
The previous day, the two loco and stock turns together with the four loco diagrams were back on table 80 turns, but this time it was to be pairs of Class 20's not 31/4's that were to work. The first day had seen 20210+20151, 20129+20163 and 31124 all work while a couple of trains later on had been caped. Today 20210+20151 started off at Derby, did the booked 2 and a half round trips and were replaced for the 2P82 1447 Crewe - Derby by 20073+20131 and then they came back, but only working for the one round trip and then 20210+20151 were back after fuelling on the 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby and two full round trips. 20129+20163, (the former being required) started their day at Crewe and previous form suggests that after 3 round trips they would be replaced for the 2P84 1547 Crewe - Derby, a service for which I waited to see and photograph and was surprised when it was 20129+20163 that turned up. I would be waiting for the next leg of this diagram, 2K57 1711 Derby - Crewe to catch them, but now it was 20034+20042, which appeared and were taken to Crewe. Then, 20073+20131 replaced them and backed onto the stock to work 2P84 1842 Crewe- Derby, which I took to Blythe Bridge to meet 20210+20151 coming back on 2K49 1911 Derby - Crewe, taken back to Crewe. 20210+20151 then took 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby, back which were taken to Longport meeting 20073+20131 on 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe. At Crewe 20073+20131 also took out the last Derby bound service, 2P82 2144 ex Crewe as expected and we did them back to Stoke-on-Trent.

Wednesday 2nd August 1989.
Day 3. Fresh pair 20052+20004 started at Derby and did the booked 2 and a half round trips before retiring to Crewe DED for fuel, being replaced at Crewe by a 2nd fresh pair, 20106+20020 for the 2P82 1447 Crewe - Derby and 2K55 1611 return. 20210+20151 started out at Crewe and did 3 round trips before being replaced by refuelled pair 20052+20004 on the 2P84 1547 Crewe - Derby. I was waiting to join 20052+20004 when they came back, at Longton, for the 2K57 1713 Derby - Crewe, enroute we passed another new pair, 20044+20188 working 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby which would hopefully be back later. 08784 produced for a well-loaded shunt release allowing 20052+20004 to take out the 2P84 1842 Crewe - Derby which I took to Blythe Bridge to meet 2K49 1913 Derby - Crewe which was 20044+20188 on their way back as expected. Back out of Crewe again with 20044+20188 working 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby but to Longton this time for 20052+20004 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe all the way back. Upon arrival, 20052+20004 form the 2P82 2144 Crewe - Derby, at Stoke-on-Trent almost everyone else bales off and we have the front of the train almost to ourselves as we savour the thrash up hill to Longton and a brisk walk home.

Thursday 3rd August 1989.
20052+20004 start out from Derby, but only complete 1 and half round trips, with another fresh pair in the shape of 20140+20154 out for the 2P84 1142 Crewe - Derby. This is where some gen reports break down, having assumed that the 20's ran as expected, but Sprinter 150125 worked 2K49 1305 Derby - Crewe & 2P82 1447 back. 20140+20154 and stock were back, however, for the 2K55 1611 Derby - Crewe. 20044+20188 were out again, setting out from Crewe and working 3 round trips as booked. Today a 2nd fresh pair, railfreight livery duo 20141+20023 come out to work the 2P84 1547 Crewe - Derby and as these are required, my move is to be waiting at Longton for their return on the 2K57 1713 Derby - Crewe, taken to Crewe, passing 20044+20188 on the 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby. 20141+20023 then form 2P84 1842 Crewe - Derby which I took to Stoke-on-Trent to meet 20044+20188 coming back with 2K49 1913 Derby - Crewe, same train as they did yesterday. Gen now suggests Immingham pair 20043+20069 have replaced 20141+20023 and will be next across on 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe. Unexpectedly, 20034+20042 have replaced 20044+20188 for then 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby which I can only take to Stoke-on-Trent tonight if we are to be sure of making 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe, which was 20043+20069, just as had been quoted.
After 4 days 20 different Class 20's have worked table 80 plus 31124.

Monday 7th August 1989.
During the previous 3 days, and fresh pairs 20218+20099, 20065+20208 and 20159+20045 had all worked. Derby found yet another new pair to turn out first thing, with 20127+20114 working the booked 2 and a half turns to be replaced by 20188+20044 for the 2P82 1447 Crewe - Derby and 2K55 1611 return. 20043+20069 started their day at Crewe and worked 3 round trips, replaced by (hopefully) refuelled pair 20127+20114 on the 2P84 1547 Crewe - Derby. I'm waiting at Stoke-on-Trent for 2K57 1713 Derby - Crewe expecting 20127+20114 but it's Sprinter 150138 and it sticks for the rest of the turn. With low mileage pair 20069+20043 the probable power for 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby, these were taken Etruria - Uttoxeter and with only one hauled set out, and avoiding an excess fare, there is a bit of a fester until 20069+20043 are back with 2K49 1913 Derby - Crewe and then back to Longton again with 20069+20043 on 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby.
After 8 days 28 different Class 20's have worked table 80 plus 31124.

Friday 11th August 1989.
20113+20197, 20189+20056, 20121+20016, 47372, 20131+20073 have all now also worked over the last few days. First thing, Derby found 150108 but fortunately it only worked a single, early morning round trip before 20114+20127 came back out for the 2K55 1013 Derby - Crewe and then a further round trip before replacement as booked by 20159+20045 on 2P82 1447 Crewe - Derby and 2K55 1611 return. 20188+20227 came out from Crewe and did the customary 3 round trips. 20188 had appeared having been found a new partner since the sudden withdrawal of 20044 after a Toton exam 2 days previously. 20127+20114 came out for 2P84 1547 Crewe - Derby and I'm waiting at Longton for them coming back on 2K57 1713 Derby - Crewe, passing 20099+20218 on 2P82 1738 Crewe - Derby. An unexpected swap at Crewe saw 47973 work, 2P84 1842 Crewe - Derby which we took to Uttoxeter to meet 20188+20227 working back on 2K49 1913 Derby - Crewe as 20227 was required. 20188+20227 then worked the 2P88 2038 Crewe - Derby service, which was taken to Etruria to meet 47973 working back with 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe. The final train of the evening was 20056+20189 replacing 47973 in diagram on the 2P82 2144 Crewe - Derby taken back to Stoke-on-Trent.

Tuesday 26th September 1989.
Although I didn't know it at the time, this would prove to me my last ever Staffordhire Potter evening rover ticket. 20199+20202 had worked out that morning to Llandudno and should be back. So I took T212 (a 2 car heritage DMU) working as 2K57 1713 Derby - Crewe. 20199+20202 were working the 2P82 1727 SX Llandudno - Derby and I did it as far as my ticket allowed, to Uttoxeter. 150104 was the move back on 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe to Stoke-on-Trent this would become my rather disappointing, final working on a Potter ticket!

Date unknown late autumn 1989.
Word had got out that the Potter ticket was to end 'soon' and so a last Potter was planned and a group of us went down to the station to book our final ticket, intending on a mini unit bash and maybe a loco hauled trip to Stafford and back only to be told that the ticket was no longer available, we were too late.

'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part I (1980-1983).
'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part II (1984-1986).
'The Staffordshire Potter' remembered part III (1987-1988).

Does anyone else out there have any 'The Staffordshire Potter' memories? Post in the Comments box below.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

Saturday, 18 June 2016

4M22 SX Peterborough - Crewe Vans

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

I first became aware of this turn very early on. It ran at least as far back in time as 1970 and as I understand it earlier but under different headcodes ?

The service turned up in Stoke about 15:30 in the early years, but would gradually appear to run a bit later over time. I have recorded well over 200 workings of this service from my 1st recorded sighting (21st August 1973) right up until the very last occasion that this train ran, which was Friday 30th May 1981.

Motive power was most often a Class 25, but Class 31's turned up with increasing frequency. Classes 20/37/40/45 & 47 have also been recorded. During the mid 1970's, it was noted that Class 31's off 4M22 would usually appear back at Stoke during the early evening and drop onto Cockshute HS, so if you ever found a 31 down there around then and wondered what it arrived on, the answer is probably 4M22.

Consist was a very wide assortment of vans, mostly BR standard BG's/GUV & CCT types in various liveries (shorter wheelbase vans were not permitted). Pre grouping van types also appeared including ex LMS BG's & ex SR wooden bodied BG and CCT types but with decreasing frequency as they were phased out. It was also noted that the consist seamed to be slowly getting shorter over the years. From the late 1970's, there was a Saturday equivalent service which ran several hours earlier, coded 4M03.

Example timings of 4M22 from various years : Note: 4M22 avoided Derby by travelling via Castle Donnington.


4 May 1970 12 May 1980

2 May 1971 10 May 1981

Peterborough Parcels Term dep
Peterborough North dep 1230
Derby dep

North Stafford Junction
1452 1542
Eggington Junction
1457½ 1546½
1501 1549½
Uttoxeter arr [3½]

dep 1514 1558½
1528½ 1614
Stoke-on-Trent Junc.
1539 1625
Stoke-on-Trent arr

Stoke-on-Trent dep 1540½ 1626½
Cockshute Sdgs arr [2½]
1545 1628½
Longport arr

Longport dep

Kidsgrove arr [3½]

dep 1555 1636½
Lawton Jn
Crewe arr 1612 1651

Does anyone out there have a WTT or some other official paperwork that could add timings of this service for other years to the table above? If you can help with timings for other years, we would like to hear from you..

The listing that follows comprises example sighting's of 4M22 vans mostly made in the Stoke-on-Trent area although a small number were made at Crewe.

21/08/1973 5586 Earliest record identified
03/09/1975 20163+20176 Only time this class noted?
04/11/1975 25004 Lowest numbered Class 25 noted.
26/04/1976 25102 BR Green Livery still carried.
24/04/1978 47515+40170 Both working in tandem.
25/04/1978 25131 Typical loco to be found on 4M22.
19/06/1978 31200 These locos became more common around this time.
18/09/1978 37172 Rare appearance by a 37.
22/12/1978 40145 Rare appearance by a 40.
05/04/1979 25136 Typical power.
09/07/1980 31309
29/09/1980 25307
28/10/1980 45074 Rare appearance by a 45.
16/12/1980 25135
02/01/1981 25126+25151 Pairs became a feature during final months.
23/02/1981 25321 A full week...
24/02/1981 25161
25/02/1981 31319
26/02/1981 25294+25306
27/02/1981 25306
14/05/1981 25125
28/05/1981 25304 The last sighting.
29/05/1981 ? Last day, but not sure if it ran?

A much longer listing (over 200) can be posted if the interest is out there? Please post any memories of this service or any gen you'd like to share in the comments box below. We look forward to hearing from you.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

Friday, 17 June 2016

Where Were You 17/06/78?

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

Looking at old notes of any trips long past and the years just roll back.

08123 was noted in Stoke Yd (Closed 1981 - lifted circa 1985 and then a small forest behind the station for a good few years until becoming a car park). The peg on platform 2 flicked from red, to amber to green hinting at the imminent passage of a freight. The reason soon became obvious with the appearance of 81014 at the head of a St Blazey - Longport Clay train which was still formed of short wheelbase sheeted open wagons. During weekdays, that service always called at Stoke Yard to detach traffic for Shelton Wharf.

We were soon heading for Derby on one of Etches Parks finest Class 120 BR Swindon Cross-country dmus, just to the south of the station, 47450 was running around a rake of Mk II stock, which was to form the SO train to Holyhead.

I seem to remember that the following line up was dumped at Eggington junction at that time: 7076+8521(no number)+7096+832, they were unchanged from previous journeys and had been there some time. Seeing these machines standing there, all those years ago, faded blue paint peeling badly, it was almost impossible to believe that any of them would ever work a passenger train again, yet both D7076 & D832 are runners both based at the East Lancs Railway.

The Class 25 that flashed past us in the opposite direction was no doubt working the SO Nottingham - Llandudno. 20075+20183 were recorded at Willington PS with a coal train, back then the whole area between the main line and the power station was a mass of track, well stocked, mostly with rakes of coal trucks, but also a few tanks. On the curve at Derby 08333/455/462 20005/081/084/164 were noted as we arrived only minutes after the Derby - Yarmouth would have left, probably behind a pair of rats. Waiting for our Sheffield train, 08899 was the Derby station pilot, stabled, as usual, behind Platform 6. We looked on while 08333 drew a rake of stock slowly around the curve and into the station, with 20037+20193 on the other end. This then formed the SO Derby - Skegness. 25195/270, 47343 (noted earlier LD through Stoke) and back to back HST power cars 43038+039 all retired to the sheds, with 45130 and 46042 (service starting Derby, heading west) working passenger duties. We departed Derby on the SO Wellingborough - Scarborough service, which ran, as booked, via Nottingham, hauled by 45019.

On the approaches to Sheffield, 47181 passed with a southbound passenger. Sheffield station itself was busy to say the least with both passengers and services. 08745 was present, while 25258+25264 were recorded with the SO Manchester - Yarmouth duty (incorrectly announced as the next Doncaster service), along with 45006 (South bound)/111/144(ex St Pancras), 46028/043 and 47549? also on passenger turns in what could have been a space of no more than fifteen minutes! We left on what I believe was a Sheffield - Doncaster additional, formed of Mk I stock hauled by 37128.

08331+08485 were at the NCL freight depot, with 08128/219/261 in yards around Rotherham.

37105+123, 47177/279 were stabled in sidings near Mexborough station. 40028 passed in the other direction (on parcels vans ex Cleethorpes).

At Doncaster, we were able to enter the works directly via the over bridge from the station. The following locos were recorded inside:
03079/161/397, 08071/099/184/310(part cut?)/444/504, 24066. 31007/012/143/176/208/209/212/218/226/251/257/286/295/303 (the 31/0's may have been part cut up), 37027/072/099/125/141/160/164/208/218/226/232/242/263/266/279. 50003/005/006/011/021/024/034/042/046, 55001/002/004/008/020, 56047/048 and frames of half a dozen others, 76020, a part HST rake including power cars 43080+081, Departmental ADB986010 (a snow plow converted from a Class 08), steam No.1, 251, 4468, 4472 and 4771. St Paddy & Nimbus were not officially withdrawn for a good few months, they had already worked their last. I remember thinking that 24066 looked in a very good external condition for a condemned loco, and as it turned out, it would be cut up within days.

We then returned to the station and spent a good four-five hours on the crowded platforms. The following locomotives were recorded, almost entirely on passenger duties: 08876 (station pilot), 31115/125/178/235/299/404/409, 37007/127/216/237, 40038/071, 45015/069, 46050, 47410/417/420/422/447/471/488/523/542/549/550, 55003/009/010/011/013/019/021/022, 43065/066/067/068/069/078. Most of the ECML traffic was loco-hauled with EH power. I think one, maybe both of the 31/4's arrived ex Leeds and were replaced by larger engines. I remember one of the Deltic's arrived from the north on a railtour formed of Pullman stock, which stabled in the station area for a hour or two before returning north. We reluctantly left on the 1754 SO Doncaster - Sheffield formed once again by 37128 and the stock on which we arrived.

As we arrived at Sheffield, 47351 was recorded, standing engine running, crewed up, obviously waiting for something. We, however, were waiting for the 1620 Newcastle - Cardiff, our move back to Derby. Then came the announcement that the Cardiff would be delayed due to a fatality on the line near York.

During the hour that followed, 45050 and 46039 worked north before 45108 arrived from St Pancras and proceeded to run around, to form the 2000 return. Hoping our connection would be held, and mislead by announcements that 2000 would go first, we joined the train. Eventually the Cardiff arrived with 40193, with 47351 going forward... and it went first.

All in all a most memorable day out but with hindsight we could have done better! My main regret of that day it that I didn't keep more detailed notes at that time. So if anyone can shed any further light what the locos above might have been working or knows what locos worked any of summer dated holiday trains that day, I for one would be very interested to hear about it. I also regret not taking a camera, even though all I had at my disposal was a borrowed instamatic, which needed sunny conditions for anything like okay results. With a cloudy start to the day and a poor forecast it seamed pointless taking it. But the day soon developed into a glorious summer's day!

If you'd like to add youe memories of this day, please contact us or post into the comment box below.
These notes are revised and updated from those posted on the old Timewarp site.
Listings of the loco's that worked these trains can be found in the Classic Haulage pages.

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

What do these workings...

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

What do all the following workings have in common?

23-jun-79 47262 1M60 1515 Plymouth - Manchester Piccadilly
07-Feb-81 40060 1E04 0730 Birmingham New Street - York
04-Jun-81 20170+20192 xxxx xxxx Stoke-on-Trent - Great Yarmouth
 between Derby - Norwich
07-Aug-89 20114+20127 2K57 1710 Derby - Crewe
07-Aug-89 20114+20127 2P84 1842 Crewe - Derby
07-Aug-89 20114+20127 2K51 2013 Derby - Crewe
07-Aug-89 20114+20127 2P82 2144 Crewe - Derby
11-Aug-89 20114+20127 2P86 0809 Crewe - Derby
15-Oct-89 37431 2K49 1305 Derby - Crewe
15-Oct-89 37431 2P84 1142 Crewe - Derby
15-Oct-89 37431 2K55 1013 Derby - Crewe
15-Oct-89 37431 2P82 1447 Crewe - Derby

If you caught any of the trains above or have any ideas as to what links these workings, please post your thoughts in the comments box below. Answers to follow at a later date...

© 'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

We are back...

"We've been away for far too long but now we're back!"

After more than 13 years of constant work amounting to many thousands of hours bring out the regular updates, the old 1980's Timewarp just ground to a halt. Put simply the site had grown so large and the way that we were working was outdated and it became impractical to continue as we were. We had to take the decision to rebuild.

We soon found that rebuilding would be a bigger job than expected and were away far longer than intended. These pages are an attempt to reestablish Timewarp and to see if the site is still wanted or needed? So please get in touch with your thoughts?

'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Notts Llandudno memories

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

Some of my earliest railway memories were of this train date back to even before I knew what service it was. Growing up close to the Stoke - Derby route it stood out from the usual hourly passenger service of DMU's and weekday freight traffic. Appearing only during the summer, each year it would return, always eagerly awaited, a pair of 25's and a rake of mkIs. Outward just after nine, back in the afternoon, up hill right to Cresswell, near Blythe Bridge ensured you always heard it's approach. I saw it often over the years, caught it a few times too, recall having a pair to Llandudno once at the start of a family holiday, and in later years, when it was a solo 25, I remember having 25211 back from Crewe after a spotting trip with school mate Kev, another time 25107 was sampled.

In the later 1970's, I identified it often in my notes, records becoming more detailed, and those notes formed the basis of several Classic Haulage listings with gaps filled in, with thanks to site visitors. I tried a few photos but results with an Instamatic Camera proved disappointing, the last ever 25 to work, right at the end of the 1981 seasion, 25270 was pictured and is just about the best of them, I'll have to get it scanned and added.

1982 proved to be the last year that 1D30 & 1D17 were hauled, but now it was with class 47 power, mostly NB examples. I made every effort to see them all, rail strikes and being in Birmingham for two weeks my only listing gaps.

1D30 07:35 SO Nottingham-Llandudno
1D17 13:26 SO Llandudno-Nottingham

(The last year this train ran loco hauled.)
Date Loco(s) Note
Rail Strike.
Rail Strike
Thanks to: Bevan Price & Richard Boyd for filling those gaps.
The listing above was originally part of our old Timewarp site.

See also: A brief History of... The Notts - Llandudno .
For a listing of Class 25's that worked these trains go here.
Why not post your memories of these trains in the comment box below.

'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...