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||1255|
|North Stafford Junction||1452||1542|
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.
28/10/1980 45074 Rare appearance by a 45.
02/01/1981 25126+25151 Pairs became a feature during final months.
23/02/1981 25321 A full week...
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.