The summer dated SO Nottingham - Llandudno and return services originated back in the Pre-Grouping days of the North Staffordshire Railway, or 'Knotty' as it was once affectionately known, but it is the diesel era of operation that will concern us here.
Records to be found online and elsewhere show that going back as far as 1965, this service was powered by the Type Two diesel locos that we would later more easily refer to, with thanks to the TOPS system, as Class 25's. In the years that followed, this pair of summer dated, out and back trains would become synonymous with these fine, but under rated locos. From the Following 1966 season, pairs of Class 25's would typically be found working this turn. Indeed, pairs of Class 25's could usually be found on this working regularly each summer until the end of the 1973 season. From 1974, this diagram reverted to a single Class 25 once again. Single Class 25's continued to dominate these workings until the end of the 1981 season, when 27270 became the final example of the type to work the train on Saturday 5th of September. With a need for these trains to run around at Derby, it was not unknown for locos to be exchanged instead, but clear and accurate details of such exchanges of motive power are not always available, although it is reported that on the final day of Class 25 operation, 47143 replaced 25270 at Derby, rather than work the return throughout. Between Derby & Crewe, were almost all other timetabled trains were all stations, 1D30 and 1D17 return were usually limited stop, but additional stops were sometimes added from time to time, typically for 'Potter's holiday' weeks.
The 1982 season saw this turn become a Class 47 duty, usually a NB example would be provided. Prior to that, only occasional examples of Class 47 had been used. 1982 was the only year that MkII (earlier pressure ventilated vehicles) stock was used on a regular basis, MkI's were used previously. Regrettably, this would become the final year that this train would be a loco hauled formation.
Pairs of DMU sets from the Derby Etches Park allocation became the expected power from the 1983 season. By this point in time, Derby's allocation comprised entirely of the one time superior 3 car BR Swindon Cross-County sets, although they were by now showing their age. The last of Etches Park's Class 104 BRCW sets having been transferred away in Octover 1981. The Class 120 sets were a type associated with this depot since their arrival at DY in 1969, from the WR, but original centre cars, with their distinctive but unused mini-buffet's were now being replaced by refurbished Metro-Cammell cars. The Class 120 sets lasted just three seasons on these trains, as by the summer of 1986, all of Derby's Class 120 'Heritage' sets had been either withdrawn or transferred away. From January 1986, the brand new two car Class 150/1 'Sprinter' sets had arrived at Derby to displace the Class 120's.
1986 would prove to be the last year of operation for this service in this format, but now formed of the new Class 150/1 sets. However, this out and back turn was to spring one final surprise… when on the 9th of August 1986, presumably with no units available, it fell to 45034 to become the last ever loco currently known to work these trains.
The timings of the services may have varied slightly from year to year and the reporting codes of 1D30 outward and 1D17 back have been confirmed as used back as far as 1970 and it is believed it was also the case prior to that year, and the use continued until at least 1984.
From the May 1987 timetable change, a number of the Derby - Crewe Sprinter services were routinely extended through to North Wales together with a similar number of balancing workings and thus the summer dated Nottingham - Llandudno in this historic form referred to here, was sadly no more…
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.
Further reading : Notts - Llandudno memories which includes a listing of all 1982 workings.
See also this page within Class 25 info site for earlier years.