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.