With a new sleeper franchise starting in April 2015, the GBRf traction provision included ETL’s 87002 (and some cans) for ‘ECS’ duties at Euston with 92s booked to work the main trains. Thats interesting we thought, bound to be some oppurtunities for the drawback to Wembley and maybe the odd escape when 92s blow up. Well, that was the theory. It turned out enough 92s did even make the start line however 3 EWS 90s were hired in to cover.
Easter – ECML Diversion Drawbacks
Over Easter the WCML was blocked as you’d expect, so on Easter Friday a few of us duly booked on the down Inverness (1S25) with a fair bit of trepidation. In it to win it and all that – its fair to say there was a bit of tension as we walked down the platform at Euston after viewing an unwelcome 90021 as train loco.
But we were in for ‘002 up Camden Bank for the first time since 2006, and the short and sweet few miles up to Wembley Yard was fine by us! After a few hours in the bar car and a slow move back to London the next morning that was that, in the book and job done. ‘002 worked at least another evening and a couple of morning trips into Euston, but by no means all.
April – the 92s give up
It didn’t exactly take long… Tues 15 April and many hours late 87002 worked S25 forward from Willesden No 7 – the Wednesday was not my most productive day at work after managing to book pieces for the return 1M16 that night and some rather liberal use of the F2 button on tops! It had to be covered – as “who knew when the next chance would be”…?
Friday was the answer! Now on arriving Saturday morning at Euston, the gen started to filter through it was possibly going to be more than a four night wander. by now zero 92s were serviceable, although 92033 would re-appear the next week. ‘002 however, stayed out on a solid S25 Sun/Tue/Thu returning on M16 the next night. Into week 2, then week 3, then there was a big working on the horizon for week 4…
May Day – some new track
Another Bank Holiday, another set of WCML moleworks. Stafford area this time, so S25 on the Sunday night was being routed via Manchester and the newly electrified route of Castlefield, Eccles, Chat Moss and Golbourne Jn. Totally new track for the class, so we decided early in the week to book in the hope 002 stayed out. It did, and many hours were spent in the bar car heading north!
May – how long would this go on for?
With no solid gen on 90/92 availability but knowing it couldn’t surely last too much longer, we took another trip out on the night of the 8th, only cranks on the train this time… The driver did suggest that next week wasn’t looking likely and we overtook 92018 heading south in the morning. It turned out we made a good call to bother – Sunday night saw a skoda on 1S25 so game over – for now at least?!
87002 had worked S25/M16 solidly from the night of 15 April to the morning of 9 May, without missing a beat, not bad at all…