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E3109

Class 76s at Piccadilly right up to MSW closure?

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Gents

 

As some of you know, I work for Freightliner. A couple of guys I work with are ex Guide Bridge men.

 

We got chatting about 'their Bo-Bos' again the other week, as you do (I'm always jealous of course!!).

 

The discussion was prompted by a Facebook comment a few months ago, where a guy said he saw 76010+760xx drop into Picc around 10am on 18 July 1981, just behind the signal for a quick turnaround to RS/GU and withdrawal (18-7-81 was of course the day the MSW closed).

 

I mentioned this to my colleague who then offered up some very interesting info. He was telling me that 76s used to work light engine regularly into Piccadilly up to and including 1981, when they had come off maintenance/exams at Reddish.

The booked test run route was Reddish-Picc, Picc-Hadfield, Hadfield-Reddish. These moves took place in the small hours so it's unlikely many people ever witnessed them, apart from the traincrew. They also went just behind the signal, rather than to the block ends.

 

Obviously I won't be alone in wanting to see photographic evidence of this, and it would be fantastic if anybody actually has any shots.

 

My colleague is a genuine guy, he worked on those engines for a good few years and there is no way he would be making this up. In fact he also said "Control let us do pretty much whatever we wanted." I've long had the impression it was like that on the MSW regardless. 

 

I then mentioned the alleged working of 76015 into Picc (or at least Ardwick) as late as Winter 1982/83 (!!), if you recall '15 was kept in working order and occasionally used as Reddish depot pilot (until GMPTE saw it, and spat their dummy out as apparently they were paying the leccy bill by that time!).

 

Although he was sceptical whether this ever happened, he still said it certainly wasn't beyond the realms of possibility.

 

Any further info most welcome.

 

 

 

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I just found this on Flickr, re 76015. Brake pipes missing, yet charge in the batteries. I do wonder....

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6005134525/in/photolist-iaqkzj-5kD2W7-4nutkF-FU4xRY-7VRf5n-dMSkzN-qsPZT4-a9DTha-7VUvbq-n7oHjF-f2t9mt-dMSkx7-9X4rgA-o7wBPy-zBveSd-o1h2vA-yTbmYq-dAfvMp-5ZcBPn-9QTgPk-94WJXU-f2t9jc-97eHKb-B8fGqT-8UEwLL-FVdo6U-qF94ry-8UEwFY-eoSJoY-8Vw4fb-zQZ2CW-7VUwbC-4Y4cd4-jJgVuV-vdJ6AX-fNgMvr-vv2Paw-9hqMby-7VUv9j-azn6LE-2yAtNu-tMSUJx-GkT55h-qRdZsE-9sHSZu-AropkH-Bbo8mW-8UC5NB-wYJbwF-MFaVFk

 

Ironically, if the legend is true, 76015 was one of the first locos to be dispatched to CF Booths and was, I think, cut up by March 1983.

Note it still has its vac pipe in place. Mind you (and if indeed it was being used as an unofficial pilot) the other 76s would probably been 'swingers' by then anyway. The air braked ones had the kit removed for use in class 31s IIRC (the ultimate indignity, in my opinion haha).

Edited by E3109

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Thanks for that sir

 

Yeah I'm also sceptical about 76015's supposed run into Piccadilly, but as you say it was kept in running order long after the others were lobotomised.

 

This alleged working did get a mention in Rail Enthusiast mag at the time, but that's hardly a credible source. :O

 

Regarding the flickr shot I linked to above. Why would they gas axe the air brake pipes off, and yet it still has enough juice in the batts to at least illuminate the marker lights?

Pure conjecture on my part here but the photo would suggest it was still in use until very recently at the time the photo was taken, and I'd suggest that the air brake connections were severed immediately after GMPTE spat their dummy out that it was using 'their electricity'. 

 

I've never worked on 76s, far too young for that sadly but if my experience of class 86s is anything to go by, once the 110V batts drop below 50V you lose all lighting within minutes/hours.

 

I did post on the photo owner's comments section, asking if he knew the exact date of the pic, no reply as yet.

 

Incidentally the guy who mentioned 76010+760xx entering Piccadilly on 18th July 1981 posted it on that very Woodhead group you've referred to, perhaps 6 months ago.

 

Re the light engine moves into Picc when the line and locos were still operational, as I said above it would be great to see such pics.

 

 

Thanks for the update. The plot thickens?

Edited by E3109
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Gents

 

I was talking to my workmate earlier about this very subject. He's now aware of this forum and it's possible he may join.

He informed me that he'd started looking through his diaries and has found at least one entry where he worked a 76 on the test route stated ie Reddish to Hadfield, Hadfield to Picc and Picc to Reddish. Late 1980.

 

Cheers

E3109

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It wouldn't matter if they had flat batteries as the had a hand operated pump to get a pan up in event of flat batteries. Did they actually have batteries? I've heard stories of long bamboo poles being used to hold pans up to the wires to get the compressors running I never worked on them but an old mate of mine was a secondman at guide bridge

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I got this distant shot of 76036 on Crewe Electric no doubt under the wire as alluded to in the article.

 

76036 Crewe Electric 24-9-77.jpg

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