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I guess this is something that's been discussed a lot but here goes. I'm modelling the West Coast Mainline around the mid 1980s and 1990s sectorisation and intercity swallow era (era 7 - 9) and wondering what sort of train formations would be used for passenger workings, both for mainline express and possibly some of the smaller commuter services. I say commuter services because I'm sure there were times when the DMU's of the 80s and 90s were probably not up to the job. Though that's a thought of mine.

 

I'm currently running the newer electrics in the form of the class 86, 87, and new class 90 with a class 82 DVT as well as a 7+2 HST train, that is only run on cross country runs from the south to the north and Scotland. The only thing I don't have any idea about is the loco hauled services that ran. Did many run with older MK1 coaches and MK2 coaches? If so what formations were they operated under. I understand some of the 86s and 87s ran with MK3a coaches and a DVT at the end. Can anyone help or  give some idea as to what some of the passenger services were formed of.

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Depends whereabouts on the WCML you’re looking at but for me, ‘spotting around Stafford at that time, the first thing I’d suggest you’re missing would be a 47/8 on some Inter City liveried Mk2 air cons, I think they were predominantly Manchester to Poole workings at that time.

 

Locals would be in the hands of 304s and 310s.

 

Somewhere I have some train formation details I took from my spotting notebooks, if they are of any interest (and I can find them) I’ll post here.

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Yep as Mark says location is a big thing.  At Stafford you would also see electric hauled cross country trains to Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland, there were also Mk2f sets with DVTs from Euston to those destinations. In the summer you would see more services and a wider variety of stock including sets of blue/grey Mk2 and in 89/90 I recorded Intercity liveried Mk1 passenger trains passing through Crewe.

Until around 1992 you would also have seen Mk2 trains without DVTs operating services to Holyhead and once a day the Clansman ran from Euston to Inverness.

 

In the Rugby area you wouldn't see the cross country trains, additionally you would see Mk2f+DVT on Birmingham expresses and 317s then 321s on local trains to/from Northampton. To see loco-hauled commuter trains (mk1) you would have to go to Northampton.

 

Working north, in the Warrington area you might find loco-hauled trains from Manchester to North Wales, whose consist and frequency varied through the years until fully replaced by DMUs, Transpennine trains crossed the WCML north of Warrington, commuter trains from Manchester to Southport crossed at Wigan, at Preston the WCML trains would be joined by Manchester to Blackpool 'club' trains and there were times when Barrow services were loco-hauled. Carlisle had short loco-hauled trains up the Settle & Carlisle from Leeds which were blue/grey Mk2 hauled by a 47 or 31

 

That's basically just scratching the surface for 1988-1992

 

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On the southern section, 317s replaced 310s on commuter services but these did not last very long before 321s were introduced.

Mk1s were used on the Northampton 'Cobbler' service.

In the early 80s, some trains were formed of a mixture of Mk2Fs & Mk3As, but raining the line speed to 110mph changed this & all sets were formed of 1 type of coach (excluding buffet & luggage vehicles).

Euston-Birmingham/Wolverhampton services were usually Mk2F, but occasionally a Mk3 set.

Euston_Glasgow were mainly Mk3As.

Euston-Liverpool Manchester were Mk3As & some Mk2Fs.

Mk1 buffets were replaced during the 80s. By the end of the decade, all IC services had Mk3A buffets

Some North Wales services ran AC hauled to Wolverhampton where they got replaced with a 47.

This may seem a bit odd, but 8+2 HSTs were used on some Manchester services. There were not many of these. Maybe their diagram took them beyond the wires at some point in the day?

I think the 'HST stop' signs may still be in Euston. They certainly outlasted the HSTs themselves.

 

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In 1989, I started work at Wembley carriage depot on WCML.

 

By this time, all of our Mark 3s were in original Inter City (red/white stripe) livery or the swallow version. Both liveries basically the same, but the original had branding in Rail Alphabet, while the swallow ones had INTERCITY branding.

The Mark 3s comprised Mark 3a TSO and FO, but there were also Mark 3b Pullman Firsts. The Pullmans were new in 1985 and had the old Inter City branding, together with names on the carriages. By 1989 these were mostly repainted as swallow livery. There were three Mark 3b Brake First Opens as well.

By 1989, all buffet cars on WCML sets were Mark 3s. Numbered in the 10200-260 range, there were three design variants: former HST kitchen cars, former Mark 3 FO and Mark 3 buffet cars (built as buffets but then re-worked to make them identical to the  other conversions). The different types had external variations, for instance the ex FOs had full depth bodyside lights (windows) on the corridor past the buffet and kitchen, while others had the shallower lights.

As at 1989, DVTs were about to be introduced but the brake coach on each train was a Mark 1 BG, usually in Inter City livery.

 

The Wembley allocation (from memory) was 

WB01-03 sets: 6x Mark 2f TSO + Mark 3 buffet + 2x Mark 3 FO + BG

WB04  did not exist

WB05 set: the interchangeable set: 6x Mark 3 TSO + Mark 3 buffet + 3x Mark 3 FO + BG

WB06-18 sets: 6x Mark 3 TSO + Mark 3 buffet + 2x Mark 3 FO + BG

 

There were "ordinary" Pullman sets (cannot remember whether Wembley or Longsight based) that had 5x Mark 3 TSO + Mark 3 buffet + 3x Pullman FO + BG.

There were (from memory) four Super Pullman sets that had 5x Mark 3 TSO + Mark 3 buffet + 2x Pullman FO + Mark 3 buffet + Pullman FO + BG

 

There was a Blackpool Pullman set that was on a captive diagram (so only did Blackpool route) that used a Mark 3b BFO, also had the BG at the north end of the formation. No real experience of that set, sorry. 

 

As at 1989, WB08 had been damaged when a motor alternator fell off. 5 of the 6 TSOs were Mark 1s (!) and this set was normally on a specific duty that brought it back to Wembley every night.

 

The "get out of jail" card when things went wrong was that we could run an ordinary Pullman set vice a Super Pullman, and then use WB05 set as necessary - this set had one more carriage than normal sets so could substitute for an ordinary Pullman set, *or* a set of ordinary Mark 3s. 

 

There was one daily diagram that hauled Motorail GUVs from Carlisle to Euston on the rear of the carriages, and one day I sent WB05 out on it. The extra length of WB05 plus the Motorail GUVs stitched up the station throat at Euston when it arrived.....

 

As time went on, DVTs replaced BGs, but for some time the DVTs were just hauled around. Then the push-pull system was gradually introduced and locos pushed as well as pulled. WB08 eventually had its TSOs repaired and went back to full Mark 3 formation. When Class 158s took over the Edinburgh - Glasgow route, the displaced Mark 3s were refurbished to allow WB01-03 to become fully Mark 3, also WB04 was created for the first time. This happened by 1992, as I recall.

 

Wembley also had a fet small sets of Mark 2 pressure-vent stock in Blue/Grey livery that sat around during the week and went out at weekends.

 

Oxley had "EBW" sets that were (from memory) 6x MArk 2f TSO + Mark 3 buffet + 4x Mark 2f FO + BG. Again these gained DVTs . 

 

Euston Carriage Shed hosted the four "Clansman" sets that had the last unrefurbished Mark 2fs.

 

Apologies for rambling on, hope this is of use...

 

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50 minutes ago, Pete the Elaner said:

 

Mk1 buffets were replaced during the 80s. By the end of the decade, all IC services had Mk3A buffets

Some North Wales services ran AC hauled to Wolverhampton where they got replaced with a 47.

This may seem a bit odd, but 8+2 HSTs were used on some Manchester services. There were not many of these. Maybe their diagram took them beyond the wires at some point in the day?

I think the 'HST stop' signs may still be in Euston. They certainly outlasted the HSTs themselves.

 

 

Euston Downside still had a few Mk1 buffet vehicles in 1990, mostly used on the Clansman service, but this was very much the exception with what you say being the rule

Shrewsbury & Aberystwyth were the destinations of trains switching from electric to diesel at Wolverhampton

I believe the HSTs that appeared at Manchester were used on Holyhead trains from 91/92 and were allocated to Longsight

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15 minutes ago, ChrisH-UK said:

 

Euston Downside still had a few Mk1 buffet vehicles in 1990, mostly used on the Clansman service, but this was very much the exception with what you say being the rule

Shrewsbury & Aberystwyth were the destinations of trains switching from electric to diesel at Wolverhampton

I believe the HSTs that appeared at Manchester were used on Holyhead trains from 91/92 and were allocated to Longsight

From my memory, the HSTs used to Holyhead were Western Region sets sent from Old Oak Common. 

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2 hours ago, Mark Forrest said:

Depends whereabouts on the WCML you’re looking at but for me, ‘spotting around Stafford at that time, the first thing I’d suggest you’re missing would be a 47/8 on some Inter City liveried Mk2 air cons, I think they were predominantly Manchester to Poole workings at that time.

 

Locals would be in the hands of 304s and 310s.

 

Somewhere I have some train formation details I took from my spotting notebooks, if they are of any interest (and I can find them) I’ll post here.

 

I should've mentioned that I'm looking around the West Midlands region and South West parts of the WCML mainly. My layout is purely fictional but I still want to have some accurate running trains of the time(s) and not just mixed up sets of coaches that don't look prototypical and the like. Apart from just one or two heritage trains and loco hauled trains, using a bit of modellers license to be replacements for DMU stock.

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1 hour ago, Pete the Elaner said:

On the southern section, 317s replaced 310s on commuter services but these did not last very long before 321s were introduced.

Mk1s were used on the Northampton 'Cobbler' service.

In the early 80s, some trains were formed of a mixture of Mk2Fs & Mk3As, but raining the line speed to 110mph changed this & all sets were formed of 1 type of coach (excluding buffet & luggage vehicles).

Euston-Birmingham/Wolverhampton services were usually Mk2F, but occasionally a Mk3 set.

Euston_Glasgow were mainly Mk3As.

Euston-Liverpool Manchester were Mk3As & some Mk2Fs.

Mk1 buffets were replaced during the 80s. By the end of the decade, all IC services had Mk3A buffets

Some North Wales services ran AC hauled to Wolverhampton where they got replaced with a 47.

This may seem a bit odd, but 8+2 HSTs were used on some Manchester services. There were not many of these. Maybe their diagram took them beyond the wires at some point in the day?

I think the 'HST stop' signs may still be in Euston. They certainly outlasted the HSTs themselves.

 

 

Wow thanks. It's a good thing I got some MK3a coaches. I take it these were mostly TSO x4 or more with one RFM and two or more FO.

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35 minutes ago, EddieK said:

From my memory, the HSTs used to Holyhead were Western Region sets sent from Old Oak Common. 

You're right, I remember that now. Maybe it was using the same diagramming with the HSTs as with the loco-hauled sets they replaced?

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1 hour ago, EddieK said:

From my memory, the HSTs used to Holyhead were Western Region sets sent from Old Oak Common. 

Initially, yes. Subsequently, no!

From the start of the Euston to Holyhead service it was formed of "any" WR set which came onto the WCML having worked an up service into Padd, then empty via Old Oak and then the NLL into Euston. It would stay on the WCML for two days (eg an afternoon, a full day and a morning) before returning home via the reverse method. When I say "any" WR set it would have always have been one with a 407xx buffet as the WCML services called for dining. Then, from May 1995 a special separate pool of three sets, seven power cars was reallocated to Longsight to exclusively operate WCML trains- the reason for this was impending privatisation and the realisation that the WCML would have to have its own trains and not continue to borrow the WR ones. This arrangement lasted until May 1998 when Virgin put everything together in one pool; whilst the trio of WCML trailer sets generally stuck to WCML duties you could get any of the 57 Virgin power cars working them.

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42 minutes ago, fiftyfour fiftyfour said:

Initially, yes. Subsequently, no!

From the start of the Euston to Holyhead service it was formed of "any" WR set which came onto the WCML having worked an up service into Padd, then empty via Old Oak and then the NLL into Euston. It would stay on the WCML for two days (eg an afternoon, a full day and a morning) before returning home via the reverse method. When I say "any" WR set it would have always have been one with a 407xx buffet as the WCML services called for dining. Then, from May 1995 a special separate pool of three sets, seven power cars was reallocated to Longsight to exclusively operate WCML trains- the reason for this was impending privatisation and the realisation that the WCML would have to have its own trains and not continue to borrow the WR ones. This arrangement lasted until May 1998 when Virgin put everything together in one pool; whilst the trio of WCML trailer sets generally stuck to WCML duties you could get any of the 57 Virgin power cars working them.

I was working at GW in 1995 and I recall the process to identify sets to transfer to WCML. One set had a pair of prototype HST vehicles in it, so that was a good one to get rid of...

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1 minute ago, EddieK said:

I was working at GW in 1995 and I recall the process to identify sets to transfer to WCML. One set had a pair of prototype HST vehicles in it, so that was a good one to get rid of...

Indeed they did- the old #31 set had 2xTS which had been hacked about with twice since being in the 252 set! Along with set #12 and set #17 which must have fallen out of favour for some reason or other. IIRC the power cars had to have an even spread of major exam dates as it would have been no good them having them all due a G-xam within six months - initially GW loaned them a "courtesy power car" when one of the WCML ones was at Laira on a major, that only lasted for the first two to need overhauls though.

 

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A good reasearch resource is You tube, it alows you to go back in time, to see what the rail scene was like in your time frame,

 

some exaples

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of8paElNt5c

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgZ9KoO7_Ik

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzdZZrypx2I

 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A_jTquyI6vo" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

Sorry, i dont know how to post direct links

 

 

 

 

Edited by e30ftw
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West Midlands 1980’s/90’s...

As a kid New Street was my favourite spotting day out, I spent several summer saturdays here..

 

I have lots of memories here, but let me share a few...

Summer Saturdays..

Class 20’s.. to Skegness (intercity mk1 set)

Class 25’s on railtours (blue/grey mk1’s)

Class 33 on blue/grey mk1’s from Bristol/Wales

Class 40.. D200 on railtour.. intercity mk1’s

Class 45/46 used to see them often, one 45 spent a whole day LE driver training going in circles..

Class 47..* endless, usually aircon mk2’s blue/Grey & Intercity mixed.

Class 50.. would loco change here on SW workings again Blue/Grey/NSE mixed

Class 58.. usually drags of AC Electrics, or resulting of a failure... Saltley or Bescot could spring a surprise.

class 73.. a pair of showed up with a 4TC onceand it wasnt a railtour.

class 81/85 often on mk1 blue/grey mixed with IC mk2’s.

class 86.. intercity (exec/swallow) with mk2 aircons, often with a DVT (or a BSO)

class 87/90 show up on mk3’s with DVT or a few NEAs on the back, wider on the WCML a formation could include DVT + Mk3’s + Class 90 + Motorail behind. DVTs werent always reliable at first.. so pulling the DVT was also possible.

 

* class 47’s can be almost anything.. from 47/0 to 47/8, and any livery from celebrity green, 47522,97561,47461, Railfreight, Highland stag literally anything could and did show up.

 

Units I was less interested in but Tyseleys GW150 class 117 and 121 showed up, I recall a Busby yellow unit too.. Blue/ Blue grey. In the wider West Midlands area I guess 108/117/121/122 (West Midlands blue included). Of the newer ones at this time it was preserved of 150/1’s (Derbys 50 didnt get that far) inc Provincial and Centro, class 155’s from Cardiff, dont recall 156/158 in the area, too new.

 

The first ever 150/2 to the Midlands was a Railtour from Ramsbottom ELR to Kidderminster SVR between Christmas and New Years 1988/9.


HSTs were reasonably common, Intercity exec/swallow mostly.

EMUs.. 304s were everywhere, as were 310’s, think whatever a 350 does today these units used to do.

 

Non-passenger / nights in the wider midlands area... think TPO, Sleeper, MGR, Parcels, Newspaper, Oil Tanks, Freightliner, Speedlink workings...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by adb968008
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Wow thanks for all the advice there and links. It's interesting to see some of the MK1 and MK2 coaches still working up into the early 1990s with MK3/MK3a coaches. Good thing I have them on hand to go with the push pull trains I intend to operate. I just wish it was easy to get a hold of the 308 and 310 EMUs though. Chances are it might be some years before they come out on the market as ready to run. Also wish the MK3 sleeper coaches would still be available as well.

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