27's in the Highlands

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delt1c

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In their later years some 27's were allocated to Inverness for the Aberdeen service, however did any ever work service trains ( not specials) to Wick/ Thurso or Kyle?
 
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Iskra

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The consensus is yes;

 

hexagon789

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In their later years some 27's were allocated to Inverness for the Aberdeen service, however did any ever work service trains ( not specials) to Wick/ Thurso or Kyle?
Definitely, at least once in multiple as well.
 

47421

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also very rare on far north, but something of a spree in August 1985

15 August 1985 http://www.thebashingyears.co.uk/1985aug.html

27042 2H64 1805 Wick - Inverness DH with 27050
27042 2H63 1135 Inverness - Wick DH with 27050
27050 2H64 1805 Wick - Inverness DH with 27042
27050 2H63 1135 Inverness - Wick DH with 27042

16 August 1985 27050+27020 2H63 1135 Inverness - Wick to Georgemas

17 August 1985 photo of 27042 (and 27XXX) at Wick https://railscot.co.uk/img/20/647/

18 August 1985 27020+27050 2H64 1450 Wick - Inverness

20 August 1985 27050+27020 2H63 1135 Inverness Wick
27020+27050 2H64 18.05 Wick - Inverness
(per http://www.leightonlogs.org/ScotnMid0885.htm)
 

Gloster

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In addition to the goods all the way through to Wick, there were at times out and back workings as far as Invergordon. As these were almost certainly worked by Inverness crews, it would have been quite simple to roster a 27 on the turn once the depot had an allocation. However, as they weren’t passenger trains, they could easily have slipped under the enthusiasts’ radar.
 

MrEd

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In their later years some 27's were allocated to Inverness for the Aberdeen service, however did any ever work service trains ( not specials) to Wick/ Thurso or Kyle?
Yes, but very infrequently- I have seen photos of 27s at Strathcarron and Kyle with passenger services (usually the 06.55 Inverness-Kyle and 11.08 return) in 1982-4. Their use on Kyle services would have been impossible from October 1984 onwards as radio signalling was introduced on the line, effectively barring the line from all but the dedicated fleet of 37s at Inverness.

I believe that 27s were used on a number of occasions on Wick services (usually in pairs) until the autumn of 1985- when radio signalling was extended to Wick.

The problem with sending 27s to Wick and Kyle was that Wick and Kyle based drivers never signed them, only Inverness ones, meaning that operational flexibility was significantly reduced. I believe the Wick and Kyle men only ever signed 24/1s (until their withdrawal in 1976) and 26s until the arrival of the 37s in the early-mid ‘80s. There wasn’t much point in them signing anything else. I seem to remember that it took a long time for all the Wick and Kyle men to be passed out on 37s- which is why unlike on the West Highland lines, which phased out Sulzer power within weeks during 1981, 26s could still be found on Far North and Kyle trains well into the 80s, several years after the 37s had been sent to Inverness to replace them.

I believe the 27s were only sent out as a last-resort measure if neither a 26 nor a 37 was available- being RA5 they were the only other class of loco cleared all the way to Wick and Kyle in the 80s.

Off topic- but a corollary- is how often 26s ever worked to Oban, Fort William or Mallaig. My guess is almost never, but I have seen a Tom Noble photo of 26034 at Mallaig in 1975, on what (from the formation) is evidently a service train- the 13.00 to Fort William. But how on earth could a 26 have reached Mallaig? The nearest depot where anyone signed a 26 in those days would have been Eastfield- but Eastfield men back then did not ordinarily sign the WHL beyond Spean Bridge (I don’t think any Glasgow-based driver has ever signed the Mallaig extension), and there’s no way that an Eastfield crew could get to Mallaig and back (even with a route conductor) within the shift length. So I wonder what the circumstances of this rare working were?

Was it the case that a driver had recently transferred to Fort William or Mallaig from a depot in Scotland which used 26s and that his traction knowledge for the class was still in date, allowing him to use it for that particular turn?
 
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delt1c

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I was fortunate in 75 to have an ex work 26 ( cant remember number) working in tandem with the usual 27 on 08,35 Queen St to Oban as far as Crianlarich where it was detached and returned south. Had a similar experience in 74 with a 24/0. On both occasion both locomotives were crewed and worked in tandem which was interesting
 

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I was fortunate in 75 to have an ex work 26 ( cant remember number) working in tandem with the usual 27 on 08,35 Queen St to Oban as far as Crianlarich where it was detached and returned south. Had a similar experience in 74 with a 24/0. On both occasion both locomotives were crewed and worked in tandem which was interesting
Amazing. I guess they were both shakedown runs from Eastfield works?
 

delt1c

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Amazing. I guess they were both shakedown runs from Eastfield works?
What surprised me most was an exworks 24 so late in their carreer, amazing in the front coach with the window downn, 27 just idling and the lead loco doing all the work. Wish I still had my logs to identify them. What I recall was the 24 was 2400x but cant reall the last number.
Those were the days
 

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From what I recall the 27s did take over the Inverness-Aberdeen service from the Swindon-built dmus. However neither end had any other 27 passenger services, south of Aberdeen it was all Type 4, and from Inverness the original 24/26 southbound combinations being progressively supplanted by Class 47. However, the Class 27 were the universal Scottish loco, although (all?) were allocated to Eastfield you would find them down at Ayr, or up at Aberdeen on freight, which is how they likely got interchanged.
 

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Off topic- but a corollary- is how often 26s ever worked to Oban, Fort William or Mallaig. My guess is almost never, but I have seen a Tom Noble photo of 26034 at Mallaig in 1975, on what (from the formation) is evidently a service train- the 13.00 to Fort William. But how on earth could a 26 have reached Mallaig? The nearest depot where anyone signed a 26 in those days would have been Eastfield- but Eastfield men back then did not ordinarily sign the WHL beyond Spean Bridge (I don’t think any Glasgow-based driver has ever signed the Mallaig extension), and there’s no way that an Eastfield crew could get to Mallaig and back (even with a route conductor) within the shift length. So I wonder what the circumstances of this rare working were?

Was it the case that a driver had recently transferred to Fort William or Mallaig from a depot in Scotland which used 26s and that his traction knowledge for the class was still in date, allowing him to use it for that particular turn?
Class 26s did very occasionally appear in Fort William although I was never aware of them in either Oban or Mallaig although there is the quoted photographic evidence of the latter. Correction : Photo evidence of 26025 in the Pass of Brander in 1979. The same book records 26012 on a southbound working from FW in 1975. 'Diesels in Scotland' WJV Anderson.

Fort William drivers did drive 26s when they appeared and Eastfield drivers did not have work into Fort William until a timetable change in the early 80s, by which time 37s were in charge, gave them an out and back working (09.50 ex Queen St 14.15 return - this would have been one of the jobs booked relief at Cowlairs (then walk across the E&G main line to Eastfield which today would be unthinkable) to keep within the then 8 hours plus max one hour's diagrammed overtime).

Although there were subtle differences between 26s and 27s there may have been a loose interpretation of being passed out on a Birmingham RCW type 2, and perhaps they had the subtle differences explained in training even without practical experience. Things were different back then, and by virtue of the age profile in the late seventies, when only the very small number of 'junior' secondmen did not have well over 20 years in the line of promotion, virtually all of the Fort William - and Mallaig - footplate crews would have been trained for the introduction of diesels in the early 60s.
 
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delt1c

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My own thread has got me thinking, this was the only time I saw a 27/26 double header or a 24/27 double header. It has taken me over 45 years to realize this
 

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also very rare on far north, but something of a spree in August 1985

15 August 1985 http://www.thebashingyears.co.uk/1985aug.html

27042 2H64 1805 Wick - Inverness DH with 27050
27042 2H63 1135 Inverness - Wick DH with 27050
27050 2H64 1805 Wick - Inverness DH with 27042
27050 2H63 1135 Inverness - Wick DH with 27042

16 August 1985 27050+27020 2H63 1135 Inverness - Wick to Georgemas

17 August 1985 photo of 27042 (and 27XXX) at Wick https://railscot.co.uk/img/20/647/

18 August 1985 27020+27050 2H64 1450 Wick - Inverness

20 August 1985 27050+27020 2H63 1135 Inverness Wick
27020+27050 2H64 18.05 Wick - Inverness
(per http://www.leightonlogs.org/ScotnMid0885.htm)
I believe that 27042 + 27050 had been active on the Far North for a couple of days prior to the 15th August. I took a day off and travelled overnight to Inverness specifically to do them. On the 1135 Inverness - Wick they lost 40 minutes as they weren't working correctly in multiple, and ex-works 27042 arrived at Wick smouldering nicely. As shown they worked back at 1805, then the pair was split and 27042 was assigned to Glasgow Works for rectification. I suspect the date of the photo of 27042 at Wick may be incorrect.

As for 26s on the West Highland Line, January 1982 was a very harsh winter month, with many trains cancelled and the country generally frozen to a halt. On Monday 11/01/82 the 1650 Queen Street - Fort William was the first northbound train of the day on the West Highland Line, and was worked by 37260. At Rannoch we crossed the 1610 Mallaig - Queen Street, worked by 26029 piloting 27042 (yes, that loco again). Fort William were adamant that they were going to keep the 26, as it had a working train heating boiler, whereas 27042 was frozen solid. So we did a complicated shunt and shuffle to unhook 37260, couple 26029 inside, and then draw forward into the station. The run with 27042 started off quite warm, but was well below zero by the time we reached Glasgow. I believe the 26 worked several Fort William - Mallaig services during this period.
 

MrEd

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Class 26s did very occasionally appear in Fort William although I was never aware of them in either Oban or Mallaig although there is the quoted photographic evidence of the latter. Correction : Photo evidence of 26025 in the Pass of Brander in 1979. The same book records 26012 on a southbound working from FW in 1975. 'Diesels in Scotland' WJV Anderson.

Although there were subtle differences between 26s and 27s there may have been a loose interpretation of being passed out on a Birmingham RCW type 2, and perhaps they had the subtle differences explained in training even without practical experience. Things were different back then, and by virtue of the age profile in the late seventies, when only the very small number of 'junior' secondmen did not have well over 20 years in the line of promotion, virtually all of the Fort William - and Mallaig - footplate crews would have been trained for the introduction of diesels in the early 60s.
That’s interesting- I always thought that they were actually quite different machines with quite different performance characteristics, although they looked fairly similar externally. The cab layout isn’t massively different I don’t think- the only differences I can think of are that 26s have Davies and Metcalfe brakes, 27s Westinghouse. The power controller on a 27 is a more angular version of that on a 26. But how different is the driving technique? They have different gearings too, I think, and obviously different electrical equipment (Crompton-Parkinson vs GEC). I presume there are more differences in terms of where things are situated in the engine room? Fault finding probably wouldn’t be too difficult, though.

I can imagine a lower-powered 26 would probably feel slightly sluggish compared with a 27, but otherwise performance would be fairly similar. The higher maximum speed of the 27 would be irrelevant on the WHL!
 

hexagon789

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That’s interesting- I always thought that they were actually quite different machines with quite different performance characteristics, although they looked fairly similar externally. The cab layout isn’t massively different I don’t think- the only differences I can think of are that 26s have Davies and Metcalfe brakes, 27s Westinghouse. The power controller on a 27 is a more angular version of that on a 26. But how different is the driving technique? They have different gearings too, I think, and obviously different electrical equipment (Crompton-Parkinson vs GEC). I presume there are more differences in terms of where things are situated in the engine room? Fault finding probably wouldn’t be too difficult, though.

I can imagine a lower-powered 26 would probably feel slightly sluggish compared with a 27, but otherwise performance would be fairly similar. The higher maximum speed of the 27 would be irrelevant on the WHL!
26s were more reliable, as for the speeds of the 27s on the WHL there are several reports of them being driven 'on the ammeter' rather than the speedometer.

(The WHL was 40 max until 1979, though the Oban line was 50.)
 

47271

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The 27s didn't last long on the Aberdeen-Inverness route, and a 26 on a passenger service on the line was commonplace in the two or three years they were around. Along with fairly ancient side corridor early vintage mk1s, they took over from the Swindon dmus in March 1980. By late 1983 everything was 47s and mk2s.

As my resident expert on Scotland in the 1980s, my dad says he never saw a 27 north of Inverness, or a 26 on the West Highland, but he admits that he wasn't everywhere all the time!
 

cadder toad

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Not quite on thread. 26014 was on 1226 Oban-Queen St on a snowy 9 Jan 1982. I saw it near Glasgow so conceivably the class 26 may not have started at Oban but is that likely? It was a Haymarket loco at that date I think. I suppose its the other side of the coin... 26s in the West Highlands as opposed to 27s in the Highlands
 

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Not quite on thread. 26014 was on 1226 Oban-Queen St on a snowy 9 Jan 1982. I saw it near Glasgow so conceivably the class 26 may not have started at Oban but is that likely? It was a Haymarket loco at that date I think. I suppose its the other side of the coin... 26s in the West Highlands as opposed to 27s in the Highlands
Yes, as I noted in my post above, early 1982 was exceptionally bad weather, so normal rules as to what locos worked where were abandoned in favour of "anything with wheels and a boiler". It is highly likely the 26 worked through from Oban.
 

D1537

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27s weren't uncommon on the morning Invergordon train in the 80s. 47s did it on a semi-regular basis as well, since they were OK RA-wise for that section. Mind you, 47546 went to Wick on a Merrymaker in the 1980s...
 

47421

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some more reminisences from Jan 1985 here http://www.leightonlogs.org/ScotJan85win.htm

"
Returning North on S81 27020 was the real engine from Moss End to Perth. We opted for the internal(Highland Line) overnite with 47546.Because of the severe low temperatures Scot-Rail had allocated pairs of locos on the Far North to cover for boiler failures and alike.37260/27005 on the 0630 Far North took us to Dingwall where we awaited 37114/27014 on the Kyle on the expected move to the Achnasheen crossing point for the Kyle back as we all did.The station staff asked us if we were doing this move,” yes” we replied.”Not today I’m afraid”they advised...”Our Kyle’s syphon had a faulty radio and this would swop power with 37025 off the incoming Kyle at Dingwall. Our 37 and etheling, unpowered 27014 was taken in bus-stop tradition to Muir Of Ord where an even better 26040/27054 followed on the inbound Wick/Thurso. I had to chuckle years later on reading in some mag that 27014 “may have got” to Kyle during this period, “some claim!”

At Inverness 27051/27055 were on the blocks with the 0740 ex Aberdeen,cursing our wrong move again, we were to see our luck improve...The pair were refuelled and watered and put on the 1130 service to Wick/Thurso.A pair of 27’s on the Far North was a rare event for us and an excellent mileage move. It is no exaggeration to say that the snow fences and barriers between County March and Altnabreac had drifts of snow some 10feet above the height of our train. Earlier the previous week some Welsh bashers had been stranded in Wick for several days the only way out being by air...Just 27055 returned us South for 47/4’s on the internal overnite move to Blair Athol our sociable guard waking us up as requested. Back at Inverness the 0630 Wick/Thurso was to produce an excellent 26008/040 steaming away.I bailed at Ardgay for a 37261 and 27055 again on the early morning up service. My reasons were simple I needed the syphon, but how I wish, looking back, that I had stayed on they 26’s.

27s weren't uncommon on the morning Invergordon train in the 80s. 47s did it on a semi-regular basis as well, since they were OK RA-wise for that section. Mind you, 47546 went to Wick on a Merrymaker in the 1980s...
47546 worked a service train to Wick 4 April 1984, it was on a freight to Invergordon or something when the 37 failed on the morning service from Inverness, and 546 worked Ardgay to Wick and back. There is a photo of it at Wick, cant find it just now. (very annoyingly can only find a broken link, second post here http://www.trainsimdev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=299)

47546 2K03 0640 Inverness - Wick from Ardgay
47546 2N26 1200 Wick - Inverness http://www.thebashingyears.co.uk/1984apr.html

The merrymaker was 47469 14 March 1981, apparently it was a rake of Southern mk1s and EH only

There is a summary of class 47 action on far north in Traction mag somewhere

 
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hexagon789

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some more reminisences from Jan 1985 here http://www.leightonlogs.org/ScotJan85win.htm

"
Returning North on S81 27020 was the real engine from Moss End to Perth. We opted for the internal(Highland Line) overnite with 47546.Because of the severe low temperatures Scot-Rail had allocated pairs of locos on the Far North to cover for boiler failures and alike.37260/27005 on the 0630 Far North took us to Dingwall where we awaited 37114/27014 on the Kyle on the expected move to the Achnasheen crossing point for the Kyle back as we all did.The station staff asked us if we were doing this move,” yes” we replied.”Not today I’m afraid”they advised...”Our Kyle’s syphon had a faulty radio and this would swop power with 37025 off the incoming Kyle at Dingwall. Our 37 and etheling, unpowered 27014 was taken in bus-stop tradition to Muir Of Ord where an even better 26040/27054 followed on the inbound Wick/Thurso. I had to chuckle years later on reading in some mag that 27014 “may have got” to Kyle during this period, “some claim!”

At Inverness 27051/27055 were on the blocks with the 0740 ex Aberdeen,cursing our wrong move again, we were to see our luck improve...The pair were refuelled and watered and put on the 1130 service to Wick/Thurso.A pair of 27’s on the Far North was a rare event for us and an excellent mileage move. It is no exaggeration to say that the snow fences and barriers between County March and Altnabreac had drifts of snow some 10feet above the height of our train. Earlier the previous week some Welsh bashers had been stranded in Wick for several days the only way out being by air...Just 27055 returned us South for 47/4’s on the internal overnite move to Blair Athol our sociable guard waking us up as requested. Back at Inverness the 0630 Wick/Thurso was to produce an excellent 26008/040 steaming away.I bailed at Ardgay for a 37261 and 27055 again on the early morning up service. My reasons were simple I needed the syphon, but how I wish, looking back, that I had stayed on they 26’s.


47546 worked a service train to Wick 4 April 1984, it was on a freight to Invergordon or something when the 37 failed on the morning service from Inverness, and 546 worked Ardgay to Wick and back. There is a photo of it at Wick, cant find it just now. (very annoyingly can only find a broken link, second post here http://www.trainsimdev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=299)

47546 2K03 0640 Inverness - Wick from Ardgay
47546 2N26 1200 Wick - Inverness http://www.thebashingyears.co.uk/1984apr.html

The merrymaker was 47469 14 March 1981, apparently it was a rake of Southern mk1s and EH only

There is a summary of class 47 action on far north in Traction mag somewhere

40s made it as well, 168 went to Kyle and back in 1979.
 

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We seem to be straying slightly from "27s in the Highlands" to "Unusual traction in scenic bits of Scotland". With that caveat ...

There used to be an 04xx Sundays Perth - Inverness, formed of portions off both Glasgow and Edinburgh. (It was different from the equivalent weekdays train in that it had no sleepers, and no balancing southbound working, as well as being held at Perth for several hours). The trains sat at Perth for about 4 hours, being gently steam heated, and was usually a steam-heat 47 Edinburgh to Inverness. There the main attraction was a run on the Lairg Papers from Inverness to Lairg and back. That was booked a 37, but occasional pairs of 26s produced.

Sunday 14/10/84 I had 47002 on the 0400 Perth - Inverness. 37025 was the Lairg, which was nice. However no sooner had we departed than it became apparent the 37 was ailing. It would thrash then immediately cut out. The only way the driver could keep it moving was with minimal revs. We stopped at Clachnaharry swing bridge to report the problem then went forward to Lentran to await assistance.
Meanwhile back in Inverness the request for assistance was received. "Take the loco on the fueller" said the running foreman, thinking a class 37 was the last loco to be there. Unfortunately 47002 had arrived fresh off the 0400 ex Perth, and was freshly fuelled. The driver took the running foreman at his word, took charge of 47002, and set off north to rescue us.
Meanwhile at Lentran we were speculating at to which big loco (or maybe pair of locos) would come to our rescue. When the horrible truth of 47002 arrived, we were not best pleased!
The driver who brought 47002 in took the crippled 37025 light back to Inverness, leaving us to have 47002 to Lairg and back. Cheers then.

Two weeks later 28/10/84 the 0420 Perth - Inverness had type 2 power on it. I arrived at Perth behind 26040 on the 2050 ex Carlisle. The Edinburgh portion (which was supposed to be the through steam-heat 47) arrived at Perth behind 27010, following some mix-up at Edinburgh Waverley. That was taken off the train, then 26038 was added. Finally 26041 coupled on the front and the two 26s multied up. My notes state that this was the first pair of type 2s over the Highland Main Line for the past 3 months. To finish off the story 37264 was the Lairg papers (and worked perfectly thank you), and the 1700 Inverness - Edinburgh was 47120 piloted by 27001 to Perth. I note we lost quite a lot of time as the 27 was doing most of the work
 

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My first Freedom of Scotland was in July 83, and the only 27 I had at the northern end of the country was 007 paired with 26030 on an Aberdeen - Inverness turn. Mind, I also had three pairs of 26s on similar services: 30 & 43, 34 & 40 and 26 & 37. Plus 26041 to the Kyle and back.

Two years later I was back. No 27s working in the area (I daftly took 47209 from Inverness to Aberdeen thinking the return would be a 27, only to see the Duff run round and take me back!) However, 26038/40 were paired up on Far North services.
 

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Interesting if 27s were used more than 26s in the north. Certainly on the Aberdeen to Inverness line in the early 1980s, it was 47s, and mainly 26s, with an occasional 27.
 

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I think it was in 1980 that the Aberdeen - Inverness service went regular interval throughout the day, and was diagrammed to be worked by single class 27s. The intensive thrashing they received on that route soon found out any weaknesses. As such they only lasted about a year before the whole lot was turned over to class 47 operation, in the hope of reducing the demands on the local fire and rescue services, in addition to offering better odds of an on-time (and unscorched) arrival. With the Edinburgh - Dundee circuit going hourly loco-hauled the 27s migrated down there, to spread their own particular brand of fiery enthusiasm further south. The constant shortfall of class 47s often lead to substitution on the Inverness - Aberdeen route, with pairs of 26s, and 37s the first choice.
 

hexagon789

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I think it was in 1980 that the Aberdeen - Inverness service went regular interval throughout the day, and was diagrammed to be worked by single class 27s. The intensive thrashing they received on that route soon found out any weaknesses. As such they only lasted about a year before the whole lot was turned over to class 47 operation, in the hope of reducing the demands on the local fire and rescue services, in addition to offering better odds of an on-time (and unscorched) arrival. With the Edinburgh - Dundee circuit going hourly loco-hauled the 27s migrated down there, to spread their own particular brand of fiery enthusiasm further south. The constant shortfall of class 47s often lead to substitution on the Inverness - Aberdeen route, with pairs of 26s, and 37s the first choice.
I think it was a bit later, my 1980/1981 timetable gives a fairly variable departure slot either end for the Inverness/Aberdeen line. Certainly by 1984 they were a very regular two-hourly interval from both ends.

Interesting if 27s were used more than 26s in the north. Certainly on the Aberdeen to Inverness line in the early 1980s, it was 47s, and mainly 26s, with an occasional 27.
There was at least one Inverness-Aberdeen booked for double 26/27s for a period in the early '80s even after the other diagrams were all 47s.
 

hexagon789

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Likely at rush hour times when I wouldn't have been around to see them!
From what I remember of flickr photos it was the one timed to leave Inverness immediately after The Clansman which was usually 1035 off INV, so something like the 1040-ish INV-ABD.
 

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I recall there was an unadvertised 04:47 Aberdeen - Elgin which was diagrammed for a Type 2. This would then shunt into the yard at Elgin, and reappear later to form the 07:15 Elgin - Inverness. If the 01:05 Perth - Aberdeen was also a Type 2 that morning, you could go Perth - Aberdeen - Elgin - Inverness all with Type 2 power.
 

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I recall there was an unadvertised 04:47 Aberdeen - Elgin which was diagrammed for a Type 2. This would then shunt into the yard at Elgin, and reappear later to form the 07:15 Elgin - Inverness. If the 01:05 Perth - Aberdeen was also a Type 2 that morning, you could go Perth - Aberdeen - Elgin - Inverness all with Type 2 power.
I saw this a few times when travelling and I think it was basically either a parcels or mail (or both) working as far as Elgin. How official the carriage of passengers was I do not know as I was always going in the opposite direction.
 
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