AL class destinations on the WCML

Discussion in 'Traction & Rolling Stock' started by Topgun333, 9 Apr 2015.

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  1. Topgun333

    Topgun333 Member

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    As a lad from the south I'd occasionally manage a day at Euston in the late 1970s but never took a record of which ALs worked which services to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. Were they all interchangeable or did those based at Longsight for example tend to work Manchester services? Would an 82 be swapped in for an 86 or 87 with no particular concerns? Would an 85 run to Glasgow as often as an 81 etc etc?
     
  2. D60

    D60 Member

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    At Preston during this period, my memory is of classes 81-85 being principally employed on freight and parcels (particularly 82/83/84), the arrival of 87s alongside 86s on Anglo-Scottish expresses, helping in this respect... My feeling is that usage was otherwise fairly indiscriminate, regardless of depot allocation..?
     
  3. RichmondCommu

    RichmondCommu Established Member

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    Its worth bearing in mind here that the class 82's, 83's and 84's all went pretty quickly and spent long periods of time in storage.
     
  4. 40129

    40129 Member

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    IIRC cl-87s were primarily used on Anglo-Scottish trains having been designed to cope with the gradients at Shap, etc. I certainly don't recall seeing many at New Street or Wolverhampton, which tended to get more cl-81, 85 and 86. Can't comment on Manchester or Liverpool trains as I rarely ventured there during the period in question
     
  5. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I'd have thought 87s would not really figure in this discussion, as far as I am aware they were never designated as 'AL7's. That said, I'm not well up on the early years of Electric traction, so welcome the discussion as a learning activity... As you were...
     
  6. snowball

    snowball Established Member

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    My impression is that most Manchester and Liverpool trains used 86s both before and after the introduction of 87s, but I might well be wrong. But then there were a lot more 86s.

    It's certainly true that the AL terminology had been dropped by the time the wires were extended north of Weaver Junction and the 87s were introduced.
     
  7. DY444

    DY444 Member

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    In the 1970s the diagramming of AC electrics was based on two main criteria. Did the diagram include any turns with vacuum braked stock and did it include any turns which required multiple working. If the answer to the first question was yes then an 87 could not be turned out. if the answer to the second question was yes then a multiple fitted locomotive was required. There was also a desire to keep 81-85 off turns with air con stock if at all possible. Apart from those constraints the standard timing load on the WCML was E455 which 86s could maintain and so the diagramming on all the London services was a mix of 86s and 87s.

    Once the 110 mph running started it all changed as the higher speed services had to have an 87 or an 86/1 to maintain time.
     
  8. Deepgreen

    Deepgreen Established Member

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    I travelled behind 85s, 86s and 87s to Glasgow, but don't recall any of the lower numbered classes there. An 83 was station pilot at Euston on many occasions that I recall (see attached photo).

    https://flic.kr/p/cusVsL
     
  9. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    82-84 were the least reliable, in particular having reputations for catching fire, and were stored for long periods pretty much from all the 86 fleet coming on stream, particularly in the old steam loco depot at Bury. Part of the Weaver Jc to Glasgow electrification project in the 1970s was to recover these locomotives with a substantial rebuild, rather than build additional new units. This didn't really work out and they were mostly withdrawn again after only a few more years.

    The poor reputation of the 83s was surprising, given they came from English Electric. The 84s came from North British, once the largest steam builder in Britain, who however seem to have hardly built a modern traction unit that was in any way reliable, and they went out of business shortly after the 84s were completed.

    81 and 85 were more reliable, and apparently rode better as well.

    86 were more powerful but had notably poor riding characteristics until half the class were substantially rebuilt in the 1970s, and the other half kept on freight.

    Basically the locos used to turn up all round the system, segregated more by type of traffic than any notional allocation. For many years at first they were in an overall common pool, it was just for maintenance experience/spares holding that certain ones were then assigned to certain depots.
     
  10. DJH1971

    DJH1971 Established Member

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    Which is why they probably outlived the 82's, 83's & 84's.
     
  11. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Catching a train home to Crewe one night (86-hauled) from Euston I discovered the train from the adjacent platform was 82-hauled, and that my father was driving! He left 5 minutes before us; we got to Crewe in 1h 52m non-stop, without seeing an adverse signal, so how fast was the 82?

    Don't know what this says about 82s, or my father's driving! :D
     
  12. ilkestonian

    ilkestonian Member

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    Bet he was on the slows and you ons the fasts. You were probably ahead by the top of Camden Bank ;)
     
  13. Peter Sarf

    Peter Sarf Established Member

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    From what I recall 1974 onwards mainly at Birmingham or London. Class 86 on passenger with 85s not being unusal. Classes 81-84 had to be hunted down on freight mainly at Willesden/Wembley and Bescot in my case. The Class allocated to Glasgow Shields road was a very rare sight (class 84 or maybe 82 iirc). When the 87s came along I was not particularly aware of what passenger services they worked but the older locos (81-85) became scarcer.

    I seem to recall the class 86 was based on the 85 so not surprising they found themselves on passenger work.

    Oh for those who did not know ALn was the old classification for AC electric locos so classes 81 to 86 were originally called AL1 to AL6 respectively. By 1976 the class numbers were settled in so the 87s were never called AL7. AM1 upwards were AC Multiple units so for example AM10 was class 310, AM4 was class 304.
     
  14. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    I think hat 82s,83s and 84s finished up on Stock workings at Euston and Manchester Picc.
     
  15. Polarbear

    Polarbear Established Member

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    By the late 1970's, the main workings were generally confined to 86's or 87's, with 81's and/or 85's generally being used for shorter distance work (Liverpool - Birmingham) or for reliefs and subtituting for failed loco's as required.

    The main caviet with this was that 87's were air braked only so could not work stock that was vacuum braked only. It was quite funny watching the fitter try to couple an 87 to the erstwhile Manchester Pullman stock at Piccadilly one evening...!!

    I do recall having an 84 on a Crewe - Birmingham journey in the late 1970's that managed to fail twice between Crewe & Wolverhampton! :roll: No, it's fair to say that classes 82, 83 and 84 weren't the best things BR ever built.
     
  16. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    deleted
     
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2015
  17. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    I'd echo most of that, from experience in the late 70s/very early 80s.
    87s tended not to be on Euston-Birmingham/Wolverhampton trains. Euston-Glasgows would be mostly 87s, Euston-Manchester/Liverpool 87 or 86/2, while Euston-Birmingham/Wolverhampton and the cross-country stuff north from Birmingham to Scotland (or from Manchester/Liverpool - but only electric from Preston northwards) tended to be 86s, predominantly 86/2s.
    The earlier classes could be seen on relief services of Mk1s (I had a Mk1 compartment to myself behind an 85 on a relief from Manchester about 1980), and also on parcels/freight.
    Overnight, it was common enough to see pairs of 87s on freights (including Freightliners), and even in the daytime, there was a big steel coils train that came south from Scotland with a pair of 87s, which came off at Warrington for diesel forwards to Wales I think.
     
  18. 87031

    87031 Member

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    As 90s appeared on the WCML things changed a lot, certain trains booked 87s ended up with 90s on for example the 1030 Euston-Glasgow (Royal Scot).

    Most of the others from Euston where all 87s. The southbound Royal Scot stayed an 87 because the engine came off a freightliner. One strange one was the 1425 Glasgow-Euston booked an 86/2 off a parcels service. Usually always an 86/2 but 85s dropped on it a lot because of the parcels diagram. This was not timed at 110mph so didnt matter.

    As 90s became more common the Glasgow-Birmingham services became very solid 87s. 86/4s often appeared on 87 diagrams because of the multiple working on Freightliners so you could end up with an 86/4 on the southbound Royal Scot for that reason. Manchester/Liverpool Pullmans where usually 87s as well. 86101,102,103 and 86209,231 would also end up on big 87 trains because of the 110mph they where capable of.
     
  19. AM9

    AM9 Established Member

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    I seem to remember reading way back in what probably was the '70s that the 86s were hard on the track because they had nose-hung motors whereas some (or all) of the AM1-5 classes had quill drives which reduced the unsprung weight. Thia was recognised as a false economy by the time that the higher-power 87s were specified so they didn't have that design weakness.
     
  20. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    Classes 82-84 did appear on LIV-BHM and my records show that I had five rides between RUN and CRE.
     
  21. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    It was a fine economy for the locomotive building budget, but it transferred the costs to the civil engineering department, as the unsprung-at-high-speed weight of the 86s contributed in no small measure to the amount of wear and tear, and indeed outright damage (especially at pointwork and rail joints) on the line.

    In the end a modification was devised and the large external coil springs known as "Flexicoil" over each bogie, attached to the bodyside, were devised, and Class 86/2 modified with these. Only about half the class was done, with the unmodified ones restricted to 80 mph on freight - in theory.

    I believe that Flexicoil, first installed on General Motors diesels in the USA long before the Class 86 were thought of, was actually a GM patent, and money had to be passed to them to use the design.
     
  22. cadder toad

    cadder toad Member

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    Here's some notes, mainly from Carlisle, 1980/81. If asked I'd have said the balance was in favour of 87's over 86's but my own records don't show this. I think that's a reflection on my records. Class 82 and 84 were very rare. 83 was unusual.

    Class 81 seen on a parcels train
    Class 85 - Hauling Mk1's(a Nottingham train?), a definite Nott train(Mk1s), Glasgow bound relief, Leicester to Glasgow train, Relief to Euston(from Glasg?), Relief to Dundee, freight train
    Class 86/0 Freight train
    Class 86 - Liv to Edin, Glasg to Euston, Motorail Perth to KO, Birmingham to Glasg and Edin, Stranraer to Euston, Parcels
    Class 87 - Man and Liv to Glasg, Euston to Glasg, Glasg to Euston, Southbound Royal Scot, Euston to Glasgow, Birmingham to Edin.

    More or less confirms what others have said
     
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