The introduction of Mk3 Sleepers and old routes served by sleeper services

Peter Mugridge

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Plymouth. It was the 1S19 (21:00 from Plymouth?)
It was usually a 47/4 in the late 1980s to Birmingham New Street, and then an 86 to Glasgow with the Carstairs to Edinburgh portion being another 47/4.
It was usually banked up Lickey Incline by the resident 37 bankers as it quite often loaded up to 16 coaches.
I certainly remember that service, did it in 1987. If my memory is correct the sleeping cars used to get shunted onto both ends at Bristol as the service was actually a Plymouth (or was it Penzance?)- Glasgow/Edinburgh service.
I used it several times between Parkway and Temple Meads in the mid 1980s and it was invariably a 45 - at least on the southbound; this image is approaching Temple Meads at 08.45 on 5th October 1985, ignore 45 114 on the right... look on the left and it's 45 103 hauling the Sleeper, you can clearly see two Sleeper carriages and in front of that are three Mk2 pressure ventilated vehicles and a gangwayed brake van right behind the locomotive. Which also shows that the Sleepers, again at least on the southbound, were not on the end.
 

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Cowley

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I used it several times between Parkway and Temple Meads in the mid 1980s and it was invariably a 45 - at least on the southbound; this image is approaching Temple Meads at 08.45 on 5th October 1985, ignore 45 114 on the right... look on the left and it's 45 103 hauling the Sleeper, you can clearly see two Sleeper carriages and in front of that are three Mk2 pressure ventilated vehicles and a gangwayed brake van right behind the locomotive. Which also shows that the Sleepers, again at least on the southbound, were not on the end.
Another great photo from your collection Peter!
 

Peter Mugridge

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Another great photo from your collection Peter!
Thank you. :smile:

Here's 45 103 a few minutes earlier at Parkway; unfortunately it was half in shadow and in any case with the first Sleeper vehicle being the 4th in the train it's not showing in this picture. However, these two images do show that at least the southbound was regularly 45 hauled in the mid 1980s.
 

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Steve Harris

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They were definitely running up to May 1986. Might have been to 1987 or 1988.
1987 or 88 sounds about right. I managed to do one Edinburgh- Kings Cross with a mate when the Mad March hare offer was on.

Went up to Leeds late friday night. Down the (or should that be up) Settle - Carlisle on the Saturday. On to Gladgow, round Shields Road depot (with a permit)! Then across to Edinburgh and back Sat night/ Sunday morning.

I'm pretty sure I bagged it in the last year before it switched to Euston.
 

Steve Harris

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There are sleepers from King's Cross in my 1981 timetable but not in my 1988 one. At a guess maybe 1984?

I believe several changes were made then as part of the Mk3 sleeper introduction.
Thanks for looking.

As i posted above I did it in March (1988) if you have the 88 Summer timetable that ties in.
 

hexagon789

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Thanks for looking.

As i posted above I did it in March (1988) if you have the 88 Summer timetable that ties in.
It is indeed Summer 1988.

From Euston there are listed sleepers to:
Inverness & Stranraer
Aberdeen & Fort William
Inverness
Aberdeen
Liverpool & Manchester
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Glasgow Central & Carlisle

Going back to 1981 the sleepers off King's Cross were to:
Aberdeen
Dunbar
Edinburgh
 

Steve Harris

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Plymouth. It was the 1S19 (21:00 from Plymouth?)
It was usually a 47/4 in the late 1980s to Birmingham New Street, and then an 86 to Glasgow with the Carstairs to Edinburgh portion being another 47/4.
It was usually banked up Lickey Incline by the resident 37 bankers as it quite often loaded up to 16 coaches.
16 on sounds right. But not so sure 21:00 off Plymouth. Im thinking 21: 00 or 22:00 sort of time off Bristol Temple Meads.

Sorry Peter but can't seem to do multi quote (as on mobile), in 1987 it was deffently a 47/4 on the Northbound service. There probably was a BG as the first coach behind the loco followed by Mk 3 sleepers, then (i think) Mk 2a's, more sleepers and then another BG. (The sleepers getting shunted on at Temple Meads, hence why on the Northbound they were on the ends).

To this day i don't know if we got banked or not ( should of been a pair of 37's). I listened out but couldn't hear anything. But being a teen and not being in the know, I'd picked the wrong end :'(

P.S. I think on the Southbound, the sleeper service and train only went to Bristol. Compared to the Northbound which started at Plymouth.
 
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Steve Harris

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It is indeed Summer 1988.

From Euston there are listed sleepers to:
Inverness & Stranraer
Aberdeen & Fort William
Inverness
Aberdeen
Liverpool & Manchester
Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Glasgow Central & Carlisle

Going back to 1981 the sleepers off King's Cross were to:
Aberdeen
Dunbar
Edinburgh
Cheers.

Deffo sounds like they finished in May 1988 unless of course in the words of Ken Bruce "your one year out". lol. (or in this case I am).
 

alistairlees

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16 on sounds right. But not so sure 21:00 off Plymouth. Im thinking 21: 00 or 22:00 sort of time off Bristol Temple Meads.

Sorry Peter but can't seem to do multi quote (as on mobile), in 1987 it was deffently a 47/4. There probably was a BG as the first coach behind the loco followed by Mk 3 sleepers, then (i think) Mk 2a's, more sleepers and then another BG.

To this day i don't know if we got banked or not ( should of been a pair of 37's). I listened out but couldn't hear anything. But being a teen and not being in the know, I'd picked the wrong end :'(
It was 21.24 from Bristol temple meads. About 18.40 from Plymouth but I can’t remember exactly. It was only from Plymouth (even Penzance) on certain nights of the week / seasons of the year / timetables. A mixture of 45/1 and 47/4 by 1985. 8 coaches each to Edinburgh and Glasgow central. Up to four of these were vans from memory. Was supposed to be banked by the Lickey banker(s) but occasionally went straight up. I’m pretty sure 45/1 were still doing it in 1987.
 

Steve Harris

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It was 21.24 from Bristol temple meads. About 18.40 from Plymouth but I can’t remember exactly. It was only from Plymouth (even Penzance) on certain nights of the week / seasons of the year / timetables. A mixture of 45/1 and 47/4 by 1985. 8 coaches each to Edinburgh and Glasgow central. Up to four of these were vans from memory. Was supposed to be banked by the Lickey banker(s) but occasionally went straight up. I’m pretty sure 45/1 were still doing it in 1987.
Thanx again for the help.

And yes your spot on with the Penzance reference. As you say, only ran on certain nights from there.... I'm guessing a Friday or Saturday night in the height of summer ( holidaymaker traffic).
 

Cowley

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It was 21.24 from Bristol temple meads. About 18.40 from Plymouth but I can’t remember exactly. It was only from Plymouth (even Penzance) on certain nights of the week / seasons of the year / timetables. A mixture of 45/1 and 47/4 by 1985. 8 coaches each to Edinburgh and Glasgow central. Up to four of these were vans from memory. Was supposed to be banked by the Lickey banker(s) but occasionally went straight up. I’m pretty sure 45/1 were still doing it in 1987.
Just looked it up. It was the 18:38 from Plymouth. Early May 1988 I had 47517 ‘Andrew Carnegie’ on it from Exeter to Birmingham, banked by a couple of 37s up the Lickey, an 86/2 to Carstairs, and finally 47535 ‘University of Leicester’ Carstairs to Edinburgh.
5 locomotives involved with 1 train.
 

Peter Mugridge

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P.S. I think on the Southbound, the sleeper service and train only went to Bristol. Compared to the Northbound which started at Plymouth.
I'm pretty sure that's right; I seem to recall it did terminate at Temple Meads whenever I used it.

Interesting that the formation seems to have been different northbound as well, judging by the posts; it also looks as if the traction was in the process of changing at the time, but that would make sense with the run-down of 45s on the Bristol to Birmingham route at the time wouldn't it?
 

BRX

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Must have been a bit hectic at euston in the morning with all those sleepers arriving and presumably a need to get them out of the way before the morning peak!
 

edwin_m

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Must have been a bit hectic at euston in the morning with all those sleepers arriving and presumably a need to get them out of the way before the morning peak!
Euston had a bit of a surplus of platforms, and obviously fewer commuter trains then, so it probably wasn't too much of a problem to have the sleepers occupying a some of the little used long ones out to both sides.
 

John Webb

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I can attest to the 1st / 2nd class issue. My mum was a civil servant and work required visits to places around the country to make films - she researched and wrote the films but this was a more junior civil service grade than the film Director and similar staff, who would get 1st class tickets. Result being it was not possible to discuss the work en route to the film location unless the senior graded people sat in 2nd class despite holding 1st class tickets.

This was in the 70s and early 80s. It would not surprise me if the same grade distinction ref travel ticketing didn't still exist in the civil service...
In August 1973 I was part of a team (the very junior member, I have to say) heading to the Isle of Mann to investigate the serious Summerland leisure centre fire - our boss insisted I was bought a first-class ticket so I could be with the rest of the team to discuss what we were going to do on site while we travelled from Euston to Liverpool.

Talking of fires, no one has mentioned that the introduction of the Mk 3 sleepers was delayed by the 1978 fire at Taunton in the Mk 1 stock. Design work on the Mk3s was held up until the report on the Taunton fire was available so that the Mk3s could include extra fire precautions. But I've no idea how much delay was caused......
 
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30907

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Interesting, still King's Cross departures then though no Dunbar sleeper anymore.
The Dunbar sleeper was an extension of the Newcastle train (as per 1984 t/t scan upthread) and actually went through to Edinburgh (for obvious reasons), the seats doing duty as an 0630-ish stopper from NCL to EDB.
 

hexagon789

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The Dunbar sleeper was an extension of the Newcastle train (as per 1984 t/t scan upthread) and actually went through to Edinburgh (for obvious reasons), the seats doing duty as an 0630-ish stopper from NCL to EDB.
Edinburgh as a sleeper or simply as ECS?
 

WesternLancer

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In August 1973 I was part of a team (the very junior member, I have to say) heading to the Isle of Mann to investigate the serious Summerland leisure centre fire - our boss insisted I was bought a first-class ticket so I could be with the rest of the team to discuss what we were going to do on site while we travelled from Euston to Liverpool.

Talking of fires, no one has mentioned that the introduction of the Mk 3 sleepers was delayed by the 1978 fire at Taunton in the Mk 1 stock. Design work on the Mk3s was held up until the report on the Taunton fire was available so that the Mk3s could include extra fire precautions. But I've no idea how much delay was caused......
Thanks- yes interesting ref civil service. Think the Taunton fire was mentioned recently (maybe another sleeper related thread) but I'd not until recently been aware that it actually resulted in delays to Mk3 SLE production to include recc's from the report.
 

WesternLancer

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Thanks to all for the posts on here - esp the pics and timetables scans. Very interesting to me esp as my first UK overnight train experience was taking the Plymouth Edinburgh in a seated carriage in 1986, so great to read the extra operational detail here that I would not have been fully aware of back then in my mid teens.

In fact that was my first ever solo long rover type trip - doing - London-Penzance-Edinboro via Bristol/Brum-Aberdeen-Inverness-Glasgow-London in circa 36 hours.
 

DerekC

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I recall catching the sleeper from Darlington to Kings Cross several times in about 1978/9. There were two cars waiting in one of the bays when you arrived at about 10pm. You got into your berth and got your head down, then about midnight the train from (I assume) Edinburgh arrived, you were shunted across and coupled on (not very good for sleep) and then off you went. That must have been Mk1s - I have vague recollections of the self-emptying pot, although I think there was a toilet at the end of the car. Arrival in Kings Cross was pretty early, because I could get down to Dover for a 9am start on the project I was doing at the time.
 

Steve Harris

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I'm pretty sure that's right; I seem to recall it did terminate at Temple Meads whenever I used it.

Interesting that the formation seems to have been different northbound as well, judging by the posts; it also looks as if the traction was in the process of changing at the time, but that would make sense with the run-down of 45s on the Bristol to Birmingham route at the time wouldn't it?
The reason the formation was different southbound to northbound would be because northbound it was loco, Glasgow portion, Edinburgh portion. Splitting at Carstairs. And southbound (I'm guessing here) loco, Glasgow portion, Edinburgh portion. Joining at Carstairs.
Therefore the 2 portions would be in reverse with the sleepers in the middle and probably why the service only went as far as Bristol going sourhbound.
 

Steve Harris

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Thanks to all for the posts on here - esp the pics and timetables scans. Very interesting to me esp as my first UK overnight train experience was taking the Plymouth Edinburgh in a seated carriage in 1986, so great to read the extra operational detail here that I would not have been fully aware of back then in my mid teens.
Kinda ditto.

Was my first sleeper (not first overnight though), and brings back memories on how long the train was too.
 

edwin_m

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Thanks- yes interesting ref civil service. Think the Taunton fire was mentioned recently (maybe another sleeper related thread) but I'd not until recently been aware that it actually resulted in delays to Mk3 SLE production to include recc's from the report.
It was certainly said in Modern Railways at the time that the extra fire precautions after Taunton had increased the price of the Mk3 sleepers significantly, and might even have contributed to the bottom dropping out of the sleeper market within a few years.

Anyone remember the Mk3 sleepers that operated in Denmark?
 

Highlandspring

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Thanks- yes interesting ref civil service. Think the Taunton fire was mentioned recently (maybe another sleeper related thread) but I'd not until recently been aware that it actually resulted in delays to Mk3 SLE production to include recc's from the report.
There are a few files in the National Archives about the design of the mk3 sleepers which online catalogue suggests includes an intriguing sounding report about the influence of the Taunton fire on the design. One day when I’ve time I’ll go and read it all - AN182/213, AN160/548, AN160/554 and AN199/370 all look very interesting.
 
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gingerheid

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We really ought to write a forum history of UK sleepers, or, perhaps, organise a Wikipedia article? There seems to be a gap in the current Wikipedia articles as they are based on the services that remain!

The overnight train I remember from my early 90s childhood was Glasgow to Poole / somewhere in the SW that I feel was further away than Bristol, which I feel I remember split at Birmingham, which I feel also involved an Edinburgh portion in some way, which we used so often I feel must have run all year, and which I am certain was a sleeper (though we always used the otherwise empty seated coach) as we stopped using it when it became sleeper only and I think it stopped completely shortly after that.

I was surprised to see that this wasn't in the winter 86/87 timetable. Was it actually a summer only service? Or was it a rare example of a new service?
 

30907

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Don't remember the details but the Poole was definitely a new service - IC trying ways of increasing revenue from their over-large sleeper fleet using spare capacity on the existing network. My guess is that the loco was spare at Bournemouth overnight as well.
 

BRX

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We really ought to write a forum history of UK sleepers, or, perhaps, organise a Wikipedia article? There seems to be a gap in the current Wikipedia articles as they are based on the services that remain!
Yes, there's not actually a lot of info out there on what's quite an interesting history. I've had it in mind that one day I'd like to try and make a website that laid out the history of at least the scottish sleepers... One of those things I'll probably never actually get around to.

A wikipedia page is a nice idea.
 

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