D7628, 7628, 25278
The Last Class 25 to receive a Classified Repair
at Derby Locomotive Works


Photograph courtesy Tom Sutch

Sometime during 1974 on what looks to be a very damp day, 25278 & 25060 are set to take the route to Blackburn, passing Hellifield South Junction signalbox. The shiny paintwork on 25278 suggests this view was taken after it was outshopped from Derby during November 1974.

1965

The frames were laid down for D7628 at Derby Works during the spring of 1965. When completed during August it would be delivered to Tinsley (41A) as part of D7624 - D7649.

1966

During April D7628 move to Wath (41C) as part of a large batch move.

1967

In August D7628 was transferred to the Midland Lines as part of the batch 7627 - 7632

1968

During June 7628 was allocated to the Nottingham Division (D16).

1969

7628's next move was to the Birmingham Division (D02) in January with 7627 - 7631.

From June to August 7628 was under repair at Crewe Works.

1973

During May 25278 moved to Bescot.

1974

In May 25278 was transferred to Longsight.

On August 24th 25278 worked the 9.00am Llandudno Town – York.

25278 was present at Derby Works during October & November, this repair included the fitting of dual braking equipment. Shortly after outshopping 25278 was transferred to Springs Branch in December.

1975

June 21st proved to be a banner day for Class 25 haulage on the North Wales main line, the 09.00 Llandudno – York had 25056, 09.23 Manchester – Llandudno with 25082, the following 10.33 service had 25278 whilst 25095 & 25090 hauled a Blythe Bridge – Llandudno relief. The 07.35 Nottingham – Llandudno arrived behind 25102. Although all the Type 2’s performed well this day problems with other locomotives and a suicide near Colwyn Bay, involving 40150 required quick thinking by operating authorities to keep the traffic flowing on this busy Saturday.

1976

25278 & 25279 were transferred to Cricklewood during May.

1978

July 22nd found 25278 finally making its escape from Tyne Yard after having been laid up there since May 26th with a bad wheel set. The Gateshead crane was used to install the new wheelset during mid July.

1979

Midland based 25270 & 25278 headed north from Haverton Hill on April 26th with the 6S41 bound for Grangemouth!

1980

25278 & 25213 worked the Willesden - Norwood Junction leg of a Liverpool - Crystal Palace football special on April 26th.

It was off to the seaside with 25303 on September 13th working the 08.02 Walsall - Yarmouth as far as Norwich and coming back with the return 14.30 Yarmouth - Walsall from Norwich. The next day this same pair were in use between Dorridge & Bewdley working the 'John Mynors Memorial' charter both ways - steam locomotives 5051 and 2857 worked the Didcot - Dorridge portions of the railtour.

25278 was back at Derby Works during October for a General repair, it would not be released until January 1981.

1981

Maintenance for the Class 25’s like all other locomotives had been controlled by the TOPS system as follows:
A exams were at 55 hours,
B exams at 275 hours,
C exams at 825 hours,
D exams at 1,650 hours,
E exams at 4,950 hours.
When the second E exam was due the locomotive would visit Derby or Glasgow for a classified repair. In laymans terms assuming a locomotive worked nine hours a day, for six days a week, it would reach its second E exam after about three and a half years having undergone 179 examinations. TOPS hours are potentially misleading as many locomotives were left idling between duties causing a discrepancy between the hours run as logged by the TOPS computer and actual engine hours run up, be it under load or simply idling. For the Class 25’s these classified repairs (general or intermediate) would end in 1980, with a total of twenty seven completed in that final year, Derby outshopped seventeen, Glasgow handled ten.

The last from Glasgow were 25234 Intermediate October 1980 & 25062 General June 1980.
The last from Derby were 25080 Intermediate August 1980, 25278 General, released on January 23, 1981.

Whilst 25278 had been in Derby undergoing its final classified repair, thirty five of her sisters were taken out of service. It is also ironic that 25278 was outshopped at the same time as 46011, the last Class 46 to receive a classified repair. Visits would still be made to these workshops but only for repairs of a lesser nature. Eventually only exams upto a ‘C’ were given with a repair limit not to exceed GBP 1,000. Of those last twenty seven Class 25's overhauled only four would be in service at the end, six years later: 25057/265/276 (as 25903) and 25278.

25278 at Rugeley February 1981.
Photograph courtesy David Smith

In the March area the Mountsorrel – Kennett stone trains were frequently double headed, so noted were 25283 & 25298 (Jan 29th), 25301 & 25278 (Feb 10th & 12th), pairs of Class 31’s were also noted on this train.

25278 came to the rescue of 45115 on May 11th when the Class 45 expired at Luton working the 12.04 St. Pancras - Derby. 25278 took the train on to Derby.

25278 & 25254 were active on July 25/26th on Cambrian metals. On July 25th they worked the 10.10 Euston - Aberystwyth forward from Birmingham New Street coming back with the 18.00 Aberystwyth - Wolverhampton. The next day they worked an excursion from Gloucester (Lincoln?) forward from Wolverhampton to Aberystwyth and return.

Engineering work on September 13th found 25278 & 25326 dragging the 00.25 Manchester Piccadilly - Euston between Bletchley & Willesden. Two weeks later on September 27th more engineering work, this time between Coventry and Rugby found 25278 & 25324 assisting four services over the de-energised section between lunch time & early afternoon.

1982

During 1982/83 Bletchley depot maintained a special pool of locomotives to work the heavy brick trains between Fletton sidings and Wembley. Where possible these locomotives were kept on local trip workings in between their use on the brick trains and also the Tring cement trains. Class 25's that went through this pool included 25266/276/278, 25301/312/314. 25266 was probably the worst of these locomotives, failing numerous times with 'low power', particularly on the cement trains. Bletchley allocation stickers were applied to these locomotives during A & B examinations but were constantly being removed.

August 6th & 7th were busy days for 25278 & 25134. On 6th they took over the 12.46 Portsmouth - Leeds at Birmingham New Street working through to Leeds. They returned south with the 21.56 Leeds - Portsmouth as far as Birmingham New Street. The next day this pair were in charge of the 08.33 Derby - Yarmouth as far as Norwich. Here they were used to take the 08.10 Leeds - Yarmouth from Norwich to Yarmouth. Surprisingly they returned westwards on the 14.31 Yarmouth - Sheffield to Norwich, before taking up their appointed return working, the 14.44 Yarmouth - Derby from Norwich.

On November 25th the Prince & Princess of Wales traveled from Euston to Central Wales by Royal Train. From Shrewsbury to Aberdovey/Towyn 25259 & 25278 were in charge, with 25044 on standby. An overnight stop was made at Rossett prior to the Royal party visiting Wrexham & Hawarden on 26th.

25259 & 25278 stand at Aberdovey on a damp November 25th 1982 having conveyed the Prince & Princess of Wales for a visit to the area. Clearly visible on the cabfront & lamp iron is the cable carried by the locomotive to support the radio telephone communication equipment. This is believed to be the last time that Class 25's were called upon to work the Royal Train.
Photograph courtesy Geoffrey Bannister.

1983

A very damp May 1st found 25278 in charge of the LTE ‘Metroland’ railtour between Amersham & Rugby.

Two views of 25278 at Watford on the Metroland railtour. Silver buffers and a cleaned up cab front aid the appearance of the locomotive on this otherwise overcast day. The excellent condition of the locomotive was made possible by the hard work of Bletchley apprentice Jerry Roberts.
Photographs courtesy Ed Kilbey

The choice of 25278 for the above mentioned railtour was made by Bletchley rolling stock inspector Jimmy Brown & TME Keith Jackson. The excellent external condition was created by Bletchley apprentice Jerry Roberts. It took three evenings to clean the locomotive by hand using meths to clean and polish the bodywork. The cab fronts received a fresh coat of yellow paint. The silver paint applied to 25278 for its Royal Train working during the previous November still lingered on the buffers, these were cleaned and repainted. Even the control desk in the cabs were given a thorough cleaning.

After seven years allocated to Cricklewood 25278 was transferred north to Crewe during June.

1984

25278 was transferred to Carlisle Kingmoor during January.

On January 13th 25278 was noted arriving at Glasgow Central dragging a failed 47108 ex Carlisle.

A late night working for 25278 on February 21st was the 22.58 Crewe - Preston via Chester.

When 86216 failed at Lichfield City on May 10th working the 15.50 Liverpool - Euston 25278 was on hand to drag the train to Nuneaton, where 25194 & 31201 took over!

DMU troubles in the Carlisle/Newcastle area on June 13th led to 25278 handling four DMU workings starting with the 08.55 Carlisle - Newcastle. The Class 25 returned to Carlisle in time to take up the 15.40 Carlisle - Newcastle followed by the 17.25 Newcastle - Durham and the return 17.54 working to Newcastle.

June 21st’s Tyne Yard – Carlisle Speedlink featured 27059 & 25278, the Class 27 having arrived on the Stranraer Speedlink.

Cambrian metals were traversed on September 8th with 25278 & 25287 working the 07.44 Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth. The train hit a car on a crossing just outside Aberystwyth. Despite this incident the locomotives were able to work 10.10 Aberystwyth - Euston as far as Wolverhampton.

1985

On March 16th 25278 & 25309 worked the early morning Ditton – North Wembley BOC tanks, presumably due to a shortage of electric locomotives.

On June 8th the 05.30 Wolverhampton - Harwich utilised 25278 as far as Leicester. Two days later 25278 worked the 16.40 Norwich - Birmingham New Street forward from Leicester after 25089 had been failed.

25278 made a brief appearance on June 22nd dragging a Milton Keynes - Manchester Piccadilly service from Macclesfield to Manchester Piccadilly due to the power being switched off for engineering works.

It was off to Blackpool for 25278 on July 5th working the 16.45 Euston - Blackpool forward from Preston. It returned south the next day with the 06.30 Blackpool - Euston as far as Preston. 25278's next passenger working, one week later on July 12th was a little more adventurous, working the 1V46 12.55 York - Cardiff relief service throughout! Presumably Control at York did not have many spare locomotives to handle this Friday afternoon relief and the use of 25278 would provide an easy way to remove this Class 25 from their operating area. For any enthusiasts out there on this Friday afternoon it must have made a fine sight as it drew up at the stations along the route. As a native of Derby I can just imagine sitting on a barrow at the south end of Platform 4 pondering what might be in charge of this York - Cardiff relief as its imminent arrival would be hailed by the station announcer.

Once identified it would also be of interest in that 25278 was alone in handling this train and remarkable that at each major station the potential was out there for this little locomotive to be replaced. But it never was. In this day and age (2008) of instant global information/communications, the happenings of 25278 on this day a generation ago must have brought a smile to the enthusiasts witnessing this little scene play out along the route. Its been many years since I was spotting at the south end of Derby station, but I can just imagine 25278 ticking over near the end of Platform 4 awaiting departure. There would be a low hum from the point motors as the route was set for the Birmingham direction. The red signal would change to green, the 'W' would appear in the indicator box. The driver would look back down the platform, the last carriage doors would slam solidly shut, the guard would roll out the green flag and give a firm blow on his whistle. The 'Right Away' would appear, the cab door would then slam shut, the urgency of the engine exhaust would change, the brakes would release and for any Class 25 enthusiasts present this was a little bit of heaven here on earth. That unmistakeable sound would echo across the station as 25278 drew its train out of Platform 4, across the pointwork for the London lines and under London Road bridge and on towards Peartree & Normanton. Pretty soon all vestiges of this event would be gone and the station would return to its slumbers until the next arrival brought everything to life.

Would 25278 make it all the way to Cardiff? I suspect most would have said no, it'll surely get replaced at Birmingham New Street, or fail en-route. But the little locomotive held together and Control left it alone - happy days!

25278 & 25324 Mossend September 27th 1985.
Photograph courtesy Phillip Moore

1986

A couple of failures at the end of January required the help of 25278. On January 29th the 09.28 Carlisle - Euston needed assistance from Carnforth to Preston following the failure of the Class 87. The next day the 09.02 Morecambe - Leeds DMU required assistance from Carnforth to Leeds.

When two Class 31’s (31259 & 31271) were transferred to Carlisle, this allowed 25176 & 25278 to be transferred down to Crewe, 25278's last transfer.

An eastbound engineers train heads through Marsden behind 25278 on July 31st 1986.
Photograph courtesy Mike Jones

25278 was in front line service over Shap on September 6th when overhead line damage required the 13.10 Glasgow Central - Euston to be dragged between Carlisle & Lancaster. Presumably this was an urgent request on this Saturday afternoon and 25278 was the nearest available locomotive. The remaining Class 25's were still very active over the WCML on a variety of freight workings but by this time their use on passenger duties over Shap were virtually non-existant. So it must have come as a bit of a surprise to find the Class 87 and its train being coupled on to by 25278 at Carlisle. Were any last minute tickets purchased to capture this potential last ride behind a Class 25 over Shap? Who knows, but 25278 did its job in getting the train to Lancaster.

The southbound Gulf Oil tanks were still bringing Class 25’s into Hereford, where they were changed for Class 37’s, so noted on October 28th was 25059 and November 4th with 25278.

On December 7th 25278 hauled the 18.20 Glasgow Central - Manchester Victoria forward from Preston.

Sometime during 1986 the locomotive acquired the painted name 'Castell Powys/Powis Castle'.

1987

The New Year opened with 25278 in the Shrewsbury area on January 1st. By January 6th it was at Crewe awaiting attention to its traction motors. On the evening of January 13th it was noted at Curzon Street parcels and allocated to work the 3E16 to Peterborough. By the 16th it was at Saltley allocated to BM57.

Leicester was the location for 25278 at midday on 22nd having arrived on the 7T91. In the early hours of 25th it had arrived at Bedford having worked in on the 9X17. By the evening of the 27th it was back at Leicester and allocated to work the 1E77 to Peterborough and then return light to Leicester. It was then a trip north, arriving on the evening of 29th on 9L18 and then running on to Carnforth stabling point.

On January 27th 37430 failed at Caersws on the 07.22 Aberystwyth - Euston. 25278 was on hand to take the train to Shrewsbury where it too failed and 20163 took the train forward, still with the Class 37 & 25 attached.

25278 passing Hay Fell with a short freight on January 30th 1987.
Photograph courtesy Kevin Hughes

On the morning of January 31st 25278 arrived at Nottingham PCD having worked the 1M65 22.37 ex Glasgow Central from ?? It was then allocated to the 1E94 to Sheffield.

The last recorded passenger working for 25278 was on February 1st when it hauled the 17.52 Liverpool - Cleethorpes from Sheffield to Doncaster.

25278 spent about a week in the Carlisle area, much of it attached to 25173. Late on February 10th it was booked to work the 6S56 to Dumfries with 25173 and returning with the 6M80 to Carlisle. These turns were also worked on February 11th & 12th. By midday on 14th 25278 was at Ayr. On the 18th it was noted arriving at Carlisle with the 6E95, and then being allocated on the 6S56 to Dumfries and 6M80 return. It was then allocated to the 19th's 3S07 02.50 Carlisle - Ayr.

By the evening of February 20th 25278 was at Carnforth and allocated to 21st's 9L42 to Preston. By teatime on 23rd 25278 was at Polmadie. It was diagrammed for 24th's 1M65 22.37 Glasgow Central - Nottingham as far as Carlisle where it was allocated to the 8X55 to Sellafield with 25173.

In the early hours of March 1st 25278 was at Oxenholme on the 8L65. Late on the 3rd 25278 was noted at Falkland on the 6E95 Stranraer Town - Tees freight (to Carlisle?). Following this it was allocated to the 6S56 06.39 Carlisle - Dumfries. On the evening of the 6th it covered the 6E95 turn from Falkland to Carlisle again. By lunchtime on 7th it was at Carnforth.

On March 10th 25278 worked a Sellafield – Bridgwater nuclear flask train, taking up the return working on 11th. It was next noted at Crewe on March 16th having come from the Longport Pinnox branch. It was diagrammed for jobs CE94 to Crewe & 8L76 Bescot - Crewe Basford Hall freight. On the afternoon of 17th 25278 was sent to Chester and was back at Crewe by early evening. A short while later 25278 was taken out of service.

25278 at Crewe on March 11th 1987 at about 12.25pm on the way to Stoke on Trent.
Photograph courtesy Ian Hammond
25278 at Crewe on its last day - March 17th 1987. 25278 also made a trip to Chester on this day, by the evening 25278 had been withdrawn.
Photograph courtesy Jim Nisbet

Retirement & Preservation

By at least April 29th 25278 had moved to Basford Hall for storage. The last movement for 25278 came when it travelled with 25191, 25212 & 25313 as the Crewe – Vic Berry, Leicester on July 8/9th, 1987. The locomotive remained intact until at least late into January 1988. On January 25th 1988 25278 was removed from Vic Berry's yard beginning its journey into preservation at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, arriving at Grosmont on January 29th. This trip from Vic Berry's was in company with also preserved 25191.

7628/25278 had quite a varied allocation history, at one time or another being allocated to Tinsley, Wath, Midland Lines, Nottingham Division, Birmingham Division, Bescot, Longsight, Cricklewood, Crewe, Carlisle Kingmoor & Crewe.

This view shows 25278 with an allocation sticker for Bletchley depot, a location to which no Class 25 was ever allocated but a depot which would have a long association with the Class, particularly those machines allocated to Cricklewood or Willesden.

Photograph courtesy Nick Ross

With thanks to Alan Baylis for the passenger workings and to Neil Cannon for the TOPS details. And to the photographers who have made available the views on this page.

Page added April 9th 2008
Last updated February 10th 2012

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