D7653, 7653, 25303


Photograph courtesy Tony Sayer

Its a fine summers day afternoon at Derby, July 28th 1976. The station is alive to the workings of the London - Sheffield and NE/SW services all very much in the hands of Class 45/46/47's. The local freight traffic is in the hands of the Class 20/25's and the ever present manouvreing of locomotives on/off the fuelling point continues around the clock. Seen here in just such a manouevre is 25303 captured on film in front of the familiar Works buildings and clock tower.

1966
D7651 - D7654 were delivered to the Midland Lines from Beyer Peacock during May & June. They were towards the end of a batch of thirty five locomotives that were split between delivery to Tinsley (41A) and the Nottingham Division (D16).

1967
During August D7653 transferred to the Birmingham Division (D02).

1968
As part of the move to finish steam in the North West D7653 went to Longsight (9A) in May.

1969
After a year in the Manchester area for D7653 it was off to the Nottingham Division (D16) during May.

1970
In November 7652 - 7654 went to the Liverpool Division (D08).

1972
7653 visited Derby Works during December.

1973
With the end of the summer timetable it was off to Longsight for 7653 in September.

1974
25303 received a classified repair at Derby Works in October with dual brake equipment being fitted.

1976
25302 & 25303 were reunited at Toton when the latter was transfered here in January.

1978
A brief visit was made to Derby Works during February by 25303. The summer Yarmouth services from Walsall & Derby this year featured various Class 31's and Class 47's, though 25303 & 25309 worked the Derby service on June 17th.

1979

From the doorway of a passing express, oil-stained 25303 is seen heading north at Church Fenton on September 2nd 1978 with a train of oil tanks.

1980
A general repair was for 25303 carried out at Derby from April - June.

1981
The North Wales coast was host to 25301 on June 23rd when it worked a round trip Manchester Victoria - Bangor working, then returning with the 17.42 Manchester Victoria - Llandudno Jct. Three days later it worked the 11.50 Cardiff - Crewe throughout. The 27th found 25304 & 25275 working the 07.40 Euston - Aberyswyth forward from Wolverhampton and returning with 16.05 to Wolverhampton.

A damp day at Toton, October 17th 1981 finds 25303 awaiting its next duty.
Photograph courtesy Tony Sayer.

1982
The long distance 'Skirl of The Pipes' railtour working its southbound leg on May 9th utilised 25303 & 25080 between Carlisle & Farrington Jct, somewhere on the trip 25080 became a failure. Near the end of the month, (29th) 25303 was used to drag 31189 and the 09.49 Norwich - Birmingham forward from Syston Jct after the Class 31 failed.

1983
The Norwich - Birmingham services were still regularly visited by the Class 25's, on March 1st 25303 handled the 07.40 ex Norwich from Leicester after the booked Class 31 failed. After seven years at Toton 25303 moved to Crewe in March, to be joined there by 25302.

25303 was sent out on August 27th's 07.05 Liverpool - Scarborough, making it as far as York, it returned westbound the same day on the 17.10 to Manchester Victoria.

1984
On March 26th 45113 failed at Chesterfield on the 08.20 Leeds - Birmingham, 56112 took the train forward to Derby where 25303 took over for the last leg to Birmingham.

The only recorded use of 25303 over the summer dated Cambrian passenger workings was on June 16th when it worked the 2J61 07.44 Shrewsbury - Aberystwyth and return 1A46 10.10 Aberystwyth - Euston (as far as Wolverhampton) with 25249. The next day the same pair worked a return Nottingham - Llandudno Town excursion via Chesterfield & Manchester.

Short distance workings for 25303 in September included a Blackpool - Preston trip on 20th and a very short Wigan North Western - Lostock Jct drag for a diverted WCML service on 30th.

1985
On February 23rd a shortage of electric locomotives found 25249 & 25303 in charge of the early morning Ditton - North Wembley BOC tanks. According to the detailed orientated amongst us (you know who you are!), 25303 was recorded as having the highest passenger mileage of any Class 25 during 1985, with a total of 1,723 miles.

Photograph courtesy Dave Craik, as used on the "Class 25's Action 85" book produced by Alan Baylis.

25303 & 25323 run through the Dovey Valley, shortly after leaving Machynlleth on September 29th's North Walsham - Aberystwyth 'Cambrian Explorer'. The previous day this adventurous pair had worked a York - Taunton relief as far as Bristol!


Photograph courtesy Mike Macdonald.

Just prior to 25303's strenuous passenger workings at the end of May it is captured here at Haymarket on May 15th laying over between turns and between a Class 27 & 40.

25303's remarkable passenger haulage during the summer of 1985
Date Working Portion Worked
May 29 06.15 Edinburgh - Kirkcaldy Throughout
May 29 08.16 Cardenden - Edinburgh Throughout
May 29 07.30 Aberdeen - Penzance Edinburgh - Carstairs
May 29 07.25 Nottingham - Edinburgh Carstairs - Edinburgh
May 29 15.10 Edinburgh - Nottingham Edinburgh - Carstairs
May 29 07.34 Poole - Edinburgh Carstairs - Edinburgh
May 29 17.55 Edinburgh - Dunbar Throughout
May 29 18.42 Dunbar - Edinburgh Throughout
May 30 07.15 Edinburgh - Dundee Throughout
May 30 09.30 Dundee - Edinburgh Throughout
June 3 08.40 Carlisle - Glasgow Throughout
June 3 15.45 Glasgow - Carlisle Throughout
June 4 06.05 Barrow - Carlisle Throughout, with 25323 hauling failed DMU
June 14 16.45 Euston - Blackpool Preston - Blackpool
June 14 18.15 Glasgow Central - Liverpool Preston - Liverpool
July 24 07.40 Glasgow Central - Carlisle Throughout
August 7 10.41 Exeter - Edinburgh (relief) Carstairs - Edinburgh, with 25283
August 22 17.40 Carlisle - Glasgow Throughout
August 23 15.45 Glasgow - Carlisle Throughout
September 6 15.45 Glasgow - Carlisle Throughout
September 9 07.47 Carlisle - Newcastle Throughout, hauling failed DMU
September 27 14.25 York - Taunton York - Bristol, with 25323
September 28 03.30 North Walsham - Aberystwyth Abbey Foregate Jct - Aberystwyth & return, with 25323
November 2 18.07 Harwich - Wolverhampton Nuneaton - Wolverhampton, assisting failed 31435

Obviously perhaps the September 27th & 28th outings for 25303 & 25323 were the most interesting with them working a relief 14.25 York - Taunton on September 27th as far as Bristol, 37176 & 37236 taking over from here. This would be the last significant passenger working of a pair of Class 25s over a great chunk of the NE/SW route, both NE of Birmingham & SW of Birmingham. It is remarkable that the locomotives were able to complete most of the working without being prematurely removed. For those enthusiasts fortunate enough to ride any or part of this working, may the memories not fade too quickly. One can imagine the departure from York as the two Type 2s threaded the pointwork at the south end anxious to be on their way, with the opportunity, hopefully, for some 90 mph running before the speed restricted track of South Yorkshire. The entry into Sheffield, the run up to Bradway Tunnel, the descent into Chesterfield, more high speed running alongside the freight lines to Clay Cross, through the tunnel and down into familiar Derbyshire, eventually alongside the Derwent, past very familiar haunts until the power is eased off as Derby approaches. The train has been running for almost two hours, does Control have a replacement waiting at Derby?

The answer is no, the Class 25s have a few more miles to run. More opportunities for high speed running lie ahead, no other global purchaser of the Sulzer six cylinder engine built for traction purposes can offer what 25303 & 25323 are doing on this run. Other operators may have taken them on much longer journeys, in hotter and colder climates, at greater altitude, but pairs of locomotives running at 90mph+ for significant amounts of time truly belongs only to the Class 25s. The approaches to Birmingham require slowing for the complex trackwork and junctions ahead, were there any Class 25s on Saltley depot this day? Has Saltley provided a replacement locomotive for changeover at New Street? Power is eased off as the train approaches New Street, there's no mistaking the echo of the engines off the roof and sides of the tunnel. If the locomotives are to be changed surely it will be here. But there is no shunter waiting to uncouple the 25s, no locomotive on the center road, just the revelation of even more classic mileage ahead.

No matter, the train continues further south-west, through more tunnels, out into the suburbia of Birmingham, rejoining the Camp Hill line at Kings Norton. Up ahead is the descent of Lickey, then between Bromsgove & Cleeve, 29 miles of running above 80mph, with a top speed of 93.5mph noted at Defford. A stop is made at Cheltenham, the magic 90mph is again attained around Coaley, then the speed is moderated for Westerleigh Junction, Bristol Parkway & Bristol itself. For the Class 25s the journey ends at Temple Meads, hopefully the memories travelled much further.

But all is not lost, by the next day the pair have returned to the West Midlands and were diagrammed for a North Walsham - Aberystwyth charter, taking the train on from Shrewsbury Abbey Foregate Junction to the coast.

1986 & 1987
25303's active service ended on February 24th, being initially stored at Crewe. It was sold to Vic Berry, Leicester and reached their yard on January 26th 1987. By the middle of May 1987 it had been scrapped.

It's May 1st 1987 and 25303 sits in Vic Berry's yard at Leicester, within earshot of the Midland line over which 25303 would have travelled countless times. By the end of the month 25303 will be just a memory.
Photograph courtesy Martin Bray.

The attached log is borrowed from the previously mentioned "Class 25's Action 85" and highlights the latter half of the York - Bristol working on September 27th 1985. Obviously the twenty odd miles from Droitwich Road to Cleeve represent a fine memory of the Class 25's in the twilight of their careers. It is also a testimony to the 6LDA engine - although the Class 25's were not the last locomotives to carry the 6LDA, they were pretty close to the end of production orders. By the mid-1960s research and development had moved on from the LDA series & Sulzer were soon to leave the rail traction market. With a great portion of the world's 6LDA powered locomotives operating at slower speeds dictated by indifferent/marginal track conditions this log represents a solid performance in service on British Rail, with speeds unattained elsewhere in the world by the 6LDA.

Passing point Miles Time SpeedEDBHP/RailHP
BIRMINGHAM N.S. 0.00 40 late 0.00 - / -
Five Ways 0.95 2:40 26- / -
University 2.60 4:56 57430 / 610
Selly Oak 3.35 5:43 58 790 / 990
Bournville 4.46 6:47 671290 / 1520
Kings Norton 5.60 7:59 42 - / -
Northfield 7.00 9:44 55 1430 / 1570
Longbridge 8.05 10:49 611580 / 1780
Barnt Green 10.70 13:10 721530 / 1840
Blackwell 12.09 14:18 76 1100 / 1440
Bromsgrove 14.23 15:51 80- / -
Stoke Works Jct 16.40 17:27 82- / -
Droitwich Road 19.10 19:19 90 1000 / 1490
Dunhampstead 20.99 20:35 901040 / 1570
Spetchley 25.09 23:18 91 870 / 1410
Abbotswood Jct 27.63 24:59 88 560 / 1100
Wadborough 28.86 25:48 90860 / 1400
Defford 32.36 28:04 93.5770 / 1340
Eckington 33.44 28:46 92360 / 930
Bredon 36.19 30:36 87 730 / 1270
Ashchurch 38.34 32:03 90 970 / 1490
Cleeve 41.79 34:25 82680 / 1180
CHELTENHAM SPA 45.59 38:14 0 - / -
0.00 40 late 0- / -
Badgeworth 2.03 3:07 651680 / 1870
Churchdown 3.13 4:04 75 1510 / 1800
Barnwood Jct 5.54 5:54 79 - / -
Gloucester South Jct 6.38 6:45 53 - / -
Tuffley Jct 7.41 7:51 58 1170 / 1360
Naas 9.67 9:55 701480 / 1740
Haresfield 11.46 11:25 711350 / 1660
Standish Jct 12.59 12:21 73 1150 / 1480
Stonehouse 14.38 13:43 84 1360 / 1750
Frocester 16.06 14:54 86 810 / 1280
Coaley 18.24 16:23 90 980 / 1490
Berkeley Road 20.66 18:01 881140 / 1670
Charfield 25.84 21:34 83 1040 / 1510
Wickwar 27.78 22:59 82 1450 / 1880
Rangeworthy 29.78 24:32 77870 / 1260
Yate 32.46 26:44 69460 / 790
Westerleigh West Jct 34.00 28:49 37 - / -
Coalpit Heath 35.31 30:26 61 1390 / 1530
Winterbourne 36.69 31:38 74 1620 / 1910
BRISTOL PARKWAY 38.61 34:14 0 - / -
0.00 40 late 0 - / -
Filton Jct 1.06 1:57 46 1330 / 1430
Horfield 2.16 3:13 58 - / -
Ashley Hill 3.33 4:18 59 - / -
Stapleton Road 4.24 5:16 51 - / -
Lawrence Hill 4.81 6:12 25 - / - (signal check)
Dr. Days Bridge Jct 5.18 7.11 14 - / - (signal stop)
BRISTOL TEMPLE MEADS 5.86 10.50 0 - / -


This is believed to be the AEI makers plate from the main generator last carried by 25303 prior to its withdrawal.


Photograph courtesy Steve Morris

The date of this view at Cardiff Canton is sometime in September 1985 so I must presume it is close to the dates when this pair were active on the NE/SW route and over the Cambrian line.

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No flk

Page created February 2nd 2002
Page updated April 18th 2014

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