1963

Page updated March 2004

Highlights

January: The severe weather continues.
February: D5176, the first true Class 25 is delivered from Darlington.
March: D5186, Derby's first Class 25 is delivered, Dr Beeching issues his report.
April: D0260 'Lion' undergoes tests in the Birmingham area.
May: Scarborough loses its steam locomotives, replaced by Class 24's.
June :D5140/5146 visit Margate on day excursion, June 16th. All Baby Deltics sidelined.
July: Yellow warning panels added to new machines.
August: Brand new D5222 on display at Derby Works Open Day.
October: Saltley gets D7569 for training. Derby releases its last classified steam repair.
November: Doncaster releases its last classified steam repair.
December:Redesigned D5233 to traffic, pioneers 10000, 10201/2/3 now withdrawn.

The severe weather of December grew worse as the New Year began with a particularly nasty blizzard in the north. On the Waverley route two freights became snowbound at Steele Road & Whitrope summit, with avalanches on January 6th blocking the line between Riccarton and the summit, the line not being cleared until 9th. Trains between London and Glasgow were doing well to be only 4 - 5 hours late. In the south heavy snow and freezing conditions with heavy icing, coupled with power outages played havoc with SR Electric services, these being at an absolute low on January 3rd Heavy snow in the West Country impacted the longer distance SR steam hauled services. On the Clacton line the new electric service commenced apparently without too many problems. The DMU service out of St Pancras did not fair well, being assisted by scratch coaching sets hauled by whatever serviceable steam & diesel locomotives were available. Eleven Peaks were transferred into Cricklewood in January. As elsewhere a shortage of coal only exacerbated the situation. In the midst of these woes a series of fires on the Calder Valley BRCW DMU's, culminated on January 13th with a fire on the 07:31 York - Liverpool at Sowerby Bridge. This led to the withdrawal of these DMU's whilst the origin of the fires was determined, causing a major shortage at Neville Hill depot. Gateshead, however were probably glad to receive their final five Peaks from Derby Works during January, the extreme weather was taking its toll on anything that moved. Although diagrammed for NE/SW and ECML workings, if they reached Edinburgh they had a fair chance of working over the Waverley route as did D170 on the down St Pancras - Edinburgh sleeper, returning on the 10.15am Up 'Waverley' on January 19th.

Severe weather resumed on January 18th plunging many parts of the country into a further week of struggles. In Derbyshire on January 21st snow ploughs spent a day clearing the Buxton - Ashbourne line, returning with grocery provisions for the besieged village of Hartington. Also sent out to here, at the request of the police was one passenger coach coupled to 42799 & 44868 to rescue a party stranded at the village. The rescue attempt itself became stuck near Hindlow, as did 8F 48062 sent to assist. Rescue finally came in the shape of the three original engines and ploughs returning from Ashbourne, the party finally reaching Buxton late that night. The next night the 10:05pm Edinburgh Waverley - St Pancras became stuck in heavy drifts near Dent, the rear coaches were able to return to Carlisle reaching London via Newcastle. The line through Dent would not re-open until January 24th. The severe weather reached the East Coast, with heavy freezing, causing adhesion problems for the DMU's working on the steeply graded lines of the East Riding of Yorkshire. Further south the GE line Type 4's from Stratford were not doing well with a number of Type 2's substituting. So noted during this period was D5044 on the 12.40 Harwich - Rugby and D5018 on the 5.15 Colchester - Glasgow, both diesels being replaced at Peterborough. At the southern end of the GN mainline the shortages were not helped by the untimely storage of the 'Baby Deltic' fleet at Stratford, with engine problems. A bizarre consequence of this weather was the formation of giant icicles in many tunnels. Both Ampthill and Kilsby tunnels suffered this phenomena, line closures being necessary to clear them, especially after those at Kilsby had caused injuries to a number of footplate crews.

More heavy snow fell on February 5th & 6th. The Settle & Carlisle line became blocked between Mallerstang & Dent, not being re-opened until February 23rd. Further west the 05:10 Glasgow - Stranraer passenger service became trapped in heavy drifts at Barrhill. A number of passengers were rescued by helicopter, others by a rescue service sent out from Girvan. The line would re-open on 10th only to succumb on 13th & 14th to more blizzards. Ayr - Stranraer services were re-established via Dumfries, the direct route not being available for another week. In the West Country five trains became trapped in Devon as the blizzard of February 5th moved south. The disruption to freight traffic in the London area saw many unusual visitors to the SR on a variety of cross London freights, with a number of Willesden's Type 2's reaching Redhill and Three Bridges. On the Trans-Pennine services double headed Peaks had been seen on several occasions, on February 8th the 9.0am Liverpool - Newcastle started out with D179 & D183, the latter failed at Leeds, the former at York, here A1 60154 took over to Newcastle arriving just over an hour late.

The impact of this prolonged severe weather on the diesel fleet was catastrophic. For those diesels that escaped freeze damage to the power unit/cooling system they were generally relegated to freight diagrams following the failure of their steam heating boilers. In their place ran many of the steam locomotives that had only recently been taken out of service, many of them in a very run-down condition. The disruption was made worse by the length of the severe weather and the closure of lines simply due to the volume of snow. The Class 24's covering the Tring/Bletchley/Northampton services suffered to the extent that less than a handful were available, resulting in a steam revival on these lines. The steam locomotives brought in to cover the diesels were frequently from distant sheds such as Upperby, Newton Heath & Shrewsbury and featured Stanier 2-6-0's, Royal Scots and the odd Pacific! And steam was not immune from the problems, water and coal supplies froze, the latter also being in short supply in some areas. And into this chaos of fog, snow and ice came the first of the Class 25/1's, D5176 from Darlington during the middle of January.

D5176, the first of ten to be delivered from Darlington featured the new AEI 253AY traction motor. These motors were a result of the collaboration between BTH, MV and American builder Alco. This smaller, lighter motor was an attempt to market a traction motor to a worldwide audience, especially to the meter gauge lines. For the Class 25 these lighter motors allowed the discontinuance of other weight saving measures being built into the design. Under the Class 25 they would be highly rated, being an attempt to overcome the loss of tractive effort normally found on starting, the field divert system was also modified to allow increased capability throughout all the speed ranges. For the technically minded the rating on the generator changed to 735kW, 780/545V, 1050/1500A at 750 rpm with the smaller traction motors now in series parallel being rated at 234hp, 315V, 650A at 460rpm, with a gear ratio 18:79. Maximum tractive effort was 45,000lb with full power now available between 7 and 77.5 mph, an improvement over the Class 25/0's, all other ratings were unchanged from the D5151 series. The continuous rating of 650 amps was not far removed from its one hour short term or 'emergency' rating of 680 amps, which could only be monitored manually. On heavy trains close monitoring of the ammeters was necessary to avoid motor damage. Fuel capacity was now 560 gallons (loco weight 71.75 tons). For those with boilers, water capacity was 580 gallons (loco weight 73.75 tons). Whilst the body shell remained similar to D5151 there were a number of refinements. Relocated were the air horns to either side of the headcode panel. The cab skirt and body fairing were discontinued, though the support lugs remained. A new driving control panel was fitted.

Of these ten machines the first three (D5176-5178) were boiler fitted and went to Leeds Holbeck, the next four (D5179-5182), without boilers went to Gateshead and the final three (D5183-5185), boiler fitted, became the first group of a large batch to assist in the removal of steam from the Midland lines. For the locomotives based at Holbeck passenger work was the order of the day, both local and longer workings as D5178 was so provided on February 14th for a run to Morecambe only six days fresh out of Darlington. By this time the vast majority of the Leeds local services were in the hands of DMU's. The non-boilered Gateshead machines fell into the routine of the local trip workings and freights across the Pennines to Carlisle, being joined in these duties by the newly delivered English Electric Type 3's.

The use of Crewe based BR Sulzer Type 2's on the recently introduced Glasgow - Aston (Birmingham} 'Condor' service allowed Polmadie to use them on local turns whilst they laid over between the 'Condor' runs. So noted in February was D5083, possibly also being engaged in crew training on this type. This service ran overnight each way, on a ten hourly schedule, with a maximum of 45 wagons, though usually the train size was half that. Loads comprised containers on Conflat A's, steel coil and Bird's tank containers. The aftermath of the severe weather conditions often found bizarre combinations in service, one such was on February 25th when the 11.35am Sheffield - Nottingham DMU was replaced by D154 & 42636 with three coaches! Another diagrammed but somewhat unusual working was the use of a Peak on 12.30am Marylebone - Manchester sleeper, the locomotive coming off at Leicester and returning on a parcels working.

March 5th saw the first frost free night in Britain since December 22nd. The middle of March saw the delivery of the first of thirty seven Type 2's from Derby Works (D5186 - 5222), initially delivered to Toton for further dieselisation of the Midland lines. Their arrival was most timely as the railways recovered from the extreme weather of January & February. With the mainline expresses and the principal fitted freights out of St Pancras being handled by the Peaks the new Type 2's took over many of the remaining freights, frequently found in pairs and using brake tenders. They were also joined in this task by the BRCW Type 2's. Derby and Darlington continued production side by side, however pressure of work at Derby caused a change in the production schedules, with the construction of D5223 - 5232, originally part of Derby Lot 4600, now transferred to Darlington. Derby was extremely busy at this time, being engaged in redesign work on the Class 25 bodyshell, carrying out acceptance trials on the newly delivered Clayton's from their Hatton works and expected soon were the newly delivered Brush Type 4's from Loughborough. In addition the workshops were busy rectifying the damage caused by the earlier extreme weather. Derby's next order of ten machines commenced with D7568 whilst Darlington's final batch of twenty machines commenced with D7578, having skipped from D5232!. These machines continued with the same body design but contained internal changes, later being designated Class 25/2. All were boiler fitted. The frames for D7568 were laid down at Derby during April and for D7578 at Darlington in June.

March 27 was a grim day as Dr Beeching's "The Reshaping of British Railways" report was published and generally accepted by the Government. Closure of 2,300 stations and 800 freight depots was envisaged. Passenger services would be withdrawn from 266 lines and 71 others modified. Within three years coaching stock would be reduced by 15,000 and wagons by 350,000. However the current stock of 1,700 mainline diesels would be increased to 4,000. Bleak also was the news from the Glasgow area as the recently arrived Type 1 Clayton's (85xx series) were stored at Parkhead shed pending modifications following crankshaft problems, others stored at Derby prior to acceptance.

Such were the problems from the severe winter that it was not until March 23rd the Midland night sleepers were rerouted back over the Settle & Carlisle line, though certain long distance services continued to run via Ingleton and the Waverley was not running between Leeds & Carlisle.

During early April D0260 'Lion' ventured out after a long spell in BRCW's Smethwick workshops for testing on twenty coach trains between Leamington & Birmingham. When D15 expired at Denthead signalbox on April 3rd working the 10.25am Leeds - Glasgow 4F 44282 was requisitioned from a nearby engineers train. A further forty five minutes were lost on the downward run to Carlisle including the need to stop at Armathwaite to allow the locomotive to regain steam. Elsewhere the Haymarket training locomotive was swapped from D178 to D176. On Sundays Gateshead allocated Peaks laying over at Edge Hill were frequently scheduled to work London bound services over the WCML.

D58 was required at Carlisle on May 1st for its naming ceremony, becoming 'The King's Own Royal Border Regiment'. The Easter holidays saw the regular cavalcade of excursions to the familiar coastal resorts. Brighton, of course received a fair number, including D5059 from Hitchin, whilst Bedford sent D5381. Another of the ER fleet, D5064, a stalwart on the commuter services out of Kings Cross found itself on Class 1 duty rescuing failed D9006 on May 12th whilst working the 10.50am Edinburgh - Kings Cross. On May 24th the 3.25pm St Pancras - Manchester hit a farm tractor on an occupation crossing near Sundon signalbox. Although the train was traveling at 90mph and D108 sliced the tractor in two, its driver escaped severe injury. The train was able to coast to Harlington where passengers were transferred to a Bedford service, the Manchester train taken out of service for examination. The opening of the new Coventry cathedral drew many excursion trains to the city, on May 25th D182 brought in a special from Newcastle. Four days later the down 'Thames Clyde' became a partial failure at Kirkby Stephen and was assisted forward by 90626, by Armathwaite the Peak was a total failure and ended up dumped in the goods yard, arrival in Carlisle was some two hours late.

As the diesel and DMU fleets grew so the impact on steam workings escalated. Typical was the closure of Scarborough shed on May 18, the two diagrammed steam freight workings turned over to D5096/8/9 & 5100/76 the following Monday, Gateshead based D5178 worked that first turn on May 20th. Station pilot duties were managed by two Class 03's. On May 28 the first turn, the 04.30am York - Scarborough led by D5100 had 77004 as pilot, destined for the Malton - Whitby freight. However cinders from the ashpan set alight to the diesel necessitating the service of the Malton Fire Brigade. The service resumed behind 77004, the diagram later being taken over by D5099 which later failed on the last leg of the run, at Rillington on the 07:49pm Scarborough - York mail. Rescue came in the form 43014. All was well by the Whitsun weekend, June 2, when seventeen specials worked into Scarborough, the Sulzer 2's handling two, led by D5099 and D5176 whilst the only Peak noted was D29.

The large allocation of Type 2's handling the passenger services out of Euston were frequently idle over the weekends. They were often utilised on excursions, typical of this was the visit of D5140/5146 from Northampton to Margate on June 16. Less fortunate were travelers on a party special from Hemel Hempstead to Hastings, also on June 16th, hauled by D5021. The locomotive became a complete failure prior to the return leg, which had to be cancelled due to no other power being available. Many passengers squeezed onto a similar special returning to Watford whilst D5021 was removed to St Leonard's depot for attention. On the same weekend the ER introduced its summer timetable removing steam from long distance passenger services on the ECML, now possible with the recent arrival of thirty Brush Type 4's on the books. Despite the arrival of these new Type 4's Peaks continued to be regular visitors to Kings Cross, on June 19th D172 was in charge of the 12.22pm Scotswood Bridge - Holloway ECS, this day loaded to twenty four vans and coaches. Also starting with the summer timetable was the taking over of Newcastle's ECS by Gateshead's Class 24/25's, however after barely three days at this task, the V3's returned with the diesels heading off to Tyne Yard to ease an extreme diesel shortage there. During June the Newcastle - Liverpool services remained safely in the hands of Gateshead's Peaks, such failures that did occur were covered by the EE Type 4's, steam was on the decline in covering these workings. On the Settle and Carlisle route the new timetable saw the end of diagrammed steam working on the weekday passenger services. Further south the poor availability of the Baby Deltics reached its nadir when the last one, D5905, succumbed after several weeks of intermittent service. During the first week of July it headed north destined for Doncaster Works & Vulcan Foundry behind D5069. Arriving from Darlington was the first of the batch transferred from Derby, D5223. Also during June Derby allocated D123 was used for crew training on local Solihull & Leamington services.

July found enough of the new arrivals at the south end of the Midland main line to relieve Bedford of it's steam fleet, the Hitchin freights now firmly in the hands of the Type 2's (either the Derby or BRCW builds). Visitors to Derby Works during July found the new deliveries featuring a yellow safety/visibility paint scheme added to the cab fronts (at least beginning with D5211). Also amongst the dozen or so Class 24's undergoing repair was a recent arrival in the shape of Derby allocated Class 4 4-6-0 75042. This would be the last steam locomotive to receive a classified repair at Derby Works, leaving the works during late September. Unclassified repairs would continue until early in 1964 when 9F 92102 was the last steam engine outshopped. The only others present were for scrap or preservation. This was part of a reallocation of repair work with Darlington now taking over LM steam repairs, with their diesel repairs being split between Crewe (English Electric Type 4's) and Derby (BR Sulzer Type 2 & 4's). Also present at Derby were the frames of the first of the redesigned Class 25's - D5233. And officially entering service was the last of the Crewe built Peaks, D57 during early July, it would appear on display at the Derby Works open day on August 31st alongside Darlington's newly built D5222.

With all the Peaks now in revenue earning service their basic sphere of operations was now cast for the next fifteen years or so. Out of Newcastle their most familiar route was over the NE/SW route to Bristol/Cardiff and points west. They would also feature on the Trans-Pennine route to Liverpool, and to a lesser degree over the ECML to Edinburgh and Kings Cross. From St Pancras they would work the services to Leicester, Derby/Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds and to a lesser extant the long distance passenger/sleeper services to Edinburgh/Glasgow via the Settle & Carlisle. Whilst the WCML electrfication work progressed they covered the increased Manchester - St Pancras services. Their sphere of influence on freight duties was probably greater than that of their passenger duties.

On July 27th D172 on a Peterborough Edinburgh passenger failed at Aycliffe, assistance arrived in the shape of D5103 & 5150, complete with brake tender! D264 was waiting at Newcastle to replace all three machines. The next day a Coventry Skegness excursion utilised D5005 to Peterborough, replaced here by 61174 whilst one of Derby's more recent products, D5206 paid a visit to Eastbourne on August 11th with an excursion from Leicester. At the other end of the country D15 worked the 6.15pm Edinburgh Waverley - Glasgow Queen St passenger on August 6th.

Winter timetable changes in the Birmingham area found the through Euston - Wolverhampton services discontinued, a DMU now making the connection between New Street and Wolverhampton. The Euston - New Street services now featured lighter loads allowing the early BR Sulzer Type 2's to be used instead of the more normal EE Type 4's.

During September the 1.47pm Doncaster Kings Cross had seen some steam haulage, usually the Doncaster pilot filling in, however on the 20th it was in the hands of D172, which at some point became a failure, with D5095 being added to bring the service into Kings Cross.

Delivery of D7568 occurred on September 30, with the remainder of Derby's batch complete by November. Darlington released D7578 in November with the last, D7597 not reaching traffic until July 1964. These arrivals continued to remove regular steam workings from the Midland mainline, by now even the lowly unfitted freights were covered by the newly arriving Type 2's. With steam in this area in serious decline the removal of the infrastructure needed for steam operation commenced. The Peaks on the services out of St Pancras were putting up some challenging performances, particularly in the rush hours, often reaching St Albans in twenty minutes and Bedford in just over forty minutes, requiring sustained speeds in excess of 80mph. During September a block of the BRCW Type 2's moved from Cricklewood to Leicester to assist in the dieselisation of local freight workings. In October Saltley borrowed D5390 (and later 5389/94) from Leicester and brand new D7569 for crew training. The BRCW's were used for the Washwood Heath - Whitemoor freights, previously D5403 had been loaned to March for crew training for these workings. The diesels had taken over all workings from March, for by November 30th all steam working officially ended there. And in conjunction with the recently arrived Type 2's at Leicester they started to infiltrate further north on the Midland line towards Chesterfield & Sheffield, October 29th found D5185 on a train of northbound mineral empties returning with a Masborough to Stanton Gate freight.

During the previous month the long established fleet of Type 2's at Thornaby started to take over more steam workings, four were loaned to the soon to be closed Bishop Auckland shed. These workings included the Wear Valley line to St John's Chapel or Stanhope, the trips to Tow Law, Esh & Tyne Yard. On October 17th D5155 on the returning St John's Chapel freight hit a dumper truck on Broadwood level crossing. Rescue came in the shape of Cl 5 76045 off the Stanhope freight, taking the damaged diesel and its train as far as Stanhope, from there Q6 63343 took the entourage onto to Bishop Auckland. On the LMR Reddish electric depot began to carry out inspection and maintenance for the Peaks, one of the earliest recorded was D47 on October 21st. Another unusual event was the visit of D34 to Newton Abbott on October 4th to test a new washing plant.

Following in the footsteps of Derby, it was left for 60009 to be the last steam locomotive to receive a classified overhaul at Doncaster, being outshopped during early November. Lesser steam work would continue, with some transferred to Darlington. The ER BR Sulzer Type 2's still received overhauls at Doncaster, D5014/47/70/71 being so noted during October. And although Derby and Darlington were heavily involved in the heavy maintenance of the Peaks D151 was noted at Doncaster Works on November 10th. Shortages of Type 2's at Kings Cross frequently found the 1.5pm to Cambridge and 3.15pm return covered by Type 4's including DP2, 'Lion', Deltics & Peaks! Any Peak venturing from the LMR or NER to Whitemoor was only permitted to do so if the roster scheduled the same crew to work the locomotive back home.

D193's serviceability in mid November appears to have been suspect, On November 12th hauling the 9.45am Newcastle - Liverpool it expired at Bradley. 90649 took the train forward to Huddersfield where both were relieved by 44714. On 26th whilst working the 4.42pm Newcastle - Liverpool it overheated and came to a stand at Gledholt Jct. Hillhouse shed provided 44678 to push the failure clear of the junction before running round and taking the whole train forward.

Two recent Peak namings were D52 'The Lancashire Fusilier' at Manchester Piccadilly on October 31st and D54 'The Royal Pioneer Corps' at St Pancras on November 14th.

In a serious collision half a mile south of Stanton Gate station on December 6th the crew of D94 lost their lives when their train, the 10.40pm Leeds - Leicester fitted freight ran into the side of the 1.00am Toton - Woodhouse Mill freight. Along with D94 many wagons were derailed and all lines blocked for at least twenty four hours.

Although the Scottish Region no longer had any Peaks on loan they were still frequent visitors and were no doubt used on fill-in turns between their longer distance workings. On November 30th D75 was noted heading south through Perth with a parcels train whilst D105 passed through on December 30th with the 9.15am Glasgow Buchanan Street - Dundee.

On Christmas Eve the extensive services on the ECML did not fair well with many diesels requiring assistance. One such was D171 working the up 'Northumbrian' which expired at Hitchin, a Derby Type 2 was on hand to assist the train forward to Kings Cross.

As the year closed out the first of the redesigned Type 2's were released from Derby, D5233 - 5239, having been under construction since August. These new machines were allocated to Toton. The redesign work principally affected the bodysides and cabs. The proliferation of bodyside louvres were now moved to the cantrail level, giving a cleaner side profile and also removing a maintenance headache of excessively dirty lower filters. The lack of use of the gangway doors throughout BR in general allowed for a cleaner cab front design, with a larger central window. Internally the cab layout was modified, whilst in the engine room the generator assembly and control gear received modifications. From D5238 the standard excluded the boiler and its water tank, however a through steam pipe was maintained. Changed also was the livery, a two tone green scheme similar to that on the Brush Type 4's was used, with small yellow warning panels on the cab fronts. At the same time the four long stored diesel pioneers 10000, 10201/2/3 were finally officially withdrawn, having spent the last couple of years in storage at Derby Works. Also present at Derby during December was still active pioneer 10001. Despite the continuing delivery of the Class 25's to the Midland lines the heavy pre-Christmas freight and parcels traffic found steam return in quantity. Also suffering from the colder weather were the local DMU's leading to substitutions of scratch coaching sets and Type 2 power. Further north on the Midland line through Chesterfield diesels were beginning to take over a number of freight workings, pairs of Type 2's being the norm, with Toton's fleet of the first ten Peaks also being frequently used.

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