On the "Cobblers", April 23rd 1985
Leaping off the bus after work there were obvious problems down at Leighton station. Loads of cars were blocking part of the approach road, all waiting to take late running commuters home.
More interesting was 87028 stopped on the down fast at Leighton with a load of Mk III's with passengers peering out of every door window! Checking with railman Hungarian Jo and local Cobbler man Neil Evans the gen was that this was a major problem in that something had just brought the down fast wires down close to Bletchley PSB. Only a short section had been dewired but the Bletchley South crossover couldn't now be used.
310 units and several Inter Citys then passed on the Down slow, angry commuters leaping from the 310 units a good 30 seconds before the unit stopped in a desperate bid to beat the queue down the steps into the subway.
87028 then slowly set back South along the down fast for the 2 miles or so to Ledburn Jn to access the down slow line. After an 80 late 86245 passed through with 1B06 1714 Euston - Northampton "Cobbler", 87028 then passed through Northbound the driver hooting as we waved him on his way. The next down "Inter City" followed after 3 delayed units had gone North. 87101 was then checked for 10 minutes awaiting a clear road to a now very congested Bletchley.
A long wait, then a "roarer" could be seen on a slow approach with 1B07 the 1718 Euston - Northampton "Cobbler". As the 85 approached we realised the 85 was silent, 85030 had failed! and was coasting in. The driver advised she had probably blown a fuse due to "too many trains in the section" reducing the available power in the overheads. Well now the problem was now very serious but we were advised to get on 1B07 and wait. And wait we did until 86222 with the following 1730 Euston - Glasgow in tow, eventually buffered up to the rear of our train. So 1B07 had arrived at Leighton 90 late and eventually left 140 late. Slow progress to Bletchley where announcements of a quick loco change were spot on. With many commuters bailing for lifts to MK they did the wrong move as 31203 quickly backed on and was on the move again 6 minutes after arriving at Bletchley.
Any diesel passenger haulage is rare locally but with the real possibility if we went to Northampton with the 31 that we wouldnt be home till eleven pm or later, we bailed at the Keynes. A procession of down trains followed all in excess of 2 hours late but we were relieved that our 310 unit on the 1921 Birmingham - Euston was only 10 down to get us home for 2115.
Phots from April 23rd 1985
86245 1B06 1714 Euston-Northampton 80l
85030 1B07 1718 Euston-Northampton 90l in,140l out L.Buzzard-M.Keynes (failed LB)
86222 1S89 1730 Euston-Glasgow L.Buzzard-Bletchley rear end assist
85038 1A76 1730 Birmingham-Euston
31203} 1B07 1718 Euston-Northampton 145l Bletchley - M. Keynes
85014 1B08 1745 Euston-Northampton 150l
81019 1750 Euston-Crewe Additional
85029 1G43 1840 Euston-Wolverhampton 132l
81009 1B09 1815 Euston-Northampton 140l
093 1921 Birmingham-Euston M.Keynes - L.Buzzard
The wires were fixed later that evening, the next evening the "Cobblers" were all virtually right time with the following roaring nicely!
81012 1B06 1714 Euston-Northampton
81009 1B07 1718 Euston-Northampton
85013 1B09 1815 Euston-Northampton
and as for villain 85030 she was back out the following Sunday's (28/4) 1G34 1500 Euston - Wolves ..Happy days