The class 85 experience…

 

 

It’s a very cold frosty February morning back in 1987 as you descend the ramp to platform 12 at Euston you are surprised that your train is hauled, you were expecting a unit. A class 86 is at the buffer stops with the stock. It’s a long walk to the front coach of the 12 coach rake and its no surprise there's no engine up front yet considering the weather.

 

You join an empty Mk 1 TSO, old yes, but well looked after, and the eth is blasting out the therms. Your bay's windows are opened slightly and to a deep roar of the blowers and resounding clunk, your loco is attached 10 minutes before departure time. The tip is given a few minutes late and our loco eases forward, the roar of the blowers accompanied by pops from the compressor and whines from the choke The windows are opened that bit wider as the motors begin to hum louder and louder.

 

By Wembley the motor's are beginning to scream whilst there is a background noise of an arcing pantograph scorching the frost on the “knitting” with violent blue flashes as we storm through Wembley Central's cavern's. More screaming, roaring and arcing as our blue beast is opened up and speed increases to the 90's. In the confines of Watford tunnels the screaming motors are all that can be heard, plus the odd flash of blue from the pan.

 

The stock is riding well, an exhilarating feeling to saviour of driver and machine working in a "harmony of screaming motors and lively ride!". The ton is reached near Apsley but we then ease back for the Berko slack. Snow and frost were thick on the ground here and our beast loses a bit of speed on the final climb to Tring Summit.

 

Once over the summit, the screaming eases slightly and 100 mph running returns as we storm through Tring Cutting in some style. The brakes come on hard at Cheddington and we cross from DF-DS at Ledburn Jn and after brief burst of acceleration and roaring blowers we arrive at Leighton Buzzard. I have to walk back a coach length to detrain, and then watch 85011 again ease away North to that combination of roaring blowers and humming motors, the class 85 experience, truly unique.

 

As repeatedly quoted in Rail Enthusiast magazine (ned news) at the time, that 85's were ...“BR’s most unloved class”…....

our response "BR's most unloved class, ......”my arse!”          

 

Class 85 speed log

 

0930 Euston-Northampton 85011 12vb Feb 87

 

MP      Station   Sched  arr  dep            Actual arr  dep  Passing        Var Av Speed                        

 

0          Euston                      0930                          0932.57                 +3       -----

1                                                                                      0935.34                   19.04

2.5                                                                                   0937.51                   62.06

3                                                                                      0938.20                   62.06

4                                                                                      0939.09                   73.46

7.25                                                                                 0941.25                   86.02

8          Wembley C                                                         0941.53                   71.05

9                                                                                     0942.32                   92.3

10                                                                                    0943.11                   92.3

11                                                                                    0943.50                   92.3

13                                                                                    0945.07                   93.5

16                                                                                    0947.08                   89.25

17        Watford Jn                                                          0947.45                   97.29

18                                                                                    0948..22                  97.29

20                                                                                    0949.37                   96

21        Apsley                                                                 0950.14                   97.29

22                                                                                    0950.50                   100

23                                                                                    0951.28                   94.73

24                                                                                    0952.05                   97.29

25                                                                                    0952.43                   94.73

26                                                                                    0953.21                   94.73

27                                                                                    0954.00                   92.3

28        Berkhamsted                                                       0954.42                   85.71

29.25                                                                               0955.32                   90

30                                                                                    0956.04                   84.37

31        Tring                                                                    0956.43                   92.3

32                                                                                    0957.24                   87.8

33                                                                                    0957.59                   102.85

34                                                                                    0958.36                   97.29

35                                                                                    0959.10                   100

36                                                                                    0959.46                   100

37                                                                                    1000.32                   78.26

38        Ledburn Jn                              (fl-sl)                   1002.11                   36.36

39                                                                                   1003.53                    35.29

40                                                                                   1005.02                    52.17

40.21   Leighton Buzzard  1002                     1005.43                       +3        18.43  

 

Class 85 Phot – spot

 

 

The Class 85 experience beckons...Heres our star, 85011 seen on an afternoon Cobbler working at Euston on prior to departure on 210287.

 

85011 fleet history and fate

 

Built BR Doncaster Works Oct 1961

Entered service as E3066 April 62

Renumbered 85011 Oct 74

EH isolated and nominally 80 mph restricted as freight sector 85114 in Oct 90

Withdrawn July 91 along with rest of class in mainline service

Stored Crewe ED Aug 91-Feb 93

Cut MC Metals Mar 93