The Total tanks remembered 1972-2018

Part One -The class 47 years

Long strings of 100 tonne Total tank wagons en route from Immingham (later Lindsey) to Langley (later Colnbrook) were a familiar Midland main line scene from 1972-2018. Running with reporting numbers 6V66 (to Langley) and 6E56 (to Lindsey) the "Total tanks" were hauled almost exclusively by Immingham based 47's which until the traffic commenced were very rare on the Midland at the likes of Luton particularly the "nb" ones.

An early recording of the "Total tanks" was back on August 31st 1972 when 1866 (later 47216/47299 passed Northbound mid morning with 6E56 whilst the afternoon saw 1886 (later 47367) passed Southbound on 6V66 loaded tanks. By the late 70's the train now loading to 15 tankers tended to work South overnight on TThSO returning North mid morning TThSO.

1973 Total Tanks paths

6E57 MX 0040 Langley-Immingham COY

6E56 0855 MSX, 0850SO Langley-Immingham COY

6V68 MX 2115 SX Immingham-Langley COY

6V66 SX 1212 Immingham-Langley COY

During April 72 a foray to Hitchin on the Eastern saw me perched on top of the "shed" close to Hitchin station along with the usual gang of 10 merry local spotters. The weird one of the bunch (there was always one!) on finding out i was from Luton accused me of "nicking their tanks!". On finding out what he was on about my repost of "you an nick some of our peaks, then" raised a laugh from the merry band! From its start, probably in 1969 the Immingham - Langley Total tanks ran via the ECML, Cannonbury Curve and NLL to Acton and Langley. This big train had to run round at Dalston Jn too. In 1970 for example it was commonplace to view both the loaded and empty tanks on Acton sidings such as on May 11th 1970 with 1867 on the northbound and 1865 on the southbound total tanks.

"Immingham oiler" selected times Oct 80-May 81

6V68 2115(MWFO) Lindsey - Langley

Newark Castle 2258

Nottingham Station 2325/2327 (crew change)

Trent Jn 2342

Loughborough 2358

Syston N 0010

Melton Mowbray 0027

Manton Jn 0049

Finedon Rd 0126/0128 (crew change)

Bedford N 0154

Luton 0231

St Albans 0248

Cricklewood Brent Jn 0318/0325 (crew change)

Acton ML 0342

Langley arr 0420

6E50 0905 (TThSO) Langley - Lindsey

Langley 0905

Acton ML 0932

Cricklewood Brent Jn 0959/1009 (crew change)

Harpenden 1047

Luton 1055

Leagrave 1058

Bedford 1123

Wellinborough Down Sdgs 1142

Finedon Rd 1142/1146 (crew change)

Kettering 1155

Market Harborough 1206

Leicester 1225

Loughborough 1244

Trent Jn 1255

Nottingham 1306/1317 (crew change)

Newark Castle 1356/1410

Lindsey a 1640

By April 1972 the tanks were switched to the more direct Midland Route through Nottingham, Cricklewood West, Dudding Hill Jn, Acton Wells and Acton. The earliest 2 reported are on April 11th 1972 47366 (as 1885) 6E56 and 47370 (as 1889) on 6V66. One of the last reported was 47212 on 6V53, 20 years later on May 7th 1992. Quite a long innings which produced at least the following 48 Immingham 47's locally..

 

47007 (as 1529) 120472

47012 (as 1539) 060472

47047 241177

47054 070890

47103 (as 1691) 310773

47115 ????90

47119 141088

47135 (as 1727) 240473

47170 280677

47172 (as 1767) 160372

47174 (as 1769) 270372

47190 270484

47212 100191

47213 (as 1863) 170672

47214 (as 1864) 170373

47215 260474

47216/47299 (as 1866) 310872

47217 (as 1867) 310572

47218 (as 1868) 290773

47219 (as 1869) 290372

47221 241087

47222 210787

47223 090879

47224 100878

47263 100476

47265 120779

47276 090888

47294 140886

47295 070189

47305 (as 1786) 070672

47306 (as 1787) 030373

47310 (as 1791) 060672

47314 230786

47319 050689

47336 210786

47358 (as 1877) 151272

47361 (as 1880) 101172

47363 (as 1882) 271272

47364 150987

47366 (as 1885) 110472

47367 (as 1886) 230872

47368 (as 1887) 090673

47369 (as 1888) 090672

47370 (as 1889) 110472

47373 250487 Tinsley loco

47374 170287

47376 (as 1895) 100273

47377 (as 1896) 120573

47379 190689

47380 121188

Substitutions by Midland 47s was very unusual but even more unusual were 2 x 31 on the Tanks with just the following viewed to date

31322 (down emptys) 050176

31235 and 312xx 6V66 May 85..

The Cricklewood - Langley and return legs of the "Total tanks" was initially worked by Cricklewood men. To quote "Driver Phil" it was a nice job apart from booking on at 4am working the loaded tanks from Cricklewood West to Langley where they'd run round , reverse the tanks into the oil depot and draw forward to the headshunt well clear of the terminal for 3 hours kip! Once the tanks were unloaded, it was back to the terminal, hook up and return the empties to Cricklewood for 1130, a Wellinborough man working them North from CW. With the closure of Cricklewood depot to loco work around 1983 Bedford men took over the tanks making it a longer job.

One memorable incident Driver Phil remembers vividly was on reversing the loaded tanks

into the terminal and due track spread, one bogie of a loaded tank derailed! After initially hitting the floor of the 47 Phil awaiting a possible repeat of the disastrous Langley fire in October 73, then plenty "Trumpton" turned up and our train crew escaped unscathed and on the cushions home!

 

Into the sectorised era of BR the trains came under the trainload petroleum sector still using Immingham 47's. By late 1990 class 60s began appearing on the "Total tanks" and Trainload Petroleum had 60016 outbased at Bedford in September 90 for crew training. An unusual pairing saw 60027 assist 47319 ex Bedford in May 92, the 47 era on the "Total tanks" was coming to an end.

Think back and remember those usually clean Eastern 47's approaching the likes of Luton and Bedford with a long rake of usually grubby "Total tanks" in tow, its 24 years ago since the 47s worked these trains.

to be continued with the class 60 era on the tanks 1990-2018.

Total Tanks phot spot

24088547370webr.jpg47370 awaits a new crew on the centre road at Nottingham with 6E50 Langley - Immingham on August 24th 1985

199047299webr.jpgShowing a modified body skirt after a crash rebuild heres Robin Morel's nice phot of 47299 on 6V68 at Bedford in 1990

199047115webr.jpgA classic Midland 6V68 oil train scene from "TC". 47115 awaits a crew change at Bedford in May 90

305851235webr.jpgA very rare phot again from "TC". Heres 31235 and classmate substituting for a 47on 6V68 in May 85

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