The last week of Regional Railways 31s, and diagrammed Class 31 and Type 2 haulage, May 1995

 

thanks to Jason Hall

 

After nearly 30 years of hauling passenger trains all over the UK, the final passenger diagrams for BRs last Type 2s were confined to the North West. A handful of dedicated ETH 31s remained allocated to Regional Railways for hauling what were known as ‘club trains’. Now working alongside 37s recently expelled from Scotland and South Wales, the 31s were soon to be replaced altogether. By this time the remaining 31 diagrams were rather lack lustre and we relied on Class 37 failures to add some variety, and they often obliged.

 

This was the last week of BR diagrammed Class 31 and Type 2 haulage

 

22/05/95 Monday

Unit   Derby-Stoke on Trent

87013 Euston-Manchester P / Stoke on Trent-Manchester P

31439 1N01 09.45 Manchester P-Blackpool / Manchester P-Preston

My highest mileage and one of my top three 31s had found itself a part of the Regional Railways pool, and as expected was in service again today. As was usual, I would make a point of being behind it whenever possible so I bailed 31439 at Preston

31421 1N03 09.37 Liverpool-Blackpool / Preston-Blackpool

On arrival at Blackpool I booked into my usual flea pit of a B&B for the week. Being only a couple of minutes from the station you could hear the locos for the morning being started and shunting long before you got down to the station for the first departures of the day. After that I joined other 31 followers in one of the nearby pubs. The favourite I recently learned is now called ‘The Pink Handbag’. How things change!

31421 1F03 12.16 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

Gen arrives that there’s no 37 for the Southport, so 31432 is filling in. 31432 was the last blue 31 with RR, and was used only at times of shortage. That was us sorted then.

31455 1N04 14.37 Liverpool-Preston / Liverpool-Preston

31455 1F04 16.04 Preston-Liverpool / Preston-Wigan NW

Sprinter  WiganWallgate-Manchester Victoria

31432 1J79 17.10 Manchester V-Southport / Manchester Victoria-Southport

Rang my B&B and said I wouldn’t be back that evening as I’d be staying at mates in Liverpool, as this was the best way to get back for 31432 in the morning. No charge agreed.

507xxx Southport-Liverpool

 

23/05/95 Tuesday

507xxx Liverpool-Southport

31432 2J03 07.21 Southport-Manchester V / Southport-Manchester P

23059531432r.jpg 31432 waiting to leave Southport with 2J03, the last 31 to work this "club train" on 230595

 

 

Breakfast in our regular café at Manchester Victoria then a stroll across Manchester

31465 1N01 09.45 Manchester P-Blackpool / Manchester P-Blackpool

31439 1F03 12.16 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

31439 1N04 14.37 Liverpool-Preston / Liverpool-Preston

31439 1F04 16.04 Preston-Liverpool / Preston-Liverpool

31421 1N09 17.52 Liverpool-Blackpool / Liverpool-Preston

31455 1F06 19.10 Blackpool-Liverpool / Preston-Liverpool

Unit   Liverpool-Blackpool

 

24/05/95 Wednesday

31465 1F02 06.40 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Leyland

24059531465r.jpg 31465 at Leyland with 1F02 on 240595

 

Unit   Leyland-Preston

31421 1N03 07.21 Blackpool-Manchester P / Preston-Manchester P

31421 1N01 09.45 Manchester P-Blackpool / Manchester P-Blackpool

31465 1F03 12.16 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

31455 1N04 14.37 Liverpool-Preston / Liverpool-Preston

31455 1F04 16.04 Preston-Liverpool / Preston-Wigan NW

Unit   Wigan NW-Manchester P

31421 1N08 17.33 Manchester P-Blackpool / Manchester P- Blackpool

31465 1F06 19.10 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Poulton le Fylde

31439 1N09 17.52 Liverpool-Blackpool / Poulton le Fylde-Blackpool

 

25/05/95 Thursday

31421 1F02 06.40 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

31421 1N03 09.37 Liverpool-Blackpool / Liverpool-Blackpool

31421 1F03 12.16 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

31410 1N04 14.37 Liverpool-Preston / Liverpool-Preston

31410 1F04 16.04 Preston-Liverpool / Preston-Broad Green

31421 1N06 17.12 Liverpool-Blackpool / Broad Green-Blackpool

Unit   Blackpool-Poulton le Fylde

31465 1N09 17.52 Liverpool-Blackpool / Poulton le Fylde-Blackpool

 

26/05/95

I arrived on the station to find as expected, 31421 tied to the Manchester P. What wasn’t expected was 31465 heading the Manchester Victoria vice a 37. Much as it hurt 31421 was rejected for what may be one last trip to Victoria.

31465 1J92 07.06 Blackpool-Manchester V / Blackpool-Manchester Victoria

A pair of us set off at speed to intercept 31421, and made it at Oxford Road

31421 1N03 07.21 Blackpool-Manchester P / Manchester Oxford Road-Manchester P

31421 1N01 09.45 Manchester P-Blackpool / Manchester P-Blackpool

31439 1F03 12.16 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

31432 1N04 14.37 Liverpool-Preston / Liverpool-Preston

31432 1F04 16.04 Preston-Liverpool / Preston-Wigan NW

With the plan set as head for 31421 out of Piccadilly, we find a pair is allocated to work out of Victoria vice a 37, placing an extra 31 at Blackpool for the last day.

Unit   Wigan Wallgate-Salford Central

31455+31465 2N97 17.10 Manchester V-Blackpool / Salford Central-Lostock

Bailed at Lostock for what was likely to be a last ever run with 31421

31421 1N08 17.33 Manchester P-Blackpool / Lostock-Blackpool

31410 1F06 19.10 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Preston

Unit   Preston-Blackpool

 

27/05/95 Saturday – The last day

31455+31439 1F02 06.40 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

31439+31455 1N03 09.37 Liverpool-Blackpool / Liverpool-Blackpool

31455+31439 1F03 12.16 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

27059531455n31439r.jpg 31455 and 31439 at Blackpool prior to a last day departure with 1F03 1216 Blackpool - Liverpool, 270595

At Liverpool the number of cranks on these trains increased significantly, as is always the case whe n it’s the last of something.

27059531410n439r.jpg 31410 and 31439 together side by side for the last time at Lime St, 270595

 

31410 1N04 14.37 Liverpool-Preston / Liverpool-Prescot

Unit   Prescot-Liverpool

31439+31455 1N06 17.12 Liverpool-Blackpool / Liverpool-Blackpool

31455+31439 1F06 19.10 Blackpool-Liverpool / Blackpool-Liverpool

 

And so at Liverpool it was done and Regional Railways relinquished its remaining 31s to the engineers sector. It was far from over though, as for the next few years 31s would still fill almost daily for 37s on the North Wales Coast, work the MML and Anglia, and later vice both XC 47s and 86s. As for 31421, I only waited until July for some more mileage with her, and another 1300 miles was enjoyed before she was finally retired

 

thanks again to Jason Hall

 

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