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This was an unusual charter forming just the first part of a much larger trip which involved a sea crossing to explore railways in Ireland. 86259 performed its usual role of taking the train quickly up Camden Bank and then along the West Coast Mainline ("WCML") at speeds of up to 100mph to Crewe with a return planned some 14 hours later. Whereas 259 usually uses the 07:10 weekend charter slot out of London Euston, Network Rail arranged a later start for this weekday trip using the 09:15 charter path instead.

Speed was not to be a feature of the trip down as we were put on the slow line and were following the 'Tring all stations stopper' managing only about 30mph if we were lucky! Furthermore the train was supposed to stop at Northampton to pick up passengers and that section of the line is limited to 75mph. At least breakfast could be served without being spilled on this packed all-dining train of 12 carriages! Stephen Beames was the solo driver from London to Crewe and I had invited Richard Thompson along as engineer.

By midday we were approaching Crewe and were astonished to see some 400 or so people crowding the platforms to welcome 86259's arrival! Luckily for them they would shortly find out that their visit to the station would have a bonus in the form of 60103 Flying Scotsman! Strange that two locomotives built in almost the same spot in Doncaster should not meet for 50 years and then cosy up on two occasions within a couple of months, both now retired and in fresh livery.

The rolling stock was uncoupled, 259 stabled out of the way, a diesel coupled behind the carriages to assist as and when necessary, and the whole lot sent on their way along the North Wales coast line to Holyhead and places with substantially longer names. Only about half of the passengers would return that day, the rest continuing on their Ireland jaunt. Their arrival at Crewe was scheduled for 8:30pm and Phil Spice would do the honours with the driving. 86259 was limited to 90mph on the return as the rolling stock used on this charter was vacuum-breaked rather than air-braked. Arrival back in Euston had been expected to be 11:38pm but 259 cut 6 minutes off this.


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86259 and 86101, Willesden TMD, 15 06 16. © Stephen Beames on flickr.


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86259 and me attempting to be retro, Euston, 15 06 16. © Stephen Beames on Flickr.


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86259 Les Ross arriving in Crewe working 1Z86 from London Euston, 15th June 2016 © dan on Flickr.


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60103 Flying Scotsman arriving in Crewe working 5Z85 from Crewe Heritage Centre. 86259 was removed from 1Z86 London Euston-Holyhead and the Scotsman finished the Journey from Crewe. 15th June 2016 © dan on flickr.


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86259, after working 1Z86 Euston to Crewe, 15th June 2016. © michael evans (164A1748) on Flickr.


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86259.Atherstone. 15/6/16 1Z86 Euston to Holyhead © Nick Green on flickr.


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86259 at London Euston on 15/06/2016 prior to departure with 1Z86 London Euston to Holyhead which it would work as far as Crewe where Flying Scotsman would take the helm. © Brad Joyce on Flickr.


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Class 86 (86259) Passing Nuneaton (P2) working 1Z86 09:14 London Euston to Holyhead. (15/06/16) © SamCov on flickr.


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Up the Junction Les Hillmorton Junction, on the outskirts of Rugby, allows trains from the Northampton `Loop Line to cross the up West Coast Mainline by way of an embankment and bridge, thus avoiding conflicting movements and the associated delays. The inverted 'Y' above the leading carriage shows the Up WCML coming in from the left, while the Down WCML diverges to the right and passing below, to the right, of Class 86 No. 86259 "Les Ross' which is approaching with the outward leg of Steam Dreams 'Emerald Isle Express', 1Z86 0914 London Euston - Holyhead on 15th June 2016. The Class 86 is on the line which leads to Rugby's platform 2, while that on the right serves platform 1. Note the split identity of No. 86259, as on the near side it carries the name 'Peter Pan' after whom it was named during it's Inter City career, as well as it's owner Les Ross. © John Whitehouse on Flickr - all rights reserved.



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25Kv AC power bus
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Class 86 (86259) Passing Nuneaton (P2) working 1Z86 09:14 London Euston to Holyhead. (15/06/16) © SamCov on flickr.