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Since 1966, when it first emerged from Doncaster works into the daylight as E3137, 86259 has spent more than 3/4 of it's working life allocated to Willesden depot in North London.

The original steam shed was on the south side of the main line and was closed in 1965. The current depot was built almost opposite the site of the old shed, in the 1960s, to service and stable the newly-introduced A.C. locomotives.

The shed consists of six parallel roads and there are several arrivals and departures sidings outside. These have two connections to the West Coast Main Line onto the Up Slow. At the east end of the depot there is also a trailing crossover to permit access onto the Down Slow, when coming off the depot.

Willesden is now operated by London Overground Rail Operations Limited ("LOROL") and services London Overground's 172 and 378 units.


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Less than a year after receiving its "Peter Pan" nameplates in a ceremony just five miles up the line at Euston station, 86259 stands at the south end of the depot yard. (Photo: T. Casey)


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It is 2001 - Now sporting "Greater Manchester" plates, 86259 is receiving attention inside Willesden depot before it's out again on its West Coast Mainline duties. It had been back at Willesden for about a year, after allocation to Longsight depot, near Manchester, as a Cross Country loco.


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September 25th, 2003. A week after its withdrawal from service with Virgin 86259 is at the Euston end of a row of four a.c. locos. Behind it is 87009 "City of Birmingham", then 87028 "Lord President" and bringing up the rear 86245 "Caledonian".


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October 10th, 2003. 86233 has joined the row of stored locos along the front of the depot. 233 had been running for a year or two for Virgin in electric blue, and carrying its original E3172 number. (Photo: Mark Chandler)


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November, 2003. 86259 has now lost its nameplate prior to its removal to Immingham. The class 90 is not in store(!) but stands on the line next to the row of stored locos. (Photo: Mark Chandler)


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May 10th 2011. 86259 comes back to Willesden from Tyseley to start its new life, which will entail an early D-exam.
37516 shunts the 86 into No.1 road of the maintenance shed where it will come to rest with the AC Loco Group's 87002 "Royal Sovereign" for company.


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Time to let go!


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Immediately after arrival at Willesden 86259 underwent a D exam and the specific inspection of a possibly defective wheelset.


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To facilitate the wheelset inspection, the number one end bogie was removed.


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Intensive examination followed.


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And eventually no problems were discovered.


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July 2011. Now over on No.6 road.


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August 23rd, 2011. As can be seen from the Willesden depot layout diagram, 86259 is outside ready for a mainline test run before it's "Steam Dreams" trip on the 25th.


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Minutes before leaving on its mainline test run to Bletchley and back.


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Returning after the test run.


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Back inside the maintenance shed with the 'AC Loco Group's' "Sir William A. Stanier F.R.S." for company.


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25th November, 2011. A view from the cab of 31190, which has arrived at Willesden to drag 259 to Boden Rail Engineering, Washwood Heath, Birmingham for a re-paint.


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Outside now, in the depot yard, preparing for the journey north.


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February 3rd, 2012. 86259 is back at Willesden, now sporting those metal numbers, and less than 24 hours before its first 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' trip for The Railway Touring Company. Sitting on No.6 road, end on to Electric Traction's 86701 "Orion". Also in view in the background, a London Overground 378 unit, another of Willesden's residents.


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A view from halfway down into the inspection pit - note the oily rag kit on the floor ready to put a nice shine on the bogies!