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The header image (above) has been 'chopped' from the Flickr photo of 86259's only heritage trip this year. The full photo is shown below and was uploaded to Flickr by The Railway Journal with the caption "Welcome Back Old Friend. Class 86 At Nuneaton."

After almost a year 'out of service' with wheelset problems, explained elsewhere in The Absence and The Return, 86259 once again took the Cumbrian Mountain Express out of London Euston just after 7am on 17th October 2015 stopping at the usual pick-up stations of Watford, Milton Keynes, Rugby, Nuneaton, Crewe and Preston and then pulling onto the goods loops at Carnforth for steam traction to take over for the run up Shap to Carlisle and thereafter down the Settle-Carlisle line to Farington Junction. The intended steam locomotive had unfortunately failed its 'fitness to run' a few days previously but had been replaced by Jubilee Class 46599 'Galatea' on the day.

86259 returned to Preston to be stabled in a siding for the afternoon. Driver Bill Warriner, engineer David Grieff and I went into Blackpool to enjoy our customary extended luncheon of fish & chips at Harry Ramsden's thereafter returning to take '259 down to Farington Sidings in the early evening to await the return of 'Galatea'. All had proceeded smoothly thus far although it seemed to take an unusually long time to un-couple the coaching stock from 'Galatea' and re-couple them to '259.

With a bit of accumulated delay from the loco swap we proceeded quickly homeward as far as Milton Keynes. The No.3 traction motor was making an unusual noise so this was isolated pending examination back at Willesden but engineering work and late-running services conspired to considerably delay us further. Traffic into and out of Euston was so bad that a Virgin Pendolino was taken out of service and its passengers taken on to Euston by coach!

David Grieff put the No.3 traction motor back online at Watford so that the night shift at Willesden could hear the noise it was making as we passed the depot en route to Euston.

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"Welcome Back Old Friend. Class 86 At Nuneaton." "After an absence of nearly 12 months, I could not miss the return of my favourite locomotive. Here we see 25kv class 86 no. 86259 'Les Ross' whining into Nuneaton on 17th October 2015 with 1Z86 Euston -> Carlisle, The Cumbrian Mountain Express. At Carnforth '259 would be removed for the run to Carlisle behind steam traction. 86259 has been out of action since its last trip on 24th October 2014 due to wheelset problems and, after swapping wheelsets with 86246 at Willesden, it finally became available a few weeks ago.
The traction used this year to replace 86259 has been interesting, from double 47s to 68s, to 90s but, nothing could be quite as interesting as this 50 year old beast. Wonderful.
The Class 86 locomotives built upon the Class 81-5 however they included some improved features such as quieter fans. The locos were initially notorious for causing track damage due to a large amount of unsprung mass however, after modifications which led to the fitting of large flexicoil springs, the problems diminished. The initial class 86/0 subclass was limited to 85mph due to the track-wear issue, those that were fitted with flexicoil springs were renumbered into the 86/2 series and were 100 mph capable. 3 test bed 87s were numbered 86101-103 and were 110mph locos, 86101 remains in the country as part of the ACLG collection and should be moving to Warrington soon for ice breaking duties. Many locomotives have been exported to operator Floyd in Hungary and are used on freight trains over there. 86701 and 86702 were also preserved by the ACLG however, it is looking like they will be exported in the new year. The 86/7 subclass was 110 mph capable however they were withdrawn in early 2013 due to lack og GSMR fitment. After nearly 50 years of service, 13 locos remain in service with Freightliner and 1 with ETL. The 86/6 subclass is limited to 75mph and are used on Freightliner trains on a daily basis as working pairs. 86501 is the only 86/5, it was converted from an 86/6 in 2000 as an experiment with regearing being carried out. It can handle the same load as two 86/6s and frequently turns up on Class 90 turns. During 2015 86101 and 87002 have been hired in by GBRf in order to work ECS moves between London Euston and Wembley ICD. 86401 is currently undergoing repairs at UKRL Leicester and will follow in due course. 86235 has also been moved from Long Marston to UKRL Leicester 'for assessment'." © The Railway Journal on Flickr.

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1Z86 at Warrington Bank Quay 17th October 2015 with a clear view of the proud 'owner' in the right-hand seat. © Martin Elsey on Flickr.

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"Good to see 86259 back on Railtour duties after a long absence due to wheelset issues. 86259 is flying through Ledburn with 1Z86 Euston - Carlisle "Cumbrian Mountain Express" on October 17th 2015". © Leighton logs on Flikr


Posted on Flickr as at Ledburn on 17th October, I suspect this is actually 86259 on its second test run (to Rugby) on 13th October 2015 as it is running 'light engine'. © Leighton logs on Flikr

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"Having not picked up the camera for about 6 weeks, I thought it was about time I did again, having noticed the 'Can' went North in the morning on the first of the season's Cumbrian Mountain Express I thought I'd have a go at getting it on the return as it's a shot I've wanted for a while now! Here's the result, 86259 'Les Ross' at Rugby working 1Z87 1425 Carlisle - London Euston 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' on Saturday 17th October 2015". © D9000RoyalScotsGrey on flickr.