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"There I was, minding my own business in my retirement, on a sunny Wednesday in mid-February at a quiet spot in Rugby where I can watch the wildflowers grow and reflect on a busy career spent mainly rushing up and down the West Coast Main Line at speeds of up to 100 m.p.h. Some of the younger generation sprint around at 125 m.p.h. these days whilst over in Japan, I'm told, they get up to speeds that don't bear thinking about! That's foreigners for you!"

"I prefer to take things pretty easy but I don't vegetate and to keep my hand in I go out on the line on average once a month or so. Usually I whisk Sid and Ethel out of London at high speed up towards Cumbria where the spectacular scenery of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales makes a welcome change from the drudgery of the working week for my passengers. Up in the North West I usually hand on the rolling stock to a restored Steam Engine that is not restricted, as I am, to tracks with overhead catenary equipment and then I quietly wait for the stock to return in order to whisk it once more back to London."

"Anyway, along comes this fellow locomotive - one of them diesel thingys - and it was feeling right 'crook' as they apparently say in Australia. The driver had about given up on it and when he saw me slumbering in the bushes he made it official and 'failed' the recalcitrant loco when I agreed to give him a hand."

"Rob Buchanan, I think he said his name was. You can see him at the top of this page in the header picture that my webmaster has created. He was charged with moving an electric multiple unit ("EMU") from Wolverton to Allerton depot just near Liverpool Parkway station and he had a couple of 'barrier' vehicles, one on each end of the EMU, to avoid problems with the various systems in use on today's locomotives. Luckily he 'signs' 86s so the change from diesel to 25kV AC electric locomotion caused no difficulties at all. If I recall correctly he has driven me before from Willesden to Ilford (and probably vice versa) when I spent a few days providing carriage heating to the staff there a while ago."

"I was coupled up to the 'failed' diesel and, when the inevitable paperwork was put in hand, off we all went to Liverpool together. The refurbished Parkway station at Liverpool looks very impresssive, I must say. Don't often get to that neck of the woods - of course the new electrification helps! I backed the consist into the depot and when they'd uncoupled the EMU I still had the diesel and the barrier vehicles with which to deal. The barrier units required dropping off in Carlisle - more sightseeing, more paperwork - and we had to drop back to Crewe before proceeding north once more. Thereafter to return to Rugby as a 'Thunderbird' for that 'crook' diesel? No way! Instead we popped up to Mossend Down Yard, near Glasgow, on another errand and eventually trundled back to Wembley Yard so that 47815 could be fixed up at Willesden."

"I'm due into Willesden, myself, pretty soon as I've two heritage trips coming up so I think perhaps I'll just stay at Wembley for a coupla more days."

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1st February 2017 © John Jackson on Flickr.

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15th February 2017 86 259 prepares to haul 5N36 the 09:35 Wolverton - Allerton stock move away from Rugby. The train had arrived earlier at Rugby and been declared a failure by the driver. 86 259, which is now stabled at Rugby, was utilised to haul the failed train forward. The consist of the train was QSA ADB 977087, Unit 319450 and QSA ADB 975875. © Andy on Flickr.

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After ROG 47815 failed at Rugby this morning, the 15th February 2017, on 5N36 09.35 Wolverton Centre Sidings to Allerton Depot pulling 319450 and barriers, it would appear the only loco in the area was 86259 which dragged the train to Allerton. The photo was taken at Searchlight Lane just north of Stafford on the new Norton Bridge northbound avoiding line, having made up 8 minutes since leaving Rugby 56 minutes late. A long friendly toot on the horn of the 86 seemed to give the impression 86259 was glad to help! Certainly unusual!! © dave gommersal on Flickr.

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86259 assisting failed 47815 forward from Rugby to Allerton Depot. More pictures on my main web site at mark5812.smugmug.com/ © mark5812 on Flickr.

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86259 (47815) & 319450 5N36 Runcorn 15/02/17 86259 rescues a failed 47815 on a 319 drag. Shame it was so dull. © Richard on Flickr.

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86259 5Z07 Liverpool South Parkway phone phot. VSTP working class 86259 (E3137) 'Peter Pan' with two barrier coaches and 47815 ROG (Rail Operation Group) stands at a red signal on platform 3 at Liverpool South Parkway working 5Z07 15:15 Allerton Depot to Crewe. © Liam Blundell Photography on Flickr.

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20th February 2017 Still going! Once full up with EWS/DB engines the Locomotive Holding Sidings at Wembley Yard are a lot quieter nowadays and other operators' traction can be found stabled here. In this view Rail Operations Group operated traction are seen in the form of 86259 and 37800. With a combined age of approx 105 years between the 2 locomotives they take a well deserved rest. © NIGHTSHIFTWORKER on Flickr.

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Whilst photting here I learned I had missed the shot prob of the year.....86259 topping the unit drag from Wolverton-Allerton...Hey Ho!...4M86 66565/592 Felixstowe-Lawley St Water Orton 15-02-2017 © Richard Norris on Flickr.

A couple of Class 66s pulling a load of containers somehow makes me think of the 'Shed and Bucket' series on Freeview! Webmaster