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In 2008 I was presenting a daily show on BBC Radio West Midlands. The radio station was undertaking a £1.5 million fund-raising appeal for the new kidney unit at Birmingham Childrens Hospital. 86259 played its part by having a "Xmas Shoppers Special" trip from Birmingham New Street to Manchester Piccadilly on December 20th. Tickets were bought by BBC Radio WM listeners, who completely filled the train, and the maximum amount was raised due to the generosity of at Tyseley, , (who provided giant mince pies for all!) and at Longsight depot.

Whilst most of the passengers from the West Midlands were shopping in the various Manchester Christmas markets, enthusiasts (about 200 in all) turned up from all over the country to take part in a history-making trip from Manchester Piccadilly out to Hadfield - the first time a Class 86 locomotive had traversed the western end of the Woodhead route since it had been converted from 1.5kV DC to 25kV AC, and the first time any AC loco had hauled a passenger-carrying train on this line.

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20th December 2008.
86259 back in Manchester Piccadilly for the first time in 5 years, 3 months and 3 days! Its last run before withdrawal was on a Virgin 'Manchester to London Euston' service on 17th September 2003.

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Swapping the headboard of 86259, which has already changed ends with 47773, so that it can perform the first ever trip to Hadfield by a Class 86 locomotive plus carriages; 47773 hauling the train on the return.

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Waiting to go to Hadfield, alongside a London-bound Virgin Pendolino

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In the gloom on Dinting Viaduct on the way to Hadfield. (Photo: Jonathon Stevenson)

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Arrived at Hadfield.

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First AC Loco to Hadfield! Such an unusual event that photographers were allowed onto the track to record it!

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Sitting in Manchester Picadilly station in the rain ready to go home. My camera's flash has reflected from the raindrops making it look like snow - and it was certainly cold enough for it!

See also - The driver's timing schedule for this trip
See also - a 2½ minute video taken on this trip