When the nightmares and dreams have come true...

A small dedication to a man and his locomotive.

A tribute from Ruairidh MacVeigh (pronounced: Rory McVeigh) found by the Webmaster on the internet.

I bumped into Les Ross today. He was incredibly generous and gave me a free copy of his book documenting the history of his preserved Class 86 electric locomotive - 86259 "Les Ross".

Whilst having a thumb through I came across a fantastic picture by Ian Furness of 86259 leading the Cumbrian Explorer railtour past Lambrigg in Cumbria on the 3rd of May 2008. So I decided I'd redraw it in my own style as a way of saying thank you to Les for his wonderful hospitality and kindness.

A brief history:- 86259 was originally built as E3137 by the British Railway workshops at Doncaster in the latter half of 1965 and entered service in January of the following year. Prior to 1973, this locomotive worked on trains out of London Euston to Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, until the wires were extended north of Weaver Junction to Glasgow Central and thereby the locomotive was allowed to run the full length of the West Coast Mainline. Following the "TOPS" renumbering, the locomotive was designated 86045 initially, and then 86259 following the addition of flexicoil suspension and raised gear ratios. In 1979 the locomotive was named "Peter Pan" as part of the "International Year of the Child".

Following years of allocation to Willesden TMD in North London, the locomotive spent some time on the Great Eastern Mainline and had the distinction of being the first ever electric locomotive to reach Ipswich in 1985. The locomotive then returned to the West Coast Mainline where it alternated between homes at Willesden and Manchester Longsight.

In 2002, to commemorate the retirement of the popular West Midlands Radio broadcaster and rail enthusiast, the locomotive was re-named "Les Ross" in honour of his long career. No more than a year later however, the locomotive was withdrawn following the introduction of the Class 390 Pendolino units and, after spending just over a year in storage at Immingham, the locomotive was bought for preservation and restored to near enough its original condition at Tyseley works in Birmingham. In 2011 the locomotive returned to Willesden, where it has been based ever since, and continues to provide railtours and charter trains, keeping the enthusiasm for heritage electric traction alive in the UK!

(text slightly edited by Webmaster)