Locomotive Performance

Class 31..Brush Type 2

  My introduction to the "Brush type 2" class was in 1970. In the early spring of that year, myself, my wife, and my parents had a day out on a "Seaside preview" special from Birmingham to Great Yarmouth. 13 coaches, nearly all 37 ton stock, and a "Brush type 4", D1964 I think. On the return journey the loco expired at March, and we got a Brush type 2, which made a lot of noise (we were in the front coach) as far as Nuneaton, and even more up the bank past Stockingford to Arley tunnel. I was impressed. 

I had a couple of runs on the Birmingham-Oxford-Paddington line in around 1975, which I recall were good (records lost), but my next "Brush type 2" run was not until 1984, when I travelled from Nuneaton to Peterborough (for the Nene Valley line), a number of times. In the 1980's and 90's, I travelled far and wide on the 31's. . I never once had a bad run. The highest speed I reached with them was 95 mph on 31404 at Fosse Road (nr Leamington)  in 1988.
  19th May 1984: Returning from the "Nene Valley Railway" (BR Std 5MT 4-6-0 no 73054), I got 31423 on the 5.20pm from Peterborough, back to Nuneaton. With a 6 coach load, the running was good. Max speed was 77 mph at Saxby. Station overtime at Leicester caused a 12 minute delay. [view log of 31423]
  16th June 1984: Another trip to Peterborough, on the 8.50am (SO) Birmingham to Great Yarmouth service. 31286 & 31209 had a 9 coach load, and a driver who seemed to have little regard for line speeds. We reached 81 mph at Narborough, and 81 again near Oakham. Exciting!. [view log of 31286 & 31209]
  6th August 1984: Returning from a short break in Norwich, we travelled on the 1.32pm service, made up to 8 coaches, 266/280 tons, two more that the usual loading. 31421 ran well throughout, with a max speed of 73 mph at Attleborough. A lengthy station delay at Peterborough caused a 5 minute late arrival at Nuneaton. [view log of 31421]
  27th May 1985: Travelling to the West Somerset Railway, I caught the 9.15am Bristol to Taunton "stopper", which made 6 intermediate stops. With 5 coaches, 31449 ran hard, reaching 81 mph at Creech. [view log of 31449]
  13th June 1987: 31444 gave me a tremendous run on the 5.45pm from Liverpool, which went via the C.L.C line to Manchester. A delay at Allerton was the prelude to a 91 mph before Sankey. Totally unexpected. [view log of 31444]
  30th July 1988: I used Tamworth as a convenient joining point when travelling north eastwards from the Midlands. In this instance I was bound for the Keighley and Worth Valley line. A class 47 was the usual motive power, but this time it was a pair of 31's on the lightweight 6 coach 6.16am from Bristol. 31450 and 31446 went like a bomb away from each stop, and we reached 90 mph before the Burton stop, and again before Derby. More good running before and after Chesterfield brought us into Sheffield 2 mins early. [view log of 31450 & 31446]
  17th September 1988: During this period the class 31 running I encountered just got better and better. This time it was 31404 from Reading on the 3.18pm Weymouth to Manchester with a 9 coach load. We reached 80 mph before the Oxford stop, then ran non stop to Leamington with a 95 mph down Fosse Road bank. Superb!  [view log of 31404]
  3rd July 1992: I believe that the 8.40am Stafford to Llandudno, and the return 11.40am to Crewe, were the only Loco-hauled services on the North Wales coast in 1992. The outward service ran via Stoke, and it was not until after Crewe, that there was a chance of some decent running. But the 75 mph linespeed was a handicap. In fact our maximum speed was 78 at Beeston Castle, on the Crewe to Chester section. [view log of 31432] On the return to Crewe with the same 4 coach load, we reached 79 mph, again on the Chester to Crewe section, at Worleston. [view log of 31432]
  22nd April 1993:  A temporary withdrawal in early 1993 of the Electric Multiple Units which worked the Crewe to Liverpool local services, meant class 31 substitutions. So I did a couple of trips in each direction. Northbound I got 31408 on the 10.21am ex Crewe, and 31465 on the 1.21pm. The Maximum speed reached was 80 mph with 31408 at Minshull Vernon. [view northbound logs]. I returned from Liverpool on the 11.46am service with 31465, and the 2.34pm service with 31410, the latter being named "Granada Telethon". In each case the maximum speed was reached at Ditton, 84 mph on the first run, and 83 mph on the second.  [view southbound logs]
  12th September 1995: Using a "North Wales Coast Day Rover", I made 6 journies during the day on the Bangor to Chester section of the line. Four were class 37 hauled, and two were class 31's. The second of these was with 31421 "Wigan Pier" on the 1.23pm Bangor to Chester. With the usual summer 5 coach load, we had some speedy running. 81 mph at Aber, 80 at Abergele, and 81 at [view log of 31421]
  28th June 1997: The excellent "Minehead Mariner" railtour took a pair of 31's right through to the seafront at Minehead. 31466 and 31420 had an 11 coach load of 395/420 tons,  and on the outward run reached 90 mph, at the foot of the Lickey. Thereafter, there were long spells at 85 mph or so. The running beyond Bishops Lydeared will be dealt with in the future, when I cover the West Somerset Railway. [view log of 31466 & 31420]. On the return, 31420 was leading, and once again there was plenty of running at 85 mph. The max speed was 91 mph at Berkeley Road, and subsequently an unchecked run from Cheltenham to Birmingham  brought us in 5 mins early.  [view log of 31420 & 31466]
  Note: The picture above is copyright D Bailey and is reproduced with his consent.