Locomotive Performance

Class 40: English Electric Type 4

Preparing this page, and the performance logs that go with, it made me realize that prior to 1984, not once had I set out with the purpose of travelling behind an English Electric type 4. When they appeared on the West Coast Main line in the late 1950's, I suppose I regarded them as the enemy, for they displaced many of the Duchess, Royal Scot, Jubilee, and Patriot workings.

My first Type 4 journeys were from Birmingham to and from Stafford. The "Birmingham loop" of the West Coast Main line was electrified after the Trent Valley line, and in the early 1960's the Type 4's worked to Stafford, where the electrics took over. In early 1962, I travelled from Birmingham to Euston hoping for steam haulage. I didn't get it. D232 took me to Euston, and D344 brought me back. But from 1978, when I became a regular on Steam tours, I found that the 40's often worked the non steam parts of the itineraries.
24th February 1962: D232 Birmingham to Euston: A trip with the family to spend a day in London. On the 7.25am from Birmingham, "Empress of India" had a 10 coach load. This train called at Stechford, Hampton, Coventry, Rugby, and Bletchley. The West Coast Electrification works were concentrated at that stage south of Tring, prior to which we had reached 80 mph at Castlethorpe and 82 mph at Hemel Hempstead.  [view log of D232]
24th February 1962: D344 Euston to Stechford, via Northampton: The return journey was on the 6.50 pm from Euston, which travelled via Northampton. We suffered electrification delays in the early stages, then had a brake problem stop at Sears Crossing. Then signal checks prior to Rugby added to our problems. For some reason I failed to time the final section from Stechford to New Street. One to forget. [view log of D344]
26th May 1979: 40080 York to Stockport: This was the return leg from York of a steam charter which had included electic haulage over Woodhead, and steam from Guide Bridge to Sheffield and York. 40080 had an 11 coach load, I did not time the run in detail, so the speeds shown in the log are station to station averages. Since we were early through Huddersfield, we ran gently up to Standedge.   [view log of 40080]
11th July 1979: On the "North Yorkshireman" steam tours to Skipton, the steam section was from Grange over Sands to Skipton, then back to Carnforth. A class 40 was booked Preston to Grange, then Carnforth back to Preston in the evening. The load was usually 12 coaches. 40003 was worked hard (and loud) in both directions, and reached 83 mph southbound through Garstang in the evening. An enjoyable end to the day. [view log of 40003]
17th May 1980: 40169 Carnforth to Crewe: Another Steam Railtour, the "Bristolian", a strange name for a Leeds to Carnforth tour booked for a Stanier 4-6-2. But fire risk problems meant a diesel pilot. So 40169 piloted "Duchess of Hamilton" to Carnforth, where the steam loco came off. 40169 then continued to Crewe, and a fine, almost unchecked, run ensued. Again station to station averages only. But we were into the 80's at Brock, and again at Winwick. A nice run.  [view log of 40169]
11th September 1980: 40179 Crewe to Carlisle: The most appropriate description for this run from Crewe to Carlisle must be "Absolute Classic". I had driven north to Crewe to join the summer "Cumbrian Mountain Express. Electric haulage from Crewe to Carlisle, Steam Carlisle to Skipton, and back to Carnforth. Then Electric back to Crewe. But no electric locomotive was available at Crewe. Nor was a class 47. So we got 40179. And sadly, once again I only recorded passing times. Amazingly, apart from a slight check approaching Preston, we had a completely clear run through to Carlisle. 70 mins 40 secs from Lancaster to Carlisle with a 12 coach, 423/450 ton train was excellent. How I wished I had timed in more detail. But at Carlisle, I found that that fellow train timer Steve Leyland had joined the train at Preston, and he made available to me his more detailed timings and speeds. So many thanks Steve.  [view log of 40179]
7th February 1981: 40044 Crewe to Shrewsbury, Hereford to Crewe: Class 40's also worked the diesel sections of the Steam "Welsh Marches Express", although the schedules were based on class 47,s. 40044 worked the morning Crewe to Shrewsbury, and evening Hereford to Crewe, sections. And made an excellent job of it, particularly the nortbound ascent to Church Stretton.  [view log of 40044]
18th April 1981: 40160 Aberdeen to Edinburgh: At Easter 1981, I was in Edinburgh for two steam hauled railtours. On the Saturday, A4 class 4-6-2 no 60009 was booked Edinburgh to Aberdeen and return, The locomotive failed at Newtonhill on the outward journey. So we got 40160 for the return, which was via Dundee and Kirkcaldy. And the running was excellent throughout, albeit with a light 8 coach train.  view log of 40160]
28th April 1984:  D200(40122) Appleby and Armathwaite to Leeds: In late 1983, the first class 40, the original D200, was overhauled and repainted in it's original green livery. It was used extensively by SLOA for the diesel sections of steam railtours. On this date, because of lineside fire problems, D200 took over the "Cumbrian Mountain Express at Appleby, and ran on a revised itinerary, to Armathwaite, then back to Leeds. With a 460 ton gross load, we climbed the 1 in 100 to Ais Gill at 31 mph.  [view log of D200]
5th May 1984: D200 (40122) Carlisle to Ayr and return. The locomotive proved popular with SLOA passengers, and it was used on a "Sou' Wester" tour. The schedules for the tour, however, were based on class 47 haulage, so unsurprisingly, we failed to keep time with the 432/445 ton train. But an excellent day nevertheless.  [view log of D200]
2nd June 1984: 40015 Crewe to Blackburn: The 40's now had little time left, and so it a surprise to find one on the "Cumbrian Mountain Express". 40015 worked to from Crewe to Preston, then to Blackburn and Hellifield. The final section beyond Blackburn is not included in the log, since the line was subject to a 40 mph speed limit. Once again we had another fine run, particularly between Winsford an Leyland. We reached a max of 89 mph at Norton, and hard work followed up the hill to Blackburn. [view log of 40015]
9th June 1984: D200 (40122) Leeds to Carlisle: D200 worked the northbound leg of the "Cumbrian Mountain Express", and had a 12 coach, 434/460 ton load. With hard work on the uphill sections, D200 confirmed that the balancing speed on a 1 in 100 gradient was 30 mph. Apart from a double headed Class 25 plus Class 40 run in October 1985, this was to be my last run with a 40. [view log of D200]
The English Electric Type 4's had been running for over 20 years before I became a fan. And I suppose it was the sounds that attracted me. Not for nothing did they obtain the nickname of "Whistlers". At the end, I was sorry to see them go. I must make the effort to travel on 40145, now running once again on the main line.