ED’s to Cricklewood and the Midland beyond, 1972-2014
Robin’s recent phot above of GBRf’s booked 73 traction on the Hoo Jn - Cricklewood construction train with 73109 and 73136 has stirred some reader’s memories. 73’s were regular visitors to Cricklewood yard on inter regional freight/coal empties throughout the 70’s and 80’s. With through MGR’s to Northfleet and the closure of many small Southern coal depots their visits declined. North of Cricklewood on the Midland proper and into St Pancras itself they remained very rare almost unknown until the late 80’s when began to work to Leicester on crew training runs and more recently they are regular test train power from Derby RTC to Hither Green and beyond, long may it continue!
Sample “ED” Midland workings
JA’s to Luton Bute street! Reported in Railway World was 73002/003 working light to Luton Bute St on November 19th 1981. They returned South with the usual “Crompton” hauled cement empties from Houghton Regis to Northfleet forward from Luton. Must have been a bit noisy over Chiltern Green that evening.
The “SEG’s” “Buxton Railtour” on June 8th 1985 saw 73002/003 return with the Waterloo-Cricklewood leg of the tour, local legend 45113 worked forward on the Midland
“TC” advises I recall one night (late 1980's), when the plastic pig Wessex units were being delivered from Derby (usually the power was a 33), 73005 had gone north to collect the unit but failed coming back south. 73004 was sent to rescue and I saw the pair come through Bedford. I guess around 2200 hrs, as I was on my way home from work.
The Sector Swansong Tour-April 2nd 1994. This multi traction complex routed tour was hours late when after a earlier loco failure and with snow showers in the Luton area the passing of 33030 in full song with the tour’s Northern leg was memorable. 73141 was inside the Crompton after rescuing the tour at Willesden yard was reportedly shut down once on the Midland. From the lead coach you could only hear 33030 and to be honest any ED’s sounds would have been inaudible, a truly great local railtour moment. A full tour write up here
We had a few workings in the late 1980's, route learning trips from Hither Green to Leicester, when the freight workings were being restructured. With Cricklewood no longer having freight work, Southern men would work through to the Leicester area and vice versa. These workings could also produce 33's, 31's or 47's.
From the late 90’s and still regular today the Derby RTC workings which usually get 73138 though 73201 has been used a few times when there are test trains booked for MerseyRail. 73107,is another regular. More “ED” test train plus a rare 73205 in Bedford yard phot on “TC’s” excellent flikr site
ED Phot - spot - thanks to “TC”
Cricklewood yard, May 1985
Back in 1985 I was on an "official day out", a trip to West Hampstead signalbox (still quite new at the time), and Cricklewood depot. When we got off the train at Cricklewood, our guide spotted the derailed 73,so we went for a closer look of 73141. I am not too sure the re-railing gang were too pleased to see a group of trainee's turn up! After a quick look we crossed the lines for a look at Cricklewood depot, which had only recently been remodelled for the class 317 "Bedpan" units. Cricklewood East Yard looks sadly empty by 1985 too.
On 200214, 73141+73208 worked 6T78 09.00 Cricklewood - Hoo Junction, a train loaded with waste ballast. this was quite a lengthy train and 73119+73213 were on the rear.
Any more Midland also WCML 73 memories to share?
Thanks to “TC” and “RM” for the “ED” gen and phots