87002 at Crewe on the Three Peaks Challenge
86101 on 1Q13 at Enfield Town
The contract with GB Railfreight (GBRf) for standby locomotives for the Royal Mail Class 325 postal trains continued through to 31st May. 86101, 87002, 86701 and 86702 shared the duties. On occasions the weather was really bad and there were significant problems with the traction motors on the Class 325 EMUs, so a large number of the mail workings were loco-hauled.
The home depot for 86101 and 87002 (and 86701 and 86702) moved from Crewe LNWR to Willesden TMD in February.
An interesting test run was performed on 4th May. All class 86s and 87s, as well as 89001, the class 90s and class 91s, are fitted with the Time Division Multiplex (TDM) multiple working system; this also allows the locomotives to be remotely controlled from a Driving Van Trailer (DVT). Some of the DVTs have been modified to also control certain classes of diesel locomotives via their Association of American Railroads (AAR) multiple working system. 82302 is one such DVT, and a test run was arranged with 86701, 86702, some coaches and 82302 to run from Willesden to Northampton and back to check that the TDM system and revised driving DVT controls still worked correctly. This was succesful test; 86701 and 86702 were in multiple with each other via the TDM in each direction.
87002 was used on two legs of The Railway Children Three Peaks Challenge in June. 87002 hauled the train from London Euston to Crewe on the 24th, then proceeded light engine to Mossend Yard near Motherwell. The train was diesel-hauled to Bangor (for Snowdon), Ravenglass (for Scafell Pike) and Fort William (for Ben Nevis). 87002 then brought the train back on the 26th from Mossend to Euston.
On 10th September 87002 worked the "West Coast Premier" charter for Rail Blue Charters from Watford to Edinburgh and return.
An unusual short notice hire occured on 1st to 4th November. As part of the proving for the new GSM-R radio system, the 1Q13 radio test train needed to be taken to most of the routes on the Network Rail West Anglia area. Usually this train is top-n-tailed by diesel locomotives. One of the locations to be visited was Stansted Airport: here, diesel trains are barred from certain platforms due to the risk of setting off the smoke alarms in the airport building. The solution was to use electric locomotives on the train. The routes worked by 86101 and 87002 were:
- 1st November: Willesden TMD - Camden Road - Stratford - Tottenham Hale - Cambridge Yard - Stansted Airport - Bishops Stortford - Stansted Airport - Chesterton Jn - Tottenham Hale - Hackney Downs - Liverpool St - Carpenters Road curve - Hackney Wick - Liverpool St - Gidea Park - Channelsea - High Meads - Orient Way CS - Stratford - Camden Jn - Kilburn Loop - Camden Jn - Stratford - Orient Way CS.
- 2nd November: Orient Way CS - Stratford - Brimsdown - Hertford East - Brimsdown - Stratford - Liverpool St - Hackney Downs - South Tottenham - Enfield Town - South Tottenham - Hackney Downs - Liverpool St - Hackney Downs - Stoke Newington - Broxbourne - Stoke Newington - Hackney Downs - Liverpool St - Hackney Downs - Tottenham Hale - Cambridge Yard.
- 3rd November: Cambridge Yard - Stansted Airport - Bishops Stortford - Stansted Airport - Chesterton Jn - Tottenham Hale - Hackney Downs - Liverpool St - Carpenters Road curve - Hackney Wick - Liverpool St - Gidea Park - Channelsea - High Meads - Orient Way CS - Stratford - Willesden Euroterminal - Wembley Yard - Willesden TMD.
The train was also planned to visit the Chingford branch but there appeared to be a route clearance problem with 87002 not allowed to operate over that route. The final day's testing was worked by 86701 and 86702:
- 4th November: Willesden TMD - Camden Rd - Graham Road Curve - Liverpool St - Chingford - Liverpool St - Hackney Downs - South Tottenham - Enfield Town - Stoke Newington - Hackney Downs - Liverpool St - Hackney Downs - Clapton - Southbury - Broxbourne - Southbury - South Tottenham - Hackney Downs - Liverpool St - Hackney Downs - Tottenham Hale - Cambridge Yard.
- 5th November: Cambridge Yard - Tottenham Hale - Stratford - Camden Road - Willesden TMD.
In late 2010 Electric Traction Ltd won a contract to provide locomotives for "icebreaking" duties on the northern section of the West Coast Main Line. Based generally at Carlisle, a locomotive would be driven, light engine, over selected routes in icy weather. This keeps excessive thickness of ice from building up on the overhead wire, so avoiding problems with pantograph damage on early morning freight and passenger services. Initially 86701 and 86702 were provided, with 86101 and 87002 providing cover as required. The contract ran until February 2011. Generally the nightly routing was Carlisle - Carstairs - Carlisle - Carstairs - Carlisle - Preston - Carlisle. Sometimes the locomotive ran to other destinations such as Glasgow Central or Motherwell, or to Crewe.
At Barrow Hill, work started in checking over and restoring the electrical circuits on 85101. Electrical restoration work has been carried out on 89001, focussing on repairing and/or refurbishing the items that led to the locomotive being withdrawn from service - namely the traction motors and their associated field converter electronics. The locomotive was lifted by HNRC at Barrow Hill in December and three traction motors were removed including the one known to be faulty.