Crewe Electric Open Day
Stored in the Carriage Shed
In early 1997, the Group negotiated for the purchase of all four of the Waterman AC electric locos. Class 81, 81002, Class 82, 82008, Class 83, 83012 and Class 85, 85101 were bought by members of the Group under an agreement to keep all four locos together. A home was offered at The Railway Age, Crewe (formerly the Heritage Centre) by Pete Waterman, which was eagerly accepted.
On 3rd May 1997, all four locomotives were unexpectedly displayed at the Crewe International Electric Depot Open Day. Our first knowledge of their attendence was from reading the railway press! Needless to say, with the locos in storage at Crewe Carriage Shed, and no time before the event, the locos were not in the best of conditions. Nevertheless, they provided a very welcome burst of publicity and received a lot of subsequent press coverage.
Unfortunately, after the event, the locos were returned to store in the Carriage Shed, rather than moved to The Railway Age.
The move back across Crewe to The Railway Age was initially promised for the Summer 1997, but was delayed due to lack of capacity at the site. Put back until November and then again until January 1998, it became increasingly obvious to us that that the locos were unlikely to ever leave the Carriage Shed.
Efforts began to find an alternative home for the locos. In August 1997 two members of the Group visited the then-embyronic Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre near Chesterfield and started negotiations for a home there for all four locos. We had an enthusiastic reception!