The AC Locomotive Group

85101 in Triple Grey85101 in Triple Grey

Restoring 84001Restoring 84001

86213 arrives86213 arrives

By the start of 2002, 87101 had been stripped of many parts by its new owners. Unwanted, however, were the unique components such as the stepless transformer and thyristor banks. We were able to negotiate permission to purchase and remove these historic items, and this was carried out in late January. Sadly the rest of the loco was cut up shortly afterwards.

The preparations for the repaint of 85101, on hold since 2001, were restarted in earnest, and a working fortnight was organised in March and April to transform the loco from faded Rail Blue to gleaming Railfreight Distribution livery. Working members excelled themselves and by Barrow Hill's "Kings Cross in the 1960s" Gala later in April, the loco was complete and attracting surprised expressions from visitors! For the repaint, a new Railfreight-style diamond depot plaque was designed to represent Barrow Hill.

Immediately afterwards, however, attention turned to 84001, whose bodywork was systematically stripped down and prepared for repainting for pretty much the rest of the year!

Changes in our storage requirements saw the Courier Van depart for pastures new, however within six months new acquisitions meant space was running out again! You can't win 'em all...

Outside the Group, AC heritage took a huge swing to the positive, with the official claiming of a complete Class 303 unit and a Class 311 driving car, the repaint of Crewe's APT-P, and the repaint of Virgin's 86233 into Electric Blue on the main line. Things looked up even further when the rest of the Class 311 unit was handed over to join the claimed car. A Railway Heritage Committee meeting also recommended that Ilford's Class 306 be officially preserved eventually, and two Class 302 cars were bought for preservation.

Back with the AC Loco Group, our big event of the year, the October Gala, turned out to be something of a damp squib, as the year's theme - Rail Blue - discounted just about all our locos. With the 81, 82 and 84 stood in the shed, and the 83 and 85 relegated to the 'scrapyard' and off view, we didn't have much opportunity to show off. But bigger things were in the pipeline, so we didn't let it get us down.

Good news for the end of the year was the arrival of 86213 Lancashire Witch at Barrow Hill for long term storage by its owners HSBC. The loco was placed into the care of the Group after several months of negotiations to bring at least one 86 to the roundhouse.