The AC Locomotive Group

86101's first main-line test run86101's first main-line test run

86101 makes history!86101 makes history!

89001 repainted89001 repainted

Although the group formed in 1996, we chose to mark our 10th Anniversary in 2007, since we actually purchased the first four Roarers in 1997. We were hoping that something a bit special could be achieved during the year...

It soon became apparent that getting both 86101 and 86401 ready for a Railtour in March was unrealistic, and efforts concentrated on 86101, which was already part-way through an overhaul at Barrow Hill. Thanks to the all-out effort of the group's volunteers and technical experts, not to mention a few members going way beyond the call of duty, the dream became a reality on 14th March, when 86101's pantograph was raised and the loco took power for the first time at Crewe. Main line test runs were undertaken on the 15th and 21st March which allowed a few minor problems to be ironed out, leading up to the big day of the 24th, when 86101 made history, performing faultlessly and hauling a dead Class 47 and 13 Mk2s from Carlisle on the Ynys Mon Express Railtour.

Due to the requirement for 86101 to be fitted with OTMR monitoring equipment, the loco didn't see much activity over the summer, however this expensive addition to the loco was necessary if the it was to continue to run beyond June 2007, and the investment has subsequently paid off. The loco made a second, unexpected appearance on a railtour in October, when it was - shall we say - "borrowed" for the Atomic Harbourmaster tour.

The challenge of 86101's restoration and main-line activities dominated the year, and as a result the other locos did not receive as much attention as we would have liked. A special effort was made for our latest purchase, 89001, which was professionally repainted at Barrow Hill back into original InterCity Executive livery. A "supporters' day" was held in June as a thank-you to everyone who had contributed to the appeal to save the loco. We were also pleased to participate in an open day at Long Marston, where 86401 was put on display, and 73138 used for cab rides.

Outside the group, significant developments took place in the Class 87 fleet, as two locos were exported for use in Bulgaria. The success of this trial, overseen by an organisation with close connections to ACLG, led to an agreement for the rest of the fleet to follow.

Back home, interest was shown by Hull Trains in using 86101 plus a rake of Mk3s to stand in for a Class 222 DEMU on various weekend services. This resulted in the loco and stock moving to Bounds Green in October/November for staff familiarisation and training. Problems with the carriages and the introduction of a DVT for the rake resulted in a delay to the start of services until 2008.

The group's further main-line ambitions meant that restoration of 86401 continued to an advanced state, with only the OTMR and live testing required by the end of the year.