21st November 1981

British Rail
(Football Special)

Locos Used (2) 25318, 31323 & 45038

Route :

Loco Route
31323 Nuneaton - Leicester - just north of Leicester MPD (1)
25318 just north of Leicester MPD - Toton
45038 Toton - Bishop Auckland
45038 Bishop Auckland - Nuneaton

Notes :
(1) 31323 failed
(2) 31323 was originally uploaded as 31240 and 45038 as 45069 but these have been challenged/corrected by Steve Nikols who was a passenger on the train.

Steve Harding comments : As it so happens I was on the train, and if memory serves the loco was 45069 (45038). But that is only half the story! The omens were not good when 12 extremely decrepit mark 1s rolled into Nuneaton TV behind, I think, 31240 (31323) 40 minutes late. Obviously the booked type ‘4’ had failed and this was all Saltley had left. Whatever, the 31 staggered on until, just north of Leicester MPD it, quite literally blew up. And there we sat for around 90 minutes, the loco smouldering away until the fire brigade damped down. However, not content with one fire, and bearing in mind the steam heat had long since disappeared, the ‘Camp Hill boys’ decided a couple of the coaches needed to be ‘recycled’ too – lobbing anything that came to hand should a train dare to creep past on the slow line. In a sense of bravado, some may say foolhardiness, BR control did not give up pulling a Class 25 off the shed to remove the charred ‘31’ and the two, more than a little gutted coaches before attaching itself to drag the ensemble to Toton where 45069 (45038) took over. Arrival in Bishop Auckland was after 1600, i.e., during the second half. Nuneaton lost 4-1 – it was the first round of the FA Cup - and, after the fourth goal went in, what remained of the ‘Camp Hill boys’, those who had not already been arrested ‘retired’ to the railway station, pausing only to remove the goal posts; the match was still being played. The journey back to Nuneaton was pretty uneventful other than the fact the train had a fair proportion of the nation’s railway police force onboard. As far as I know, that is the last time Nuneaton Borough ever chartered a train though I have been on a football special since which too ‘blew up’ en-route – in this case a Class 50 heading for Plymouth. But that’s another story.

Sources : Mark Harrington (saw train at Bishop Auckland), Steve Harding & Steve Nikols

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