Class 25s were a favourite of mine and it is a matter of some regret that I did not make more effort to actively hunt them down more than I did. I simply went out for a day's photography and if some 25s turned up, then all well and good. If they didn't, then there would always be another day. Not for long enough, sadly.

Stafford station used to be a major hub for the interchange of parcel traffic and during the 1985 remodelling of Crewe there were even more trains being dealt with. On 11 June 1985 I photographed 25259 entering the platform loop with a short train of 6 NPCCS. Note the line BRUTES and a vintage-looking open trolley all of which were still in daily use at this time.
This picture was taken at Stafford on 15 June 1985 and shows just how helpful to enthusiasts BR used to be as 25080 running light engine from Crewe passed a sign clearly identifying the locomotive class for anyone who did not know.
Not long after I had taken the picture of 25080 on 15 June 1985 shown above, another of the same class appeared with a very long train of vans which I managed to curtail in a way that I hope would not happen today. I was actually at Stafford to take some shots of the 4 class 40s (renumbered as 97s) which were in use during a major remodelling of Crewe station but a class 25 in the sun was not to be ignored.
The class 25 activity at Stafford on 15 June 1985 contined when 25266 arrived at the station with an van train. My notes are, as usual, totally inadequate but if memory serves this was a Bangor to Northampton working. I may add that the original transparency shows the full length of the train but half of 1 van was lost during the scanning process.
25322 was one of the first "celebrity" locomotives after being painted into a non-standard livery and named Tamworth Castle. It is here seen entering Chester with a departmental working on 2 October 1984. This picture looks very dated now, the scene including a Mk 1 Vauxhall Cavalier in a particularly unpleasant shade of green and an Austin Allegro.
Class 25s were quite commonplace around Bescot in 1984 so it was good to see one on a slightly unusual working now and again. Here is 25064 approaching the station on 30 April of that year with what appears to be at least part of a breakdown train. Note also the selection of English Electric motive power in the holding sidings along with a class 56 just visible in front of the class 25, and an 86 about to pass under the bridge in the background.
Here is another class 25 shot from Bescot on 30 May 1984. This time it's a pair of the small-windown variety, 25244 + 25051 on the MWFO Curzon Street to Pennyffordd empty cement tanks. Looking back from 2007, it seems incongruous that there was a major rail-served cement terminal right in the heart of Birmingham, but there it was, pretty much on the site of the original Lonndon to Birmingham Railway's original terminus to the city. I suppose that with the amount of building being done in the area in the 1980s, it made good sense to have access to the most important raw material as close as possible to the work sites. That joined-up thinking has, sadly, gone by the board these days. Thanks to Andy Williams and David Hayes for the train ID.
Guide Bridge station in Greater Manchester was a great place to see many classes of locomotive in 1984, not least class 25. Here, on 2 May 1984, is 25084 heading east with a short train of large hoppers. I had no way of identifying train movements in those days; it was simply a matter of arriving at a location and photographing whatever turned up. Guide Bridge simply oozed with atmosphere before the area was rationalised and appeared to have seen few changes in the preceding 50 years.
This slightly earlier picture was taken on 26 May 1984 and shows another variety of class 25 in virtually the same position as the shot of 25048 shown above. The photographs demonstrate the differences in bodywork between the two types. The working appears to be the same as the one in the preceding picture, so it can safely be assumed that it was a timetabled service, possibly an ICI working, as I seem to recall that this type of large hopper was used on that service.
This image, taken at Leamington Spa on the evening of 26 April 1985 shows 25034 on the up main with the afternoon Longbridge - Cowley car parts ABS train. This was loaded to 23 vans which was about the normal length at the time and would really have made the loco splutter on the climb through Whitnash and up to Harbury. My note says that it was taken on 100asa film using 1/125 at f4 which may account for the slightly unsharp image. The light must have been worse than it looked.
Here is another photograph of the same locomotive taken on 26 November 1985 at Warrington Arpley. The train is about to dive under the WCML and head to the Liverpool area. There were several class 25 workings at Warrington during the day, but this was the only one for which the sun appeared at full strength.
Earlier the same day, 25201+25175 took a trip working consisting of a short rake of HAAs through Bank Quay station. The "going-away" shot was taken both to show the industrial landscape in the background and because of heavy shadows in the station area.
In 1985, there was a Saturday morning van train from Birmingham's Curzon Street Parcel depot to Worcester. Running as 3V16, it turned up with one of Saltley's spare engines, of which there would have been many on a Saturday. I saw the train with classes 25, 31, 40, 45 and 47 and here it is with the first of those passing Droitwich Spa station on 6 July 1985. The sun had just gone behind a large bank of cloud, so I took the opportunity to photograph 3V16 behind 25285 from the platform so as to include the centre-pivot lower quadrant signals and the old-fashioned telegraph poles, the latter of which were not long for this world. The signals are still in place, but the scene here has dramatically changed in the past few years, so much so that it is now difficult to take a decent picture of a train coming from the north.
I've never been all that fond of static subjects, but just now and again a shot cries out to be taken. This one, from Bescot on 28 March 1986, shows a rather care-worn 25213 in the holding sidings along with 31110 and 56041 among others. At this time no-one seemed to mind enthusiasts wandering off the end of the platform to have a look at the assortment of locomotives stabled over the weekend - I doubt that this is the case today.
This photograph of 25321 was taken at Leamington Spa on 1 February 1985 and shows the locomotive heading onto the down through line with a short train of vans. I'm not entirely sure of the working, but imagine that it is the Banbury to Bescot trip. It was always good to hear the points grind over at the south end of the station after a down passenger working as it almost invariably meant that a freight was on the way. If the centre road signal was cleared the train was routed via Hatton and Solihull, or if the aspect remained red the train would be going via Coventry, as the signal and its associated "feather" would not clear until the train was part way through the station.
Another platform-end shot from Leamington Spa dated 10 August 1985 shows 25206 waiting to head south to Banbury with a short train of rail slingers and a brake van. Of almost equal interest is the class 116 DMU stabled behind the station building. This practice ceased many years ago and I suspect, although I can't be sure, that the the line has been removed.
An earlier trip to trip to Warrington, this time on 17 October 1985, produced this shot from Bank Quay platform of 25316 hauling a short rake of coal hoppers and what appear to be cement tanks. As can be seen from the misty background, the weather was dull in the extreme.
It's strange how time lends enchantment to what was once an everyday and not at all notable scene. I have barely looked at this transparency of 25201 passing Wigston South signalbox in Leicester; after all, it is a just a light diesel passing a signalbox heading off somewhere. It was taken at the end of a day in the Leicester area mostly characterised by fog, slushy roads and freezing cold. In the middle of the afternoon the sun appeared so the chance of taking a shot of something other than an HST in this attractive location was too good to miss. In retrospect, there is so much of railway interest in this photograph apart from the locomotive most of which has disappeared, that once again I am glad to have taken the shot on 20 February 1986.
The next view was taken at Manchester Exchange, adjacent to Victoria station on 27 October 1984 and shows 25201 on a departmental working which I believe may be the 9T46 Horwich trip. This part of Manchester drew me north from Warwickshire on many occasions. The beautiful industrial background, the likelihood of encountering class 25s and 40s along with virtually every other loco type on freight workings and the sheer volume of traffic made it irresistible to me. Of particular interest are the round signals visible over the first wagon of the train. This was the only location at which I have ever seen this type of signal. The vista around Manchester Victoria has changed betond recognition and I consider myself fortunate that I visited the area on sufficient occasions to record the scene as it was in the 1980s.
Another view from from Manchester Exchange shows 25251 on another departmental working, again possibly the 9T46 trip which is just about to pass through Victoria station. Just look at this fantastic industrial and railway backdrop which cannot photographed today. The fact that this was taken on a very dull and wet 20 December 1984 doesn't matter in 2005, it is the nostalgic content that it is important. Although it is always good to have the sun for colour photography, my attitude has always been that one should always take the picture whatever the conditions because 1) there may not be another chance and 2) if there is another chance then you can improve the shot then. In retrospect, I have no regrets about taking this shot, or publishing it here because there will never be the opportunity to take the like of it again.
Going into Manchester Victoria was to enter a different world of light and shade which was just the job for black and photography. This shot shows 25313 on what I believe to be the 9T46 Horwich trip on 26 June 1984. The train is passing 25307 waiting for it's next turn assisting freights up Miles Platting bank.
This is possibly my favourite black & white shot of a 25. 25288 is passing through Manchester Victoria on 26 June 1984 with what I take to be a rake of PFA or cement wagons. I have no idea of the working but I don't recall seeing a similar one on any other occasion so perhaps it was some withdrawn wagons going for scrap.
New   Here is a rather poor quality picture taken with a 35mm fixed lens compact camera at Chester on 26 September 1984. I was not there on a photographic outing or would have been carrying my Olympus equipment, but over 20 years later, I think the picture was worth taking. It shows 25284 with a lovely rake of UIC ferry vans of either French or Yugoslavian origin using the station avoiding lines. The most likely point of origin for the old-style ferry vans in the photo is Wrexham Watery Road goods depot, where steel from Brymbo was loaded after closure of the Brymbo branch. Thanks to Brian Williams and Paul Shannon for the information on the wagons and the probable origin of the traffic.
New   The Broughton Lane to Ditton BOC train was, in 1984, a very popular train with enthusiasts as it was regularly hauled by class 25 and 40 in multiple. This was my only attempt at this train and shows 25276+40079 passing Guide Bridge on 31 May 1984. In common with the shot of 25284 shown above, this picture was taken using a 35mm compact camera. The line through Guide Bridge was very busy with freight at this time and was a happy hunting ground for those interested in classes 25 and 40. There was also the regular passenger service from Manchester Piccadilly to Hadfield utilising the 1500 DC units.
My home town, Stratford-upon-Avon was visited on an almost weekly basis in 1985 by the steam-hauled "Sunday Luncheon Express" from London Marylebone. To simplify and speed up the shunting moves a diesel loco was sent down from Bescot or Saltley. Class 31s were found to struggle with the heavy stock, especially if the rail conditions were poor. On 18 August, 25042 appeared and had no problem at all moving the stock from platform 1 into platform 2. The "rat" was of far more interest to me than 35028 Clan Line, although once again the weather failed to co-operate.
If engineering was scheduled at weekends in the Leamington Spa area it was commonplace for several locos to be stabled in the station area on Saturdays. Whilst I am not a great fan of static photographs the sun shining on 25259+47005 was too much to resist on 5 October 1985.
On 7 February 1986 there was a fall of snow around Birmingham. I had no particular plan so headed to Bescot in case the sun appeared. In the early afternoon it did shine for a few minutes, just as 25048 appeared on a mixed freight from, I believe Coton Hill, Shrewsbury.
These 2 shots were taken near Gobowen station on the Shrewsbury to Crewe line and show 25059 with a train of ballast from Blodwell quarry on the former line to Oswestry - 7G25 1521 Blodwell Quarry - Bescot Up Yard. The first shows the train curving off the branch and approaching the station. . Once again, the weather was poor but this train was normally 31 hauled by this time, 2 June 1986 meaning that the chance for further shots of this nature were unlikely. Furthermore, the friendly signalman who allowed me to obtain these pictures may not have been on duty on another visit!
The second shot shows the train heading away after the loco had run round the ballast hoppers before returning to Bescot.
By mid-1986, class 25 passenger workings were few and far between and had rail-gen been in existence any movements would have set the BlackBerries and mobile phones, had they existed, beeping over the whole country. One occasiional exception was their use on Derby to Stoke trains and here is a shot of 25313 running into the platform at Derby on 4 June 1986 with some stock. I originally thought that this might have been a Stoke train, but I think in retrospect that there are too many coaches of different classes and assume that it was an ECS working.
This picture shows 25213 returning from the Albright and Wilson terminal near Langley Green station with empty tanks on 29 August 1986. This was the Oldbury branch, truncated in the 1960s just to serve the works, to which tanks of chlorine gas were taken. I never had the luxury of sun at this location with class 25s, this being reserved for 31s and 37s.Pictures of these will be found in the appropriate sections of this site.
The next picture shows 25057 with a barrier van returning from the terminal on 9 September 1986. I saw locomotives on both ends of trains here which perplexed me a little as there were no run-round facilities at Albright and Wilson's site. Here is another view of 25057 as it enters the yard at Langley Green a few minutes later and well before the semaphore signalling was removed in favour of a more modern but less attractive installation. The cement wagons in the middle distance would have come from or were going to Blue Circle depot at Handsworth.
When I arrived at Langley Green on the morning of 9 September a class 31 was standing in the yard looking as if it had had some sort of problem and couldn't carry on with 6T48. After quite a wait 25057, unusually coupled to 20303 appeared, and ran to the end of the yard where they were separated. The class 25 did the trip down the branch while 20303, on the class renumbered after some vacuum pipe modifications to work on stone trains from Buxton. A pair was seen at Bescot for a short while so this is quite probably a pretty rare view of one working without its partner. The cement tanks and empty scrap wagons in the yard were destined for Blue Circle and Cooper's scrapyard on the Handsworth branch and woould probably have been tripped there during the afternoon, or possibly the following day. Another rare shot I took here was of 58009 which arrived light engine from Bescot on 22 May 1991, presumably to go along the Oldbury branch to work 6T48. After some discussion, the driver decided that he wouldn't take such a long locomotive around the very sharp curve from the yard to Albright & Wilsons siding and returned light to Bescot. Note that the ground signals controlling the yard are now electric lamps operated from Stourbridge Junction, all the local mechanical signalboxes having been abolished.
As an aside, here is a later pictue of 25057 while awaiting restoration at the Quainton Road centre, Buckinghamshire on 6 May 1988.
The penultimate photograph in this sequence shows 25213 running through Smethwick West station with T48 returning to Bescot with the empty chlorine tanks on 29 August 1986. Shortly after this date, the train of tanks ceased running to Bescot but ran directly from Langley Green to Wilton as 6E70. Smethwick West station is now closed, having been replaced by the Galton Bridge interchange, following the re-opening of the GWR line from Birmingham Snow Hill via the Jewellery Quarter.
My final shot of 6T48 on 29 August 1986 shows 25213 leaving the platforms of Smethwick West station and about to join Wolverhampton to Birmingham main line from where it would have swung left at Soho Junction and made its way back to Bescot. The branch to Handsworth can clearly be seen to the left of the train and the signalbox controlling the junction is visible on the right. I understand that this was not a good place to work, in the latter years at least, as it was cold, draughty, had a thriving population of rats in the frame chamber and was under regular attack from local yobs. All in all, not a box missed by too many people...
As with the class 40s, the majority of the 25s final workings took place in the noth-west, typified by the this view of 25192 + 25190 leaving Warrington Bank Quay station after a crew change with a Stanlow to Leeds tanker train on 26 November 1985.
The final incarnation of class 25 on the main line was the conversion of 3 locos to ETHELs (Electric Train Heat Ex Locomotive) to provide train heat for initially, class 37 hauled trains in Scotland and latterly, steam hauled trains elsewhere. Predictably, the "steam photographer" fraternity whinged about "their" locos having to drag these "monstrosities" about and they could no longer follow their favourite pastime of "recreating the scene of bygone years". Shame. I'm sure the passengers on the trains - those paying and thus enabling the trains to run - had no such qualms and enjoyed the warmth provided by the Ethels. Here are 2 shots, the first taken just south of Stratford-upon-Avon on 11 April 1987 and showing an Intercity liveried Ethel apparently at the head of an Intercity train. Right away Cheltenham! I wish....
The final picture shows 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley + Ethel heading away from Stratford-upon-Avon with a return charter to London Marylebone. Incidentally, this shot taken at Bishopton on 24 May 1987 is completely unreapeatable, largely because several office developments have been built on the field in the foreground.