Info-Pictorial: Virgin Trains Electrics, Loco-Hauled - 1997 to 2007

JPEGJuice | Sunday, 25 August 2019 |

JPEGJuice
All content © author


86228 Vulcan Heritage at Birmingham International with the 16:21 Wolverhampton – Euston, on Friday 13th September 2002.

If ever you need an illustration of the indifference enthusiasts showed Virgin Trains' native electric locomotives in the late 1990s, just flick through a handful of period railway magazines. There was very little mention of the Virgin electric locos across the broader railway press of '97 to '99 – unless the locos switched pools, or failed and were rescued by freight traction. And finding an actual photo of a Virgin 86, 87 or 90 in those period mags is an extraordinary challenge. There just wasn’t the demand.

Info-Pictorial: The Virgin Trains HSTs – 1997 to 2002

JPEGJuice | Wednesday, 21 August 2019 |

JPEGJuice
All content © author


43078 in a classic late '90s mixed livery scene.

There are probably not that many rationales that can justify living in Birmingham as a stroke of good fortune. But as the epicentre of Virgin CrossCountry, New Street station gave trainspotters optimum access to Britain’s largest realm of HST and loco-hauled passenger service between 1997 and 2002.

The Last Days of the Central Trains Class 310s

JPEGJuice | Monday, 19 August 2019 |

JPEGJuice
All content © author


310113 off duty at Wolverhampton on 8th July 1999.

Many of today’s most nostalgically-appealing diesel and electric types attracted little attention in their time, and they certainly didn’t inhabit the “celebrity” category. One of the surprises I’ve had in the course of posting on Twitter, has been the reaction to images of Class 310s. These clanking sparkies may not have turned many heads as they ebbed away their final year with Central Trains, but they definitely don’t go short of applause twenty years on.

In this post I’m summarising the final year the Class 310s spent with Central Trains – working out of New Street station, where they’d been an everyday sight since their introduction by British Rail nearly three and a half decades earlier.

The Class 47/7s with Virgin CrossCountry

JPEGJuice | Saturday, 15 June 2019 |

JPEGJuice
All content © author



Although diesel locomotive-haulage on the CrossCountry network was inextricably associated with the 47/8s, there were other big contributors to credit. And during the 1997-2002 period in which Virgin ran loco-hauled XC services, the biggest 'other' was unquestionably the 47/7. Here in the blog's fourth article about CrossCountry operations, I'm going to recall the story of the 47/7, fully illustrated, as always.

1980s Pictorial: Diesels at Birmingham New Street

JPEGJuice | Wednesday, 12 June 2019 |

JPEGJuice
All content © author



Remember when Birmingham New Street station acted as a relentless conveyor belt of loco-hauled trains, diesel mechanical units, and 'dinosaur' EMUs? When Rail blue still ruled supreme? Well, in this post I'm going to recall that era with a selection of diesel-focused photographs taken between 1980 and 1986. Without further ado, let's hand over to an archaic Praktica LTL, Pentax P30, and cheaper-than-cheap Prinz compact, for a timehop back to the glory days...

Class 47/8 Liveries in the Virgin CrossCountry Loco Finale

JPEGJuice | Tuesday, 11 June 2019 |

JPEGJuice
All content © author



When Virgin Trains finalised its order for an entire fleet of Voyager units in December 1998, diesel locomotive enthusiasts knew that CrossCountry’s theoretical elimination of ex-British Rail stock was now not only a defineable reality, but also a timetabled transition. It was feasible that within three years, locomotive haulage could be eliminated from the XC network, and that was big.

At the time, the Porterbrook-owned Class 47/8s leased by Virgin as the core CrossCountry locomotives, divided into a mix of InterCity swallow and Virgin red/charcoal liveries, with the balance still easily favouring IC. The coaching stock was similarly mixed. The shot of 47812 at the top of the post sums up the era.

Although the end of the XC 47/8 was now in sight, enthusiasts and photographers had their attentions fixed on higher priorities. For instance, EWS’s ex-BR freight locos were already being made redundant by the incoming Class 66, and were suffering the axe at a shocking rate. In terms of locomotives, the 47/8s were among the least of railfans’ worries.