The Mainline locomotives continued operation with Caledonian Sleeper. Both 86101 and the 87 visited Barrow Hill for repairs to their ETS cables. Whilst the locomotives were on site they were inspected and other minor repairs were undertaken.
After four years of service on ECS duties with Caledonian Sleeper September 2019 marked the end of operations for 86101, 86401 and 87002. 86401 was the first of the locmotives to be sidelined in March with the 87 following in June and finally 86101 finished operations by working redundant Mk3 stock transfers in October. Before the withdrawal of the locomotives from Sleeper service we had held several discussions with other operators with a view to obtaining other regular work for the 86s and 87. Unfortunately we were unable to find any other regular work for the locomotives which in turn made it impossible to cover their operational costs and so we took the decision that the locomotives had to be found new homes. Ultimately 86101 and 87002 found a home with Locomotive Services Ltd and 86401 with West Coast Railways; the intention being to use all the locomotives on ECS and occasional tour duties with their respective owners.
Work at Barrow Hill continued with routine checking and maintenance of the batteries on the Class 81, 83 and 85.
The more extensive work on the 89 continued with a plan being developed to re-engineer the 89s field convertors. They were rebuilt and extensively tested as individual components, units and in complete groups and were ready for fitment by the end of the year.
Other detail work performed included reinstatement of traction bonds, earth cables etc to bogies; door seals replaced; water traps in underfloor areas drilled out and drained, and the No.2 choke cover drilled.
The rheostatic brake stacks were rebuilt. New brake blocks were sourced and fitted, the cabs were reassmbled and lighting circuits reinstated; the pantograph was serviced and chains replaced.
Our colleagues at HNRC once again undertook a number of heavier tasks on the 89; removing both of the cab roof domes to repair damage to the GRP mouldings and to replace damaged failed seals. Aside from joints around the exterior of the cab and a small number of 'water traps' very little corrosion was found on the 89 and only small repairs were required. Once the body repairs were completed the locomotive was left in a patchwork finish of painted repairs and older livery sections, to temporarily tidy the locomotive up primer and a sealing undercoat paint was applied.