The AC Locomotive Group

87002 at Crewe Basford Hall en route to Warrington for icebreaking duties87002 at Crewe Basford Hall en route to Warrington for icebreaking duties

86101 and 87002 continued with icebreaker work on the West Coast Main Line until 11th April. Away from the normal West Coast route, 86101 operated an icebreaking working between Newcastle and York and back in the early hours of 21 January. Diesel locomotive 33029 hauled 86101 over the non-electrified route between Carlisle and Newcastle and back.

Unfortunately 86101 suffered bad wheelflats in February and had to be returned to Willesden by road.

New rules came into force at the start of 2013 which meant that all trains working in the southern half of the UK had to be fitted with the new GSM-R train-to-signaller radios. 86101 and 87002 were fitted with this equipment during the year.

2013 also saw the start of work upgrading the overhead line power supply from 6 kA fault current to 12 kA, this meant that the Air Blast Circuit Breaker fitted to all electric locomotives up to and including Class 87 were no longer suitable, and a Vacuum Circuit Breaker was required to be fitted. 86101 and 87002 were fitted with this equipment during the year.

On completion of the contract with Bombardier at Ilford, 86702 was towed back to Willesden TMD by 56087 on 9th May. 86701 and 86702, along with 86228 and 86242 (which were due to be exported to Hungary) were taken to Barrow Hill by 56312 on 4th July for storage.

86213 was moved from Willesden TMD to Barrow Hill, in two stages: hauled by 56113 and 47749 to Washwood Heath on 4th October, finishing the journey with 47749 on 9th October.

In anticipation of that winter's icebreaking work 87002 went on a test run on 28th November from Willesden TMD to Watford Junction and back.

86101 had not yet received replacement wheelsets so 87002 performed this winter's icebreaking work alone. In a change from previous years, this time the locomotive was based at Warrington Bank Quay and simply operated from there to Carstairs and back each night. This winter's contract ran from early December 2013 to the end of March 2014.

An unusual variation to this activity was a request from Network Rail to perform "route proving" over the new track, electrification and signalling at Peterborough after work there over Christmas. 87002 moved from Warrington to Doncaster via Mossend, in two stages, and stabled in Doncaster on Christmas Eve. Then on the 28th December 87002 worked the required trip to Peterborough and back. 87002 then returned to Warrington via Mossend to end the year performing more icebreaking operations.

"85101" was moved by road in August from Barrow Hill to Washwood Heath for repainting into Rail Blue livery. The locomotive returned at the end of September, carrying the number "85006" for the first time since 1989.