The AC Locomotive Group

2016 started out with bad weather in Scotland causing a partial collapse of Lamington Viaduct, over the River Clyde south of Carstairs. Initially this caused diversion of all the Caledonian Sleepers via the East Coast Main Line and reversal at Wembley Yard, and both 86101 and 86401 performed the Euston - Wembley Yard and vice versa manoeuvres several times. Later in January 2016 the Highland Sleeper was diverted to run from and to London Kings Cross, to avoid the delays due to the reversal at Wembley Yard: during this period the Highland empty coaches ran from Wembley via the North London Line (or via Hampstead Heath) and a reversal at Hornsey.

On some occasions during the period of running in and out of Kings Cross the Highland Sleeper was further diverted via the Durham Coast Line, with diesel haulage between Newcastle and Doncaster Royal Mail Terminal. On 23rd January 2016, after heading north to Doncaster "dead on rear" of the Down working the previous evening, 86401 worked the morning Up Highland Sleeper from Doncaster Royal Mail Terminal to London Kings Cross, the loco's first long run on a loaded train in preservation.

Sleeper operations returned to normal at the start of March 2016, but 86401 was still in use on front line services on the night of the 4th when the loco worked the Down Lowland Sleeper all the way from London to Glasgow. 86401 returned on the night of the 6th, interestingly via Bescot and Northampton due to scheduled engineering works.

86401 worked in Scotland for a few days in late March 2016 before heading off to Ilford to fulfil a contract at the Bombardier works there, returning in August 2016.

86101 and 87002 worked a number of football specials during 2016, as follows:

  • Saturday 26th March: 87002 worked London Euston to Liverpool South Parkway (and empty to Lime Street) and return for the Chelsea away game at Everton
  • Saturday 2nd April: 86101 worked London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street and return for the Tottenham Hotspur away game at Liverpool.
  • Monday 18th April: 87002 worked from London Euston to Stoke-on-Trent (and empty to Crewe) and return for the Tottenham Hotspur away game at Stoke.
  • Wednesday 11th May: 87002 worked London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street and return for the Tottenham Hotspur away game at Liverpool.
  • Sunday 15th May: 87002 worked London Kings Cross to Newcastle and return for the Tottenham Hotspur away game at Newcastle.

87002 worked part of a railtour for UK Railtours, "The Pines Express" on 30th April 2016, from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly.

87002 worked the UK Railtours "The Atlantic Star" railtour a few days later on 10th May 2016 from London Kings Cross to York. 87002 was "dead on rear" for the return journey via Lincoln.

GB Railfreight celebrated 15 years in the business with a four day, five leg, railtour from Thursday 8th September to Sunday 11th September 2016. Amongst the nineteen locomotives featured on this marathon event were 86401 and 87002. 86401 worked the last part of Day 2, from Harwich International to Stratford International, then was scheduled to work the full overnight leg from there to Edinburgh via the East Coast Main Line. Unfortunately engineering works due to overhead line damage meant that the train was diverted via the Joint Line between Peterborough and Doncaster, 86401 being hauled dead over this section by 66706. On Day 4 87002 worked the railtour through from Edinburgh to Liverpool Lime Street via Wigan North Western and St Helens Central, so becoming the first electric locomotive ever to work a passenger train through between the two cities, and the first electric locomotive to haul a train over the newly electrified route between Wigan North Western, St Helens Central and Huyton to Liverpool.

Following their successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the summer of 2016, the British athletes paraded through the centre of Manchester on the 17th October 2016, and also took part in a parade in London the following day. To get the athletes from Manchester to London two special trains were arranged. One was a Class 390 "Pendolino", but for the Paralympic athletes "The Paralympian" was organised on the morning of the 18th, with six carriages comprising day, lounge and sleeping cars from the Caledonian Sleeper fleet, hauled by 87002.

Elsewhere work has started in earnest on restoring 89001 to full working order. All six traction motors have been removed for repair and overhaul (three had already been removed some years ago). The six Field Convertors have been removed for repairs. The two rheostatic brake stacks have been removed: one of these had overheated in service with GNER, and alterations to the cooling arrangements may have to be made to prevent future problems. Many of the electrical and pneumatic control systems have already been checked out.