Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes was (and still is) 49½ miles from London Euston. Each day I travelled from Milton Keynes Central to Euston behind various motive power. Traction was all AC electrics including the class 310 multiple units.


I recorded all the locomotives I travelled behind and all the units I travelled in including the individual coach numbers and everything I saw en route as well as train details and arrival and departure times.

The Journey

The fast non-stop trains took 35 minutes, a call at Watford Junction took 40 minutes. The semi-fast units which called at Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard and Watford Junction took 50 minutes whilst the all stations stoppers took an excruciating 70 minutes.


The majority of workings were in the hands of classes 86/2, 86/4 and 87 with the 87/1 derivative 87101 appearing on a couple of occasions. 81s and 85s turn up occasionally particularly on the overnight turns and on the Euston-Northampton "cobblers". These latter workings called at Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard on the slow line and then non-stop to Euston. They were a joy to travel in as they were made up of 100mph mk1 stock and you got flung around particularly when they crossed from the up slow to up the fast at Ledburn Junction taken at around 40mph.

Days Out

On days off I travelled over various track particularly on the Southern Region, to open days and sometimes just for a run out, I also travelled to Chesterfield and back where I lived - these trips are also included.

haulage synopsis

Class 81

20 of the original 25 class 81s were still in existence but only 7 were had:
002  005  006  011  017  019  022

Class 82

All the 82s had been withdrawn by this time except for 82005/008 which were only used on empty stock moves between Willesden CS and Euston

Class 83

All the 83s had been withdrawn by this time except for 83009/012/015 which were only used on empty stock moves between Willesden CS and Euston

Class 84

All class 84s had been withdrawn by this time

Class 85

37 of the 40 class 85s were still in existence and 21 were had:
002  003  004  006  008  009  010  011  015
016  017  018  019  020  021  022  023  025
028  035  038

Class 86

98 of the original 100 class 86s were still in existence and 92 were had including all the extant 86/4s. 211 and 429 were wrecked at Colwich and some 86/2s were allocated to Great Eastern line services: The 6 "required" were: 206  214  219  221  222  244

Class 87

All 36 class 87s were still in existence but only 29 were had with 101 twice. The 7 "required" were: 005  009  010  012  013  014  022

Class 310

Except for unit 071 all the 310s were still in existence from 046 to 095, 49 in total.
39 were had and 10 were still "required":
049  050  052  057  058  076  077  086  092


What is it?
Haulages and observations during 1987 travelling from Milton Keynes Central to London Euston with occasional journeys to Chesterfield and back and a few days out.

Why 1987?
I joined BR as a parcels clerk on the 6th January 1987 at London Euston lodging in Milton Keynes, travelling to Euston and back each day. My last day was 31st December 1987 when I transferred to Stockport - this is the story.

Does it have a purpose?
Probably not - it is just a record of a year in my life in a bygone age and is an insight into railway workings that have now disappeared and will never return.

Why is it called Milton Keynes Drifter?
I like the sound of it!
And for a whole year I drifted backwards and forwards between Milton Keynes and Euston!

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