2002 marked the end of an era when the last major area of diesel locomotive haulage was taken over by multiple units when Virgin Trains introduced its 'Voyager' fleet of trains. The odd pocket of diesel loco operation may remain but the days when Class 47s were a daily sight on inter regional passenger trains became a thing of the past. The cross country network linking the major centres outside London has been operating for many years with Peaks, Class 50s and the familiar Class 47 all featuring. The Class 47s bowed out from this work in August 2002 when Virgin Trains ran a special service train from Penzance to Birmingham double headed by 47840 and 47847.During the early part of 2002 the West Coast Main Line was closed between Preston and Carlisle and all services were diverted via the Settle and Carlisle line. One of the consequences of this was that the 0550 Bournemouth - Edinburgh and its return working, 1710 Edinburgh - Carlisle, were booked for Class 47 haulage. This train will probably be the final booked daytime passenger turn for a Class 47 into Edinburgh (in April 2002 there was still Class 47 haulage on the ScotRail sleeper to/from Aberdeen). On the penultimate Saturday of this working, 16 March, 47818 passes through Princes Street Gardens with the 0550 from Bournemouth. Note that the locomotive is named 'Strathclyde' - the previous holder of this name, 47706, would have passed the same location many times on the Edinburgh - Glasgow service.
47839 arrives at Taunton on 11 April 2002 with the 0913 Liverpool - Plymouth.
On Sunday 7 April 2002 Cross Country services to Poole/Bournemouth were diverted via Guildford and Havant. 47841 is seen at Southampton Central after having arrived with the 0825 service from Derby which had terminated here on that day.
The 1115 Manchester - Bristol Temple Meads arrives at its destination on 11 April 2002 behind 47844. The train is formed of only five coaches rather than the normal seven for locomotive hauled Virgin services. A number of the vehicles remain in Inter City livery.
47844 running light at Bristol Temple Meads on 11 April 2002. The locomotive is running round the train it has just arrived with - another feature of locomotive hauled operation which will soon disappear.
47844 awaits departure from Bristol Temple Meads with the 1535 service to Edinburgh. I travelled home on this service but there was an added bonus at Preston when the booked change of locomotive was not a Class 86 but Carstairs 'Thunderbird' 47776 which was returning north after rescuing an earlier failure. Seven and a quarter hours and almost 400 miles of Class 47 haulage - I doubt that I will be able to experience that again!
Towards the end of 2001 Virgin Trains decided to commemorate the end of locomotive haulage by repainting some of their Class 47s in 'celebrity' liveries. 47826 appeared in 'InterCity' colours, 47851 was turned out in BR Green (with full yellow ends and black headcode boxes), 47853 was repainted into the XP64 livery it originally carried for a time in the mid 1960s and this locomotive, 47847, was painted in BR 'Large Logo' blue. It is seen here at Bristol Temple Meads on 11 April 2002 with the 1150 Plymouth - Liverpool.
47848 approaches Taunton on 11 April 2002 with the 0846 Penzance - Manchester.