Whilst scanning a bunch of old slides these past few days I came across another one from 23 years ago which really sums up how much the railways have changed since. It shows the first of the new Class 325 EMUs built for Royal Mail traffic (325001) out on test at Carlisle. Alongside it is an HST working the 08:50 service from Glasgow Central to Penzance, the lead power car is 43068 which was one of 9 modified in 1988 when they were fitted with buffers and conventional couplings for use with ECML Class 91s in place of the Mk4 coaches & DVTs which weren’t ready in time for the testing programme. Many years later it became one of 6 power cars used by open access operator Grand Central before moving again in January to become part of the East Midland Trains fleet. Nowadays HSTs only visit Carlisle on special occasions.

04847. 325001. 001 on test. 43068 on 08.50 Edinburgh to Penzance. Carlisle. 15.6.1995

325001 has also had a mixed life. Post privatisation it was operated by EWS until 2003 when Royal Mail abandoned rail altogether. After a period in store the unit returned to use with GBRf from 2004 until 2010 when DB Schenker, the successor to EWS won the mail traffic back.

When I took this picture I’d no idea that what seemed to be a normal everyday scene would soon prove to be anything but…