When you got a little up the ranks or experience as a basher, you needed to get a little platform 5 publication called "1H8x" with a nice photo of a train carrying that head code with the coincidental year, from 10 years before. ( which seemed like ancient egypt to us).
Trains still carried a "head code" on paper and in the TOPS computer system. In order to use the printed reports from the latter, which sometimes got in the grubby hands of bashers, you needed the codes as TOPS works on an abbreviated system using these as UIDs if you like. Also it makes you sound more professional talking about 1S45 instead of " the 1010 from Kings Cross to Edinburgh".
So come the Orwellian year, the book was IH84 and IIRC the cover was a centre box 40 displaying the actual code.
Some trains which had been standard type 2 or class 40/45-o suddenly became open to booking of whatever loco was around. It is also alleged that some depots began hoarding itinerant class 47s and 37s as reliable metal to haul trains when ever required. I don't know if there is any truth in this or their motivation to reduce labour stress by taking more time to fix failed locos or to keep head counts up. Maybe it was because sheds like Immingham and Cardiff did not have the space for locos and were please to send them off on their holidays in the summer of 84.
In any case, bashers had a quandry: more trains than ever could drop, while booked 40 diagrams were basically vanished. Also you could be a ned and take those god awful 31.4s (aka ETHELS by non ped bashers now) to join moves together and remain loco hauled. By volume in fact, 31, 33 and 47 probably wee way out in the lead of passenger bookings in the list of 1H84 but also the least interesting locos for the bashing population profile: I never met a shreddie or ped' basher and 47 bashers were looked upon as vermin to be waterbombed and derived at any opportunity.
There was a happy band of peak bashers, but they kept themselves to themselves, being very class loyal and having every opportunity to do so still in 1984. Deltic men had moved to 40s, for want of 50s where they lived and deltic men were the "top men" in our considerations.
Anyway, the quandry was WHAT trains to cover: some top men considered TOPS print outs as cheating, but like the internet for students, everyone was at it in 1984 in order to get the most for their all liners, freedoms or ticked employee boxes.
Anything with a suitable RA could turn up on any train that was not coffin (Air Condition) rolling stock. This had a down side; the numerous 47/4s and the newer converted 6s could equally turn up out of crew or carlisle to thwart a well covered move. Or they cascaded out unwanted and unpopular boilered duffs. I mean people rant on the internet about boilered duffs and I was on one of the last Edinburgh to newcastle steamers with NO other bashers but us and we just did it out of boredom and the need for some "therms" on a chilly night on an October holidays "freedom".
The chaos insued and in the next blogs you can read about how I got to grips with it