Friday, 23 June 2017

Class 37 (English Electric 1750hp Diesel-Electric)

The Class 37 has been one of the workhorses of the British railways network since the 1960s and while their numbers have decreased in recent years many still perform a valuable role day in and day out for both the main line and preserved railways. The Class 37 is a Type 3 diesel locomotive and after its introduction in the early 1960s it was found this power band (1,750hp in the Class 37's case) was highly versatile and more so compared to the Type 2s which dominated early dieselisation efforts and often were underpowered. This power availability coupled with a relatively low axle loading for a locomotive of this size meant the Class 37 could handle a wide variety of mixed traffic from secondary passenger services to freight and engineering trains across much of the network. Work it continues to this day, Class 37s can be found hauling freights, engineering trains and even passenger trains on the network.

Information
Number built: 309
Built: 1960-65
Builder: English Electric
Engine: English Electric 12CSVT diesel
(37/9 fitted with Mirrlees Blackstone MB275Tt or Rushton RK270Tt)
Power: 1,750 hp (1,305 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

Between 1960 and 1965 309 Class 37s were built by English Electric and proved to be one of the most reliable classes of diesel locomotive built for British Rail [1]. Though with their front end "noses" they were rather dated in appearance when they entered service as other locomotive types had moved to flat fronted designs (indeed they were the last class built for BR with front noses). However the appearance was due to English Electric being reluctant to leave the American styling they had championed since Deltic [2] and the locomotives reused some tooling and equipment from the earlier Class 40. This reduced the unit price to British Rail which no doubt helped to overcome any doubts over the aesthetics! [3]

Around 35 are still registered for use on Network Rail and some will remain in service for some time following refurbishments. Many Class 37s have also been preserved.

As can be expected with a large fleet that has remained in service for over 50 years there have been a number of sub-class variants of the Class 37 mostly following a series of refurbishments in the 1980s [4].

Sub-class Details
37/0 Original / unchanged locomotives
37/3 Received new bogies
37/4 Refurbished and fitted with Electric Train Heating (ETH)
37/5 Refurbished but without ETH
37/6 Modified to haul heavy freight
37/7 Also fitted to haul heavy freight, extra ballast added to aid adhesion
37/9 Rebuilt with Mirrlees or Rushton engines for testing for a planned replacement Type 3 locomotive (the Class 38) though this project was later cancelled.

Four Class 37s have also been rebuilt as 97/3s for a trial project of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). They work development trains over the Cambrian line and other Network Rail engineering trains.
Europhoenix 37 800 at Derby

Split headcode front end

DRS 37 601 at Crewe

Side view of 37 601

Colas 37 421 at Derby

Network Rail 97 303 at Derby

[1] Colin J. Marsden, Traction Recognition (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 2008) p. 28
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 145
[3] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 67
[4] Pip Dunn, British Rail Main Line Locomotives Specification Guide (Crowood Press, 2013) p. 65

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

LU A60/A62 Stock

The A60/A62 Stock was built in the early 1960s for the Metropolitan Line to replace a variety of legacy stock and remaining steam hauled trains on the line. The A60 Stock was built to replace T Stock trains on services to Watford and Rickmansworth and finally through to Amersham and Chesham when electrification was completed. The trains were indeed named A Stock after Amersham as they were ordered as part of the electrification extension programme. The second batch, A62 Stock, replaced F and P Stock on the Uxbridge service. Due to the long distances some passengers had to travel on the Metropolitan (Amersham is 43km from central London for example) the A Stock has more attention given to passenger comfort and performance [1].

Information
Number built: 464 (104 4-car sets)
Built: 1960-62
Builder: Cravens
Engine: GEC LT114 traction motors (630v DC fourth rail)
Power: Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer (T)+T+DM[+DM+T+T+DM]

The two batches looked pretty much identical with the biggest difference being the compressor used. They entered service in 1961 and remained in service until September 2012 - finally being replaced by S8 Stock [2], making them one of the longest serving British EMUs with 51 years service and still the longest serving London Underground unit (though the 1972 Tube Stock will probably overtake them). As well as the Metropolitan Line they were also used on the East London Line from the late 1970s onwards.

The A Stock was usually employed in 8 car rakes consisting of 2 4-car sets coupled together. Unlike some types of LU stock the sets had driving cabs at both end so could be used on their own - as indeed they were on the Chesham branch of the Metropolitan [3].

With the Metropolitan having longer distances between stations than on most lines the A Stock could reach up to 70mph making them the fastest fourth rail units in the world! [4] By the 2000s however they had been restricted to 50mph to help nurse them along in their final years. One car has been preserved and a couple more (plus some spares) remain in service as one of LU's Rail Adhesion Trains - though a new RAT made from D78 Stock has been recently built and may replace it.
Preserved 5034 at LT Museum Acton Depot

Aboard 5034, the Metropolitan Line retains transverse seating unlike most tube lines

Overhead view of 5034

Cab view

[1] John Glover, ABC London Underground (Ian Allan, 1997) p. 54
[2] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood Press, 2015), p. 167
[3] John Glover, London Underground Rolling Stock in Colour (Ian Allan, 2009) p. 5
[4] Paul Moss, London Underground (Haynes, 2014), p. 112

Friday, 16 June 2017

Class 14 (BR Swindon 650hp Diesel-Hydraulic)

The early days of BR dieselisation were littered with mistakes and sometimes outright lunacy, and the sad story of the Class 14 must rank as one of the most crazy. The Class 14s were built, at BR Swindon - the final locomotives built at the historic old works, as part of Western Region's experiments with diesel hydraulic transmission.

The Class 14 was doomed from the start. Even as they were being built BR was already moving to standardise on diesel electric transmission and marking the WR diesel hydraulic fleet for early withdrawal. If that wasn't enough the work intended for these small Type 1 locomotives, trip working and inter-freight yard transfers, was quickly drying up [1] in the wake of the Beeching Report.

Information
Number built: 56
Built: 1964-65
Builder: BR Swindon
Engine: Paxman Ventura 6YJXL diesel
Power: 650 hp (485 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0

BR began withdrawals of the Class 14 in 1968 as work dried up. Some were sent to work outside of Western Region such as at Hull but their lack of power and poor reliability did nothing to delay the inevitable [2]. All were gone by 1970, at most the locos had 5 years service for BR and most had far less than that.


Luckily many were sold on to industrial users who eagerly snapped up these nearly new locomotives going cheap! Most of these locomotives went onto have decent careers on private metals, with a number going abroad. Nineteen have been preserved with many in running order.

One preserved Class 14 was even hired by BR's successor to work on the High Speed 1 route then under construction mainly shunting near St Pancras. The Class 14s have been nicknamed the Teddy Bears.
D9525 at the Heritage Shunters Trust

Sideways view of D9539 at Rowsley South

D9551 at Kidderminster SVR in golden ochre livery

D9500 at Darley Dale

Another view of D9539 at Rowsley South 
D9539 is seen here operating a train on Peak Rail



[1] Brian Haresnape, Western Region Diesel Hydraulics (Ian Allan, 1982) p. 74
[2] John Jennison & Tony Sheffield, Diesel Hydraulics in the 1960s and 1970s (Ian Allan, 2004) p. 38

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Class 466 Networker

Part of the Networker family and the companion to the 4-car Class 465, the Class 466 was built for Network South East's lines in Kent. The 466 is a 2-car version of the 465 for lower patronage branch lines but also to augment other services in peak times [1]. Unlike the 465 production which was split between BREL York and GEC the 466 was built entirely by GEC Alstom and thus the fleet has a standard traction package [2].

Information
Number built: 86 (43 2-car sets)
Built: 1993-94
Builder: GEC Alstom Birmingham
Engine: 4 Alstom G352AY traction motors (750v DC third rail)
Power: 1, 500 hp (1, 120 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+
Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)

Following privatisation the Class 466 was taken over by Connex South Eastern, then South Eastern Trains and currently Southeastern.
466 006 at Grosvenor Road Sidings

466 030 passing through Peckham Rye

[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 363
[2] Colin J Marsden (ed.) "The Networker Family", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 233 February-March 2017 (Networker, Juniper & Javelin Stock) p. 4

Friday, 9 June 2017

Class 455 (BREL York Suburban Services 4-Car)

The Class 455 electric multiple unit uses the former Southern Railways/Region 750v DC third rail system. The units were built in the early 1980s to replace 4-SUB and EPB stock by BREL York [1] and are examples of 1982 Standard High Density Stock. All in all 137 sets were built between 1983 and 1985. Currently they are operated by Southern and South West Trains on commuter lines out of Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge.

Information
Number built: 137 4-car sets
Built: 1983-85
Builder: BREL York
Engine: 4 EE507-20J traction motors per set (750v DC third rail)
Power: 1, 000 hp (746 kW)
Formation: Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+
Trailer Standard Open (TSO)+DTSO

The units were based on the work behind the prototype Class 210 DEMUs and are related to the Class 317 and 318, like them being derived from the British Rail Mark 3 coach [2]. There are 3 sub-classes: 455/7, 455/8 and 455/9 all of which remain in use, a major visual difference is that the /7 and /9 sub-classes have a more rounded roof than the /8 which despite the numbering was built first. 455/7s were built as 3-car sets but included a carriage (TSO) taken from the Class 508 EMUs which they replaced to make them 4-car. Since privatisation the Southern 455/8s have lost their cab gangways in favour of an air conditioning unit and now look different from the other sub-classes.

They were set to remain in service into the 2020s following refurbishment and the fitting of new traction motors to some units [3]. (It is worth noting that the replaced motors are reconditioned English Electric motors from older SR EMUs such as the Class 405 and indeed dated from the early post-war period!) However the change in the South West Trains franchise in 2017 will probably see SWT's 455s withdrawn by 2020 [4] though as yet there are no plans to replace Southern's 455s. This might not be the end of the story however as there are plans to explore fitting surplus 455s with diesel engines to turn them into bi-mode multiple units following on from the Class 319 Flex / Class 769 [5].
SWT 5917 at Guildford

Southern 455 810 at Peckham Rye

Aboard an SWT 455

SWT 5704 at Clapham Junction

Southern 455 838 and 815 at London Bridge

SWT 5712 at Vauxhall


[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 351
[2] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 77
[3] "Vossloh Kiepe UK to deliver traction upgrade to South West Trains’ Class 455 fleet" http://www.vossloh-kiepe.co.uk/vossloh-deliver-455traction-upgrade/>
[4] "Class 455 Death Sentence", Modern Railways (May 2017) p. 25
[5] "'319 Flex' units to be Class 769", Modern Railways (June 2017) p. 85

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Deltic (English Electric 3,300hp Diesel-Electric)

Deltic was built by English Electric as a private venture and remained privately owned even though it ran on British Railways metals for 6 years. It was built to prove the Napier Deltic engine for rail use [1]. It was hoped the innovative opposed-piston diesel engine with a much greater power to weight ratio than conventional engines would create a powerful express passenger locomotive that was not as heavy as the likes of contemporary large diesel locomotives. Deltic weighed 106 tons by comparison the Class 44 weighed in at 133tons and had 1,000 less horsepower to play with!

Information
Number built: 1
Built: 1955
Builder: English Electric
Engine: 2 Napier Deltic D18-25 diesels
Power: 3, 300 hp (2, 460 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

Deltic was designed with the export market as well as home in mind and was given a "North American" appearance complete with large headlight and speed whiskers. When it was built Deltic was the most powerful diesel-electric locomotive in the world and it showed its performance on the London Midland and Eastern Regions [2] though had trouble with its loading gauge on parts of the East Coast Main Line. In the end the Deltic was ordered for production for the ECML in the form of the rather more British looking (and slightly slimmer) Class 55.

Deltic itself was preserved, being withdrawn from service in 1961. It was first displayed at London's Science Museum before moving to NRM Shildon in the last few years.
Deltic now resides at NRM Shildon

Deltic remained privately owned and never had a BR running number 
Note the large headlight and US appearance

[1] Brian Haresnape, Early Protoype & Pilot Scheme Diesel-Electrics (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 29
[2] John Vaughan, Diesels on the Eastern (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 32

Friday, 2 June 2017

Class 76 (LNER/BR/Metropolitan Vickers 1,300hp DC Electric Locomotive EM1)

The Class 76 was Sir Nigel Gresley's only mainline electric locomotive design, the first being built in LNER colours in 1940 though it then spent the rest of the war in limbo as the electrification of the line it was intended for has been suspended due to the war! [1] After the war though the locomotive spent some time working in the Netherlands on loan [2]. The suspended electrification of the Woodhead Tunnel route between Manchester and Sheffield was completed in the early 1950s, using 1, 500v DC overhead collection, a developed version of the original LNER design was chosen and built for this route [3].

Information
Number built: 58
Built: 1940, 1950-53
Builder: LNER / BR Gorton
Engine: 4 Metropolitan-Vickers 186 traction motors (1, 500v DC OHLE)
Power: 1, 300 hp (969 kW) - higher power output available for limited periods
Wheel arrangement: Bo+Bo

The production EM1 class it was known (later classified as Class 76) had a number of improvements thanks to invaluable experience with running the prototype on the Continent and proved to be a highly reliable locomotive on British metals. However it always suffered from a rough ride especially at speed [4] with the bogies being coupled together via an articulated joint (hence Bo+Bo) giving problems though later work helped improved matters and riding [5]. Although designed for mixed traffic the Class 76 spent much of its time on freight traffic, often coal traffic. This however dwindled throughout the 1970s and the Woodhead Line was closed in 1981 [6].

Although when built the Class 76 (and its express passenger counterpart the Class 77) had been probably the most advanced trains in Britain, BR had standardised on AC overhead collection not DC (outside of the Southern Region third rail network of course) so when their line was closed they had nowhere else to go to. One Class 76 has been preserved and is with the National Railway Museum in York.
26020 at the NRM York

26020 is preserved in British Railways black livery

26020 in BR days, photographer/location unknown (KJD Collection)

Another view of 26020, note the raised pantograph

[1] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), "BR/LNER Bo-Bo - EM1 Class 76", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 215 October-November 2015 (DC Electric Locomotives) p. 40
[2] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Trains and Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1986) p. 61
[3] Alan Whitehouse, The Woodhead Route (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 12
[4] Whitehouse, Woodhead p. 13
[5] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p, 25
[6] John Glover, BR Diary (Ian Allan, 1985) p. 62