Sunday, 10 December 2017

Class 387 Electrostar

The Class 387 is the final development of the Electrostar family having a higher top speed of 110mp/h. When the final carriages were built in November 2017 [1] it bought to an end 18 years of continuous Electrostar production with a grand total of 2,805 carriages built of the Classes 357, 375, 376, 377, 378 and 387 [2].

Number built: 428 (107 4-car sets)
Built: 2014-17
Builder: Bombardier Derby
Engine: Bombardier MITRAC DR1000 traction system
(750v DC third rail and 25kv AC OHLE)
Power: 2, 250 hp (1, 900 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)+Motor Second Open (MSO)+
Trailer Second Open (TSO)+DMCO

The Class 387 is in service with Great Northern, Great Western Railway, Gatwick Express and c2c. They were also in service with Thameslink until being transferred to Great Northern after being replaced by Class 700s.

Extermally Class 387s look the same as the likes of the Class 377. Class 387/1s are in service with Great Northern and GWR. 387/2s with Gatwick Express and 387/3s with c2c. The c2c trains are due to be replaced by new build EMUs in 2019 and will likely go and join one of the other operators to strengthen their fleet.
GWR 387 156 arrives at Ealing Broadway

Thameslink 387 113 at London Blackfriars

Thameslink 387 103 at Bedford

Gatwick Express 387 223 on a test run through Stafford

Thameslink 387 103 at Bedford, its replacement a Class 700 behind it

[1] Roger Ford, "Rolling stock factories over-capacity threat", Modern Railways (December 2017) p. 25
[2] "Last-ever Electrostar finished in Derby as 18 years of production come to an end" <>

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Class 25 (BR/Sulzer 1,250hp Type 2 Diesel-Electric)

Following on from the Class 24 the Class 25 Type 2 diesel-electric locomotive was built in large quantities in the 1960s and became a very common sight on British Rail in the late 1960s and 1970s before being phased out in the 1980s. However the early Class 25s shared the design flaws of the Class 24 such as the layout of the engine room which hindered maintenance and the position of air intake louvres and filters (some of which got so filthy they stopped working). The draughtiness of the cab was also a problem largely thanks to the seldom used gangway doors [1]. During the long production run a number of improvements were made which are detailed below.

Number built: 327
Built: 1961-67
Builder: BR Derby, Darlington, Crewe and Beyer Peacock
Engine: Sulzer 6LDA 28B diesel
Power: 1, 250 hp (932 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The Class 25s were mixed traffic locomotives though spent much of their time on freight (not all were fitted with train heating boilers) but also some cross-country passenger services [2]. As the 1980s wore on the changing nature of the freight business meant they were becoming underpowered and regional cross country passenger duties were increasingly going over to multiple units. They were all withdrawn by 1987 though 20 have been preserved.

Class 25 sub-classes are listed below but there were also differences within sub-classes too especially with respect to train heating provision (or lack of).

Sub-class Details
25/0 Original, very similar to Class 24 but with uprated engine
25/1 Improved lighter traction motor and other weight saving measures
25/2 Redesigned interior, air filter louvre layout and cab with gangway doors removed
25/3 Final version with improved equipment
25/9 Locomotives dedicated to mineral traffic
D7629 at Wirksworth

D7629 with a Class 101 DMU at Duffield (EVR)

Another view of D7629 at Duffield (EVR)

D7629 approaches Idridgehay

D7659 at Rowsley South

Withdrawn Class 25 seen at Tyseley in the late 1980s (film scan)

[1] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 33
[2] John Vaughan, Diesels on the London Midland (Ian Allan, 1981) p. 30

Sunday, 3 December 2017

LU 1938 Tube Stock

The 1938 Tube Stock was built as part of London Underground's New Works Programme of the late 1930s, they became one of the most successful - if not the most successful - types of British train ever. They served on the underground for 50 years and, in the guise of the Class 483 are still in service on the Isle of Wight, nearly 80 years after first entry in service!

Number built: 1, 121 (plus 173 additional builds & conversions)
Built: 1938-47
Builder: Metro-Cammell / Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company
Engine: 2 General Electric or Crompton Parkinson LT100 traction motors
per motor car (630v DC fourth rail)
Formation: (4+3 7-car formation) Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer (T)
+Non-Driving Motor (NDM)+DM(+DM+T+DM)

In the late 1930s London Underground began an expansion programme known as the New Works Programme, new lines required new trains. Even before the huge Standard stock order had been completed London Underground were planning the next generation of tube trains. A number of experimental trains were built known as the 1935 Tube Stock. These were an advance on the Standard stock, advances in technology meaning that the switching equipment could be fitted underneath the body instead of occupying space behind the driving cabs [1]. A number of these trains were streamlined to experiment with high-speed tube trains however the streamlining idea, which was unpopular with the senior management at London Underground (though apparently popular with the public), was later dropped.

Having evaluated a number of types of equipment on the 1935 protoypes London Underground decided on a final specification and placed huge orders for new stock to be known as 1938 Tube Stock. Most stock was delivered before the Second World War called a halt to development with the final 27 outstanding cars built in 1946-47. The fleet was later augmented by 173 cars - a mixture of conversion of Standard and 1935 Tube Stock cars and 91 new builds known as the 1948 Tube Stock (though identical to the 1938s).

Initially the stock operated in 7-car formation, comprising a 4 and 3 car set semi-permanently coupled [2]. Later on 9-car formations were used on the Northern Line [3]. During their long lives the 1938 Tube Stock worked on the Bakerloo, Central, East London, Northern and Piccadilly Lines. Withdrawals began in the early 1970s [4] though the 1938 Tube Stock remained in service on the Underground until 1988 when the final 5 trains (which had been refurbished to augment newer trains) were withdrawn by the Northern Line. These trains however were then sold to British Rail and still operate on the Isle of Wight to this day as the Class 483 [5].

A working 4-car set of 1938 Tube Stock has been preserved [6] as well as another Driving Motor (and a couple of cabs) in museums.
Preserved 4-car set at LTM Depot Acton

Another view of the preserved 38ts alongside a preserved car of its predecessor

Preserved DM at Covent Garden

Front end destination display

The other end of the preserved set
[1] Paul Moss, London Underground (Haynes, 2014) p. 95
[2] J. Graeme Bruce, The London Underground Tube Stock (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 77
[3] Brian Hardy, Underground Train File: Tube Stock 1933-1959 (Capital Transport, 2001) p. 66
[4] Bruce p. 81
[5] Brian Hardy, Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight (Capital Transport, 2003) p. 60
[6] Kim Rennie, Underground and Overground Trains (Capital Transport, 2017) p. 36

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

DLR B90/B92/B2K Stock

The Docklands Light Railway is a growing light rail network in the East of London which has supported the redevelopment of the former docklands area. Unlike other lines which have been built in response to demand the DLR was built to attract people to a previously run down area [1]. The B90/B92/B2K fleet is a second generation of trains which supplemented and then replaced the original P86/89 Stock.

All DLR trains are automatically controlled though carry a Passenger Service Agent who can control the train if necessary via a locked console. The trains do not have cabs and so are popular with passengers who can get a great front view of travel! The DLR trains consist of a single articulated car [2] though can operate in multiples of up to 3. Some DLR trains have now being augmented with an extra car in the middle, the entire fleet will eventually be upgraded this way. The DLR operates off 750v DC third rail like most railways in London though in the DLR's case power is picked up from the underside of the conductor rail, the top and sides having plastic covers.

Number built: 94 (23 B90, 47 B92, 24 B2K)
Built: 1991-2002
Builder: Bombardier
Engine: Brush TM2111A traction motors (750v DC third rail bottom contact)
Power: 375 hp (280 kW)

The B2K cars differ from the 2 earlier batches in that they have been modified to adhere to accessibility regulations and have contrasting colour doors and handrails and internal LCD screens. The earlier cars have being bought up to the same standard during refurbishment. However the fleets are worked hard and the B90 and B92 are showing signs of being worn out, they are due to replaced by new build vehicles in the early 2020s [3][4].
B90 #36 at Canning Town

B92 #54 at Poplar depot with older style red front end

B92 #63 at Shadwell

A DLR train departs Royal Albert
B92 #48 at Tower Gateway

[1] Oliver Green, The London Underground (Ian Allan, 1987) p. 67
[2] Colin J Marsden, Rail Guide 2013 (Ian Allan, 2012) p. 256
[3] Roger Ford, "Rolling stock factories over-capacity threat", Modern Railways (December 2017) p. 25 
[4] DLR Rolling Stock Replacement Programme, Transport for London <>

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Class 506 (Metro-Cammell / Birmingham Railway Wagon and Carriage Company LMR Manchester Suburban Services 3-car)

The Class 506 was built for the electrification of the LNER Woodhead route between Manchester (London Road) and Sheffield [1] and the Glossop branch. The electrification of the line had begun in the late 1930s but due to the war was not completed until the early 1950s. These units, built to the same design as the AC electric Shenfield line Class 306 [2], but drawing on 1500v DC overhead electric spent their working lives on the Hatfield and Glossop line [3].

Number built: 24 (8 3-car sets)
Built: 1954
Builder: Metro-Cammell / Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Comany
Engine: 4 GEC traction motors (1500v DC OHLE)
Power: 740 hp (555 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Brake Standard (DMBS)+Trailer Composite (TC)
+Driving Trailer Standard (DTS)

later TC became a Trailer Standard (TS)

They were built with first class accommodation in the central trailer but this was declassified in 1960. Although they physically could have operated elsewhere on the Woodhead route the Class 506s seldom left their line. The Woodhead route was closed East of Hatfield in 1981 but the Class 506s continued in service until their line was converted to AC electrification in 1984. They became the last mainline trains to operate using the once standard 1500v DC overhead line method. All that remains of the class is a single severed cab that has survived into preservation.
This cab of M508404M is all that survives

The pantograph can be seen on the cab roof

[1] Alec Swain, Overhead Line Electric-Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1990) p. 21
[2] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recogition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 384 
[3] Alan Whitehouse, The Woodhead Route (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 38

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Class 165 Network Turbo

The Class 165 "Network Turbo" was built for British Rail in the early 1990s to replace first generation DMUs on Thames and Chiltern route suburban services [1]. Seventy six 2-car and 3-car sets were built and all but one, which was destroyed in the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster, remain in service today with Chiltern Railways and First Great Western.

Number built: 144 (76 2- and 3-car sets)
Built: 1990-92
Builder: BREL York
Engine: Perkins 2006-TWH diesel (one per car)
Power: 700 / 1, 050 hp (520 / 780 kW)
Formations: 165/0: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+
Motor Standard (MS)+Driving Motor Standard (DMS)

165/1: Driving Motor Composite Lavatory (DMCL)+MS+DMS

There are 2 sub-classes. the 165/0 was originally built for Chiltern services on Network South East and remains on the same routes including services from Marylebone to Birmingham, to Aylesbury and to Stratford-upon-Avon. Trip-cock equipment has been fitted to Chiltern units as they travel on London Underground track between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham.

165/1 was built for services out of Paddington along the Great Western main line. They are still in service on Thames Valley services to destinations like Oxford and Banbury. They have bogie modifications to allow for a higher top speed (90 mp/h as opposed to 75 mp/h on the 165/0).
GWR 165 123 at Tackley

Chiltern 165 002 at Bicester North

Chiltern 165 022 at Aylesbury

Chiltern 165 019 at Lapworth

Aboard a Chiltern 165

GWR 165 106 at Oxford

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recogition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 149

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Vale of Rheidol Number 10 (BMR002)

Diesel shunter Number 10 (works number BMR002) performs shunting and hauls engineering trains on the narrow gauge Vale of Rheidol railway between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge. The locomotive was bought while the railway was still part of British Rail (until 1989) and thus was the last shunter bought by BR!

Number built: 1
Built: 1987
Builder: Brecon Mountain Railway / Baguely Drewry
Engine: Caterpillar diesel
Power: 165 hp (123 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0

The locomotive was built at the Brecon Mountain Railway at Pant from parts obtained by Baguely Drewry [1] when that company went out of business. Number 10 is a diesel hydraulic. Two similar locomotives are also operated by the Ffestiniog Railway.
Number 10 shunts coaching stock at Aberystwyth

Bringing the train in

Number 10 is painted in GWR Brunswick green to match the VoR's steam fleet

[1] Vic Mitchell, Corris & Vale of Rheidol (Middleton Press, 2009) p. 90