Class 123 (BR Swindon Intercity Services 4-car)

The Class 123 was the last type of first generation diesel multiple unit to enter service and in many ways the best, being designed for longer inter city routes with a high degree of passenger comfort including some corridor compartments and B4/B5 bogies which gave a better ride at higher speeds [1]. They had a similar front-end design to the Class 309 EMU with wrap around cab windows [2].

Information
Number built: 40 (10 4-car sets)
Built: 1963
Builder: BR Swindon
Engine: 2 BUT (Leyland Albion) 6-cyl per power car
Power: 920 hp (686 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Brake Standard Lavatory (DMBSL)+
Trailer Composite Corridor (TCK)+Trailer Standard Lavatory or
Trailer Buffet Standard (TSL/TSLRB)+
Driving Motor Standard Corridor (DMSK)

The Class 123 was also fitted with Pullman style gangways to the cab ends so everyone on a train could access the buffet car. They were used on South Coast-Wales services though were based on Western Region as Southern Region did not want to have anything to do with diesel-mechanical units! They were later used on outer-suburban services out of London Paddington [3].

They were surplus to requirements by the late 1970s but had a short reprieve in the North East of England before finally being withdrawn in 1984.
Class 123 at Swindon (KD Collection)

[1] Brian Haresnape, Diesel-Multiple Units: The First Generation (Ian Allan, 1985) p. 71
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 135
[3] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 83

London Underground 1995 Tube Stock

The 1995 Tube Stock fleet was built in the late 1990s to modernise the Northern Line replacing 1959 and 1972 Tube Stock. Externally the 95ts looks very similar to the 1996 Tube Stock built concurrently for the Jubilee Line though is in six-car sets [1] not seven like the 1996 trains and has quite different electrical equipment and internal layouts.

Information
Number built: 636 (106 6-car sets)
Built: 1996-1999
Builder: GEC Alstom Birmingham
Engine: 4 Alstom ONIX three-phase AC induction motors per motor car (630v DC fourth rail)
Formation: Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer (T)+Non-Driving Motor (UNDM)+UNDM+T+DM

The 95ts has an AC traction control system unlike earlier tube stock which has DC. It has an Alstom ONIX three phase insulated gate bipolar transistor drive (IGBT) drive which supplies variable voltage and frequency to four traction motors per motor car [2]. This is considered more efficient than DC drive and lighter (for example AC motors have no brushes) giving a better power/weight ratio. The IGBT drive can switch high currents very rapidly with a smoother and more even acceleration than earlier systems including the Gate Turn Off system used on the 96ts [3].

The fleet has served well and was given a refresh in 2013 with new seats and improved interiors [4]. The forthcoming extension of the Northern Line to Battersea (due to open in 2020) [5] and a possible splitting of the 2 Northern Line branches into separate lines was at one time thought to require more rolling stock and a top-up order of 1995 Tube Stock was mooted however recent financial constraints have put paid to that plan for now.
51600 at Golders Green

51646 at Embankment

51555 at Finchley Central

51674 at Finchley Central

51717 at Mill Hill East, the dot next to the number denotes this is fitted with de-icing equipment

51622 at Highgate


[1] Ben Muldoon, London Underground Rolling Stock Guide (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 50
[2] TfL London Underground Rolling Stock Information Sheet (4th Edition)
[3] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood Press, 2015) p. 175
[4] Kim Rennie, Underground and Overground Trains (Capital Transport, 2017) p. 22
[5] Northern Line extension <https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/northern-line-extension>

Matisa B41UE/B45 Universal Tampers

Along with Plasser & Theurer, Matisa is a major supplier of tampers to Network Rail and UK suppliers. Tampers pack or "tamp" the ballast under the tracks and sleepers to provide a firmer foundation.

Information for Matisa B45
Number built: 5
Built: 2015 (LU)
Builder: Matisa
Engine: Caterpillar diesel
Power: 540 hp (403 kW)

The Matisa B41UE is manufacturer's most numerous type on British rails being especially designed for the British market. It is a universal tamping machine designed for switches and crossings. The machine comprises two parts, the first has the engine and hydraulics and the second is a permanently coupled trailer that contains a workshop [1].

Another type in use in the B45, three of which are in service on plain line and switches and crossings. Two B45s are also owned by London Underground.
Volker Rail DR 75404 at Leicester

DR 75404 is a B41UE, one of eleven in service

Another view of DR 75404

[1] Royston Morris, Railway Maintenance Vehicles & Equipment (Amberley, 2017) p. 9

Class 33 (Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company 1,550hp Type 3 Diesel-Electric)

The Class 33 was built for British Rail's Southern Region to be the region's prime provider of diesel haulage. It was based on earlier Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon locomotives the Classes 26 and 27 though benefited from the lack of a need for gangway connections so had a much neater cab design [1]. It was also more powerful than the earlier locomotives being a true Type 3 (over 1, 500hp).

They were originally intended mostly for freight work but, with good foresight by Southern Region, were fitted with electric train heating - indeed the lack of a need to carry a boiler for steam heat allowed a more powerful diesel to be fitted in the same body shell as the earlier locomotives [2]. They were often to be found on passenger services on the Kent Coast and to Bournemouth and elsewhere.

Information
Number built: 98
Built: 1960-62
Builder: Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company
Engine: Sulzer 8LDA28 diesel
Power: 1, 550 hp (1, 156 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Most Class 33s were in the standard 33/0 sub-class, however a number were also fitted for push-pull operations as 33/1 and operated with the 4-TC (Class 438) [3] though could also work with any SR Electro-Pneumatically controlled multiple units and locomotives. A batch of locomotives was also reduced in width by 178mm for operation on the Hastings Line with its restricted clearances as the 33/2. Sadly the expense and effort in modifying the design for what turned out to be a small batch of locomotives is said to have contributed to BRCW's bankruptcy in the mid-1960s.



Nowadays only a handful of the locomotives, known as Cromptons by enthusiasts after the Crompton Parkinson electrical equipment installed in them, remain in mainline use with the West Coast Railway Company however twenty-nine have been preserved covering all three sub-types.
33 035 at Ropley

Cab of 33 103

33 204 at Stewarts Lane in 1988, KD Collection


33 103 at Wirksworth


Class 33 undergoing maintenance at Stewarts Lane 1988, KD Collection

33 035 at Kidderminster

[1] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 58
[2] David Brown, Southern Electric Vol 2 (Capital Transport, 2010) p. 215
[3] John Vaughan, Diesels on the Southern (Ian Allan, 1980) p. 33

Guernsey Railway Trams

The Guernsey Railway opened as a steam tramway in 1879. The railway converted to electric operation in 1892 [1] using equipment supplied by Siemens and was one of the first street tramways in the British Isles equipped with overhead electric lines. The tramway ran profitably at first carrying an average of three thousand passengers a day [2] though like most such systems could not compete in the end against motor buses and closed in 1934.

Information
Number built: 19
Built: 1890-1905
Builder: Brush, G.F. Milnes, Falcon Engine & Car Works, Guernsey Railway Company
Engine: Siemens traction equipment (500v DC OHLE)

The tramcar fleet came from a number of sources including three ex-Cardiff Tramway cars and one rebuilt from a steam trailer by the railway company itself. The railway was powered by two Marshall engines and two Siemens generators providing one hundred amperes at five hundred volts. The tramcars also had Siemens motors and chain drives and could run up to twelve miles per hour.

After the closure of the railway the track was lifted within days and the tramcars sold. There have been plans to restore a heritage tram to the island though as yet no progress has been made on this.
Guernsey tramcar in operation, public domain image [2]

[1] Chas S Dunbar, Buses, Trams & Trollies (Hamlyn, 1967) p. 47 
[2] "A Guernsey Railway", The Street Railway Review (Vol 3 1893) p. 559

Class 444 Desiro

The Class 444 (along with the very similar Class 450) was ordered for South West Trains to replace slam door stock on long-distance services running on the former Souther Region Western Section [1]. They mostly can be found on Waterloo to Weymouth and Portsmouth services.

Information
Number built: 225 cars (45 5-car sets)
Built: 2003-04
Builder: Siemens Transportation
Engine: 1TB2016-0GB02 traction motors (750v DC third rail)
Power: 2, 682 hp (2, 000 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+Trailer Standard
Open (TSO)+TSO+Trailer Standard Buffet (TSRMB)+
Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)

The Class 444 differs from the 450 being 5-car sets and with a low-density seating arrangement [2]. Like the 450 the 444s are equipped with a pantograph well and could be converted in future to 25kV AC overhead line electric collection though there are no plans for any such conversion.


Like most new types the 444s had a few teething problems when entering service but quickly became very reliable units and indeed received the Golden Spanner award for being Britain's most reliable trains in 2010 [3]. They are now operated by SWT's successor South Western Railway.
SWT 444 003 at Clapham Junction

SWT 444 013 at Guildford

SWT 444 044 at Portsmouth Harbour

SWT 444 022 at Woking


[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 344
[2] John Balmforth, South West Trains (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 66
[3] Siemens Desiro Class 444 wins award as most reliable train <http://www.transportweekly.com/pages/en/news/articles/78314/>

Andrew Barclay 486 (Meaford No. 4)

Meaford No. 4 / Andrew Barclay 486 is an example of a number of diesel-hydraulic shunters built by the firm in the mid-1960s mainly for power stations and the MOD.

Information
Built: 1964
Builder: Andrew Barclay
Engine: Rolls Royce C8SFL diesel
Power: 311 hp (232 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0

Built in 1964 [1], AB486 operated at a number of power stations. After being built it worked at West Burton power station before transferring to Meaford Power Station (as its No. 4 loco) in 1979. Coal traffic to the power station ended in the mid-1980s, National Power (as the CEGB had become by then) donated No. 4 to the Foxfield Railway in 1990 where it still resides.

To cope with tight curves despite being an 0-6-0 the middle wheels are flangeless. The relatively large cab is designed to give good visibility in all directions.
Two views of Meaford No. 4 at the Foxfield Railway

The locomotive carries the name Clive

[1] Industrial Locomotives (13th Edition), (Industrial Railway Society, 2003) p. 194