Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Class 91

Finally in the 1980s BR got the go-ahead and funds for the electrification of the East Coast Main Line (originally it was supposed to have taken place at the same time as the WCML), for this they needed a new fleet of express passenger locomotive. These were the Class 91 which were coupled to Mark 4 coaches with a Driving Van Trailer on the other end [1]. This system was also called the Intercity 225 (replacing the Intercity 125 as it did on the ECML) though the trains couldn't go 225mp/h, just a mere 140mp/h! However this has been restricted to 125mp/h in everyday use, on a test train one Class 91 has reached 162mp/h in 1989 (the British locomotive speed record).

Number built: 31
Built: 1988-91
Builder: BREL Crewe
Engine: GEC G426 traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 6, 080 hp (4, 533 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Unusually the Class 91 is asymmetric with a streamlined cab at one end and a blunt ended one at the other. It can operate fully in either direction though of course usually travels pointy-end first, especially when hauling an express. The blunt end cab is fully operational and indeed the Class 91 can travel at up to 110mp/h this way around. As built the Class 91s were 91/0s but became 91/1s after refurbishment [2].

They remain on express duties on the ECML though will be replaced by a new generation of high speed trains in the next few years. They are currently operated by Virgin East Coast, before that East Coast, NX East Coast, GNER and BR Intercity. What happens to them next is currently unknown, although their reliability could be better it is likely they will find further use cascaded to other routes.
Virgin EC 91 109 at Kings Cross

91108 in East Coast livery at York

[1] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 80
[2] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 92

Thursday, 24 November 2016

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 are being bought up to standard during refurbishment.
B2K stock #12 at Royal Albert

B90 stock #43 at Poplar depot

B92 stock #79 at Prince Regent

B2K stock #94 at Poplar depot

[1] Oliver Green, The London Underground (Ian Allan, 1987) p. 67
[2] Colin J Marsden, Rail Guide 2013 (Ian Allan, 2012) p. 256

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Class 74

In the late 1960s Southern Region required some more electro-diesels for the Bournemouth electrification scheme. Instead of building more Class 73s BR decided to rebuild 10 Class 71 DC electric locomotives as these could be more powerful than the Class 73s and rebuilds were thought to be cheaper than building new locomotives [1]. As with other Southern locomotives they could work in multiple with multiple units and other SR locomotives and be used for push-pull operations.

Number built: 10
Built: 1958-60 (Electric locomotives)
1967-68 (Rebuilds)
Builder: BR Doncaster, rebuilds at BR Crewe
Engine: 4 EE532A traction motors (750v DC third rail)
Paxman 6YJXL diesel
Power: 2, 300 hp (1, 715 kW) electric
650 hp (485 kW) diesel
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

While the Class 74 seemed a great idea the execution let it down. The conversions were not simple with a lot of modifications and strengthening needed to fit the additional equipment [2]. Reliability in the early days was poor, the Paxman diesel not being as reliable as the English Electric unit in the Class 73, there were numerous problems with the complicated control equipment (the Class 74s were test beds for new thyristor controls [3]) and crews disliked the noise of the engine due to the location of the engine silencer near the cab.

By the late 1970s SR saw it had enough Class 33s and 73s to cover traffic requirements and the Class 74s were withdrawn by 1977 as non-standard. All have been scrapped though a Class 71 has been preserved.
74 009, location and photographer unknown

[1] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 78
[2] David Brown, Southern Electric Vol 2 (Capital Transport, 2010) p. 220
[3] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Trains and Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1983) p. 81

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Class 312

The Class 312 was based on the earlier Class 310 and built for the Great Northern Line from Kings Cross to Royston, the Great Eastern and also 4 sets for the West Coast Main Line [1]. The Class 312 was the last Mark 2 based EMU to be built by British Rail. It was also the last new build with slam doors to be built.

Number built: 196 (49 4-car sets)
Built: 1975-78
Builder: BREL York
Engine: 4 EE546A traction motors (6.25 (312/1 only) / 25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 1, 080 hp (810 kW)
Formation: Battery Driving Trailer Standard Open Lavatory (BDTSOL)+
Motor Brake Standard Open (MBSO)+Trailer Standard Open (TSO)+
Driving Trailer Composite Open Lavatory (DTCOL)

Twenty six sets were allocated to the Great Northern as 312/0 but they were transferred to the Great Eastern due to their unsuitability for driver only operation [2]. Sets for GE Liverpool Street services were fitted for dual voltage (6.25 as well as 25 kV AC) as 312/1. The WCML sets (312/2) were restricted to 75mp/h running so they could run in multiple with the Class 310. When they were later transferred to join the rest of the fleet on Great Eastern the speed restriction was removed.

By the end of the 1980s the fleet was concentrated on the Great Eastern and London, Tilbury & Southend Railway. In the privatised era some returned to the WCML and were operated by Central Trains, the rest were operated by c2c, First Great Eastern and LTS Rail. At the turn of the century they were gradually withdrawn from service with the last being withdrawn in 2004, the fact they were Mark 2 based and having slam doors meaning they had shorter lives than some EMUs have had. Two cars have been preserved at the Electric Railway Museum.
78037 at the Electric Railway Museum

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 232
[2] Alec Swain, Overhead Line Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1990) p. 59

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Class 82

The Class 82 (or AL2) was another of the 5 classes of locomotive built for the West Coast Main Line electrification. The Class 82 used Metropolitan-Vickers equipment though the locomotive building was sub-contracted out to Beyer Peacock [1]. The Class 82 used a number of components in common with the Class 81 though were overweight to British Rail's specification due to a sturdier more traditional method of construction. To get back within the weight limit some parts of the structure were replaced with aluminium or fibre glass and lighter versions of some items of electrical equipment were fitted [2].

Number built: 10
Built: 1960-62
Builder: Beyer Peacock / Metropolitan-Vickers
Engine: 4 Metropolitan-Vickers 189Z traction motors (6.25 / 25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 3, 300 hp (2, 460 kW) continuous
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Although they also had problems with their mercury-arc rectifiers like some of the other early electric locomotives they had less problems with them though the rectifiers were replaced with silicon-diode as with the other classes in the early 1970s. One problem the Class 82 did have at times was a tendency to overheat when stationary if the equipment was still running due to inadequate ventilation [3].

One was withdrawn due to fire damage in 1966, another in 1971, but the rest survived into the 1980s but began to be withdrawn as sufficient more modern traction was available. Two survived (along with 2 Class 83s) on Euston empty stock movements until 1987. One (82 008) has been preserved.
82 005, photographer unknown

82 008, photographer unknown

[1] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 11
[2] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 49
[3] Morrison p. 11