Friday, 28 April 2017

Class 450 Desiro

The Class 450 is part of the Desiro family of EMU and are very similar to the Class 350 but works on the former Southern Region 750V DC third rail system (the 350s operate off 25kV AC OHLE). One hundred and twenty seven sets have been built for South West Trains replacing life expired "slam door" VEP and CIG stock [1]. Although they can only be used on third-rail electrified routes they do have space for the retro-fitting of a pantograph if needed in the future.

Information
Number built: 508 (127 4-car sets)
Built: 2002-7
Builder: Siemens Transportation
Engine: 4 1TB2016 0GB02 three-phase traction motors (750V DC third rail)
Power: 2, 682 hp (2, 000 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+Trailer Composite Open (TCO)+
Trailer Standard Open (TSO)+Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)

The original fleet is known as the Class 450/0 and can carry 242 standard class and 24 first class passengers, first and some standard class seating is 2+2 with other standard class seating being 2+3. Twenty eight sets were modified for higher capacity (facilitated by removing first class seats and altering the internal layout) for the Waterloo-Windsor route [2] in 2008-9 as Class 450/5. First class seating was restored to these units as they were replaced by Class 458/5s on the route from 2013 and the 450/5s rejoined the main fleet.



Originally SWT were to receive a mixed fleet of 450/0s and 450/2s which were to be 5-car sets for inner suburban routes however the idea was dropped due to problems with platform lengths. All 127 sets remain in service with South West Trains and will be retained by First MTR who will take over the franchise in the late Summer of 2017 [3].
450 083 at Reading

450 562 at Portsmouth Harbour

450 093 and 037 at Woking

450 544 at Clapham Junction

450 088 at Guildford


[1] John Balmforth, South West Trains (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 62
[2] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 349
[3] Modern Railways (May 2017) p. 24

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Class 68 (Vossloh 3,800hp Type 5 Diesel-Electric)

The latest diesel locomotives built for the UK mainline, the Class 68 is designed for mixed traffic work being capable of 100mp/h. The Class 68 is a UK version of the Vossloh Eurolight family (known as the UKLight) built to fit within the UK loading gauge.

Information
Number built: 34 (including pending)
Built: 2013 onwards
Builder: Vossloh
Engine: Caterpillar C175-16 diesel
Power: 3, 800 hp (2, 800 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The initial order by Direct Rail Services was for 15 locomotives with deliveries beginning in 2014. Since then there have been follow-won orders to take the total up to 34 eventually of which 25 are currently in service.


The Class 68 spends a lot of its time on passenger services with the Chiltern Main Line express being a major task for the type. Some have been painted in Chiltern colours with the rest in DRS livery. The Class 68 will also haul passenger trains for TransPennine Express from 2018. The Class 68 is a true mixed-traffic locomotive and can also be found on freight trains and engineering trains.

The Class 68 is now being joined by an electro-diesel bi-mode version of the UKLight known as the Class 88.
DRS 68 025 at Kidderminster on the SVR

Chiltern 68 015 at Marylebone

DRS 68 009 propelling a Chiltern express at Leamington Spa

Cab view

Chiltern 68 014 at Leamington Spa

Friday, 21 April 2017

Class 20 (English Electric 1,000hp Type 1 Diesel-Electric)

The Class 20 is the most successful Type 1 diesel bought by BR (by some margin) and indeed the only one still in service - 60 years after it was first introduced! After early trials with prototype diesels BR ordered a number of "pilot scheme" diesels in the mid-1950s as part of its Modernisation Plan to eliminate steam. Twenty of these diesels were from what would become the Class 20 and in fact the first one built (D8000) was the very first diesel delivered to BR under this pilot scheme [1].


The Class 20 has a cab only at one end, though typically it works in pairs with the cabs outer most to make one "virtual" 2, 000hp locomotive. When it is operated bonnet first drivers have had problems with seeing the line ahead (as they did with large steam locomotives). Because of this BR decided to standardise on the Class 17, which had a central cab and much better visibility, instead for its Type 1 however various problems with the Class 17 saw BR do an about face in the late 60s and restart Class 20 production! [2]

Information
Number built: 228
Built: 1957-68
Builder: English Electric
Engine: English Electric 8SVT Mk2 diesel
Power: 1, 000 hp (746 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The Class 20 became one of BR's most reliable locomotives popular with BR and enthusiasts who have given them the name "Choppers". They were usually found on freights with the occasional passenger service in the Summer (they have no train heating provision) [3]. There have been a number of sub-classes, most Class 20s have remained as standard (20/0) but a small number were modified as 20/3 for aggregate workings in the 1980s. 20/3 was later re-used for locomotives modernised and refurbished post-privatisation. A few locos have also been modified for remote control trials as 20/9.

The fleet was run down in the 1980s with most withdrawn by the time of privatisation but since then the Class 20 has seen a bit of a renaissance and has found a niche on spot hire trains and a number remain in service to this day [4]. A large number has also been preserved including the very first one, and pilot scheme loco, built which is with the NRM.
BR blue pair 20 142 and 20 205 at Kidderminster SVR

20 132 in original Railfreight livery at Derby

D8059 / 20 059 and D8188 / 20 188 preserved in BR green at Bewdley

Cab of D8059

20 142 and 20 205 at Tyseley
GB Railfreight 20 905 at Derby









[1] Brian Haresnape, Early Prototype & Pilot-Scheme Diesel-Electrics (Ian Allan, 1981) p. 35
[2] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 26
[3] J.A.M. Vaughan, Profile of the Class 20s (OPC, 1984) p. 3
[4] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 14

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

LU 2009 Tube Stock

The 2009 Tube Stock was built to replace the time expired 1967 Tube Stock on the Victoria Line, entering service from 2010 [1]. The trains are part of Bombardier's Movia family along like the S Stock (though reduced in dimensions to fit a deep-level tube). They were built as part of a major upgrade of the Victoria Line reducing journey times by being faster and having better acceleration than the 1967ts, and increasing capacity. They can carry nearly 20% more passengers per train - and there are also 6 more of them in service than the 1967ts fleet. They are slightly wider (40mm) than the 1967ts to take advantage of the wider tunnels on the Victoria Line though this does mean they cannot travel on the other deep tube lines. They are also longer than the 1967ts and indeed are the longest deep tube stock in service.

Information
Number built: 376 (47 8-car sets)
Built: 2007-11
Builder: Bombardier Derby
Engine: Bombardier MITRAC DR1000 traction package (630v DC fourth rail)
Formation: Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer (T)+Non-Driving Motor (NDM)
+Uncoupling Non-Driving Motor (UNDM)+UNDM+NDM+T+DM

The 2009ts have an IGBT traction package [2] similar to that used on the Electrostar family (such as the Class 377 and 387). They are the first tube stock designed to take into account the Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2010 (RVAR 2010) with facilities for people with impaired mobility such as tip-up seats, off-set grab poles and space for wheel chairs [3]. They have dot-matrix displays inside the car showing passenger information and service updates. As with the 1967ts they are equipped for Automatic Train Operation (ATO), the 2009ts uses the more advanced Invensys DTG-R system [4].

The 2009ts took over the Victoria Line completely from the 1967ts in mid-2011. There have been some teething troubles, the door sensors being over sensitive but they serve daily moving huge numbers of people on the incredibly busy Victoria Line.
11052 at Oxford Circus

Train standing at Pimlico

2009ts departing from Warren Street

[1] Ben Muldoon, London Underground Rolling Stock Guide (Ian Allan, 2014) p.64
[2] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood Press, 2015) p. 175
[3] Paul Moss, London Underground 1863 Onwards (Haynes, 2014) p. 173
[4] Jason Cross, London Underground Guide 2017 (Train Crazy, 2017) p. 60

Friday, 14 April 2017

Class 50 (English Electric 2,700hp Type 4 Diesel-Electric)

One of the most popular classes of diesel locomotive, the Class 50 was built in the late 1960s and initially hired by British Rail from English Electric to power the remaining non-electrified portions of the West Coast Main Line from Crewe to Scotland [1] on passenger trains and freightliners. The Class 50, a development of the English Electric DP2 prototype, often worked these WCML trains in pairs (though they could also work in multiples of 3) to provide sufficient performance to match the timings of the electric locomotives they shared their trains with. The locomotives were bought outright by BR in 1973 but by the mid-1970s were being displaced from the WCML by the completion of electrification and the arrival of the Class 87. They were sent to Western Region to work in the South and South West of England.

Information
Number built: 50
Built: 1967-68
Builder: English Electric, Vulcan Foundry
Engine: English Electric 16CSVT diesel
Power: 2, 700 hp (2, 013 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

At first the reliability of the Class 50 was poor with failures often due to problems with the then-novel electronic systems fitted. Crews joked that they were called the Class 50 as there was only a 50:50 chance they would make it to their destinations! [2] They received a full refurbishment in the late 1970s/early 1980s to improve reliability by removing little used and redundant equipment such as the slow speed control.

Much of their time was spent on West of England express passenger trains out of Paddington and Waterloo and other passenger services. This made them vulnerable as multiple units became the favoured mode of people mover in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the supply of work dried up. There were attempts to utilise the class for slower freights and one locomotive was modified with lower geared bogies though the experiment was not a success.

The Class 50 was withdrawn from service by 1994 though no less than 18 have been preserved (36% of the fleet) and several are mainline certified. The Class 50s were the first class of diesel locomotive to only carry BR blue livery (and later variations) though one preserved locomotive was given a "what might have been" BR green livery. One British Rail exception came in the 1980s when one Class 50 was renamed Sir Edward Elgar and repainted in Brunswick Green to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the GWR.
50 049 at Kidderminster, in BR large logo livery

50 027 at Ropley in Network South East livery

50 035 at Kidderminster in original BR blue condition

50 031 in Intercity livery (which was never actually carried by a Class 50 in BR days!)

50 008 at Kidderminster with a 4-TC

50 044 at Kidderminster

[1] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 4 and 5 (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 67
[2] Michael Welch, Diesels on the Western (Capital Transport, 2013) p. 107

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Class 501 (BR Eastleigh LMR London Area Suburban Services 3-car)

As well as the extensive network on Southern Railway the London Midland & Scottish Railway also had a number of third rail electrified lines including from Watford to London Euston. The Class 501 was built for this route and London Broad Street-Richmond.

Information
Number built: 171 (57 3-car sets)
Built: 1957-58
Builder: BR Eastleigh
Engine: 4 GEC traction motors (660v DC third rail)
Power: 740 hp (550 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Brake Second (DMBS)+Trailer Second (TS)+
Driving Trailer Brake Second (DTBS)

The Class 501 was built at BR Eastleigh to a fairly standard (of the time) EMU design based on the shorter Mark 1 coach underframe. They were built with a LMR specified front end including a headcode panel and a destination blind [1]. The units were built without gangway connections and with some seating in compartments though this was later removed because of vanadalism and concerns for passenger safety [2].

Although not the best riding units ever built they soldered on until the mid-1980s. Some passed through into departmental use serving as battery locomotives and sandite trains. Two cars also served with the MOD. A DMBS and a DTBS have been preserved and are now at the Electric Railway Museum.
Preserved cars at the Electric Railway Museum

This car carried the departmental TOPS number 977 349 when serving as a battery locomotive

Both cars are undergoing restoration
[1] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 41
[2] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 376

Friday, 7 April 2017

Class 11 (LMSR/English Electric 0-6-0 Diesel-Electric)

The LMS were the pioneers of diesel shunter developments pre-war and the Class 11 can be seen as the final result of all that hard work [1]. Built by the LMS/British Railways at Derby between 1945 and 1952, 106 of these shunters were built, plus some for the War Department and it was also exported to the Netherlands and Australia. The Class 11, also known at various times as the LMSR Class 0F, BR Class DEJ3, D3/8 and 3/8A, looks very similar to the Class 08 and this later (and of course standard) shunter was based heavily on it [2], using much of the same equipment [3] - the main differences being the size of the wheels and body dimensions.

Information
Number built: 106 (plus 14 for the War Dept.)
Built: 1944-52
Builder: LMS / BR Derby
Engine: English Electric 6KT diesel
Power: 350 hp (261 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0

Withdrawals began in the late 1960s due to a surplus of shunters and the non-standard nature of the Class 11 compared to the 08, and all were gone by 1971. Eight have been preserved.
Preserved 12099 at Bridgnorth on the Seven Valley Railway

12099 at Kidderminster

12049 at Ropley on the Mid-Hants Railway

Another view of 12049


[1] Brian Haresnape, Diesel Shunters (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 29
[2] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), Modern Locomotives Illustrated No 217 February-March 2016 (SR, GW, LNER, LMS & Trial Shunters & Class 03) p. 11
[3] Haresnape p. 28

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Class 221 Super Voyager

Built to replace many of the HSTs and locomotive hauled services by (as it was then called) Virgin Cross Country, the Class 221 Super Voyager is similar to the Class 220 but has a number of key differences. They are fitted with tilting mechanisms to able to tackle curved track at higher speeds (able to reach 125 mp/h) and have a different type of bogie though the body and much of the equipment is the same as on the 220. The tilting mechanism has been deactivated on 221s operated by Cross Country [1].

Information
Number built: 195 (43 4 and 5 car sets + 2 spare)
Built: 2001-02
Builder: Bombardier
Engine: Cummins QSK19 diesel per car
Power: (5-car) 3, 750 hp (2, 796 kW)
(4-car) 3, 000 hp (2, 237 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+Motor Standard Lavatory
(MSL)+MSL+Motor Standard with Miniature Buffet (MSRMB)
+Driving Motor First Lavatory (DMFL)
or DMSL+MSL+MSL+DMFL

The 221 operates in 4 and 5 car formations with 2 driving cars being kept by Virgin Trains as a spare. Virgin Trains West Coast only operate 5-car sets, using them on services on the West Coast Main Line and into North Wales. Cross Country operate on services across the network.
XC 221 122 at Leamington Spa

Virgin 221 at Stafford

XC 221 113 at Leamington Spa

A XC 221 passes through Lapworth

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 175