Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Class 155 Super Sprinter (Leyland Provincial Sector 2-car)

The Class 155 was a development of the Class 150 Sprinter DMU with longer bodies (23m) for longer distance Provincial Sector routes [1]. The Class 155 had a low-density seating interior and used a riveted bus like construction style. The original batch of 35 sets were originally allocated to Cardiff with a follow-on batch of 7 ordered for the West Yorkshire PTE, these still remain in service with Northern.

Number built: 84 (42 2-car sets)
Built: 1987-88
Builder: British Leyland
Engine: Cummins NT855R5 diesel per car
Power: 570 hp (430 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+Driving Motor Standard (DMS)

The original 35 Class 155s are no more however, they were converted to create 70 Class 153 single-car DMUs [2] to replace the ageing fleet of first generation railcars. The Class 155s have not been without their problems, the length of the cars plus the production methods used means that some warping and sagging has occurred in some coaches (a problem some 153s also have). The doors also caused some problems early on, the fleet having to be withdrawn from service at one stage until the problems were rectified.
155 341 at Harrogate

Another view of 155 341

[1] Brian Haresnape, Diesel-Multiple Units (The Second Generation & DEMUs) (Ian Allan, 1986) p. 79
[2] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 137

Friday, 26 May 2017

Class 52 (BR Swindon/Crewe 2,700hp Type 4 Diesel-Hydraulic)

In the 1960s the Western Region of British Rail experimented with diesel hydraulic transmission as opposed to the rest of BR which used diesel electric transmission for mainline locomotives. The experiment was ultimately a failure with the non-standard diesel hydraulic locomotives being withdrawn from the late 1960s onwards after (in some cases very) short working lives. The Type 4 Class 52 "Western" was the flagship of the WR diesel hydraulic fleet and suitably was the last diesel hydraulic class to survive in BR service, managing to hang on into the late 1970s [1].

Number built: 74
Built: 1961-64
Builder: BR Swindon and Crewe
Engine: 2 Maybach MD655 diesels
Power: 2, 700 hp (2, 014 kW)
Wheel arrangement: C-C

The Westerns along with some of the other diesel hydraulic classes were heavily influenced by German diesel locomotives and indeed had a pair of German made engines, though these proved expensive to maintain and class availability was poor for some time until modifications could be made to improve reliability. A great deal of care was made to the external appearance of the Westerns [2] which included a curved body profile to match those of the Mark 1 coaches it would typically pull. A number of liveries were also proposed and experimented with on the locos including desert sand, maroon and BR locomotive green [3]. Though the class was all in standard BR blue and yellow by the late 1960s in any case.

The Westerns were built to replace the GWR Kings on Western expresses though later were displaced to secondary services and freights as diesel electric locomotives like the Class 50 were transferred to Western Region. The Westerns managed to survive until early 1977 [4], their passing saw the greatest outpouring of enthusiast interest since the demise of steam and indeed they remain one of the most popular diesel locomotive classes, a lot of this popularity probably due to their stylish and distinctive looks. Seven have been preserved and most continue to run on preserved lines (and the occasional main line foray) to this day.
Maroon D1062 at Hampton Loade

D1062 again, now in BR blue & yellow

Another view of D1062, engines opened up!

D1023 at the National Railway Museum
D1062 at Kidderminster

[1] Brian Haresnape, Western Region Diesel Hydraulics (Ian Allan, 1982) p. 61
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 154
[3] John Jennison & Tony Sheffield, Diesel Hydraulics in the 1960s and 1970s (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 19
[4] A. Wyn Hobson, The Last Years of the Westerns (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 70

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

NER Electric Shunter 1 (Class ES1)

A mile long freight branch from Newcastle Quay was electrified by the North Eastern Railway at the start of the 20th century because steam locomotives were proving hard to use on the line. The line had a tunnel with a very sharp hairpin bend in it so that both mouths were pointing in the same direction. This often meant that the exhaust from steam locomotives (which had to work hard because of the gradients in the tunnel) became trapped making conditions very difficult if not dangerous for crews [1]. Two electric shunting engines were instead built for this line by Brush using BTH electrical equipment collecting 600v DC current from overhead lines and third rail (in the tunnel).

Number built: 2
Built: 1903-04
Builder: British Thomson-Houston/Brush
Engine: 4 British Thomson-Houston traction motors
(600-630v DC third rail & OHLE)
Power: 640 hp (477 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Although they spent most of their time on freight shunting they could also work with NER's Tyneside EMUs in the same area [2] at South Gosforth MPD [3]. They later passed into the LNER fleet and finally British Railways where they became known as the Class ES1. They were finally retired in 1964, Number 1 was preserved and can now be found at NRM Shildon.
Three views of Number 1 now preserved at NRM Shildon

[1] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 7
[2] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Trains and Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1986) p. 57
[3] David Dunn, Tyneside Electrics: 2 (South Shields Branch & System Miscellany) (Booklaw, 2016) p. 37

Friday, 19 May 2017

Class 153

Forty-two 2-car Class 155 DMUs were built in the late 1980s by British Leyland for cross-country routes but at the time British Rail saw the need for a new generation of single "bubble" car DMUs to replace ageing first generation stock like the Class 121 [1] and the new 155s fitted the bill. Thirty-five of the Class 155s were hence converted to 70 single car DMUs by being split up and by adding a second cab to each car. Adding the extra cab was not a simple process due to the lack of available space as the existing door pocket could not be moved and the extra cab is rather compact [2].

Number built: 70
Built: 1987-88 (as Class 155)
Converted to single cars 1991-92
Builder: British Leyland
Conversions by Hunslet-Barclay
Engine: Cummins NT855R5 diesel
Power: 285 hp (213 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)

The Class 153s (as they became) quickly proved themselves to be very flexible and versatile units able to run on lightly-loaded branch lines and also provide a capacity boost to other routes where needed as they are able to work in multiple with other members of the "Sprinter" DMU family.

They are in service with a number of Train Operating Companies including Arriva Trains Wales, Northern, East Midlands Trains and London Midlands.
EMT 153 302 at Ambergate

London Midland 153 371 at Bedford

EMT 153 383 at Wirksworth

Arriva Trains Wales 153 303 at Shrewsbury

EMT 153 383 again, this time at Crewe

[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 134
[2] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 211 February-March 2015 (Classes 150-156 Second Generation DMUs) p. 52

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

LU D78 Stock

The D78 Stock was built in the late 1970s for the District Line of London Underground replacing CO/CP and R Stock some of which had been in service since before the Second World War. The D78 (or just D) Stock bought a number of innovations with a keen eye for interior design to make them more inviting for passengers [1]. They had much improved suspension compared to earlier designs. They also introduced the twist-grip deadman joystick replacing the older style deadman button grip [2] (the deadman is a safety device which stops the train if the driver in incapacitated). One Man Operation began on the trains in 1985.

Number built: 450 (75 6-car sets)
Built: 1978-81
Builder: Metro-Cammell
Engine: Brush LT118 traction motors (630v DC third & fourth rail)
Formation: Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer (T)+
Uncoupling Non-Driving Motor (UNDM)+UNDM+T+DM
(Some sets are DM+T+DM)

The D78 Stock cars were the longest on the Underground, which proved to be a problem on the District Line's High Street Kensington - Edgware Road branch as the D78 Stock was too long (C Stock trains were used instead)! [3] Most D78 Stock formations had 2 Driving Motors (DMs) at either end with non-driving motor cars in the middle, though some had DMs in the middle meaning they could be used as 3 car sets. They were used as such for a couple of years on the East London Line in the mid-1980s.

The D78 Stock fleet received a heavy mid-life refurbishment in the 2000s but were replaced as part of London Underground's standardisation for its Surface Stock fleet. The D78 Stock's replacement by S Stock was complete in Spring 2017, a number of years earlier than planned. Its possible the D78 Stock could live on on the National Rail network as Class 230 DMUs (or bi-mode hybrids), development is continuing.
7535 at West Brompton

7094 at Earls Court

7049 at Kew Gardens

Aboard a D Stock train in its latter days

[1] Paul Moss, London Underground 1863 Onwards (Haynes, 2014) p. 132
[2] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood, 2015) p. 122
[3] Ben Muldoon, London Underground Rolling Stock Guide (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 26

Friday, 12 May 2017

Class 17 (Clayton Equipment 900hp Type 1 Diesel-Electric)

A drawback with large steam locomotives is visibility when the locomotive is operating smoke box first. The large boiler can make seeing signals and on-track obstacles difficult. The first batch of Type 1 diesel locomotives like the Class 15 and Class 20 shared this problem as they only had a single cab at one end. The Class 17, known as the "Clayton", was an attempt to alleviate this problem with a new standard Type 1 which had a cab sandwiched between 2 smaller and low profile diesel engines [1].

Number built: 117
Built: 1962-5
Builder: Clayton Equipment
Engine: 2 Paxman 6ZHXL diesels (2 locos were fitted with Rolls Royce D diesels)
Power: 900 hp (672 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

As happened with a number of early British Rail diesel locomotives in the 1960s, amid a clamour to replace steam, series production was agreed and begun before much testing had taken place. In the event this was a real problem with the Class 17 as 117 of them had been built and they proved to be very unreliable. Availability of the fleet dropped to 50% (by comparison the Class 20 was about 90%) with numerous problems including cracked crankcases and oil leaks, some were put into storage straight from the factory.

As the reliability problems continued (even with a couple of examples retro-fitted with Rolls Royce engines), and the kind of light freight traffic they were designed for dropped post-Beeching, British Railways decided to withdraw them after only a few years of service. All were gone from revenue service by 1971.

No Class 17 saw 10 years of BR revenue service though a couple remained in departmental service until the late 1970s [2]. One of these, D8568, survived long enough to make it into preservation.
D8568 at Bewdley

D8568 is based on the CPRR at Chinnor

D8568 at Kidderminster SVR next to Class 35 D7029

D8568 brings a train into Chinnor

At Kidderminster, note how much of the loco length is taken up by the cab!

[1] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 74
[2] Colin J. Marsden, 25 Years of Railway Research (OPC, 1989) p. 79

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Class 700 Desiro City

The huge fleet of Class 700 EMU is being built for the upgrade of Thameslink. They will replace a number of older (and not quite so old units) like the Classes 317, 319 and 377. The Class 700 is designed for high reliability, rapid acceleration, short dwell time and an increase in capacity. The Class 700 is a development of the Desiro which is already common on British rails (the Class 450 for example). As they operate on cross-London services (North-South) they are equipped for 25kV AC OHLE and 750v DC third rail.

Number built: 1140 (115 8 and 12 car units) [pending]
Built: 2016-
Builder: Siemens Transportation
Engine: Siemens traction system (750v DC third rail / 25kV AC OHLE)
Formation: (700/0) Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)+Pantograph Trailer
Standard Open (PTSO)+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+Trailer

The Class 700 was originally planned to enter service in 2012 though was delayed - mostly due to political and legal not technical reasons. The first train arrived in the UK in 2015 and entered service in the Summer of 2016 with Thameslink.

The Class 700 comes in two versions, the 700/0 is an 8-car unit and the 700/1 a 12 car unit. There will eventually be 60 700/0s and 55 700/1s. All are expected to be delivered by 2019.
700 105 at Bedford

700 105 again at Bedford, alongside 387 118

700 003 at St Pancras 
700 003 again, this time at Bedford

Friday, 5 May 2017

Class 56 (BR/Brush 3,250hp Type 5 Diesel-Electric)

In the wake of the oil crisis in the early 1970s British Rail saw the need for a new generation of Type 5 diesel locomotives for what was expected to be a much greater demand for heavy coal haulage. The Class 56 was the first of these new locomotives and the new class of diesel locomotive for nearly a decade [1]. It was based on the successful Class 47 platform but with a more powerful engine (a development of the successful English Electric CSVT engines used in many classes of diesel like the Class 50) and slow speed control for Merry-Go-Round coal trains where they were loaded and unloaded [2].

Number built: 135
Built: 1976-84
Builder: Brush Traction/Electroputere (first 30)
Brush Traction/BREL Doncaster and Crewe (rest)
Engine: Ruston Paxman 16RK3CT diesel
Power: 3, 250 hp (2, 424 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

Because of a lack of manufacturing capacity at Brush Traction who designed the Class 56 the first 30 were built by Electroputere in Romania with the rest being built at BR Doncaster and Crewe. The Romanian examples unfortunately suffered from a number of problems said to be due to poor workmanship which delayed their entry into service for over a year [3]. The decision to build the first batch in Romania and the urgency with which the locomotives were needed saw the locomotive have bogies of a Swiss design as these were widely used in Romania at the time and were easily available.

The Class 56 worked on heavy freights throughout the 1980s and into the privatisation era but most were withdrawn in the early 2000s. Some were later reinstated into traffic and undertook heavy refurbishment as the Class 56/3 [4].

Many have been scrapped, some sold for use on the continent and 3 have been preserved. Today around 30 remain in service usually used for spot hire. It is possible some Class 56s could be re-engined and rebuilt for extended service into the service though as yet no work has been undertaken.
Colas 56 302 at Derby

Front view of 56 303

DCR 56 312 at Derby

Cab side view of 56 303

DCR 56 303 at Derby

[1] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 104
[2] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 4 and 5 (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 75
[3] Ibid p. 75
[4] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 51

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Class 308 (BR York ER London Suburban Services AM8)

The original batch of 4-car units, originally known as the Southend Augmentation Stock, the AM8 (later Class 308/1) was built for commuter services out of London Liverpool Street to Colchester, Clacton and Walton [1]. Later on they were joined by a second batch (308/2) for boat train services out to Tilbury from London Fenchurch Street. One car was dedicated as a luggage van (though could also stow cycles and other items - it even included a fish stowage area!) [2] Finally a batch of 3-car units (308/2) was built for services from Liverpool Street to Chingford and Enfield Town.

Number built: 177 (45 3 and 4-car sets)
Built: 1959-61
Builder: BR York
Engine: 4 EE 536A traction motors per set (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 770 hp (574 kW)
Formation: 308/1 : Battery Driving Trailer Composite Open Lavatory (BDTCOL)
+Motor Brake Standard Open (MBSO)+Trailer Standard Open Lavatory
(TSOL)+Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)
308/2 : Battery Driving Trailer Standard (BDTS)+Motor Luggage Van
(MLV)+Trailer Composite (TC)+Driving Trailer Standard (DTS)
308/3 : BDTS+Motor Brake Standard (MBS)+DTS
308/4 : BDTS+MLV+DTS

Externally the Class 308 looked similar to the likes of the Class 305 and 504 EMUs and had similiar equipment to the Class 302.

In the early 1980s the Tilbury boat trains ceased after Tilbury closed as a cruiser liner terminal. Three Class 308/2s were rebuilt as 308/4 postal trains, the non-motorised trailer being removed to make them 3-car units. Withdrawals of the 308 began in earnest in the late 1980s with the 308/2s and 308/3s being withdrawn. The 308/1s survived into the privatised era however and in their final years spread further afield. They could be found in the West Midlands and North East as a stop-gap stock pending new build EMUs [3]. They were finally withdrawn from service in 2001. One 308/1 DTSO has been preserved at the Electric Railway Museum.
Two views of the preserved 75881

[1] Colin J. Marsden, Motive Power Recognition 2: EMUs (Ian Allan, 1982) p. 28
[2] Alec Swain, Overhead Line Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1990) p. 44
[3] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 225