Thursday, 31 August 2017

Class 142 (British Leyland / BREL Derby Local & Secondary Services 2-car)

The Class 142 Pacer is the most controversial train in Britain, a cheaply made DMU from the 1980s still hanging on today with questions asked repeatedly, from parliament downwards [1], about when it will finally be scrapped. The controversy is somewhat unfair as when built the Class 142 was a way to provide cheap rolling stock for branch lines and services that may have otherwise been closed or withdrawn. It has also probably served quite bit longer than was originally intended.

The Class 142 does somewhat resemble a bus on rails [2], because that is precisely what it is! The body is based on that of the Leyland National, a very common bus that could regularly been seen on Britain's roads from the 1970s until recently though wider than earlier bus-based DMUs like the Class 141 [3]. The chassis is a development of a high speed freight vehicle designed in the late 60s. The Class 142 does not have bogies and provides a rather poor ride for passengers and excessive wheel squeal and flange wear on sharp curves.



There are 2 sub-classes but there is little difference between the 142/0 and 142/1 and the distinction is mostly due to when they were built in 2 production series. One difference is that the 142/1 has a simpler roof structure. The Class 142s were originally fitted with Leyland TL11 engines but were re-engined, they also originally had mechanical gearboxes but were later fitted with Voith hydraulic transmission.

Information
Number built: 192 (96 2-car sets)
Built: 1985-87
Builder: BREL Derby / Leyland
Engine: Cummins LTA-10R diesel per car
Power: 450 hp (330 kW)
Formation: DMS (Driving Motor Standard)+DMSL (Driving Motor Standard Lavatory)

The Class 142 has served with British Rail and a number of post-privatisation operators but now only serves with Northern and Arriva Trains Wales [4]. The Class 142 will fall short of accessibility requirements for passenger trains being bought in in 2020 and there are no plans to modify them. So they should be withdrawn by the end of the decade though there is no word yet as to what will replace what is a fairly large fleet...
Northern 142 015 at Shildon

Arriva Trains Wales 142 075 at Cardiff Queen Street

Aboard a Northern 142
Northern 142 023 at York

ATW 142 074 at Cardiff Central

Northern 142 015 and 091 at Darlington

[1] "Nick Clegg demands replacement of outdated "Pacer" trains", The Chronicle <http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/nick-clegg-demands-replacement-outdated-8055969>
[2] Colin J. Marsden, Traction Recognition (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 2011), p. 102
[3] Brian Haresnape, Diesel Multiple Units: The Second Generation and DEMUs (Ian Allan, 1986), p. 64
[4] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013), p. 122

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Class 800 Super Express

The future of high speed intercity services on key routes including the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line are going to be in the hands of the Class 800 Super Express, part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). These high speed multiple units are bi-mode electro-diesels (the Class 801 is a pure electric multiple unit version).

Information
Number built: 536 (80 5- and 9-car sets)
Built: 2015-
Builder: Hitachi Kasado & Newton Aycliffe
Engine: Hitachi traction system (25kV AC OHLE)
MTU 12V 1600 R80L diesel

Final construction of the Class 800 is taking place at a new Hitachi factory in Newton Aycliffe though much of the build including the body shells are being made at a Hitachi factory in Kasado Japan. The prototypes were wholly built in Japan.

The Class 800 will be operated by Great Western Railway (800/0 and 800/3) and Virgin East Coast (800/1 and 800/2). GWR plan to introduce them into service in Autumn 2017 and Virgin (who have given them the name Azuma) in 2018. GWR's Super Expresses were originally to have been the pure-EMU Class 801 but because of delays in electrifying the GWML the order was switched to the bi-mode Class 800 which has been designed to be able to switch from diesel to electric (and vice versa) at line speed. However they can only achieve their maximum speed (of up to 140mp/h depending on signalling) in electric mode.
Virgin EC 800 101 on test at York

Another view of 800 101, which was in diesel mode
Cab mock-up at NRM York

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Class 57 (Brush Traction/EMD 2,500/2,750hp Type 4 Diesel-Electric)

The Class 57 was devised as a low-cost way to create a "new" diesel locomotive [1]. Class 47s were gutted down to their body shells and then refitted with refurbished and reconditioned equipment including second-hand General Motors diesel engines and reconditioned Class 56 alternators [2]. The resulting locomotives still look like Class 47s (though some have had major modifications to the cab ends) but are completely different inside.

Information
Number built: 33 rebuilds
Built: 1964-67 (as Class 47)
Rebuilds 1998-2005
Builder: Brush Traction (rebuilds)
BR Crewe
Engine: EMD 645-12E3 diesel (57/0)
EMD 645-12F3B diesel (57/3 and 57/6)
Power: 2, 500 hp (1, 864 kW) (57/0)
2, 750 hp (2, 051 kW) (57/3 and 57/6)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

The initial batch of twelve (57/0) were built as freight locomotives for Freightliner and now are operated by DRS. Later on Virgin Trains had 16 rebuilt (57/3) to haul VT and Cross Country multiple units like the Class 390 on "Thunderbird" duties (for diversionary routes and to rescue units in the event of an overhead line failure), these have provision for electric train heating and drop-head Dellner couplers to enable working with Virgin's multiple units. DRS now operate these "Thunderbird" locomotives.

Finally First Great Western (GWR) have had 4 rebuilt also with ETH (57/6) to work sleeper trains from Paddington to Penzance. Some Class 57s are now in service with West Coast. They have also served with Arriva Trains Wales, Network Rail and Colas Rail.
West Coast 57 313 at Derby 
DRS 57 306 on Thunderbird duties at Rugby

West Coast 57 316 at Derby

DRS 57 306 at Kidderminster SVR

DRS Thunderbird 57 307 at Crewe


[1] Colin J. Marsden, Traction Recognition (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 2009) p. 52
[2] Pip Dunn, British Rail Main Line Locomotives Specification Guide (Crowood Press, 2013) p. 126

Sunday, 20 August 2017

LU 1986 Prototype Tube Stock

In the early 1980s plans were begun to replace the 1962 Tube Stock operating on the Central Line. As there were a number of new rail technologies and promising technical innovations available it was decided to built 3 prototype trains to evaluate a number of them [1]. Two of the trains (Style A and C) were built by Metro-Cammell and the third (Style B) by BREL Derby. The 3 trains were each given different colours to aid staff and passenger feedback. Style A was red, Style B blue and Style C green.

Information
Number built: 12 (3 4-car sets)
Built: 1986-87
Builder: Metro-Cammell (Style A & C (Red & Green))
BREL Derby (Style B (Blue))
Formation: Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer (T)+T+DM

Each prototype consisted of 2 2-car trains (with a cab at one end) semi-permanently coupled to form a 4-car train. The 3 types were all compatible with each other so any combination of 2-car sets could be used to create up to an 8-car train [2]. A number of different equipment types were trialled in each 2-car set so a working train could have a variety of power, control and braking systems. Air suspension, steerable bogies and onboard station indicators were also trialled. As well a variety of different interiors were trialled throughout the fleet.

The trains were used on the Jubilee Line for 2 years from 1988 to 1989 used in addition to the regular timetable, being withdrawn following a derailment at Neasden [3]. They also appeared on the Central Line for a display at Woodford [4] and the Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly Line in 1989 for an open day [5].

Following a public consultation the blue Style B train built by BREL proved to be the best received and BREL received the order for the 1992 Tube Stock which incorporated much of the technology and the best features of the 3 styles. One Driving Motor from the green Style C train has been preserved.

The 1986 Tube Stock, although not in service for long, did herald the future. The major innovation of the design was the extruded aluminium construction method and solid-state traction equipment which have been used on all subsequent tube designs [6].
Preserved car 16 (Style C) at the LT Museum Depot Acton

Style C interior

Style C cab

Another exterior view of car 16

[1] Paul Moss, London Underground (Haynes, 2014) p. 136
[2] J. Graeme Bruce, The London Underground Tube Stock (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 123
[3] Mike Horne, The Jubilee Line (Capital Transport, 2000) p. 61
[4] J. Graeme Bruce & Desmond F. Coombe, The Twopenny Tube (Capital Transport, 1996) p. 74
[5] Antony Badsey-Ellis & Mike Horne, The Aldwych Branch (Capital Transport, 2009) p. 73
[6] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood Press, 2015) p. 139

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Class 375 Electrostar

The Class 375 is part of the huge Electrostar family of EMUs built in the early 2000s to replace the likes of the Class 411 4-CEP on ex-Southern third rail DC routes [1]. Most of the Class 375 fleet is third-rail only though the 375/6 sub-class also has provision for AC overhead electric collection. Twenty eight trainsets have been converted to the Class 377/3 sub-class.

Information
Number built: 438 (10 3- and 102 4-car sets)
Built: 1999-2004
Builder: Adtranz/Bombardier
Engine: 6 or 4 Adtranz traction motors (750v DC third rail / 25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 375/3 : 1, 341 hp (1, 000 kW)
Other subclasses : 2, 012hp (1, 500kW)
Formation: 375/3 : Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)+Trailer Standard
Open (TSO)+DMCO
375/6 : DMCO+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+Pantograph
Trailer Standard Open (PTSO)+DMCO
Other subclasses : DMCO+MSO+TSO+DMCO

There are 5 sub-classes. As mentioned above the 375/6 is dual-voltage with all others being DC third rail only, the 375/3 are 3-car sets with the other sub-classes all being 4-cars though space has been retained for a pantograph if needed in future.


The 375/9 are high-density sets for outer suburban services with the 375/7 and 375/8 being officially designated as express stock. All serve with Southeastern and forms the backbone of their fleet. Southern also did operate the type at one stage though these 375s were converted to 377s.
Southeastern 375 702 (and 376 023) at Sevenoaks

375 304 heads through Peckham Rye

375 815 at London Victoria

375 817 at Sevenoaks

375 603 at London Victoria

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 283

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Class 26 (Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company 1,160hp Type 2 Diesel-Electric)

The Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company's Class 26 was one of the earliest pilot-scheme diesel-electrics built as part of British Railway's Modernisation Plan and ended up being one of the longest lived Type 2 designs. They out lasted a number of later built (and more powerful) designs being finally withdrawn in 1994. The Class 26 had a good basic design which was later used on the Class 27 and Class 33, the latter still in service on National Rails.

Information
Number built: 47
Built: 1958-59
Builder: Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company
Engine: Sulzer 6LDA28-A diesel
Power: 1, 160 hp (865 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Twenty locomotives were ordered from the BRCW in the Type B power classification (later Type 2). The Class 26 shared some visual design guidance (Wilkes & Ashmore) with the Brush Type 2 (Class 30, later 31) [1] though had an improved power/weight ratio and hence was able to use a Bo-Bo not A1A-A1A wheel arrangement [2].


Following the success of the pilot-scheme batch a further 27 were built before the design was power uprated to form the Class 27. Initially the Class 26 was allocated to Eastern Region for London suburban services [3] though later were reallocated to Scotland where they spent the majority of their careers. The pilot-scheme locomotives became the Class 26/0 under TOPS with the later batch 26/1. There were a number of detail differences between the two sub-classes though some of these differences were removed during refurbishments [4].

The Class 26 remained in service working mostly on freight traffic in Scotland, including Merry-Go Round coal traffic, seven locomotives being fitted with slow speed control [5]. Their numbers were gradually reduced in the late 1980s and early 90s with the last examples withdrawn by 1994, being surplus to requirements. Thirteen have been preserved.
D5343 (26 043) at Duffield

D5343 runs around its train at Duffield

D5343 at Wirksworth
Another view of D5343 at Duffield

[1] David Lawrence, British Rail Design 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 128
[2] Brian Haresnape, Early Prototype and Pilot-Scheme Diesel-Electrics (Ian Allan, 1981) p. 56
[3] Colin Alexander, The British Railways Pilot Scheme Locomotives (Amberley, 2017) p. 49
[4] Colin J Marsden, Motive Power Recognition 1: Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 33
[5] Alexander p. 55

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Class 119 (Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company Cross-Country 3-car)

The Class 119 was built for cross-country services by the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon  Company to a BR Swindon and Derby influenced design and is similar mechanically to the company's single-car Class 122. The Class 119 3-car sets included toilets, buffet facilities and first class compartments though the buffets were later removed [1].


They originally worked throughout Western Region later on working on Reading-Guildford services plus the extension to Gatwick Airport (where extra luggage space was provided) and services around South West London. They were withdrawn in 1992.

Information
Number built: 81 cars (in 27 3-car sets)
Built: 1958
Builder: Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Company
Engine: 2 BUT AEC 6-cyl later 2 Leyland 680-1595 diesels per power car
Power: 600 hp (447 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Brake Composite (DMBC)+
Trailer Brake Second (Lavatory) (TBS(L))+
Driving Motor Standard (Lavatory) (DMS(L))

On Southern Region the Class 119 were known as "glasshouses" by SR drivers as the large cab windows were unlike those usually found on SR allocated multiple units [2]. Three cars have been preserved including Driving Motor Brake Composite W51073 on the EVR.
W51073 at Wirksworth

Passanger Luggage Stowage Area on W51073

W51073 at Duffield

W51073 at Idridgehay

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU & EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 76
[2] Brian Haresnape, Diesel Multiple Units: The First Generation (Ian Allan, 1985) p. 53

Sunday, 6 August 2017

LNWR Electric Units

In 1914 the London & North Western Railway introduced 3-car EMUs for its London DC electrified lines including routes from London Euston to Watford and Broad Street to Richmond. The first 4 sets were built with Siemens traction equipment (after Westinghouse who were originally given the order failed to deliver) with a follow-on batch of 38 sets with Oerlikon equipment, the change of supplier to a Swiss firm needed due to the outbreak of the First World War and therefore the unavailability of equipment from German manufacturer Siemens [1]!

As well as different traction equipment the Oerlikon sets had a number of differences from the Siemens sets. Originally the EMUs had first and third class accommodation, the first class compartments being very luxurious, but were downgraded to third class only as a wartime economy measure. The EMUs were built as 3-car sets (with some spare motor cars) and generally operated as a 6-car train.

Information
Number built: 356 (117 3-car sets + 8 spare cars)
Built: 1914-23
Builder: Metropolitan-Cammell
Engine: 4 Siemens or Oerlikon traction motors (630v DC third/fourth rail)
Power: (Siemens) 1, 000 hp (746 kW)
(Oerlikon) 1, 040 hp (776 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Brake Third (DMBT)+Trailer Third (TT)+
Driving Trailer Third (DTT)

After the First World War a third batch of 75 sets were built, again with Oerlikon equipment [2]. Although some of the DC routes (some of which now are part of London Overground) were run down in the 1930s and following the Second World War the LNWR sets (later operated by the LMS and British Railways) survived in use until 1960. Some sets were converted to prototype 25kv AC OHLE EMUs as AM1. One DMBT has survived into preservation.
Two views of 28249 now preserved at the NRM York

28249 is preserved in LMS livery

[1] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Trains and Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1986) p. 69
[2] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 186

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Class 31 (Brush Traction 1,470hp Type 2 Diesel-Electric)

The popular Class 31 is the last surviving Type 2 diesel locomotive in national rail service with a small number soldering on today, mainly working for Network Rail hauling engineering trains. Originally they were known as the Class 30 and were amongst the earliest diesel locomotives to enter service with British Railways following the decision to replace steam. When first designed they had just 2 windows on the cab ends with a look similar to the likes of the Class 21 but the design was amended to have 3 windows due to the need to fit gangway doors. [1] When delivered the locomotives had a BR green livery with horizontal lines to aid the impression of speed (see photo of D5581 below).

Information
Number built: 263
Built: 1957-62
Builder: Brush Traction
Wheel Arrangement: A1A-A1A
Engine: Mirrlees JVS12T
later changed to English Electric 12SVT diesel
Power: 1, 470 hp (1, 100 kW)

The original Mirrlees JVS12T engines gave BR a lot of trouble as they began to develop metal fatigue after just a few years service. It is thought that uprating the engines may have been to blame as the originally rated engines did not develop as many faults. The original pilot-scheme locomotives were rated at 1, 250hp but later production batch locomotives were uprated to 1, 365 hp and beyond. One was even uprated to 2, 000hp and became a Type 4!


Eventually the decision was made to give the entire class more reliable English Electric powerplants instead in the mid 1960s [2] and so they became the Class 31. The Class 31 has the unusual A1A-A1A wheel arrangement which means the middle axle in each bogie is unpowered.

As true mixed traffic locomotives Class 31s could be found on regional and secondary passenger services, freights and engineering trains and have survived into the privatised era. Nowadays they are mainly seen on spot hires and engineering trains [3]. Less than a handful remain in mainline service but 26 have been preserved.

Sub-classDetails
31/0 Original pilot-scheme batch of 20, non-standard control equipment
31/1 Main production variant
31/4 With Electric Train Heating (ETH)
31/5 Former 31/4s with ETH isolated
31/6 Wired for ETH but without equipment

Preserved 5580 at Kidderminster SVR

Preserved 31 270 in Regional Railways livery at Rowsley South

Network Rail 31 233 at Derby

DCR 31 452 at Bewdley

D5581 at Chinnor showing the original BR green livery

Although numbered 31 018 this was the first of the class built, preserved at the NRM



[1] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 124
[2] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 48
[3] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (Second Edition) (Ian Allan, 2009) p. 20