Class 360 Desiro

The Class 360 is part of the Desiro family of EMUs though unlike their cousins such as the Class 450 they do not have end unit gangways (though some test units were built with these, later removed [1]). The main batch of these EMUs, the Class 360/1, was built to replace the Class 312 on services out of Liverpool Street to Clacton-on-Sea, Ipswich and Colchester originally for First Great Eastern but nowadays operated by Greater Anglia.

Information
Number built: 109 (25 4 or 5 car sets)
Built: 2002-05
Builder: Siemens
Engine: 1TB2016-0GB02 three-phase traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 1, 341 hp (1, 000 kW)
Formation: 360/1: Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)
+Pantograph Trailer Standard Open (PTSO)+
Trailer Standard Open (TSO)+DMCO
360/2: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)
+PTSO+TSO+TSO+DMSO

Another batch (360/2) of 5-car sets are operated by Heathrow Connect on London Paddington - Heathrow stopping services. One set is also operated by Heathrow Express on the Heathrow Central-Terminal 4 shuttle.
Heathrow Connect 360 205 at Old Oak Common depot

Greater Anglia 360 120 passes through Romford

Bogie detail

Another view of 360 205

Greater Anglia 360 103 at Romford


[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 275

Class 86 (BR Doncaster / English Electric AL6)

The Class 86 AL6 was the production class of AC electrics built for the West Coast Main Line following on from the pilot-scheme AL1-5 (Classes 81 to 85). The AL6 took advantage of experience gained from the earlier locomotives including fitting only one pantograph and with changes to equipment though the AL6 was very similar to the Class 85 AL5 except for the stub nose cab ends.

Information
Number built: 100
Built: 1965-66
Builder: BR Doncaster / English Electric
Engine: 4 AEI 282AZ or GEC G412AZ (86/1) traction motors (25kV AC OHLE) 
Power: (86/0) 5, 900 hp (4, 400 kW) max output
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The AL6 was designed for mixed traffic including travelling up to 100mp/h with WCML expresses. Unfortunately this caused some problems with the original axle-hung traction motors with troublesome riding qualities and damage caused to the track and to bogies. Following research at BR Derby  a "flexicoil" suspension system was adopted for fifty eight of the class which were designated Class 86/2 [1]. Another early sub-class was the 86/1, a trio rebuilt to help develop the follow-on Class 87 and able to reach 110mp/h [2][3].

Another sub-class was the 86/3 which were fitted with SAB resilient wheels and with equipment for multiple-working. The Class 86/4 were fitted with flexicoil suspension and SAB wheels for mixed-traffic. The 86/5 was a trial locomotive to test ways of improving performance on heavy  freights. The 86/6 are a sub-class used on Freightliner trains, finally the 86/9s were a couple of locomotives used as load banks by Network Rail.

Despite their advancing years the Class 86 can still be regularly seen on the network, mostly hauling Freightliner trains though also on some passenger charters (86 259 as shown below has been returned to it's original Electric Blue [4]). Some have also been exported to Eastern Europe.
86 259 heads through Stafford with a railtour

Class 86 in British Rail days (KD Collection)

86 259 at Tyseley

[1] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 64
[2] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives in Colour (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 25
[3] Pip Dunn, British Rail Main Line Locomotives Specification Guide (Crowood Press, 2013) p. 161
[4] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 155

Class 350 Desiro

The Class 350 Desiro EMU has been built in 3 batches since 2004 and serves, and has served, with a number of Train Operating Companies, probably the most notable being London Midland. With London Midland the Class 350 was the mainstay of the franchise's intercity regional services under the wires. These trains now serve with LM's successor on these routes London Northwestern Railway. The Class 350 has also served with the now defunct franchises Central Trains and Silverlink and also with Southern but now is only in service with LNWR and First TransPennine Express.

Information
Number built: 348 (87 4-car train sets) 
Built: 2004-14
Builder: Siemens
Engine: 4 Siemens 1TB2016-0GB02 traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
(350/1) 750v DC third rail
Power: 2, 010 hp (1, 500 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+Trailer
Composite Open (TCO)+Pantograph Trailer Standard Open (PTSO)+DMSO

The Class 350 is capable of up to 110mp/h (except the 350/2) and collects its power from the 25kV AC overhead wires though some (350/1) can use the 750v DC third rail too however these days only operate as AC EMUs. The Desiro family also includes the very similar Classes 185, 360444 and 450. Indeed the original batch of 350s was originally ordered as Class 450s [1].


London Northwestern Railway use the 350/1, 350/2 (which has high density seating) and the recently built 350/3. First TPE uses the 350/4.
LM 350 128 and 251 at Wolverhampton

LM 350 370 and 129 at Berkhamsted

LM 350 116 at Milton Keynes Central

TPE 350 405 and 401 at Wigan North Western 
LM 350 369 at Crewe

LM 350 231 at Liverpool South Parkway
[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 270

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