1st Gen DMU's, brake vans in multi formations.

delt1c

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Just wondering if BR ever operated 1st Gen DMU's , where 2 or more units were multipled but only 1 unit had a brake van?
 
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6Gman

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Just wondering if BR ever operated 1st Gen DMU's , where 2 or more units were multipled but only 1 unit had a brake van?
I believe every 1st Gen DMU had guard's accommodation (which I assume is what is meant by "brake van") unless we are including the trailers that were built for use with some bubble cars. But, of course, they could not operate on their own since they were unpowered.
 

Gloster

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Probably did happen on rare occasions as I believe it is technically possible as I don’t think the wiring or multiple working required there to be a brake van in a set. However, the operating rules required the guard to have access to an emergency brake handle, so normally every set would include a vehicle with a brake van. Two sets with one brake van between them would be bending the rules, but probably not breaking them. The unit without a brake van would not be allowed to run on its own until reformed with a brake van.
 

Richard Scott

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Probably did happen on rare occasions as I believe it is technically possible as I don’t think the wiring or multiple working required there to be a brake van in a set. However, the operating rules required the guard to have access to an emergency brake handle, so normally every set would include a vehicle with a brake van. Two sets with one brake van between them would be bending the rules, but probably not breaking them. The unit without a brake van would not be allowed to run on its own until reformed with a brake van.
There is an emergency brake in each cab so that issue could be overcome.
 

edwin_m

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There is an emergency brake in each cab so that issue could be overcome.
The other essential equipment is a hand brake, to stop the set rolling away when left unattended. Each cab had one of those too, usually a large wheel mounted on the desk.
 

Taunton

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Although not a complete set, you could occasionally find say a 2-car low density set, Motor Brake and Driving Trailer, augmented by a further Motor Composite, unbraked and outside the set, with the gangway hanging loose against the cab of the adjacent car. I believe Tyseley depot in 1st gen latter years used to particularly turn out this sort of odd lash-up.

There's someone on here who has the previous stories of that place, including where they inadvertently assembled a set on the depot that turned out to be two driving trailers, un-noticed until someone tried to start it ...
 

theblackwatch

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I recall, in the late 80s or early 90s, seeing a set at Exeter which was a pair of Class 101 DMCLs couple gangway to gangway (ie no brake in the 2-car set), but they were coupled to a Class 122 bubble car to give the full formation a brake. I would assume there was an instruction that under no circumstances should they be split.
 

Speed43125

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Although not a complete set, you could occasionally find say a 2-car low density set, Motor Brake and Driving Trailer, augmented by a further Motor Composite, unbraked and outside the set, with the gangway hanging loose against the cab of the adjacent car. I believe Tyseley depot in 1st gen latter years used to particularly turn out this sort of odd lash-up.

There's someone on here who has the previous stories of that place, including where they inadvertently assembled a set on the depot that turned out to be two driving trailers, un-noticed until someone tried to start it ...
Could it even be this post (and the one after) you're talking about?
 

big all

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There was no normal situation where a passenger train would run without a brake van.

As said loco hauled contained the handbrake in the brake van but in dmus every cab had a hand brake but not guards vans as they were normally in a vehicle with a cab.

A train simply won't run without a guards van as it doesn't get recognized as a train both in preparation for service or in use

If you divide 2 units with one brake at a station one part is a train the other is not .

Yes on the quiet or in emergency situations things would often happen that where safe but unusual but kept quiet to save on bothersome paperwork :D
 
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Ashley Hill

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Also don't forget the emergency cupboard was in the guards van therefore a van had to be in the formation somewhere. If the guards van became defective en-route and was detached then the 1st aid box had to be transferred into the remaining part of the set.
 

hexagon789

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Just wondering if BR ever operated 1st Gen DMU's , where 2 or more units were multipled but only 1 unit had a brake van?
Yes, ScotRail had a few such formations after the temporary withdrawal of the 107s due to axle defects compounded by the Ayr depot fire some years earlier which left them already tight for DMUs a wide range of formations appeared to keep the service running.

Things were so bad at one point that a three car formation was briefly formed with no brake vehicle in the set, and so was always coupled with another:

DMS - TS - DMBS + DMS - TS - DMS

The brake van is to the inside

There was also a set with the by now rare TBS Brake Trailer Second and that too was formed with the brake-less 3-car unit:
DMS - TBS - DMS + DMS - TS - DMS

There was also a 3-car set formed with a DTS and thus with only one power car, this was restricted to Barrhead/East Kilbride unless running as part of a 6-car formation, again due to shortage of serviceable DMU vehicles.
 

Dr Hoo

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Yes, ScotRail had a few such formations after the temporary withdrawal of the 107s due to axle defects compounded by the Ayr depot fire some years earlier which left them already tight for DMUs a wide range of formations appeared to keep the service running.

Things were so bad at one point that a three car formation was briefly formed with no brake vehicle in the set, and so was always coupled with another:

DMS - TS - DMBS + DMS - TS - DMS

The brake van is to the inside

There was also a set with the by now rare TBS Brake Trailer Second and that too was formed with the brake-less 3-car unit:
DMS - TBS - DMS + DMS - TS - DMS

There was also a 3-car set formed with a DTS and thus with only one power car, this was restricted to Barrhead/East Kilbride unless running as part of a 6-car formation, again due to shortage of serviceable DMU vehicles.
Yes, I well remember that time as I was a Resources Manager in Scotland. Things were in a terrible state. Not directly related to brake vans but there were vehicles/units with boarded up windows (no spare glass), no heating, no lights, seats missing. Really 'Third World' feel. Fitters with blow lamps frantically trying to re-start stalled engines at Queen Street.
 
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hexagon789

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Yes, I well remember that time as I was a Resources Manager in Scotland. Things were in a terrible state. Not directly related to brake vans bu there were vehicles/units with boarded up windows (no spare glass), no heating, no lights, seats missing. Really 'Third World' feel. Fitters with blow lamps frantically trying to re-start stalled engines at Queen Street.
Excellent for the modeller though, if not the travelling public at the time. Hats off though to the people that kept a service running in the face of difficult circumstances.
 

edwin_m

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Although not a complete set, you could occasionally find say a 2-car low density set, Motor Brake and Driving Trailer, augmented by a further Motor Composite, unbraked and outside the set, with the gangway hanging loose against the cab of the adjacent car. I believe Tyseley depot in 1st gen latter years used to particularly turn out this sort of odd lash-up.
I hope by "unbraked" you mean "without a brake van section" rather than "having no brakes"! The vacuum pipes would have been coupled to give a continuous brake, otherwise it would have been not only illegal but an accident waiting to happen. Even the lack of a brake section in the extra coach isn't a concern as there is one elsewhere in the set, and it can't reasonably be uncoupled in service as that would leave a portion without a cab at one end. The only problem is the inconvenience of not being able to walk through the set.
 

Taunton

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I hope by "unbraked" you mean "without a brake van section" rather than "having no brakes"!
Yes, I think you know that I know that :)

MBS means Motor Brake Second, that is it had a brake van. The other vehicles had vacuum brakes of course.
 

150219

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I recall, in the late 80s or early 90s, seeing a set at Exeter which was a pair of Class 101 DMCLs couple gangway to gangway (ie no brake in the 2-car set), but they were coupled to a Class 122 bubble car to give the full formation a brake. I would assume there was an instruction that under no circumstances should they be split.
Yes, I do too; or at least something very similar if not the same set. I travelled in the set (which was leading in the formation) that did not have the brake van and a second guard travelled in that formation too. I only travelled on it once and it certainly wasn't a regular formation. The guard in my set was stood up leaning against the cab door when not checking tickets and I remember wondering why he wasn't able to sit in the driving cab.
 

Taunton

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The Western Region's suburban driving trailers were always regarded as separate units, outside a formation, and were often picked up and dropped by the single motor unit "bubble cars" during the day, left powerless (and brake van less) at the buffers.
 

hexagon789

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Although not a complete set, you could occasionally find say a 2-car low density set, Motor Brake and Driving Trailer, augmented by a further Motor Composite, unbraked and outside the set, with the gangway hanging loose against the cab of the adjacent car. I believe Tyseley depot in 1st gen latter years used to particularly turn out this sort of odd lash-up.
Quite a common practice on the ScR in the 1970s with 101 sets operating Edinburgh-Fife/Dundee judging by photos of the era.

Even one set I've seen managed to have one either end of a three-car set to make a five car, demonstrating well the flexibility possible at the time with loose vehicles as opposed to modern fixed sets.
 

edwin_m

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Quite a common practice on the ScR in the 1970s with 101 sets operating Edinburgh-Fife/Dundee judging by photos of the era.

Even one set I've seen managed to have one either end of a three-car set to make a five car, demonstrating well the flexibility possible at the time with loose vehicles as opposed to modern fixed sets.
I commuted to school on those in 1978-1981 and I remember a few times there were three driving cars, though I don't remember any formation not a multiple of three. We were hauled by a Class 20 on a couple of occasions, at least one running in tandem with the unit, which presumably had only one working power car.
 

Taunton

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1st Gen dmus had this complete flexibility, they could be assembled any way round and worked together fine - an opposite of what you often find today. It was early 1950s technology, devised for BR under contract by Walker Bros of Wigan, who otherwise did just odd railway work but seemed to understand this all. You may think of the control difficulties where a set can operate in either direction, from either cab, and be marshalled together from sets that also could have come in from either way before coupling up and then set off reliably all in the intended direction with multiple engines and transmissions up and down. It was something that even mainstream locomotive manufacturers sometimes didn't get right first time.

I was in Scotland in the 1970s and recall the odd formations that arose there. Following the WCML electrification there was a surplus of units in Glasgow, the older Gloucester RCW and the Cravens 2-car units became spare, and were split up and the motor cars used across the region with the Met-Cam 2-car sets to move on to 3-car formations, in some cases with some very mixed formations including onetime-WR suburban cars, even the odd Bubble Car single cars, mixed in. These were often the opposite of this thread, for they would have two Motor Brake cars out of the three, a driving trailer in between, and I remember one coming empty into Carstairs Up Main platform for Edinburgh only a few minutes before an Up express, to be loaded and got away as a connection to a Glasgow-bound service across the island, and the porters all ready with multiple trolleys of parcels at the east end, only to find that there was a van approaching them at the west end. Hurridly push down among the passengers, only to then find the guard was operating out of the east end van, as this was the one marshalled as the proper 2-car set, the other being the loose one. And so they had to push back. It was like the opening scene out of "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday".
 
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hexagon789

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I commuted to school on those in 1978-1981 and I remember a few times there were three driving cars, though I don't remember any formation not a multiple of three. We were hauled by a Class 20 on a couple of occasions, at least one running in tandem with the unit, which presumably had only one working power car.
They mostly seem to have been three or with an extra driving motor - four-cars. The five-car lash-up I saw only seen once and the fifth may have been locked out and being worked 'spare' towards Edinburgh for some reason.
 

delt1c

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1st Gen dmus had this complete flexibility, they could be assembled any way round and worked together fine - an opposite of what you often find today. It was early 1950s technology, devised for BR under contract by Walker Bros of Wigan, who otherwise did just odd railway work but seemed to understand this all. You may think of the control difficulties where a set can operate in either direction, from either cab, and be marshalled together from sets that also could have come in from either way before coupling up and then set off reliably all in the intended direction with multiple engines and transmissions up and down. It was something that even mainstream locomotive manufacturers sometimes didn't get right first time.

I was in Scotland in the 1970s and recall the odd formations that arose there. Following the WCML electrification there was a surplus of units in Glasgow, the older Gloucester RCW and the Cravens 2-car units became spare, and were split up and the motor cars used across the region with the Met-Cam 2-car sets to move on to 3-car formations, in some cases with some very mixed formations including onetime-WR suburban cars, even the odd Bubble Car single cars, mixed in. These were often the opposite of this thread, for they would have two Motor Brake cars out of the three, a driving trailer in between, and I remember one coming empty into Carstairs Up Main platform for Edinburgh only a few minutes before an Up express, to be loaded and got away as a connection to a Glasgow-bound service across the island, and the porters all ready with multiple trolleys of parcels at the east end, only to find that there was a van approaching them at the west end. Hurridly push down among the passengers, only to then find the guard was operating out of the east end van, as this was the one marshalled as the proper 2-car set, the other being the loose one. And so they had to push back. It was like the opening scene out of "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday".
Reminds me of the 304’s which had 2 brake vans in a 4 car unit, 1 middle and 1 behind one of the driving cars. How did the platform staff know which brake van was in use? Also why did they have 2 brake vans?
 
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Taunton

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I remember seeing from the lineside a Springburn-Cumbernauld shuttle unit, 3 cars, formed Met-Cam driving trailer, ex-WR Derby Suburban "bubble car", Gloucester RCW MBS. A right mixture. Hadn't even put the two low density cars together to use the gangway, they were split by the bubble car. It was still rather low powered, and grinding up the climb out of Glasgow having joined the onetime Buchanan Street main line past Balornock at about 25mph.
 

randyrippley

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Dunno what you lot would have made of the 1960s WR habit of tagging one or two non-corridor coaches on the back of a DMU set on summer weekends, for instance Bristol-Weymouth. Somehow I doubt if one of the extras was a brake
 

30907

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Dunno what you lot would have made of the 1960s WR habit of tagging one or two non-corridor coaches on the back of a DMU set on summer weekends, for instance Bristol-Weymouth. Somehow I doubt if one of the extras was a brake
It was quite normal to have coaching stock conveyed in rear of the last brake vehicle, subject to local restrictions for steep gradients etc, so provided the permitted tail load for the DMU wasn't exceeded there was no issue.

(OT but the restrictions were relaxed sufficiently by the 70s for LH sets to operate with one brake vehicle which could be anywhere in the formation.)
 

Taunton

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The WR was a pioneer of putting extra hauled coaches on the back, they did it right from the beginning with their 79xxx Inter City cars on Birmingham-Cardiff in the 1950s, with one (never heard of two) ex-GW corridor seconds on the back of a 6-car. On other regions it seemed to be just vans. Of course, the ex-GW coaches, being composite-framed rather than all-steel Mk 1, were that bit lighter. It was one of the reasons why dmus had vacuum brakes, for compatibility, where emu stock was invariably air braked.

The restriction relaxation was part of the onetime "no more than two vehicles behind the guard" requirement ending, which had led to various longstanding formations, such as Southern emus having the guard in the middle of a 4-car set, just two behind. On dmus, any 4-car suburban sets had both end motor cars with a guard's van, rather wasteful when made up to 8-car formations when the best part of a whole coach was given over to this. It seems this was done to enable the two end power cars to operate on their own. Low density 4-car sets from Met Cam etc had the van in a middle trailer.
 

hexagon789

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The WR was a pioneer of putting extra hauled coaches on the back, they did it right from the beginning with their 79xxx Inter City cars on Birmingham-Cardiff in the 1950s, with one (never heard of two) ex-GW corridor seconds on the back of a 6-car. On other regions it seemed to be just vans. Of course, the ex-GW coaches, being composite-framed rather than all-steel Mk 1, were that bit lighter. It was one of the reasons why dmus had vacuum brakes, for compatibility, where emu stock was invariably air braked.

The restriction relaxation was part of the onetime "no more than two vehicles behind the guard" requirement ending, which had led to various longstanding formations, such as Southern emus having the guard in the middle of a 4-car set, just two behind. On dmus, any 4-car suburban sets had both end motor cars with a guard's van, rather wasteful when made up to 8-car formations when the best part of a whole coach was given over to this. It seems this was done to enable the two end power cars to operate on their own. Low density 4-car sets from Met Cam etc had the van in a middle trailer.
They also ordered some classes with extra power cars (or fewer trailers than needed for an all 3-car fleet) such as the 119s some of which operated with through wired Hawksworth Composites
 

Taunton

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I believe what looked like extra power cars were for use as 2-car units. Certainly when Taunton-Barnstaple was dieselised in 1963 the line was wholly operated by 2-car units, one of each type that Plymouth depot ran. Everything else at the time there was 3-car but this line was always 2-car.

The extra cars for the 119s were used to make them up to 4-car sets. Becoming a bit underpowered, they normally seem to have been multipled with another normal set to make 7 cars overall.
 

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The GRC&W sets ran as both two-, three- and four-car sets, having twenty-eight DMSL and a similar number of DMBC, but only twenty-five TBSL. (The B in DMBC was Brake, but in the TBSL it was Buffet.) The Hawksworth vehicles, which did not appear until over a year after the last set had been delivered, seem to have been used to increase the capacity of a three-car unit, even if it made it a bit underpowered. The trailers were later used with other types.
 

Lemmy99uk

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Reminds me of the 304’s which had 2 brake vans in a 4 car unit, 1 middle and 1 behind one of the driving cars. How did the platform staff know which brake van was in use? Also why did they have 2 brake vans?
The Guard normally used the brake van in the trailer, although as the units were non-gangwayed and you couldn’t do revenue duties, it was sometimes fun to use the one adjacent to the cab when it was at the rear so that you could just sit in the drivers seat and enjoy the view. The station staff would only know when they saw the guard.
As to why there were two brakes, I would be interested to know myself.
 

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