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

alexl92

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This thread is fascinating... as someone who isn't familiar wtih all the types of stock referred to here, are there any photos of these mixed formations?
 
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hexagon789

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This thread is fascinating... as someone who isn't familiar wtih all the types of stock referred to here, are there any photos of these mixed formations?
Either try searching flickr for the relevant class or try the gallery on the railcar website, both good sources of photos with plenty of interesting prototypes
 

Merle Haggard

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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

I don't know, but is it not possible that the extra power cars, above the proportion strictly needed, was to allow for the likelihood of the power cars requiring more maintenance time than the trailers? When it was found that this was not the case, then could the Hawksworths have been converted to intermediate cars to 'use up' the surplus.
It's a bit surprising to me that the WR never had low density branch line sets apart from the single units (later, admittedly strengthened with purpose built trailers). Spotting at Swansea High Street station on holiday I remember the Treherbert (via R&SB) trains were what I had thought of as 'Suburban' units, high density and with no access between coaches (indeed, think that they had two full width sealed intermediate bulkheads in each coach originally, although I may be wrong) nor lavatories. The 3 car 'suburban' units seemed to be the WRs answer to everything it seemed.
 

Taunton

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It's a bit surprising to me that the WR never had low density branch line sets apart from the single units (later, admittedly strengthened with purpose built trailers). Spotting at Swansea High Street station on holiday I remember the Treherbert (via R&SB) trains were what I had thought of as 'Suburban' units, high density and with no access between coaches (indeed, think that they had two full width sealed intermediate bulkheads in each coach originally, although I may be wrong) nor lavatories. The 3 car 'suburban' units seemed to be the WRs answer to everything it seemed.
The WR single units, known in later years as "bubble cars", were high density suburban seating as well. The WR kept clear of lightweight low density cars altogether until some were transferred in much later in time. The driving trailers built for the single units were also high density; they must have got the least use of all, they were unusual to see around apart from languishing in depots and many were withdrawn early.

The WR however did have a substantial stock of around 100 Cross-Country units which other regions didn't order (but appreciated greatly when they too were transferred around later). These were far better than low density units, long frame, 2+2 seating in proper bays, etc. They also as mentioned had suburban-type units all across the system. The Cross-Country advantage was thrown away by those depots which had both types just assigning them indiscriminately, I recall a Suburban 3-car setting off from Bristol TM for Weymouth alongside a Cross-Country just going to Severn Beach. What turned up at Taunton seemed quite random on all lines, typically half were suburban-type units, whose use on the Minehead and Barnstaple lines without gangways meant that minor stations had to remain staffed as no conductor could get through.

This all reached a nadir when, after taking over the Southern lines in the West, the WR later reassigned various spare dmus to the services, including suburban sets transferred from South Wales, which got put on some lengthy runs such as Salisbury to Ilfracombe, with no toilets etc. This caused much complaint, to the extent that local MPs got involved, then the Minister of Transport, the BR Chairman, and an instruction came down to Paddington to "do something". So one weekend they took nine suburban sets (no gangways or toilets), and the nine later-model Swindon Cross-Country sets (gangwayed and toilets in two of the three cars), and exchanged the trailers, so every set had at least one car with toilets. The different body profiles and gangways hanging loose and unused looked ridiculous, exacerbated by it being just when liveries were changing from green to all-blue (suburban) or blue/grey (Cross-Country), a number of sets ending up in three different colours. I've often suspected someone at Paddington did it in a fit of spite. After a few years most of the lines and smaller stations had been closed, and the sets were remarshalled back as originally.
 

Merle Haggard

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Thank you Taunton, interesting insights

When I worked at Enterprise House Paddington in the days of the Cross Country services from there I was crossing the lawn one lunchtime when I heard an intriguing series of announcements. 'We would like to apologise for the shortage of luggage space on the nn.nn to (I think, Manchester)" followed by similar ones in turn regarding the absence of toilets, vacant seats, buffet facilities etc., so, out of curiosity, I strolled across the platform to find the service was ... a (very overcrowded) WR 3 car suburban set, the 47 having presumably expired on the inwards working. At least it had first class
 

Gloster

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I do remember one summer’s day in the early 1980s, luckily not a Saturday, when the Leeds-Paignton (still known as The Devonian) failed a short way into its journey. Birmingham put on an extra to run in its path from New Street, while the regular train followed later (a Hanover if I remember correctly). They used a three-car suburban DMU, which had to make one, possibly two, toilet stops.
 

30907

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I do remember one summer’s day in the early 1980s, luckily not a Saturday, when the Leeds-Paignton (still known as The Devonian) failed a short way into its journey. Birmingham put on an extra to run in its path from New Street, while the regular train followed later (a Hanover if I remember correctly). They used a three-car suburban DMU, which had to make one, possibly two, toilet stops.
Not heard of that one :) Unusual autocorrect for Hoover perhaps?
 

Beebman

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The WR single units, known in later years as "bubble cars", were high density suburban seating as well. The WR kept clear of lightweight low density cars altogether until some were transferred in much later in time. The driving trailers built for the single units were also high density; they must have got the least use of all, they were unusual to see around apart from languishing in depots and many were withdrawn early.

In the 70s and 80s I did a lot of journeys on DMUs in the Thames Valley, both on the main lines and branches, and I can't ever remember travelling on a driving trailer. However I definitely remember seeing them, in fact I did clear them all for sight in my ABCs of the time so they must have been used sometimes.

One unusual 3-car formation I remember travelling on in the mid-80s from Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford consisted of two Class 119 power cars flanking a Class 127 suburban trailer (presumably borrowed from Tyseley) which still had old route diagrams for the St.Pancras and Moorgate lines including Barbican appearing as Aldersgate!
 

Sprinter107

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In the 70s and 80s I did a lot of journeys on DMUs in the Thames Valley, both on the main lines and branches, and I can't ever remember travelling on a driving trailer. However I definitely remember seeing them, in fact I did clear them all for sight in my ABCs of the time so they must have been used sometimes.

One unusual 3-car formation I remember travelling on in the mid-80s from Moreton-in-Marsh to Oxford consisted of two Class 119 power cars flanking a Class 127 suburban trailer (presumably borrowed from Tyseley) which still had old route diagrams for the St.Pancras and Moorgate lines including Barbican appearing as Aldersgate!
T327 set. The 7 on the set number was strange. It looked like 2 pieces of tape at 90 ° to each other.
 

Taunton

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I think after the Bedpan electrification came in just at that time, those of the Class 127 Rolls-Royce 4-car powered suburban sets (two brakes per set, in the end power cars, just to keep us marginally on thread) which were still in good condition - not a lot - were moved around, principally to Tyseley. But there had been also a handful of typical WR 3-car units at Cricklewood depot as well, they were used for the Goblin and down to Moorgate.

You are right, the WR driving trailers seem to have been a wasted investment. As often as not with the single units, if doubling-up was required a second power car was used instead. The driving trailers would have led to a notably low power-weight ratio, being heavyweight steel cars. One longstanding doubling-up of power cars was in the 1960s when a frequent Plymouth-Saltash shuttle was still operated on the main line, right from when the diesels took over from the 64xx push-pull pannier tanks, always formed like this. There was a milk depot at Saltash and the sets each afternoon used to pull a couple of the 6-wheel milk tanks (which are quite a weight when full) each trip to Plymouth, where by the evening they were all marshalled up behind a Warship into a milk train for London.
 
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Ashley Hill

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I think after the Bedpan electrification came in just at that time, those of the Class 127 Rolls-Royce 4-car powered suburban sets (two brakes per set, in the end power cars, just to keep us marginally on thread) which were still in good condition - not a lot - were moved around, principally to Tyseley.
The trouble with the 127s was the red triangle multiple working. The could work with blue square ok but if driven from the 127 drivers sometimes forgot they had a blue square unit behind. They would put put the 127 into drive and power away with the other set trying to pull away in 4th gear. Or put the 127 into 1st, power away and then forgetting to change up again leaving the rear set bombing along still in first and doing untold damage!
 

alexl92

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Either try searching flickr for the relevant class or try the gallery on the railcar website, both good sources of photos with plenty of interesting prototypes
I've tried, but people are (understandably) referring to some of these units by their nicknames or manufacturer names rather than TOPS codes; that's where I'm struggling as I don't know what they're officially called!
 

Taunton

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I've tried, but people are (understandably) referring to some of these units by their nicknames or manufacturer names rather than TOPS codes; that's where I'm struggling as I don't know what they're officially called!
You have to understand that for much of their life there were no TOPS codes! :) In contrast slang expressions like "Bubble Cars" only seem to have surfaced long after that type of car disappeared from the roads.
 
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edwin_m

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The list of types on railcar.co.uk gives the TOPS codes and the manufacturer and other distinguishing information which was most likely to have been used to identify them pre-TOPS.
 

Grumpy

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You are right, the WR driving trailers seem to have been a wasted investment. As often as not with the single units, if doubling-up was required a second power car was used instead.
Not too sure about this. The Driving trailers(often referred to as Drive End Trailers) were certainly in use in the WR London Division in the 70's. Mainly on the branches, including 2 on Greenford, coupled to a bubble car. Much cheaper to attach one of these than another powered unit.
Whilst some of these may have been withdrawn earlier that was probably due to Beeching's cull of branch/rural routes which led to many DMU withdrawals
 

delt1c

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Not too sure about this. The Driving trailers(often referred to as Drive End Trailers) were certainly in use in the WR London Division in the 70's. Mainly on the branches, including 2 on Greenford, coupled to a bubble car. Much cheaper to attach one of these than another powered unit.
Whilst some of these may have been withdrawn earlier that was probably due to Beeching's cull of branch/rural routes which led to many DMU withdrawals
Interesting thing was the 121 and 122 DTS were the only unpowered suburban cars built, p[lus most were used on (non) suburban routes. Travelled in the 122 version serveral times in the 70's on SCR
 

AndyW33

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Thing is, of course, although we describe these as "suburban", BRWR didn't, they were just non-corridor, in the same way as branch lines and main line stopping trains had been the preserve of non-corridor hauled stock for generations.
 

Sprinter107

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The class 121 driving trailers, previously class 149, seemed to be used quite often on the Windsor and Marlow branches, and a lesser extent the Greenford branch quite regularly up into the mid 80s. Never remember seeing a class 122 DTS (previously class 150) ever in use tho.
 

hexagon789

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I don't know, but is it not possible that the extra power cars, above the proportion strictly needed, was to allow for the likelihood of the power cars requiring more maintenance time than the trailers? When it was found that this was not the case, then could the Hawksworths have been converted to intermediate cars to 'use up' the surplus.
It's a bit surprising to me that the WR never had low density branch line sets apart from the single units (later, admittedly strengthened with purpose built trailers). Spotting at Swansea High Street station on holiday I remember the Treherbert (via R&SB) trains were what I had thought of as 'Suburban' units, high density and with no access between coaches (indeed, think that they had two full width sealed intermediate bulkheads in each coach originally, although I may be wrong) nor lavatories. The 3 car 'suburban' units seemed to be the WRs answer to everything it seemed.
It was done for a few classes but not all, and seems to have been more-or-less predominantly a WR thing with the only exception I can think of being the Trans-Pennine units which also had extra power cars.

I've tried, but people are (understandably) referring to some of these units by their nicknames or manufacturer names rather than TOPS codes; that's where I'm struggling as I don't know what they're officially called!
You could try railcar still as each TOPS class also has listings of their original designations
 

theblackwatch

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Here is a picture of the set I mentioned at #7 - Bubble car 55005 with a pair of Class 101 DMCLs, 53189 and 51500. The date was 5th August 1990.
 

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davetheguard

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Thank you Taunton, interesting insights

When I worked at Enterprise House Paddington in the days of the Cross Country services from there I was crossing the lawn one lunchtime when I heard an intriguing series of announcements. 'We would like to apologise for the shortage of luggage space on the nn.nn to (I think, Manchester)" followed by similar ones in turn regarding the absence of toilets, vacant seats, buffet facilities etc., so, out of curiosity, I strolled across the platform to find the service was ... a (very overcrowded) WR 3 car suburban set, the 47 having presumably expired on the inwards working. At least it had first class

Thank you Taunton, interesting insights

When I worked at Enterprise House Paddington in the days of the Cross Country services from there I was crossing the lawn one lunchtime when I heard an intriguing series of announcements. 'We would like to apologise for the shortage of luggage space on the nn.nn to (I think, Manchester)" followed by similar ones in turn regarding the absence of toilets, vacant seats, buffet facilities etc., so, out of curiosity, I strolled across the platform to find the service was ... a (very overcrowded) WR 3 car suburban set, the 47 having presumably expired on the inwards working. At least it had first class

This is interesting. I do wonder though, with reference to the the lack of toilets, that rather than a Western suburban set (class 117) if it was a similar Tysley set (class 116???). The Reading allocated 117s all had two toilets located in the middle unpowered vehicle (often called the trailer as it was unpowered), and they were gangwayed between vehicles so that the toilet was accessible to all.

Of course, if it was a Tysley set, that probably meant that it had already worked up from Birmingham & was now working back towards its home depot. Perhaps the 47 has failed at New Street?!

As an aside, some of those ex Reading trailer cars exist in modified condition to this day: in service as loco hauled coaches on the Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway.
 

Cowley

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Here is a picture of the set I mentioned at #7 - Bubble car 55005 with a pair of Class 101 DMCLs, 53189 and 51500. The date was 5th August 1990.
Ah those were the days. Great photo sir.
 

Richard Scott

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The class 121 driving trailers, previously class 149, seemed to be used quite often on the Windsor and Marlow branches, and a lesser extent the Greenford branch quite regularly up into the mid 80s. Never remember seeing a class 122 DTS (previously class 150) ever in use tho.
Know we're getting off topic but only have one record of riding on one of these (probably somewhere between West Drayton and Paddington as that was my regular route) and likely in early 90s. Had almost all other Old Oak allocated units so likely these weren't heavily utilised.
 

30907

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The list of types on railcar.co.uk gives the TOPS codes and the manufacturer and other distinguishing information which was most likely to have been used to identify them pre-TOPS.
And pre-TOPs the manufacturer's name was the most common label - Swindon Cross-country vs Gloucester ditto, etc.
 

hexagon789

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Here is a picture of the set I mentioned at #7 - Bubble car 55005 with a pair of Class 101 DMCLs, 53189 and 51500. The date was 5th August 1990.
Lovely shot; there seemed to be quite a few ad-hoc lash-ups in the late-1980s to early 1990s due to delays in new DMUs entering service and a need to keep services running with what ever was available.
 

delt1c

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This thread is fascinating... as someone who isn't familiar wtih all the types of stock referred to here, are there any photos of these mixed formations?
The 70's on the SCR could produce unbelievable combinations. 120+122, 101+100, most unusual i saw was 103 3 car plus a 105 101 100 forming a 6 car
 

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