DMU identification please

yorksrob

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There was a sit com in the 1980s with Penelope Keith, she played a business woman, cant remember the name of the programme, but that had several interior and exterior shots of the 115s.

'Executive Stress' I think.
 
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Wolfie

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Those two-car sets were a 108 driving trailer paired with a 115 from Allerton, which unlike the Marylebone ones had a gangway connection. The Marylebone 115s they replaced were sent to the West Midlands to be mixed in with their 116s to form four-car sets for the Cross-City line.
I did my masters at Brum Uni in the mid 80s and recall riding DMUs that still had London route maps still in place (both BedPan and Marylebone lines) inside. No refurbishment whatsoever done.
 

Taunton

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It always seemed strange that the LMR bought two quite different types of 4-car unit for their London suburban services. Although they looked identical in body terms, the St Pancras units, built in 1959, had Rolls-Royce engines and hydraulic transmission, while the Marylebone units, built the following year, had comparable Leyland engines, built at their Albion works in Glasgow, and mechanical transmission. The interior fitout of the St Pancras units was decidedly austere compared to the Marylebone ones, and the power train also was a considerable maintenance headache for their life as well. One wonders why it was done like this. Notably a large batch of Cravens twin units with the same power configuration as the St Pancras 4-car sets were scrapped very early on, after only a few years of service.
 

thesignalman

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It always seemed strange that the LMR bought two quite different types of 4-car unit for their London suburban services. Although they looked identical in body terms, the St Pancras units, built in 1959, had Rolls-Royce engines and hydraulic transmission, while the Marylebone units, built the following year, had comparable Leyland engines, built at their Albion works in Glasgow, and mechanical transmission. The interior fitout of the St Pancras units was decidedly austere compared to the Marylebone ones, and the power train also was a considerable maintenance headache for their life as well. One wonders why it was done like this. Notably a large batch of Cravens twin units with the same power configuration as the St Pancras 4-car sets were scrapped very early on, after only a few years of service.

It is my understanding that those ordered for the Marylebone line were the hydraulic (class 127 DMUs) - I believe the Marylebone line was Western Region around the time they were ordered which might explain the untypical drive system. That drive system proved incompatible with the gradients around Rickmansworth so the order was exchanged with the more conventional class 115s which had been ordered for the Midland main line.

So I was told by drivers when I worked there . . .

The Cravens sets on the Midland you refer to (used for the Moorgate services as the 127s wouldn't fit in the hole) were scrapped prematurely as they seemed to self-ignite rather too frequently.

John
 

theblackwatch

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I did my masters at Brum Uni in the mid 80s and recall riding DMUs that still had London route maps still in place (both BedPan and Marylebone lines) inside. No refurbishment whatsoever done.
The BedPan vehicles would have been 127 trailers which were transferred up to Tyseley in 1983, to replace most of the 116 trailers which were apparently full of asbestos. Most had already been refurbed in the early 80s (tungsten lighting replaced with fluorescent etc) prior to transfer. The 115s ex Marylebone appeared a couple of years later.

Incidentally, I travelled on one of the ousted 116 trailers at the Paignton & Dartmouth in around 1990 when being used as hauled stock, and it still had West Midlands maps in it!
 

yorksrob

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The BedPan vehicles would have been 127 trailers which were transferred up to Tyseley in 1983, to replace most of the 116 trailers which were apparently full of asbestos. Most had already been refurbed in the early 80s (tungsten lighting replaced with fluorescent etc) prior to transfer. The 115s ex Marylebone appeared a couple of years later.

Incidentally, I travelled on one of the ousted 116 trailers at the Paignton & Dartmouth in around 1990 when being used as hauled stock, and it still had West Midlands maps in it!

There's a BedPan 127 at Butterley, and it's 1980's interior is very bright and jolly. Bournemouth blue moquette and sunny yellow Formica paneling. Sadly I expect it didn't make them any more reliable.
 

thesignalman

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Sadly I expect it didn't make them any more reliable.
Hmmm, I'm not sure they had reliability issues on the Midland when I worked there in the 1970s. It was the mish-mash that replaced the Cravens units that always seemed to have problems. I suppose with a high proportion of power cars to try and equal the power of the hydraulics they were likely to have more issues by default.

John
 

Taunton

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It is my understanding that those ordered for the Marylebone line were the hydraulic (class 127 DMUs) - I believe the Marylebone line was Western Region around the time they were ordered which might explain the untypical drive system. That drive system proved incompatible with the gradients around Rickmansworth so the order was exchanged with the more conventional class 115s which had been ordered for the Midland main line.
The WR never went for any dmu with a hydraulic drive; the original standard DMU concept of engine and mechanical transmission came from the GWR, having been developed by AEC (factory lineside in Southall) in the 1930s for their original streamlined railcars, where the last ones built were two-car units, with the remote controls being basically those later used for BR cars apart from the very first few 79000 units, which used a onetime LMS system and thus were incompatible with the rest. The GWR and AEC had worked on several projects, and those first twin units (later 3-car with an intermediate coach trailer) were seen as prototypes for later main line sets, but due to WW2 never progressed.

I don't know which region was responsible for Marylebone when the diesel units were ordered; it seemed to go back and forth between ER, WR and LMR every so often.
 

MarlowDonkey

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which unlike the Marylebone ones had a gangway connection.
It was a design quirk of the 115 fleet that it didn't even have internal gangways the whole length of a carriage, Whilst laid out as saloons rather than compartments, there weren't even doors between the saloons. That could distinguish them from the externally similar 117s which operated out of Paddington. Whilst the 117s later acquired corridor connections between the sets, no such modifications were ever made to the 115s. Perhaps the lack of "pay on the train" routes was a factor.

Did they run much beyond Banbury to New Street, Moor Street or Snow Hill?
 
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70014IronDuke

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It is my understanding that those ordered for the Marylebone line were the hydraulic (class 127 DMUs) - I believe the Marylebone line was Western Region around the time they were ordered which might explain the untypical drive system. That drive system proved incompatible with the gradients around Rickmansworth so the order was exchanged with the more conventional class 115s which had been ordered for the Midland main line.

So I was told by drivers when I worked there . . .

The Cravens sets on the Midland you refer to (used for the Moorgate services as the 127s wouldn't fit in the hole) were scrapped prematurely as they seemed to self-ignite rather too frequently.

John
This is very interesting, but I strongly suspect a myth. Certainly in part.

I am fairly sure the Marylebone GC line was not WR in the 50s. (Though of course, the PAD - Snow Hill line was.) But Marylebone GC operations passed from LNER to ER seamlessly on nationalisation, and then to the LMR in 58 or 59. I can check later, but the LMR then rationalised services to just three trains e/w per day north of Aylesbury in 1960.

Neasden was an LMR shed to the end, and the 115 units were labelled M - hence LMR.

Incidentally, some 115s did indeed appear on the St Pancras route, IIRC in autumn 1960, I saw them! But these may only have been proving runs, rather than passenger turns. Indeed, might only have been a case of one or two units on one or two runs.

I'll look out for my 1960 diary, I might have made a note of some.

I have to admit, however, that Taunton's original question is intriguing. Perhaps it was just that old issue with the 1955 plan, ie spread out production to give a bunch of firms the chance to get work?

As for 127 reliability issues, I didn't think they had any special problems. Rather the opposite, in fact, is my impression - but am happy to be informed otherwise. (Indeed, if they had problems, why were some refurbished as parcels units late on in their lives, as I understand was the case?)
 

Wolfie

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The BedPan vehicles would have been 127 trailers which were transferred up to Tyseley in 1983, to replace most of the 116 trailers which were apparently full of asbestos. Most had already been refurbed in the early 80s (tungsten lighting replaced with fluorescent etc) prior to transfer. The 115s ex Marylebone appeared a couple of years later.

Incidentally, I travelled on one of the ousted 116 trailers at the Paignton & Dartmouth in around 1990 when being used as hauled stock, and it still had West Midlands maps in it!
TY, very informative and useful.
 

yorksrob

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Hmmm, I'm not sure they had reliability issues on the Midland when I worked there in the 1970s. It was the mish-mash that replaced the Cravens units that always seemed to have problems. I suppose with a high proportion of power cars to try and equal the power of the hydraulics they were likely to have more issues by default.

John
Fair enough. I'm only going by what I've heard on here vis a vis reliability, bit they seemed nice enough interior wise.
 

30907

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It always seemed strange that the LMR bought two quite different types of 4-car unit for their London suburban services. Although they looked identical in body terms, the St Pancras units, built in 1959, had Rolls-Royce engines and hydraulic transmission,
Not sure it's relevant, but the Lea Valley units (later 125) were to the same spec. - the Railcar site says it was to match EMU performance.
 

Sprinter107

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Not sure it's relevant, but the Lea Valley units (later 125) were to the same spec. - the Railcar site says it was to match EMU
I would think the 125s wouldve been quicker off the mark than the 127s, as they only had one unpowered centre car, whereas the 127s had 2. My old manager used to drive the 125s when they went onto the Kings Cross routes, and he said they were pretty nippy, but he never drove 127s, so can't make a comparison.
 

matchmaker

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One problem with the 127s was that they were originally Blue Square coupling code. If they were operated in multiple with another Blue Square diesel mechanical unit and the driver forgot this and did not change gear manually, and left the transmission in D, the result was a burnt out mechanical gearbox. The coupling code was changed to Red Triangle to prevent this.
 

Mat17

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One problem with the 127s was that they were originally Blue Square coupling code. If they were operated in multiple with another Blue Square diesel mechanical unit and the driver forgot this and did not change gear manually, and left the transmission in D, the result was a burnt out mechanical gearbox. The coupling code was changed to Red Triangle to prevent this.
One way of trying to kill off the Cravens, I suppose! ;)
 

Clarence Yard

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It is my understanding that those ordered for the Marylebone line were the hydraulic (class 127 DMUs) - I believe the Marylebone line was Western Region around the time they were ordered which might explain the untypical drive system. That drive system proved incompatible with the gradients around Rickmansworth so the order was exchanged with the more conventional class 115s which had been ordered for the Midland main line.

So I was told by drivers when I worked there . . .

The Cravens sets on the Midland you refer to (used for the Moorgate services as the 127s wouldn't fit in the hole) were scrapped prematurely as they seemed to self-ignite rather too frequently.

John

Not quite. The order for the MML sets was definitely the hydraulics. There was quite a bit of discussion about engine/transmission combos on the DMU fleet at that time (1957/8) and the LM were keen on the hydraulics. Their timetable was based around 230 hp DMU’s that could accelerate and the order seems to have been finally approved in mid 1958.

The GC lines in the London area first came onto the LM DMU radar in 1957, as the services were due to transfer from ER to LMR in early 1958. At first it was thought it might be a repeat of the MML traction spec but the 230hp/gearbox combo was £1500 per power car cheaper than the 230hp/torque converter combo so in early 1959 the order was placed for the former.

WR did have one involvement in the design. They were concerned about the units having first class because they had substantial first class trade out as far as High Wycombe, which remained a WR line.

I used to love hearing the crackle from an 8 car departing north from Moor Park whilst I waited for my Met home. You would hear them for ages as the sound bounced off the trees en-route.
 

Beebman

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It was a design quirk of the 115 fleet that it didn't even have internal gangways the whole length of a carriage, Whilst laid out as saloons rather than compartments, there weren't even doors between the saloons. That could distinguish them from the externally similar 117s which operated out of Paddington. Whilst the 117s later acquired corridor connections between the sets, no such modifications were ever made to the 115s. Perhaps the lack of "pay on the train" routes was a factor.

Did they run much beyond Banbury to New Street, Moor Street or Snow Hill?

They made it to Nottingham Victoria in the final years of the GC main line:



https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9509882872
 

Taunton

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It was a design quirk of the 115 fleet that it didn't even have internal gangways the whole length of a carriage,
In contrast to the "low density" units, or the WR's Cross-Country sets, I don't believe any of the "high density", suburban-seated dmus were built with gangways. A number were later rebuilt to have this, but probably only a minority. Not seen as an issue when built. Ths same applied to the Southern's local service DEMUs.

The Western Region, unlike others, used these sets right across their rural area, which prevented any "paytrain" type operation with conductor-guards. Both the branches west from Taunton, to Minehead and to Barnstaple, were like this, so all the obscure wayside halts had to remain staffed. In fact such trains accounted for about half the service, the others being run by Cross-Country sets with gangways, but they were allocated quite indiscriminitely each day, so the issue remained.
 

Taunton

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Also to the Manor Born
DMU featured significantly in an episode of that as well, including her going up to say thank you to the driver. Filmed on the Up side at Maiden Newton, it featured a decidedly oddball Met-Cam set, one of the first to be sent down to the WR, which Bristol depot were probably somewhat cheesed off to be lumbered with by the BRB HQ, while their nice Cross-Country sets were commandeered "oop north". A onetime North Eastern 4-car set, it had Motor Composites at each end, an unusual Trailer Brake, and was missing its Trailer Second in a reduction to three cars. Being newly arrived, it didn't have a Bristol destination blind fitted yet, just a blank space. This was a shame, as the script had "Audrey" returning from Taunton, which could otherwise have been displayed. The gross overprovision of first class suited the script, but was a right waste when the sets were sent out.

At this location it was presumably handled by a Westbury crew. Maybe even the grandchildren of the crew from there who did all the scenes in the Titfield Thunderbolt. Sorry, going a bit off-topic. Like most old-time dmu threads it deteriorates, or otherwise, to a series of reminiscences.
 

alistairlees

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DMU featured significantly in an episode of that as well, including her going up to say thank you to the driver. Filmed on the Up side at Maiden Newton, it featured a decidedly oddball Met-Cam set, one of the first to be sent down to the WR, which Bristol depot were probably somewhat cheesed off to be lumbered with by the BRB HQ, while their nice Cross-Country sets were commandeered "oop north". A onetime North Eastern 4-car set, it had Motor Composites at each end, an unusual Trailer Brake, and was missing its Trailer Second in a reduction to three cars. Being newly arrived, it didn't have a Bristol destination blind fitted yet, just a blank space. This was a shame, as the script had "Audrey" returning from Taunton, which could otherwise have been displayed. The gross overprovision of first class suited the script, but was a right waste when the sets were sent out.

At this location it was presumably handled by a Westbury crew. Maybe even the grandchildren of the crew from there who did all the scenes in the Titfield Thunderbolt. Sorry, going a bit off-topic. Like most old-time dmu threads it deteriorates, or otherwise, to a series of reminiscences.
The driver looked very surprised I recall. I assume that it had once been customary to do this on branch lines to steam loco drivers? It hasn't died out though - I (and others) say 'thanks' or 'good night' to the guard on my local trains, who almost always responds and often is the one saying 'thanks' to passengers as they get off and pass down the platform.
 

RPI

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The driver looked very surprised I recall. I assume that it had once been customary to do this on branch lines to steam loco drivers? It hasn't died out though - I (and others) say 'thanks' or 'good night' to the guard on my local trains, who almost always responds and often is the one saying 'thanks' to passengers as they get off and pass down the platform.
Get this at Exmouth and Barnstaple quite a lot, most of the passengers say thank you as they walk off
 

theblackwatch

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DMU featured significantly in an episode of that as well, including her going up to say thank you to the driver. Filmed on the Up side at Maiden Newton, it featured a decidedly oddball Met-Cam set, one of the first to be sent down to the WR, which Bristol depot were probably somewhat cheesed off to be lumbered with by the BRB HQ, while their nice Cross-Country sets were commandeered "oop north". A onetime North Eastern 4-car set, it had Motor Composites at each end, an unusual Trailer Brake, and was missing its Trailer Second in a reduction to three cars. Being newly arrived, it didn't have a Bristol destination blind fitted yet, just a blank space. This was a shame, as the script had "Audrey" returning from Taunton, which could otherwise have been displayed. The gross overprovision of first class suited the script, but was a right waste when the sets were sent out.

At this location it was presumably handled by a Westbury crew. Maybe even the grandchildren of the crew from there who did all the scenes in the Titfield Thunderbolt. Sorry, going a bit off-topic. Like most old-time dmu threads it deteriorates, or otherwise, to a series of reminiscences.
Those 101 sets (4 I think) were transferred to the Western Region in 1979. If I remember right, they gained blue/grey livery early on, prior to being refurbished and skipping the 'white with blue stripe' colour scheme that was being applied at the time.
 

thesignalman

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I'm not sure it makes sense for some to condemn outright things I said, nevertheless I did not claim it as necessarily 100% fact - see the emphasis below. However, to me it all makes chronological sense.

I said "It is my understanding that those ordered for the Marylebone line were the hydraulic (class 127 DMUs) - I believe the Marylebone line was Western Region around the time they were ordered which might explain the untypical drive system" - I did not say they were delivered under WR ownership and certainly never suggested they carried W prefixes. I also said this idea was based on what I heard from the drivers there but I can't think of any reason for them to invent that - many of them were older staff who would have been there at dieselisation. I don't question that the WR had not previously had hydraulic DMUs but nor had the LMR as far as I know (happy to be corrected there, its not my area of knowledge). The subject came up often because the class 115 DMUs also gave problems on Rickmansworth bank and were post-fitted with guard-operated sanding equipment to help with that. It didn't go down very well with LT when BR brought their services to a halt!

Marylebone was definitely WR at some point - despite what others say. I can only offer evidence from a signalling point of view but two of the four platform starting signals at Marylebone were of the WR type, as was a signal right outside the box at Neasden South (some others there too, from memory). These were probably replacements for original wooden-post signals which had aged. Also, the signal box at Sudbury Hill contained a WR-style track layout diagram drawn at Reading.

I don't have any firm information to hand on the dates of regional boundary changes but I think it is likely the WR took control from 1948 or soon thereafter. The LMR were certainly in charge by 1960 (per the Sectional Appendix), possibly from 1958. I'm not sure whether the ER had any line ownership as such in BR days but can only suggest that maybe they had a responsibility for the loco shed at Neasden as longer distance traffic would have been destined for their patch prior to that area's transfer, too, to the LMR. But loco sheds are definitely outside my knowledge area!

The Marylebone lines never really fitted any BR regional criteria and as such felt quite unloved. Nevertheless, the fact that the suburban services were so self-contained meant that it was always a very close community staff-wise. By the time I worked there (c1977 onward) the only non-Marylebone/Aylesbury crews on the area were on the once daily Birmingham-Paddington express (and return) and the odd freight service on the Joint line.

John
 

Taunton

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Get this at Exmouth and Barnstaple quite a lot, most of the passengers say thank you as they walk off
We're a polite lot in the south-west, and not just on the branches. In final steam days on arrival at Paddington my grandfather would always shout up thanks to the loco crew, who always seemed to lounge over the cabside watching the passengers stream off. It was normal for the first few off to offer up a newspaper they were finished with - presumably if they got any they didn't care for politically they went in the fire. Children of tender age would be taken to the cabside to admire the loco that had just brought them up. For some it may have started a mechanical interest which has continued ...
 

Clarence Yard

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I'm not sure it makes sense for some to condemn outright things I said, nevertheless I did not claim it as necessarily 100% fact - see the emphasis below. However, to me it all makes chronological sense.

I said "It is my understanding that those ordered for the Marylebone line were the hydraulic (class 127 DMUs) - I believe the Marylebone line was Western Region around the time they were ordered which might explain the untypical drive system" - I did not say they were delivered under WR ownership and certainly never suggested they carried W prefixes. I also said this idea was based on what I heard from the drivers there but I can't think of any reason for them to invent that - many of them were older staff who would have been there at dieselisation. I don't question that the WR had not previously had hydraulic DMUs but nor had the LMR as far as I know (happy to be corrected there, its not my area of knowledge). The subject came up often because the class 115 DMUs also gave problems on Rickmansworth bank and were post-fitted with guard-operated sanding equipment to help with that. It didn't go down very well with LT when BR brought their services to a halt!

Marylebone was definitely WR at some point - despite what others say. I can only offer evidence from a signalling point of view but two of the four platform starting signals at Marylebone were of the WR type, as was a signal right outside the box at Neasden South (some others there too, from memory). These were probably replacements for original wooden-post signals which had aged. Also, the signal box at Sudbury Hill contained a WR-style track layout diagram drawn at Reading.

I don't have any firm information to hand on the dates of regional boundary changes but I think it is likely the WR took control from 1948 or soon thereafter. The LMR were certainly in charge by 1960 (per the Sectional Appendix), possibly from 1958. I'm not sure whether the ER had any line ownership as such in BR days but can only suggest that maybe they had a responsibility for the loco shed at Neasden as longer distance traffic would have been destined for their patch prior to that area's transfer, too, to the LMR. But loco sheds are definitely outside my knowledge area!

The Marylebone lines never really fitted any BR regional criteria and as such felt quite unloved. Nevertheless, the fact that the suburban services were so self-contained meant that it was always a very close community staff-wise. By the time I worked there (c1977 onward) the only non-Marylebone/Aylesbury crews on the area were on the once daily Birmingham-Paddington express (and return) and the odd freight service on the Joint line.

John

John, I don’t think most people on here are criticising you personally. I think you have suffered a bit of “messroom wiki”, as we now refer to it, that’s all.

The GC lines went to ER on nationalisation but were early victims of the “penetrating lines” split whereby some responsibilities were transferred away. For the GC, in 1950 the WR took over the lines between Marylebone and Northolt Junction and Neasden to Harrow. They retained them until 1958 when the whole of the GC main line went to the LMR.

However, the ER still retained the overall operating responsibility for the route and Neasden shed remained an ER shed (in the KX district) until 1958 when it went to the LMR. Neasden was the original location the LMR considered for DMU maintenance before settling on Marylebone.

I think the line got the best DMU deal with the 115 sets. If it had been a line that was fully WR, 3 car sub sets would have been the order of the day and an interesting thought is if the ER had remained in charge. If the 1950’s KX suburban electrification scheme had taken place, would Marylebone have got their Cravens?!
 

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