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  1. I think that the fundamental problem with Class 60 was the engine overhaul costs. Mirlees pulled a flanker on BRB/Brush with an irresistably low first-purchase bid. BRB was very prone to assessing offers solely on up-front cost rather than whole-life cost, and Class 60 was no exception. The inevitable consequence is that engine overhauls get deferred and deferred and eventually the laws of physics assert themselves and things start to go bang in a very big way. Electrically, a very complex loco, one of the first truly micro-processor controlled locos. When it worked, happy days. When it didn't..... The 60mph max speed must have been very limiting in terms of jobs they could do (I don't have data on this...and being fair, many bulks-load wagons are also 60mph). Unbeatable tractive effort, as was demonstrated when I was part of the test train crew in Mickleover when Allegeheny1600 cycled past. As the trainee, my main job was to go to Tesco at lunch time for choc ices...
  2. The Apedale Valley Light Railway will be open to the public and operating trains every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday from April 4th to November 1st, with the exception of October 18 & 25. There has been a lot of confusion about the “VE day” bank holiday; we will be running steam trains, but it won’t be a special event day. On normal operating days, trains run from 1130 to 4pm. The War Office Loco Trust Hunslet “303” is planned to operate on May 9 & 10, June 13 & 14, August 29 & 30, and September 12 & 13. Special Events are as follows: Easter Egg Hunt – 11, 12 & 13 April. Railway Gala – 9 & 10 May. Marking 10 years of the Apedale Valley Light Railway, this is our main gala weekend. We have invited guest locomotives, details of which will be announced in due course. Bus Rally & Vintage Transport show – 17 May. Organised by the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society (POPS). Teddy Bears Outing – 23, 24 and 25 May. Military Trains weekend – 13 & 14 June. We will operate our large collection of military railway equipment, largely from the First World War. Teddy Bears Outing – 8 & 9 August. Leafers at t’pit Vintage Land Rover event – August 29 & 30. Classic Cars Day – August 30. Farewell to the Joffre – September 12 & 13 – a last chance to see our “Joffre” loco before it enters its ten-year overhaul period. Diesel Gala – 3 & 4 October Halloween Trains – 31 October & 1 November Santa – 12, 13, 19 & 20 December Mince Pies -27 December. All details can be found at www.avlr.org.uk
  3. To directly answer the question, TPWS/AWS would be mandated at signals for a start.
  4. The chamfered edge box to which you refer is the attractively-named sludge tank. It's job is to collect detrius from the engine bed plate and then leak it onto the track.....
  5. TDM was a problem from the start, and was a problem when I stopped being involved with it about five years ago. The issue, as a colleague put it, was trying to transmit safety-critical train control digital signals down a comms line designed by the RCH in the 1920s to let guards turn on and off the lights from one place. It's worth remembering that when the Class 90s were ordered the railway was utterly skint. The freight locos were desperately needed to eliminate clapped out Class 85s and similar on WCML freights; redeploying all 50 to IC was never even remotely on the cards.
  6. Just to add a little to this. The MkIII DVTs were, as new, plated for 125mph because that's what the contract said. There may have been some thinking about running with MkIVs, but nothing I was party to. On a DVT/Class 90 push-pull set, there was the facility to propogate the brake from both ends via the DW3 units on both the DVT and the Class 90 - thereby replicating the brake concept of HST. This was never done regularly on West Coast. The main reason was that Class 86 & 87 do not have the DW3 facility, and therefore the brake performance could vary depending what loco was ten coaches back. Relying on drivers remembering this was a risk too far. Moreover, there was no chance of Class 90 exceeeding 110mph in normal traffic - so what was the point? After the MkIIIs and 90s moved to Anglia, it would have been feasible to reinstate the DW3 facility. But, if driving from the loco, command of the DVT DW3 was via the rather unreliable TDM link. If you lost TDM, full brake application and a long walk to sort it out. So, the facility was never used, as said above. In principle, the loco DW3 could be commanded when driving from the DVT - for which the TDM link must work - but what's the point of a train with better brake performance in one direction than the other. Turning to BT10s, there are several flavours, but there are BT10A and BT10B frames. BT10A are restricted to 110mph because of issues with frame cracking. Hence, most LHCS MkIIIs tend to have these bogies - obviously, HST can only have BT10B. There are no damper or suspension "setting" differences which are speed related - the bogie isn't that sophisticated. Bogie are set-up differently depending on which vehicle they will be fitted to, but that's mainly to ensure that ride heights are correct with different weights of vehicle sat on the bogie.
  7. Weren't the IHRB Class 31s used on the inter-depot and works transfer trains, moving coaches between depots and to/from works? At the depot I was involved with (Oxley), there was 5M52, which (if memory serves) was Neville Hill to Wolverton and northbound 5E60 which was Wembley to Neville Hill via most of the UK. I assume there were similar trains on the Western and Scottish regions.
  8. To add a little to this, I worked for InterCity West Coast in the 1990s. Regarding the 1717x BFOs, I've never heard the electric HST story. My understanding was that they were built as part of the plan to dump the Mk2-based Manchester Pullman stock. These were replaced (in part) by the MkIIIB vehicles which were first class only (and a bit of an upgrade on the MkIIIA FOs, with better heating, built in tail lights. more modern electrics etc). This allowed the Pullman to be timed at 110mph, but a problem was the absence of 110mph capable guard's vans. Van accomodation in those days was with Mk1 BGs - there being no Mk2-based vans. A few BGs were "upgraded" to allow 110mph, but the BFOs offered a much better solution. 110mph in a BG with B4 bogies could be a bit exciting. The whole problem went away when the DVTs brought in push-pull operations. Mk2 sets were largely (and latterly entirely) concentrated on Oxley, with the Mk3 sets based at Wembley, Longsight and Polmadie. Therefore, the Mk2 sets largely worked the Euston-Birmingham-Wolves services. There was one year (1992? 1993?) when Oxley had three MkIII sets. Each morning, one would be turned out for 1P02, the up Birmingham Pullman. Most of the Mk2 sets were DVT/3FO/RFM/5TSO, but three sets were 2FO/6TSO. These typically worked Preston services. The train at 6:31 has an RES BG in the formation as the van. My guess is that this would have been hired-in to provide a van for the Guard during one of the many WCML DVT crises. The MkIII DVTs were a poor vehicle from the word go, and suffered badly from bits dropping off and also spares shortages. I doubt if there was ever a moment when ICWC had 52 of the things operational or even complete.
  9. Pretty much spot on. There was a naive belief within Porterbrook that this could be a proper commercial transaction. In essence, D9000LL were loaned a significant sum of money to renovate 9016, and then they couldn't repay. So Porterbrook (specifically, me) repossessed the loco (as the agreement permitted). Porterbrook was then the proud owner of an incomplete loco. The subsequent engine fire at Loughborough meant the company then owned a single-engined, barely complete loco. This is what is know as a bit of a problem. One day, the whole story will get written down, but not yet. The tragedy was that D9000LL's main person (I'm sure you all know his name) was a decent man, but prone to taking poor advice; he died - relatively young - not long after this episode.
  10. Drophead buckeyes as fitted to Mk1/2/3 coaches can couple to the fixed-head Alliance coupler on the HST trailer. However, the couplers are slightly different, and this combination is prohibited in public service. An HST barrier is simply a coach with a drophead buckeye at each end; the barrier therefore runs with the drophead lowered at one end- exposing a standard drawbar which can be used with a normal loco screw coupling, and the drophead raised at the other, which can couple to the Alliance. All of this came to light in a memoreable debacle at Oxley depot in the 1990s with a trailer knocked out of a passing HST set and a series of efforts to return it to Neville Hill.
  11. As we wander into reminiscence mode, the 3 BFO 17173-5 saved the West Coast when parts started to fall off the MkIII DVTs in the early days of push-pull operation. The railway was scoured for brake vehicles, leaving the BFOs as the only half decent 110 mph capable brakes. They had a peculiar hydraulic parking brake, each different from the others. A maintenance exam on a BFO would guarantee a visit to the depot by the local Pirtek van to fix some bespoke hose or another.
  12. Arguably the biggest conversions have been the various loco-hauled MkIIIs which became HST trailers for Grand Central. The prototype HST trailers were the donors for most of the NMT coaches; they were markedly different from production trailers and a bit of a pain in the neck. It also went the other way - some HST caterers became loco hauled caterers (102xx cars). One UK HST coach (40513??) became a Snack Car for Irish Rail and nearly bankrupted the company doing the conversion.
  13. To the best of my knowledge, these narrow gauge BDs were all new to MoD depots. I wrote an article for Moseley Matters on these locos (we have loco 3756). In summary, the first batch were works numbers 3698 to 3701. Ordered in 1973 for delivery in 1974, these four locos were built to 24” gauge. They were new to the Chilmark depot in Wiltshire. In the late 1980s, all four transferred to the Eastriggs depot near Carlisle. These locos were rated at 60hp, and had a Brockhouse transmission. Visually, they are markedly smaller than the later locomotives, with a much lower bonnet line. The second batch of locos followed on. Locos 3751-56 (excluding 3754) were five 30” gauge, 60 hp locos. All went to the depot at Trecwm, in West Wales. 3751-3 were new in 1980, 3755 & 6 were new in 1981. All five went to the Dean Hill depot (near Salisbury) in 1994. 3775 and 3776 followed on in 1983, but were built to 1000mm gauge for the depot at Royal Navy depot at Milford Haven. Otherwise, they were identical to 3751-56. In 1990, these locos moved to Dean Hill for storage after Milford Haven closed. The final batch were seven more powerful locos. These had the Perkins engine pushed to 99hp, and were fitted with a Twin Disc transmission. They are visually similar to the preceding locos, except that they have three removable doors per side, whereas the earlier locos had two such doors. 3764 was new in 1983, followed by 3779 & 3780 the same year, and 3781-4 in 1984. All were built to 30” gauge and all were new to the Trecwm site.
  14. The railway certainly operated for a period using a pair of fairly modern Motor Rails, and a couple of pretty awful coaches. Annoyingly, I never went for a ride on the one time I visited and it was running. I was unaware that there was a balloon loop - presumably at the far end. Perhaps this was added after my visit, as the train was top'n'tailed and just shuttled back and forth. As said above, the locos went to Carlton Colville. The coaches ended up at Chasewater and were for sale not long ago. I don't know how long the railway last in operational condition - "not long" seems to be the consensus. The two WW1 locos were still on display in the Land Warfare hall last time I visited. The "leave to Apedale" comment is ironic; we contacted IWM about the railway, but it all foundered because the railway track is within the "airside" area of the active airfield; working to recover the track in that area fell firmely in the "all too difficult" box. I strongly suspect that is why the track remains, albeit cut-off from the main musuem.
  15. I'll add a little to this, as I knew Teddy Boston well - he's the Fat Clergyman who lands on the loco, and Wilbert Awdry distantly. It was always stated that all the stories in the books were based, to a lesser or greater extent, on real events - with the exception of this episode, which was completely fabricated. For some reason, I have a recollection that the story (of the loco found in the jungle) was inspired by Mike Satow's discovery of Rishra in India. Duke the Lost Engine was published in 1970, and Rishra returned to the UK, having been restored in India, in 1971. Therefore, news of Mike's discovery would have been current at around the time of the book's publication. Not conclusive evidence, but it fits my recollection.
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