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chrisf

Class 116 diesel multiple units

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The R.O. reported "Railair Express Parcels" unit, W51137+W86572+W86174+W51150 standing at Newton Abbot on 24th. September, 1969.

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It was believed the conversion had been carried out at Newton Abbot wagon works, and the set departed for Bristol soon after.

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The "Railair Express Parcels" service was due to commence on 6th. October, 1969 and the following diagram applied

20:55hrs Bristol Temple Meads - Hayes arr. 23:12hrs

01:55hrs Hayes - Bristol Temple Meads arr. 04:05hrs.

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The service was fed at Bristol, by workings from Swansea / Gloucester and Plymouth and similarly parcels from Heathrow airport were distributed by services radiating from Temple Meads to Plymouth, Gloucester and Swansea.

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It was claimed a parcel checked in late afternoon at Paris could be collected from Swansea High St. from 10:00hrs the following morning.

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BR (WR) saw the "Railair Express Parcels" Cl.116 very much as an experiment, hoping it would lead to a nightly, loco hauled 12 van train.

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By the 1971-1972 WTT the diagram was running as shown below;

4A71 21:45hrs Britsol Temple Meads - Hayes arr.

4B23 01:55hrs Hayes - Bristol Temple Meads arr.04:05hrs.

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One of the power cars eventually suffered fire damage and after a few months in storage at Bristol, the remaining cars were re-allocated to the London Division, where the two wired GUV vans were used with the single parcels units and other converted Cl.116 power cars.

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The letters spelling "air" were removed from the brand "Railair Express Parcels" to read "Rail Express Parcels" instead, after transfer to the London area.

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My photo below shows what was a common London area 'lash-up' at Reading during the summer of 1975. As well as the DPV, we have one of the two wired GUV vans followed by a Cl.116 Motor Second and trailled by a SR van. The gap in the lettering ( mentioned above ) on the GUV is apparent.

 

Brian R.

Would make a nice model.

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Derby Class 130 Parcels car W51137 (formerly high density "Suburban" Class 116 DMBS) on "Railair" service with GUVs W86174 & W86572 and (out of sight to the rear) DMS W51150 at Bristol Temple Meads - c.1970

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-diesels/34659605881/in/photolist-UNKxiK


BR (Derby) Class 130 Motor Parcels 2-car dmu No.W50872 & W50862 (converted respectively from a Class 116/1 Motor Second and a Class 116/2 Motor Brake Second from a 3-car suburban set) in Rail Blue with all yellow front ends and "Parcels Service" branding approaching Paddington, 08/72

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/camperdown/8602813951/

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David, many thanks for unearthing those images!  By this time BR had dmus coming out of its ears and using some of the spares as tractor units was an intelligent and pragmatic use of otherwise redundant resources.  I recall a motor second and parcels car coming into Paddington with the former's destination blind proudly proclaiming YSTRAD MYNACH.

 

In a couple of the pics can be seen the set number painted under the driver's windscreen.  It took a few attempts to come up with a region-wide system which could not only identify the class of unit but the division in which it was based.  Before then a set had to be renumbered if it was reallocated and set numbers were for many years displayed discreetly on an enamel plate measuring 9 inches by 2 inches fixed to the solebar of the power cars which could easily have bcome grubby.

 

Back in a trice with the first part of the section on Territory.

 

Chris

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Territory

 

This section seeks to examine the spheres of operation of Class 116 units when first introduced.  Changes ensued when additional units became available, whether following service reductions, additions to allocations or rediagramming.

 

  1. Tyseley

 

DMU operation was introduced during the summer timetable of 1957.  The earliest set of diagrams available is that for summer 1961 so the following list of lines operated may reflect changes subsequent to 1957:

 

Leamington Spa – Lapworth - Birmingham Moor Street/Snow Hill – Wolverhampton – Wellington, with some journeys between Wellington and Shrewsbury

 

Birmingham – Henley-in-Arden – Stratford-upon-Avon with journeys to Evesham and Honeybourne

 

Leamington to Stratford [sundays only]

 

Birmingham – Old Hill – Kidderminster, with journeys to Worcester and Malvern Wells, to Bewdley and Arley and on Sundays only to Stourport, Hampton Loade and Bridgnorth

 

Birmingham – Dudley

 

To cover the diagrams sets were stabled at the following points: Leamington (3), Stratford (4), Tyseley (7), Wolverhampton (5) and Stourbridge (6).   A drive end trailer was attached to one Tyseley set on Mondays to Fridays only.

 

It is interesting to note that in addition to extensive use of dmus there were still no fewer than 19 diagrams for steam-hauled ‘E’ sets [second, brake second, composite], which had been the mainstay of Birmingham area suburban services in the 1950s, as well as diagrams for other loco-hauled stock.

 

To follow in due course: South Wales and Bristol

 

Chris

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This is going to be one of those days.  I started typing a reply and it disappeared, so apologies in advance for any more bad language.

 

There are some matters arising with which to deal.  The first is allocation records and I thank Mike Stationmaster for his helfpful contribution.  I do not know when the Western Region started producing official lists but I found one dated June 1962 buried deep in www.railcar.co.uk, itself an invaluable resource.  Phil Bullock will be interested to learn that his beloved 50079 is shown in a July supplement to that list as moving from Cathays to Tyseley with 59351 and 50121.  That came as a surprise because I had previously supposed that those cars had not returned to Cardiff after being sent on loan to Reading during the London emergency of 1959.  The story of that will be a good read, I hope.  Caradoc mentioned 50083, orphaned after the Pontrhydyfen crash.  That celebrity was at Bristol by then.  I ought to hold fire on saying any more about that for the time being because with any luck part of its story will appear in a magazine in the not too distant future.  Sorry for the suspense!

 

Befofe the spotting-type books started to publish set formations in the 1970s we had only the Railway Observer on which to rely.   Even so, at times it was like trying to fit together pieces of a jigsaw which were all the same shape and size.  As far as allocations were concerned, these started being published properly in the RO only at the beginning of 1965.  In the two years or so before that the RO needed the space for continuing coverage of closures and we never know quite what went unrecorded. Now we have at least two books to help us with allocations.  Jim Grindlay of ModelMaster fame has published a handy A5 book in the series "British Railways Motive Power Allocations 1948-1968", volume 7 dealing with dmus.  This gives snapshots for the years 1959, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968.   Roger Harris's self-published three volume set "The allocation history of British Railways diesel multiple-units" sets out to give the allocation history and subsequent disposal of each and every dmu car.  To a considerable extent it succeeds but even Mr Harris did not spot everything.  On the other hand, he noted many moves of which I had been unaware.

 

Johnster mentions the fitting of gangways to the South Wales sets.  I did not recall this occurring as early as 1964 but if it did begin then it was done extremely slowly!  The earliest mention in print that I can find is the RO for October 1968, which listed the nine sets then equipped.  As the job was done when each set went through shops it took the best part of two years to complete.  Conductor-guard working could not be introduced until it was.  Johnster also mentioned lining.  Now my understanding is that the 116s bedecked in almost-but-not-quite-malachite were not lined until the lighter green was replaced by the darker shade.  Does anyone have a photograph to shed further light?  On the subjet of photographs, many thanks to Chris Leigh for the image of the rail blue set at Calne.  One result of dmu operation was that the days of the same set shuttling to and fro on the branch were gone: if I have read the diagrams properly up to five different serts were used on the Calne branch in one day.

 

Pteremy mentions the hybrid sets used in the West Country.  We'll get to those, I promise.  We ought also to cover the spread of dmu operations beyond its originally defined areas.  Logic dictates that we first define those areas.  Rod, meet back.

 

Finally for now, please go easy on the wish listing!

 

Chris

 

Sorry that's not a Rail blue set at Calne, it's an extremely poor enprint from some obscure long-forgotten color print film. It was a dark (-ish) green unit and unlined. The first blue DMU I saw was a Pressed Steel DTS at Windsor working with a green single-unit. I'm pretty certain the photo is on RM web somewhere. It was blue with small yellow panel and maroon buffer beam, as the WR did several units before it got the official Corporate Image guide. I have a photo - again, I think it is already on here somewhere, of two 116s side by side at Handborough, both in green but one in abnq malachite with marker lights and the other in lined dark green with two-character head code. (CJL)

Edited by dibber25

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Here is Part 2 of Territory.

 

2.      South Wales

 

2a.       Newport

 

DMU operation was introduced in the winter 1957-58 timetable, probably in November.  No copies of diagrams are available but the list of lines operated is straightforward:

 

Western Valley – Newport to Aberbeeg, Blaina and Brynmawr, with the branch from Aberbeeg to Ebbw Vale worked as a shuttle

 

Eastern Valley – Newport and Cwmbran to Blaenavon with journeys to Pontypool Road and Abergavenny

 

One return trip on Mondays to Fridays between Newport and Cardiff General, possibly used to exchange sets at Cardiff Canton where they were based. 

 

Sets were stabled at Newport Godfrey Road, Pontypool Road and Aberbeeg.  Some peak hour steam working remained until the services were withdrawn in April 1962.  There was only a token service on Sundays but apparently no regular use was made of the dmus for excursion traffic to Barry Island and. Porthcawl.

 

2b.       Cardiff Valleys

 

DMU operation was introduced in stages in the first half of 1958, the first stage taking effect on 13th January.  The list of services is as follows:

 

Barry Island - Cardiff - Pontypridd – Treherbert and Merthyr

 

Cardiff – Penarth – Cadoxton, with journeys to and from Cardiff Clarence Road

 

Barry – Llantwit Major – Bridgend, with journeys to and from Cardiff

 

Porth and Maerdy

 

Abercynon and Aberdare Low Level, with journeys to and from Cardiff and Barry Island

 

Cardiff – Caerphilly – Bargoed – Rhymney, with journeys to Fochriw and to Penarth and Barry Island

 

Caerphilly – Senghenydd, with journeys to and from Cardiff

 

Cardiff – Coryton, with journeys to and from Penarth

 

Cardiff Queen Street - Cardiff Bute Road [now called Cardiff Bay].

 

Treherbert – Neath – Swansea [only part of service]

 

The Valleys service pattern then was such that Bute Road was served by trains to and from Treherbert, Maerdy, Merthyr, Aberdare, Rhymney, Coryton and Senghenydd rather than by a shuttle service.  The exception was the peak-hour shuttle service to Maindy, a relic of pre-grouping days which served Woodville Road [Cathays] in the northbound direction only.  After the economy cuts of June 1958 one return trip remained.  Until it was finally withdrawn at the end of the summer timetable it was worked by a pair of 116s on a fill-in turn.  In common with Clarence Road, Bute Road was closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

 

Barry Island was an important source of excursion traffic, though one would not think so to see it now.  Journeys to and from this resort were timetabled on weekdays to maintain route knowledge and to complement the core service from Cardiff, Pontypridd and beyond.  There were other ‘odd’ journeys.  One that comes to mind went from Cardiff Queen Street to Aberdare Low Level, shunted to Aberdare High Level and returned to Cardiff Queen Street via the connection from Nelson and Llancaiach to Ystrad Mynach and the Rhymney line.

 

The 1958-59 carriage working programme shows that sets were stabled at the following points:  Aberdare (2), Barry (2 power twins, 9 triples), Cardiff Cathays (12), Ferndale (1) Merthyr (2), Rhymney (8) and Treherbert (9).  In addition there was still much steam working, much of which would persist into 1962.

 

Part 3 will be Bristol.  Please stand by!

 

Chris

Edited by chrisf
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Chris - I don't know if it would help (or hinder?) but it might be useful to add the locations where servicing facilities were provided although most were really only Fuel and Inspection.  However A Exams were definitely being carried out at some fuel points in 1966 and this might well have been the case from earlier years.  And a greatly neglected item from this period was the standard design of DMU fuel point created at numerous WR stabling points - mainly in former carriage sidings as opposed to loco yards or depots (Southall was an exception).

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Not a bad idea, Mike.  I don't know where they were in the Midland Division apart from Tyseley and Leamington but I might guess at Stourbridge.  Let me reflect.

 

Chris

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  And a greatly neglected item from this period was the standard design of DMU fuel point created at numerous WR stabling points - mainly in former carriage sidings as opposed to loco yards or depots (Southall was an exception).

 

Oh ! how I'd love to see a drawing or dimensioned sketch of such a structure.

.

Brian R

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Oh ! how I'd love to see a drawing or dimensioned sketch of such a structure.

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Brian R

 

As far as I know the only survivor, and incomplete the last time I saw it, is at Southall although I don't know about the one that was at Tyseley.  All the Welsh ones I know of are long gone - Godfrey Road was an early casualty although Treherbert lasted longer and I think there might have been one at Rhymney; I presume there was probably one at Cathays?  The Reading one was swept away when a new servicing shed was built on its site for the arrival of the Turbos, the Oxford one was a 'sort of version of' and wasn't constructed until the steam shed was demolished and subsequently underwent various alterations.  Westbury I know never had one as it was provided with a peculiar twin servicing sheds thing which could accommodate a 3 car set but left the middle car out in the open but there was one at Marsh Jcn (which, like Reading had a brand new separate maintenance shed) and there I belief was also one at Belmont Sidings in Plymouth which was closed following the full opening of Laira diesel depot (or possibly a bit later?).

 

As far as drawings are concerned it is possible that there might be one at Chippenham as they have a large stock of Swindon R&M/ M&EE non loco & rolling stock drawings.

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In the Cardiff Valleys the first fuelling point was at Barry Island.  Others, as Mike says, were at Treherbert, Rhymney and Cathays.  Although the Barry installation was on the Island the sets were at first stabled overnight in the black corrugated iron carriage shed which stood in the angle between the Vale of Glamorgan line and the Island branch and of which there was a commanding view from my grandparents' house in Park Avenue.  There were timetabled empty stock movements all through the night between Barry and Barry Island.

 

Between the peaks some units were stabled at Barry Island.  One curious feature of the diagrams may be of interest.  At 4.0 pm and 4.5 pm there were departures from Barry Island to Cardiff Clarence Road, via Dinas Powis and Penarth respectively.  At 3.40 pm a pair of units arrived as the 2 pm from Merthyr.  The pair was then split.  One unit formed the 4.0 pm departure.  The other coupled to a set which had been in the sidings all day and the new pair set off for Cardiff at 4.5 pm.  This is where you ask why the pair was not left intact and sent out as the 4.5 pm, leaving the 4.0 pm to be formed from the sidings.  60 years on I have no idea!

 

Chris

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A fascinating thread, thank you Chris for starting it, and others for adding to it. 

 

No drawings, alas, but this film taken around later DMU days does have some shots of the Canton fueller, near the start and again towards the end. It's a great record of the Valleys and the 116 DMUs (plus guest appearances from other DMU classes), with, of course, some class 37s interspersed.

 

 

I really must get to the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre as its only a couple miles from here; I'll add DMU fuelling shelters to the list of other things I want to enquire about

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Morning all

 

Adrian, thanks for posting the video.  IIRC it was made by Ian Walmsley, who had the unenviable job of being responsible for maintaining the Valleys 116s in their twilight years.  Nowadays he writes "Pan Up" in Modern Railways.

 

FPH603, thanks for the link to that thread.  I had forgotten all about it and in that context the similarity of my post yesterday to one I made back then is spooky.

 

Later today I hope to post the last bit of the Territory topic, covering Bristol, together with a clarification of the Tyseley instalment.  Note the use of the word 'hope' rather than 'pledge' or 'promise'!

 

Chris

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No drawings, alas, but this film taken around later DMU days does have some shots of the Canton fueller, near the start and again towards the end. It's a great record of the Valleys and the 116 DMUs (plus guest appearances from other DMU classes), with, of course, some class 37s interspersed.

 

 

The video featured was filmed by Ian Walmsley, one time manager at Canton TMD and contributor to / columnist with Modern Railways. 

.

Brian R

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Below I have laid out the make up of Cardiff Valleys sets during the 1971-1972 timetable period.

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These are from my sightings (all in the Cardiff area), and may not include all Canton allocated sets at that time (e.g. due to works visits etc.)

.

During this period, Canton started to paint set numbers, in the 3xx series on the cab fronts under the R/H window, which I have left out of the lists below.

 

50080+59030+50122 
50081+59031+50123
50082+59340+50124
50083+59509+51399 
50084+59373+50126
50086+59036+50128
50087+59037+50129 
50088+59362+50130 
50089+59039+50131
50090+50132 – as at 29/07/71
50091+59041+50133 
50834+59038+50887 
50836+59344+50889 
50839+59347+50892 
50842+59350+50895 
50843+59355+50896 
50844+59335+50897 
50845+59353+50898 
50848+59356+50901 
50851+59359+50904
50856+59364+50909
50857+59368+50910
50858+59366+50911 
50863+59371+50916
50864+59369+50917 
50866+59374+50919
50867+59375+50920 
50869+59035+50922
51132+59034+51145 
51134+59444+51147 
51135+59445+51148 
51136+59446+51149 
51138+59448+51151 
51139+59033+51152 
51140+59032+51153

 

Occasionally, the twin set of 50090+50132 would be split, in order to provide a an additional power car for the Cardiff-Crewe services, in the place of unavailable Pressed Steel Cl.121 single power cars normally allocated to the services.

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For a while they carried individual set numbers in the 1xx series.

.

Some sightings (with dates) were as follows;

 

50090+50683+59294+50735 – 23/10/71,
50090+ 50732+59298+50674 – 20/11/71,
50090+50729+59266+50660 – 28/12/71

 

50132+50647+59265+50705+55025 – 01/05/71
50132+50647+59265+50705 – 20/11/71

.

Brian R

Edited by br2975

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Thanks, Brian.  I see that 50083 brought its friends from Reading.  I had not spotted the return of the prodigal before now.  When I get a minute [pause for hollow laughter] I will check your list against my spreadsheet but at first glance some of the misformations look very familiar.  Notice no fewer than seven sets ex-Bristol too.

 

There are people who do not find this subject fascinating.  Can you believe that?

 

Chris

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There are people who do not find this subject fascinating.  Can you believe that?

 

Chris

Thats because they are boring.  :laugh:

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Thats because they are boring.  :laugh:

In other words their lives are wasted.

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Below I have laid out the make up of Cardiff Valleys sets during the 1971-1972 timetable period.

.

These are from my sightings (all in the Cardiff area), and may not include all Canton allocated sets at that time (e.g. due to works visits etc.)

.

During this period, Canton started to paint set numbers, in the 3xx series on the cab fronts under the R/H window, which I have left out of the lists below.

 

50080+59030+50122 

50081+59031+50123

50082+59340+50124

50083+59509+51399 

50084+59373+50126

50086+59036+50128

50087+59037+50129 

50088+59362+50130 

50089+59039+50131

50090+50132 – as at 29/07/71

50091+59041+50133 

50834+59038+50887 

50836+59344+50889 

50839+59347+50892 

50842+59350+50895 

50843+59355+50896 

50844+59335+50897 

50845+59353+50898 

50848+59356+50901 

50851+59359+50904

50856+59364+50909

50857+59368+50910

50858+59366+50911 

50863+59371+50916

50864+59369+50917 

50866+59374+50919

50867+59375+50920 

50869+59035+50922

51132+59034+51145 

51134+59444+51147 

51135+59445+51148 

51136+59446+51149 

51138+59448+51151 

51139+59033+51152 

51140+59032+51153

 

Occasionally, the twin set of 50090+50132 would be split, in order to provide a an additional power car for the Cardiff-Crewe services, in the place of unavailable Pressed Steel Cl.121 single power cars normally allocated to the services.

.

For a while they carried individual set numbers in the 1xx series.

.

Some sightings (with dates) were as follows;

 

50090+50683+59294+50735 – 23/10/71,

50090+ 50732+59298+50674 – 20/11/71,

50090+50729+59266+50660 – 28/12/71

 

50132+50647+59265+50705+55025 – 01/05/71

50132+50647+59265+50705 – 20/11/71

.

Brian R

 

 

 

Thanks for those set combinations. My first visit to Cardiff where I actually bothered with DMU car numbers was on 9th Oct 1976. 

 

I am somewhat amazed to discover that some sets were still in order 5 years later. 

 

50080+59030+50122

50084+59373+50126

51132+59034+51145

50895+59350+50842

51134+59444+51147

50129+59037+50087

51148+59445+51135

50130+59362+50088

 

were all seen that day. 

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Thanks for those set combinations. My first visit to Cardiff where I actually bothered with DMU car numbers was on 9th Oct 1976. 

 

I am somewhat amazed to discover that some sets were still in order 5 years later. 

 

snipped

 

The Western. Region generally tried to keep DMU vehicles in their sets (although perhaps Tyseley was not so clever as elsewhere?) and the Lon Division generally made considerable efforts to get vehicles back into the proper set if they were taken out for any reason and I'm sure Cardiff was much the same.  The reason for this was that it simplified making sure that power cars received their larger exams (B and upwards) at consistent intervals and obviously this became more difficult if power cars dodged about between sets.

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Thanks, Brian.  I see that 50083 brought its friends from Reading.  I had not spotted the return of the prodigal before now.  When I get a minute [pause for hollow laughter] I will check your list against my spreadsheet but at first glance some of the misformations look very familiar.  Notice no fewer than seven sets ex-Bristol too.

 

There are people who do not find this subject fascinating.  Can you believe that?

 

Chris

 

But the great thing about having an interest in DMUs is that it makes you different and unusual. I was once 'rollicked' by A.B. McLeod (the IA librarian) for my inability to recognise a Macintosh chimney on some Scottish steam loco, but he gave me all the DMU picture filing to do "because they all look the same." I refrained from saying 'seen one chimney, you've seen 'em all!" I shall now trawl my files to see if I've any 116 photos that I haven't already posted on RMweb. (CJL)

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