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Class 116 diesel multiple units


chrisf
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Isn't that domed head code box indicative of a 118? separately - I have a quite vivid memory of a unit which had the 'ATC clip-up gear' stencil on the cab end, not the buffer beam, and I thought it odd at the time. (CJL)

Hi Chris

 

Didn't a few 118s in the early days start their service at Reading so would/could have been fitted with the ATC clip-up gear and trip cock.

 

Or is it as 117 with a domed headcode box.

 

Mike we need to know the coach number. :rtfm:

Edited by Clive Mortimore
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Morning all

 

118s at Reading - there were six spare trailers because the Laira allocation was nine 3 car sets and four power twins.  Two power twins went to Bristol circa August 1960 for the Clevedon branch.  Three of the spare trailers were handily marshalled between the last three power twins of the 117 order.  When the Bristol power twins were replaced by single power cars and the almost inevitable 50083+56292, they too went to Reading and were reunited with their trailers.  This leaves one, 59481, which came to be marshalled between 51128 and 51141 which moved from Bristol to Reading.  I can't be certain of dates other than the dieselisation of the Clevedon branch because there are conflicting records.  Rest assured that we shall meet 51128+51141 again on this thread.

 

As for the domed headcode box, we need someone who knows the score 'cos I don't!

 

Chris

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Isn't that domed head code box indicative of a 118? separately - I have a quite vivid memory of a unit which had the 'ATC clip-up gear' stencil on the cab end, not the buffer beam, and I thought it odd at the time. (CJL)

 

Well, it is - but the first 118s were taken into stock in the four weeks ending 23rd April 1960 and their movements in the West Country are pretty well recorded.  As far as I am aware the earliest published photograph of a 117 may be found in TI for May 1960.  It is difficult to tell given the shining white cab roof/headcode box but there may well be a dome over the headcode box.

 

post-6699-0-99669100-1523968162_thumb.jpg

 

Photo by L Harper

 

Chris

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Well, it is - but the first 118s were taken into stock in the four weeks ending 23rd April 1960 and their movements in the West Country are pretty well recorded.  As far as I am aware the earliest published photograph of a 117 may be found in TI for May 1960.  It is difficult to tell given the shining white cab roof/headcode box but there may well be a dome over the headcode box.

 

attachicon.gifScan_20180417.jpg

 

Photo by L Harper

 

Chris

It looks like a dome to me.

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The same photo (that is the one with head code 0B00) appears on page 76 of Kevin Robertson's 'First generation DMUs' where the leading vehicle is identified as W51332. The head code box clearly does have a dome. The caption says 'the date is likely to be at the end of 1959 when this, the first of the TOPS class 117 units, was delivered. 

 

Interestingly the photo below that is W51374 at Southampton on 8/5/61. It too has a clearly domed box attached by rivets.

 

The third picture on the page, alas with no number, and two on page 77, are of 117s with straight topped boxes (one of which is W51349). 

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There does seem to be photographic evidence that some (presumably) early 117s did have domed headcode boxes. If they were bolted on as a separate fitment, could it be that they were made elsewhere (perhaps by a BR works?) with the new standard blinds and mechanisms pre-fitted and that the flat top was a later change only sent to Pressed Steel which fitted them to the 117s? I'm probably talking nonsense but there should be an explanation somewhere.

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I have, of course,committed a mortal sin in scanning a photo from a magazine.  Do not use me as a role model.

 

Brushman, I like that idea.  It would not surprise me if Pressed Steel needed all the help they could get given the lateness of the deliveries.  Pteremy, I don't thnk I have the Kevin Robertson book you mention so thanks for the heads-up.

 

It is now high time that we returned to Class 116!  I promised a list of sets borrowed from Bristol, Cardiff and Tyseley.  What follows is collated from issues of Railway Observer between January and May 1960 and does not claim to be complete.

 

From RO, January 1960:  The following were noted on outer suburban services between Paddington, Reading and Oxford during week ending 19th December:

 

51130+59440+51143 [bL302]

50833+59341+50886 [CAT317]

50827+59367+50880 [RDG300, ex CAT314]

50841+59349+50894 [RDG301, ex CAT325]

50079+59351+50121 [RDG303, ex CAT300]

50837+59358+50890 [CAT 327]

 

From RO February 1960: Additional triple diesel sets on loan to the Paddington suburban area include:

 

50064+59008+50109 [TYS324]

50831+59339+50884 [CAT301]

50838+59346+50891 [CAT322]

 

RO April 1960 records the loan of  50071+59019+50102 [TYS319]

After that it starts to go quiet.  The return of sets CAT 322, 325 and 327 to Cardiff are recorded in the May RO but nothing is said about the entry into service of class 117.  CAT301 and CAT327 appear to have gone from Reading to Tyseley without returning to Cardiff.  BL302 would be sent on loan to Tyseley between January and March 1961, later to be transferred there permanently, but let us try not to get ahead of ourselves.

 

It should not be forgotten that Cross-Country sets played a key part in the Paddington emergency.  In addition to borrowed sets working diagrams from Reading and possibly Southall, a regular diagram was introduced for a pair of Tyseley based sets on a return working between Paddington and Birmingham via Oxford, going to their home depot for fuel and inspection at midday.  This working continued well after the end of the emergency but during it the sets were also deployed on the 8.33 pm all stations Paddington - Reading and 10.16 pm back.  Desperation?  Surely not!

 

The last word on the emergency, unless you know any different, is to record one of the steps taken to cover for dmus sent to Paddington on loan.  Cathays received 22 Derby Lightweight cars, a mixture of vehicles from two- and four-car sets loaned from South Gosforth.  It is reported that they had gone home by April 1960.

 

Now to work out how the story continues... 

 

Chris 

Edited by chrisf
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The very first 117s did have more of a pronounced curved dome to the top of the headcode box. A look at the Railcar Association image library has found 51332-35 so-fitted and presumably their partner power cars.

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So the old theory - particularly quoted in relation to the Lima model - that a domed head code box denoted a 118, is wrong. Without wishing to divert this fascinating thread for too long, I have, from time to time noticed a variation in the relative 'domed-ness' of Class 121s. Some seemed to have more domed head code boxes than others. I always assumed it was an optical illusion. Perhaps it was merely that Pressed Steel had more than one tool for making these. Or were they hand-beaten, in which case, of course no two would be the same. (CJL)

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I don't think so - the rule seems to hold up in the vast majority of photographs I have looked at - more likely that for some reason just the first few built are different? (Perhaps they built them with 116 cabs before the instruction that a different style was needed?) 

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I don't think so - the rule seems to hold up in the vast majority of photographs I have looked at - more likely that for some reason just the first few built are different? (Perhaps they built them with 116 cabs before the instruction that a different style was needed?) 

According to the Railcar website, the 117s and 118s were effectively identical, ordered against the same vehicle diagrams, a development of the 116 but with the 4 digit headcodes in vogue at that time. For whatever reason, the entire order did not go to Pressed Steel, hence the 15 vehicles of each type from BRCW. As the domes are fibreglass, perhaps they were bought in items. It will possibly remain one of life's mysteries as to why the first four 117 sets had the more domed headcode shape...

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Helping, I hope, with a loose end from post 197:

 

"A photograph is known to exist of the GW twin railcar set on the Uxbridge branch in 1960.  The search for it continues.  Not tonight though ..."

 

Visiting my local history library at Uxbridge a few years ago, I saw the picture of the GW twin and I have a copy of it with me.  It is library reference 'UXTP R16' but it is originally a clipping from a magazine, I expect, photographer M. Pope.  Specific facts in the caption are:  "... ex-GWR twinset Nos W33 and W38 ... leaves Uxbridge on 24 September 1960."

 

By way of irrelevant background explanation for coming up with the above, I'm perennially researching for a model of Uxbridge Vine Street in N [now probably will be a retirement project] so all sorts of material could be of interest, including this thread - many thanks to CF and all.  In all the pictures I've encountered of Uxbridge-related DMU operations [and I'm not an expert at main line stock recognition], there have been only GWR/ex-GWR vehicles and the Pressed Steel single car and 3-car stock, and the Diesel Parcels vehicles.  I'm old enough to have seen a real one of the latter in the post-passenger Vine Street station somewhere around 1964, when my mother took me down to the rather forlorn station at the end of a shopping trip - we were able to walk straight in through the entrance and take a look around the platform.

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Thanks, Engineer.  I have spent much of this evening trying to find the magazine in which the photo appeared and have got as far as December 1962 but to no avail.  I have probably reached the stage of not being able to see for looking.  During the summer 1960 timetable the GWR twin was booked on a Slough - Reading - Newbury diagram, with an evening trip to Savernake, so what it was doing on an Uxbridge diagram is anybody's guess - bowing out in style, perhaps.

 

Have you thought of starting a thread on your project?  It is amazing what can come out of the woodwork and just how much is known by members of this illustrious forum!

 

Chris

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Helping, I hope, with a loose end from post 197:

 

"A photograph is known to exist of the GW twin railcar set on the Uxbridge branch in 1960.  The search for it continues.  Not tonight though ..."

 

Visiting my local history library at Uxbridge a few years ago, I saw the picture of the GW twin and I have a copy of it with me.  It is library reference 'UXTP R16' but it is originally a clipping from a magazine, I expect, photographer M. Pope.  Specific facts in the caption are:  "... ex-GWR twinset Nos W33 and W38 ... leaves Uxbridge on 24 September 1960."

 

By way of irrelevant background explanation for coming up with the above, I'm perennially researching for a model of Uxbridge Vine Street in N [now probably will be a retirement project] so all sorts of material could be of interest, including this thread - many thanks to CF and all.  In all the pictures I've encountered of Uxbridge-related DMU operations [and I'm not an expert at main line stock recognition], there have been only GWR/ex-GWR vehicles and the Pressed Steel single car and 3-car stock, and the Diesel Parcels vehicles.  I'm old enough to have seen a real one of the latter in the post-passenger Vine Street station somewhere around 1964, when my mother took me down to the rather forlorn station at the end of a shopping trip - we were able to walk straight in through the entrance and take a look around the platform.

 

Not much help in your quest - and completely off topic - my trainspotting log for 10 August 1962 shows 2-6-2T No. 6135 on a three-vehicle parcels train to Uxbridge VS. (CJL)

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Referring swiftly to posts 214 and 215, and aiming to close with thanks and allow the proper topic to resume unhindered:

 

Many thanks to CJL for the additional off-topic information on one of the less-covered features of the branch.  

 

I'm very grateful also to CF for the positive response.  Who knows what the future holds - I'll certainly learn from the rich pickings and wisdom here.  Must admit threads seem to me more like scary and fast-moving anacondas, so I continue for now on the safe fringes, gleaning from RMWeb and all the other sources that surface, and occasionally posting a picture or something factual and helpful from my own narrow areas of expertise.  I am about a decade in with the research, and just a few practical results stored away - some experimental boards for the layout [12' + FY with negligible compression], a signalling design and a train movements and stock analysis.  Life and work stand in the way of anything more. 

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According to the Railcar website, the 117s and 118s were effectively identical, ordered against the same vehicle diagrams, a development of the 116 but with the 4 digit headcodes in vogue at that time. For whatever reason, the entire order did not go to Pressed Steel, hence the 15 vehicles of each type from BRCW. As the domes are fibreglass, perhaps they were bought in items. It will possibly remain one of life's mysteries as to why the first four 117 sets had the more domed headcode shape...

 

Railcar have it essentially right, but the 117/8s were more than just a development of the 116, as they were provided with a lavatory for outer suburban work from Paddinton out as far as Oxford envisaged.  First Class accommodation was more extensive as well, perhaps a reflection of the clientele...

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Pteremy, I don't thnk I have the Kevin Robertson book you mention so thanks for the heads-up.

 

I spoke too soon.  There it was, neatly (?) filed among my other dmu books.   When I opened it I recalled at once that the author had trouble telling the difference between Classes 120 and 126.  I'm puzzled that the photo of the first 117 is credited to P J Sharpe in the book and L Harper in the magazine but feel sure that there is a perfectly simple explanation.

 

Elsewhere in the book s a photo by Ben Ashworth of a five car 116 formation heading for Yeovil Pen Mill in 1963.  The power twin furthest from the camera is in lined dark green and the triplet nearest the lens is in unlined light green.  That's fair enough, but the puzzle is that the triplet's motor second is from the first batch, complete with four marker lights.  I can find no record of one of these on Bristol's allocation.  Ho hum, there are more important things in the world.

 

Chris

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I secured a copy of this print from a well known, online auction site.

.

The photographer is unknown, the image is undated, but it the location is Rhymney, I would hazard a guess at pre 1965-1966, but stand to be corrected.

.

The power car directly below the photographer is W50857.

.

However, what interests me, are the numerals stuck to the window alongside the leading seating bay in each of the power cars.

.

That in W50857 apears to be '267' .

.

I suspect that may tie in with a 'daigram' number, as the Cardiff Valleys suburban diagrams at that time were numbered in the "2xx" series upwards.

.

Note the solitary 'Siphon G' - probably a newspaper van enjoying a lay over - having arrived as a tail load from Paddington, via Cardiff on the 'ungodly o'clock' first up train.

 

"Thrown open to the floor !"

.

Brian R

post-1599-0-24128300-1524074745_thumb.jpg

Edited by br2975
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Z27, perhaps, an excursion?  The trees are in full leaf so I'm thinking Barry Island rather than Bristol Zoo.  Could be late 50s/early 60s; the white cab roofs are still clean and the sets are in unlined green, probably the earlier, lighter, version though that in itself does not preclude your date assessment.  No shadows, as the day is dull and overcast (this is South Wales after all), so difficult to asses time of day but I would venture an arrival at the end of the day's outing.  Nobody is around; they've all gone home.

 

More good stuff, Brian; keep 'em coming!

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(steps on to the floor)

 

It was the practice in the Cardiff Valleys before the dmus came to affix paper numbers to each set on Sundays and Bank Holidays to help identify workings at busy times.  I have a weekly notice for 23rd -  29th July 1954, from which I quote:

 

"Trains must be numbered with paper labels on quarter lights, both sides of front and rear coaches as shewn below.  Station Masters at starting points of each particular set to ensure that this instruction is carried out.  Number labels may be obtained on application to this office [that of the District Operating Superintendent, at that time Mr D M Turnbull].  All sets to be made up to maximum engine load."  The train numbers appeared in the weekly notice and/or WTT and there was a conversion table in the weekly notice.  Example: Set 207 [Aberdare] to be labelled No. 19.  Where amended and addditional coach working applied, both references were given, eg Set 238 (Train No.10).

 

Over the years the system evolved.  Using train as well as set numbers certainly lasted into the dmu era.  I suppose that one day someone asked why two numbers were needed and just set numbers, as in diagrams not units, were used.  As it happens, I also have the weekly notice for 26th August - 1st September 1966.  At this time sets on Rhymney diagrams were numbered 250 - 256 so the pic may not date from 1966.  It could be a Z instead of a 2.

 

As for Clifton Down monkey specials, on Monday 29th August 1966 there were three.  Swansea - Clifton Down was 1Z63, Merthyr - Clifton Down was 1Z60 and Bridgend - Cliffton Down was 1Z61.  All were formed of eight seconds flanked by two brake seconds.  By this time there were not enough dmus in the Valleys to send them gadding off on such errands.  Indeed, it was necessary to augment the supply of units by three sets of six coaches each hauled by a diesel locomotive and given the numbers 700/1/2.  700 and 701 were used on the Merthyr line, 702 on the Rhymney.

 

Thanks for posting the pic, Brian.  So much for an early night.

 

Chris 

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I secured a copy of this print from a well known, online auction site.

.

The photographer is unknown, the image is undated, but it the location is Rhymney, I would hazard a guess at pre 1965-1966, but stand to be corrected.

.

The power car directly below the photographer is W50857.

.

However, what interests me, are the numerals stuck to the window alongside the leading seating bay in each of the power cars.

.

That in W50857 apears to be '267' .

.

I suspect that may tie in with a 'daigram' number, as the Cardiff Valleys suburban diagrams at that time were numbered in the "2xx" series upwards.

.

Note the solitary 'Siphon G' - probably a newspaper van enjoying a lay over - having arrived as a tail load from Paddington, via Cardiff on the 'ungodly o'clock' first up train.

 

"Thrown open to the floor !"

.

Brian R

On Robert Carrolls British Railways Loco-hauled coaching yahoo group in the fies section is the WR 1958-9 Winter Cardiff Valleys  diagrams  There is a note in there  about paper numbers in carriage windows.post-429-0-44520800-1524090266.jpg

 

Diagram  on a Sunday 267 is

post-429-0-32561800-1524090282.jpgpost-429-0-32561800-1524090282.jpg

 

Steve

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You got there first, doodaa.   I should have looked at that document, particularly as I am the source of it!

 

Chris

Thanks for supplying it spent several hour studying it, little early for what I need.  ..1981 or 1985 dmu diagrams for Cardiff Valleys, but still very interesting

 

Steve

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Thanks for supplying it spent several hour studying it, little early for what I need.  ..1981 or 1985 dmu diagrams for Cardiff Valleys, but still very interesting

 

Steve

 

Steve

 

You will have found by now that what official documents have survived is down to pure luck.  I bought the 1958-59 book at Didcot for surprisingly little money a long time ago.  I also have the workings for June 1966 until further notice, which I rescued from a dustbin on Cardiff General station!  It is a massive wodge of roneoed foolscap sheets, contrasting with the neatly typeset booklet of the 1958-59 workings.

 

It is fair to say that there are aspects of diagramming which baffle me but you may well find that the objective of successive revisions is to screw the maximum utilisation from the fleet.  The amount of spare time in the 1958-59 workings is a luxury!  As years went by a set would be found to cover this working and that: ECS workings to and from Cardiff to run the trips up to Fochriw and Dowlais Top were deemed acceptable, for instance.  Occasionally it would go a bit too far.  In the summer of 1961 Set 215 off Barry reverted to steam, seemingly to provide two units for other workings.

 

Chris 

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