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Class 101 DMUs in Cornwall in early 1970s


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Does anyone know the history of the Class 101 DMUs operating in Cornwall and Devon in the early 1970s?

 

I have seen a few photos of P800, P801, and P803 at various places in Devon and Cornwall between 1972 and 1974. How long did they last at Laira for? It would appear only a year to 18-months or so before they were re-shedded. Why such a short life in the West Country and why were they needed in the first place?

 

They all seem to have been in Blue/Grey by this time and all with headcode box - none seem to have been in all Blue.

 

I know some came back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in Network Southeast colours.

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According to the allocation history book, these sets came to Laira in May 1974 then all moved to Bristol in May 1975. 

 

Presumably the WR needed some extra DMU sets at that time, despite having been losing Class 116 units from their fleet. Note that the 116s were not fitted with lavatories (unless a lav fitted centre trailer had been substituted) whereas the 101s obviously did have lavs. 

 

Prior to 1974, the WR DMU fleet comprised of either long frame suburban types (116, 117, 118, 121, 122), more luxurious Cross Country types (119 and 120), Inter City Class 123s and Parcels types (128, 130). There was a small fleet of Park Royal Class 103s transferred from LMR, but these were a bit of an anomaly where the suburban and Cross Country types were three car sets with two power cars. 

 

The "new" 101s were seemingly regarded as the equivalent of the more luxurious Class 119 and 120 fleets, and so were worthy of the Blue/Grey livery. Later in the 1970s, further 101s arrived and some of these sets ran in plain blue.

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The 1974 Ian Allan Locoshed shows 4 sets allocated to LA, though only 2 trailer cars(?) so 2 x 3-car, and 2 x 2-car?

I did make some re-allocation notes that year.

During 1974 51577/78/79/86/87/88 and 59580/83 went away to Cardiff leaving 51575 and 51584.

Though during the year 51515/17/21/22/23 59546/47/49/50 came south from Hamilton as replacement,

though these were all at Bristol by the time the 1976 book was issued, having been replaced by other 101s.

 

As a spotter at the time, and regular commuter into Bristol from 1977, I had not realised there were so many class 101s on the WR. Were the Laira sets mostly working in the far west as I can't remember them when I visited Exeter?

 

cheers

 

cheers 

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I used to “spot” at Moor Lane overbridge in Worle, Weston-super-Mare and I remember the clamour when a Class 101 set suddenly appeared.  It must have been about 1975ish as I think the same summer, the prototype HST appeared.

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16 hours ago, Jeremy C said:

There was another thread about these units recently:

 


I dusted off the cobwebs of my memory and I think the first ones that arrived on the western region were either all over blue or in refurbished reverse blue and white.  I don’t think they were repainted into standard blue and grey until the late 70’s/early 80’s.

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45 minutes ago, jools1959 said:


I dusted off the cobwebs of my memory and I think the first ones that arrived on the western region were either all over blue or in refurbished reverse blue and white.  I don’t think they were repainted into standard blue and grey until the late 70’s/early 80’s.

 

Not so - P800/1 went into WR service in plain blue and P802-4 went through Swindon Works first where their low-density seating saw them classified as cross-country and they emerged in blue/grey, as per Classes 119/120. My photo of P803 approaching St Blazey on the Newquay branch was taken in August 1974 (I also have a shot of P800 in the Falmouth branch bay at Truro but it's head-on from the 'Black Bridge' so it's all-blue livery isn't visible).

 

Please refer to the other thread earlier this month, it's all explained there! :)

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On 22/11/2020 at 18:42, EddieK said:

The "new" 101s were seemingly regarded as the equivalent of the more luxurious Class 119 and 120 fleets, and so were worthy of the Blue/Grey livery. Later in the 1970s, further 101s arrived and some of these sets ran in plain blue.

 

The 101s were hardly a match for the 119s and 120s in terms of luxury, although that is a misnomer in my view when talking about DMUs. They were still 3+2 seating in common with the suburban units, so i presume the "excuse" was their fewer doors and more panoramic windows!

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Early 80s

 

WF Window frame

DB Destination box

 

B800 Blue Grey then PTE WF painted DB Yellow

B801 PTE (2 panel thing on cab front)

B802 B+G (Orange line across rain strip top of cab)

B803

B804 B+G

B805 B+G

B806 Blue then B+G WF Painted with rubbers showing DB plated

B811 Blue WF Blue DB Inuse then yellow (B+G 1985)

B812 Blue WF Chromed, DB Black background

B813 Blue WF Blue DB Clear

 

B820 B+G DB In use

B821 B then B+G

B822 Blue WF Chrome DB Black

B823

Edited by MJI
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3 hours ago, Neil Phillips said:

 

Not so - P800/1 went into WR service in plain blue and P802-4 went through Swindon Works first where their low-density seating saw them classified as cross-country and they emerged in blue/grey, as per Classes 119/120. My photo of P803 approaching St Blazey on the Newquay branch was taken in August 1974 (I also have a shot of P800 in the Falmouth branch bay at Truro but it's head-on from the 'Black Bridge' so it's all-blue livery isn't visible).

 

Please refer to the other thread earlier this month, it's all explained there! :)


I did say “I thought” which implies that the ones I remembered were either all blue or refurbished white and blue :nono:

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I had the dubious pleasure of travelling on one of these in the late 70s one Sunday morning, from Bristol to Weymouth in the height of summer. The train was full to standing capacity of day trippers - many of which were families with young children. I recall thinking this would have been a little nicer if a class 119 or 120!! But felt pleased it wasn't a class 116, which may have been a possibility travelling to other sea side resorts such as the Cambrian Coast! I think it was blue and grey.

Edited by MidlandRed
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4 hours ago, jools1959 said:


I did say “I thought” which implies that the ones I remembered were either all blue or refurbished white and blue :nono:

 

Hmm, not sure my comment deserved a grumpy face/waggy finger response, but.....anyway, your mention of these units in white/blue reminded me that three of these five sets made return visits to Cornwall on 30/4/77 & 6/5/78, working specials to Wadebridge. These short-frame units may have been brought down from Bristol on both occasions as they were considered better suited to the curvature of the branch lines they would be traversing than the local long-frame units, although in the 1960s Class 122 bubble cars made it to such places so maybe not. Unless gangway stretch was the issue........

 

The first one employed B800 +  B802, both in blue/grey livery, and B802 at least had lost its headcode panels by then (B800 probably hadn't). This train also visited a selection of Cornish China Clay branches.

 

The second one employed B800 + B803, but by this time B800 was in white/blue livery (rarely seen in Cornwall) with B803 still in blue/grey - both without headcode panels. The special was due to make two return visits to Wadebridge from Plymouth but the near ex-works white B800 disgraced itself on the first return trip and found itself dumped at Boscarne Junction (from where it was later rescued by a Class 50). All participants got crammed into B803 for the run back to Plymouth where a Class 120 set C558 was tagged on for the second run. Presumably its gangways survived the reverse curves around Grogley Halt!

 

Info from the Cornwall Railway Society website, where photos can be found in the Railtours section.

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