London Underground B Stock

B Stock was built in 1905 for the electrification of the District Railway's Ealing/Hounslow - Whitechapel line and the branches to High Street Kensington and South Acton [1]. Working to a common design, four hundred and twenty driving cars and trailers were built by a number of manufacturers. Of each seven car set three cars were powered (400hp each) [2].
District Railway B Stock train [2]

Number built: 420 (60 7-car sets)
Built: 1905
Builder: Brush Traction, Metropolitan Amalgamated,
Les Ateliers de Construction du Nord de la France
Motor: GE69 electric motors (DC fourth rail)
Power: 1, 200 hp (895 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor (DM) + Trailer (T) + T +
Middle Motor (MM) + T + T + DM

As built the B Stock had compressed air operated doors under the control of a single gateman, pioneering the use of air doors on the London Underground. However these doors proved unsuccessful in use, one problem being there was no detection system to make sure the doors had closed properly other than the gateman's eyeballs! The door edges were copper lined not rubber and the District Railway was soon getting a bad press due to the number of injuries and torn clothing of passengers. The District Railway reverted back to manual doors in 1908.

The cars were made from wood with steel underframes with General Electric motors and BTH type M controllers [3]. The so-called Motor Middle cars had driving cabs at each end to allow the trains to be reduced in size during quiet periods, some were also used as single cars on branch shuttles. The trains had a mixture of first and third class accommodation.

Some trailers were scrapped in the early 1920s due to their poor condition [4]. Some remaining B Stock trains were later reconditioned and redesignated H Stock trains, these remained in service until 1946. The final few B Stock cars remained in departmental use until 1950 before being scrapped.
Side view of B Stock car [5]

Interior [5]

B Stock car on delivery [5]

[1] Brian Hardy, Underground Train File: Surface Stock 1933-1959 (Capital Transport, 2002) p. 24 
[2] "Electrification of the District Railway", Practical Engineer (October 6 1905) p. 551 
[3] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood Press, 2015) p. 43
[4] Hardy p. 26
[5] S.B. Fortenbaugh, "The Electrification of the London Underground Electric Railway Company System", Street Railway Journal (Vol. XXV No. 9, March 4 1905) p. 388

Class 86 (BR Doncaster / English Electric AL6)

The Class 86 AL6 was the production class of AC electrics built for the West Coast Main Line following on from the pilot-scheme AL1-5 (Classes 81 to 85). The AL6 took advantage of experience gained from the earlier locomotives including fitting only one pantograph and with changes to equipment. The AL6 is very similar to the Class 85 AL5 except for the stub nose cab ends.
Freightliner 86 609 and friend pass through Stafford

Number built: 100
Built: 1965-66
Builder: BR Doncaster / English Electric
Engine: 4 AEI 282AZ or GEC G412AZ (86/1) traction motors (25kV AC OHLE) 
Power: (86/0) 5, 900 hp (4, 400 kW) max output
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The AL6 was designed for mixed traffic including travelling up to 100mp/h with WCML expresses. Unfortunately this caused some problems with the original axle-hung traction motors with troublesome riding qualities and damage caused to the track and to bogies. Following research at BR Derby  a "flexicoil" suspension system was adopted for fifty eight of the class which were designated Class 86/2 [1]. Another early sub-class was the 86/1, a trio rebuilt to help develop the follow-on Class 87 and able to reach 110mp/h [2][3].

A later sub-class was the 86/3 which were fitted with SAB resilient wheels and with equipment for multiple-working. The Class 86/4 were fitted with flexicoil suspension and SAB wheels for mixed-traffic. The 86/5 was a trial locomotive to test ways of improving performance on heavy freights. The 86/6 are a sub-class used on Freightliner trains, finally the 86/9s were a couple of locomotives used as load banks by Network Rail.

Despite their advancing years the Class 86 can still be regularly seen on the network, mostly hauling Freightliner trains though also on some passenger charters (86 259 as shown below has been returned to it's original Electric Blue livery [4]). Some have also been exported to Eastern Europe.
Freightliner 86 613 and friend pass through Stafford

86 259 heads through Stafford with a railtour

Class 86 in British Rail days (KD Collection)

86 259 at Tyseley

[1] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 64
[2] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives in Colour (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 25
[3] Pip Dunn, British Rail Main Line Locomotives Specification Guide (Crowood Press, 2013) p. 161
[4] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 155

Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Company

The Dudley, Stourbridge and District Electric Traction Company was a 1,067mm gauge tramway which operated electric trams between 1899 and 1930. The company ran services from Dudley and Stourbridge with branches to destinations like Cradley Heath and Lye. The company was the successor to the Dudley and Stourbridge Steam Tramways Company which had operated since 1883 before being taken over by British Electric Traction (BET). BET bought up a number of smaller networks and agreed with local authorities to operate the services as long as they could own the lines for a period to recoup their investment.
Tram at Castle Hill, Dudley [1]

Information for 19-25 Class
Number built: 7
Built: 1900
Builder: Dick, Kerr & Company

Following the takeover (and rename), the tram network was converted to electric traction with a number of extensions opening in the early 1900s. The Kinver Light Railway was also purchased and taken over in 1902. The system was managed, along with other Midlands tram networks, after 1904 by the Birmingham and Midlands Joint Tramways Committee set up by BET [2]. The combined network stretching for over a hundred kilometres.

The network began to be run down and closed in the mid-1920s as leases from local authorities expired. The tram routes were taken over by buses. The final closure was in 1930.

The company operated single decker trams, early trams being built by Dick, Kerr & Company of Preston and were typical products of the early 1900s with a Lord Baltimore style truck [3]. Later trams being built by the Birmingham & Midlands Tramways Joint Committee. Four tram cars have survived in various states of preservation.

[1] Arthur Beavan, Tube, Train, Tram & Car (Routledge, 1903) p. 181
[2] Charles Knapper, The Golden Age of Tramways (David & Charles, 1974) p. 146
[3] R.W. Bush, British Electric Tramcar Design 1885-1950 (Oxford Publishing, 1976) p. 29

Metrolink M5000

Operating since 1992, Manchester's Metrolink is a fast growing light rail network and is now the largest tramway network in the UK [1]. Since 2014 it has been operating exclusively the M5000 tram [2], part of Bombardier's Flexity Swift family. Croydon Tramlink also operates the CR4000 in the Flexity Swift family.
3094 prepares for the off

The first M5000s were ordered in 2007 with a service entry at the end of 2009. Further orders followed which allowed for the replacement of the original T-68 tram and for expansion of the Metrolink service. Now there are one hundred and twenty in service with a further twenty seven ordered in 2018, for delivery in the early 2020s, to allow for an increase in service frequency and a gradually expanding network.

Number built: 120 (+27 on order)
Built: 2009-
Builder: Bombardier, Vossloh Kiepe
Motor: 4 Vossloh Kiepe 3-phase asynchronous traction motors (750v DC OHLE)
Power: 480 hp (644 kW)

The M5000s are articulated units based on the K5000 trams used in Bonn and Cologne. They have either fifty two or sixty seats depending on the batch, with standing they can hold nearly one hundred and fifty passengers. They operate on their own or as pairs. They are able to operate in longer formations than pairs but this causes problems with platform lengths and signalling so is only done in the event of a breakdown.

The first sixty M5000s are fitted with automatic stop equipment and can be used anywhere on the network, the second batch of sixty does not have this equipment and are restricted as to the routes they can operate on [3].
All aboard

Front on view of 3114

3094 at Deansgate Chesterfield stop

3054 in the city centre

3010 and friend connected

[1] Robin Prichard & Alan Yearsley, UK Metro & Light Rail Systems (Platform 5, 2019) p. 120
[2] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), Light Rail (Key Publishing, 2018) p. 41
[3] Prichard & Yearsley, p. 124

Plymouth Locomotive Works 4wDM Diesel Shunters

The Plymouth Locomotive Works first began building gasoline fuelled locomotives in 1912 based on the road vehicles they had been building (as the Plymouth Truck Company) since 1909. The early locomotives which had friction drives and were sold under the J.D. Fate name [1].

In the early 1920s the first diesel locomotive was built and the company moved fully to building industrial locomotives (selling the automobile side of the business to Chrysler in 1928). The company went on to build thousands of small diesel shunters (or switchers to use the US term) for industrial and small yard use in the US and around the world until the late 1990s.
Plymouth 5800 at the Statfold Barn Railway

Number built: Over 7, 500
Built: 1912-1997
Builder: Plymouth Locomotive Works
Motor: (J Series example) Caterpillar D326 diesel
Power: (Typical) 185 hp (198 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 4wDM

Most locomotives were under 25 US tons (22.6 metric tons) and were offered with a variety of powerplants including Caterpillar, Cummins and Hercules diesel engines. Over one thousand and seven hundred are thought to be still in use.

Five are preserved in the UK [2], three of them at the Statfold Barn Railway. One example is Plymouth 5800 which was built in 1954 and worked at St Marys Cement Company in Ohio, USA working on a 914mm gauge system. It was converted to 610mm gauge when bought across to the UK.
Playmouth 1891 is an early example, it has a Caterpillar D315 engine

Plymouth 6137 is also at the Statfold Barn Railway with 5800 and 1891

Side view of 5800

Another view of 6137

1891 seen at the Statfold Barn Railway

[1] Plymouth Locomotive Works, American Industrial Mining Company Museum <>
[2] Industrial Railway Society, Industrial Locomotives Handbook 18th Edition (Industrial Railway Society, 2019) p. 381

Class 56 (BR/Brush 3,250hp Type 5 Diesel-Electric)

In the wake of the early 1970s oil crisis British Rail had a need for a new generation of Type 5 diesel locomotives (rated for over 3, 000 hp) for what was expected to be a much greater demand for heavy coal haulage. The Class 56 was the first of these new locomotives and when the first arrived in 1976 it was the new class of diesel locomotive for nearly a decade [1].

It was based on the successful Class 47 but with a more powerful engine (a development of the successful English Electric CSVT engines used in many classes of diesel like the Class 50) and was fitted with slow speed control for Merry-Go-Round coal trains when they were loaded and unloaded [2].
Colas 56 096 and 302 at Stafford

Number built: 135
Built: 1976-84
Builder: Brush Traction/Electroputere (first 30)
Brush Traction/BREL Doncaster and Crewe
Engine: Ruston Paxman 16RK3CT diesel
Power: 3, 250 hp (2, 424 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

Because of a lack of manufacturing capacity at the time at Brush Traction, who designed the Class 56, the first thirty were built by Electroputere in Romania with the rest being built at BR Doncaster and Crewe. The Romanian examples unfortunately suffered from a number of problems said to be due to poor workmanship which delayed their entry into service for over a year [3]. The decision to build the first batch in Romania and the urgency with which the locomotives were needed saw the locomotive have bogies of a Swiss design as these were widely used in Romania at the time and were easily available.

The Class 56 worked on heavy freights throughout the 1980s and into the privatisation era but most were withdrawn in the early 2000s. Some were later reinstated into traffic and undertook heavy refurbishment as the Class 56/3 [4].

Many have been scrapped, some sold for use on the continent and three have been preserved. Today around thirty remain in service usually used on spot hires. A project is ungoing to re-engine at least ten Class 56s with an EMD 12N-710G3B-T2 diesel (as fitted to some Class 66s) along with some other new equipment. The re-built locomotives will be known as the Class 69.
56 078 at Kidderminster Town

DCR 56 103 and 191 at Derby

Colas 56 302 at Derby

56 302 again, this time at York

DCR 56 303 at Derby

[1] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 104
[2] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 4 and 5 (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 75
[3] Ibid p. 75
[4] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (2nd Edition) (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 51