Class 153 (British Leyland Provincial Sector 1-car)

Forty-two 2-car Class 155 DMUs were built in the late 1980s by British Leyland for cross-country routes but at the same time British Rail saw a need for a new generation of single "bubble" car DMUs to replace ageing first generation stock like the Class 121 [1] and conversions of some of the new 155s fitted the bill.
EMT 153 302 at Ambergate

Thirty-five of the Class 155s were hence converted to 70 single car DMUs by being split up and by adding a second cab to each car. Adding the extra cab was not a simple process due to the lack of available space as the existing door pocket could not be moved and the extra cab is rather compact [2].

Information
Number built: 70
Built: 1987-88 (as Class 155)
Converted to single cars 1991-92
Builder: British Leyland
Conversions by Hunslet-Barclay
Engine: Cummins NT855R5 diesel
Power: 285 hp (213 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)

The Class 153s (as they became) quickly proved themselves to be very flexible and versatile units able to run on lightly-loaded branch lines such as the Stourbridge Town branch and the line to Cardiff Bay. They also provide a capacity boost to other routes where needed as they are able to work in multiple with other members of the "Sprinter" DMU family.


They are in service with a number of Train Operating Companies including Transport for Wales, Scotrail, Northern, East Midlands Railway and West Midland Railway.
WMR 153 354 at Ridgmont

EMT 153 310 and friend at Attenborough

EMT 153 382 at Duffield

TfW 153 303 at Cardiff Bay

EMT 153 326 at Belper

[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 134
[2] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 211 February-March 2015 (Classes 150-156 Second Generation DMUs) p. 52

Simplex 20/28

Motor Rail (later Simplex) built thousands of small petrol and diesel shunters for the military and industry, mostly for narrow gauge lines. The biggest seller was the 20/28 which was in production from 1935 to 1959 [1].
Motor Rail 7108/1936 Arkle at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway

Information
Built: 1935-59
Builder: Motor Rail
Motor: Dorman 2DWD diesel
Power: 20 hp (15 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 4wDM

The 20/28 was a development of older Motor Rail locomotives which had their origin in petrol trench tractor shunters built for the British Army in the First World War. The 20/28 was available in two weights (2½ and 4½ tons) and could be fitted with a cab if needed. Many were used underground in mines and could be fitted with an exhaust conditioner.

Some continued in use in the 1980s and 90s. Many have been preserved.
Another Simplex at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway

Number 30 (Motor Rail 8695/1941) at Stonehenge Works

Another view of Arkle

Cabless Motor Rail 9976/1954 at the Statfold Barn Railway
Motor Rail 8720/1941 Anna at Stonehenge Works


[1] Alan M Keef, Simplex Locomotives at Work (Lightmoor Press, 2019) p. 9

Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramroad Crossbench Rack Trams

The Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad started operations in 1898 running between the two towns, then separated by countryside. Sixteen Crossbench Rack open sided trams were built for the company by G.F. Milnes as part of the original fleet. Three trailer cars were also built, these were later converted to electric operation.
Number 2 at Crich

Information
Number built: 16
Built: 1898-99
Builder: G.F. Milnes
Motor: 2 GEC 1000 electric motors (550v DC OHLE)
Power: 70 hp (52 kW)

The trams were high capacity "toast rack" cars with forty eight seats. Later the capacity was increased to fifty six by allowing passengers to ride on the platforms. Unusually for street trams they had oil lamps not electric headlights (see below for an example). The trams were absorbed into the Blackpool Corporation fleet when the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad company was taken over in 1920. They were withdrawn from passenger service in the late 1930s.

Preserved No. 2 (127 when in the Blackpool Corporation fleet) was retained as a works car and snowplough until the early 1950s. In 1960 it was restored back to it's original Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad livery to celebrate seventy five years of Blackpool trams [2]. Since 1963 it has been at Crich Tramway Museum.
Tramcar not long after the opening of the line, public domain image [1]

No. 2 in service, public domain image [1]

Another view of No. 2, this time with oil lamp

[1] Sidney H. Short, "Electric Railway Practice in Great Britain", Electric Railway Journal Vol. XV (October 1899) p. 363
[2] R.W. Rush, British Electric Tramcar Design (Oxford Publishing, 1976) p. 91

Class 717 Desiro City

The Class 717 is a member of the Desiro City family (along with the Class 700 and 707). It is being built to replace the Class 313 on the Northern City Line.
Great Northern 717 009 at Finsbury Park


Information
Number built: 150 (25 6-car sets)
Built: 2018-
Builder: Siemens Mobility
Motor: Siemens Traction System (25kV AC OHLE and 750v DC third-rail)
Power: 1, 600 hp (1, 200 kW)

As part of the Northern City Line runs in tunnels (with a terminus at Moorgate) the Class 717 has an emergency end door for evacuating passengers in a tunnel section otherwise the 717 is very similar to the Class 700 and are also dual AC/DC EMUs (DC third rail being used in the tunnel sections).

The Class 717 began testing in the Summer of 2018 and entered service in the Spring of 2019. All are operated by Great Northern.
717 009 arrives with a Moorgate bound service

Aboard 717 009

717 009 in a tunnel section at Highbury and Islington

Class 507 (BREL York Suburban Services 3-car)

These units, part of the 1972 Standard Design High Density Stock family, were built to replace the life-expired Class 502 in the late 1970s on the Merseyside third-rail DC electrified network [1]. They are very similar to the Classes 313 and 508 (with whom they share duties for Merseyrail) [2].
Merseyrail 507 002 at West Kirby

Information
Number built: 99 (33 3-car sets)
Built: 1978-80
Builder: BREL York
Motor: 8 GEC G310AZ traction motors (750v DC third rail)
Power: 880 hp (657 kW)
Formation: Battery Driving Motor Second Open (BDMSO)+
Trailer Second Open (TSO)+Driving Motor Second Open (DMSO)

The Class 507s as built could carry two hundred and thirty passengers in a 2+3 seat arrangement but since refurbishment at Eastleigh in the early 2000s that has been changed to a less sardine can like (and warmly welcomed by passengers) lower density 2+2 arrangement (seating reduced to one hundred and eighty six [3]).

As delivered the 507s were in British Rail blue and grey but in latter years have adopted the predominantly yellow livery of Merseyrail. The Class 507s (and 508s) are due to be replaced by the new Class 777 EMU in the early 2020s [4].
507 018 at Birkenhead North

507 005 underground at Hamilton Square

507 017 at Hoylake

507 019 at Meols

507 011 at St Michaels

[1] Jonathan Cadwaller & Martin Jenkins, Merseyside Electrics (Ian Allan, 2010) p. 23
[2] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 73
[3] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 386
[4] "Five shortlisted for new Merseyrail trains", Today's Railways UK No. 171 (March 2016)

Sheffield Corporation Balcony Tram

Sheffield Corporation operated a number of open balconied tramcars in the interwar period. Some were bought as new and some were bought second-hand during the Second World War to replace trams which had been destroyed in the bombing of Sheffield during the Blitz.
Sheffield 330 at Crich

Information for ex-Bradford cars
Number built: 10
Built: 1919 (for Bradford Corporation)
Builder: English Electric
Motor: 2 GE203 electric motors (DC OHLE)
Power: 70 hp (52 kW)

The pictured tram No. 330 is an example of one of the second-hand trams. It was one of ten bought from the Bradford Corporation in 1943. The Bradford network used 1219mm narrow gauge so the trams had to be converted to standard gauge which was used in Sheffield.

Tram 330 was converted to a works car in 1951 when the top deck was removed and water tanks fitted in the bottom deck. It survived until the end of the Sheffield tram network in 1960 when it entered preservation.
330 is next to Southampton 45

Another view at Crich, the water tanks can be seen behind the side windows