Sheffield Corporation Standard Car (156-230)

The Sheffield Corporation began building a new generation of trams in-house in the 1930s to modernise it's fleet and replace it's legacy and ageing trams some of which dated back to 1899. Seventy five trams were built of this batch of the "standard" car. The design was derived from one by local firm Cravens who developed a sample tramcar design in 1927. The standard cars were fully enclosed with a modern streamlined appearance and had the latest innovations including air brakes and upholstered seats!

Number built: 75
Built: 1933-35
Builder: Sheffield Corporation Transport
Motor: 2 x Metropolitan Vickers 102DR electric motors (DC OHLE)
Power: 100 hp (75 kW)

The standard cars survived in service until the end of the Sheffield Corporation tram system in 1960. The preserved example 189, which is now at Crich Tramway Museum, being withdrawn and preserved in 1958.
189 preserved at Crich Tramway Museum

Another view of 189 showing the entrance

End view of 189

And from the other end!

Chesterfield Corporation Tramways

The Chesterfield & District Tramways Company was formed in 1879 and began operation in 1882 with horse drawn trams. The company went insolvent not long after though the successor Chesterfield Tramways Company was able to expand the network and was bought by the Chesterfield Corporation in 1897 [1].

In 1904, as the original line needed replacement, the decision was taken to expand and electrify the line which at it's greatest extent stretched nearly six kilometres. The tramway eventually had a fleet of fifteen tramcars (one being a water car for works purposes) though some were badly damaged in a tramshed fire in 1916. Like most tramways the Chesterfield service struggled to maintain the condition of the line and pay creditors a dividend. The corporation switched to trollybuses and motorbuses in the mid-1920s, the tramway closing for good in 1927 [2].

Information for 1904 Aston type cars
Number built: 12
Built: 1904
Builder: Brush
Motor: 2 Westinghouse 90M electric motors,
later 2 British Thomson-Houston RGE20 electric motors
(550v DC OHLE)
Power: 50 hp (37 kW) later 80 hp (60 kW)

The majority of the fleet consisted of twelve Aston type open double deck cars which were introduced in 1904 when the tramway was electrified. The fleet was strengthened in 1907 with two more double deck cars, the water car arriving in 1909. Finally in 1914 three new cars with covered top decks arrived. After the war the earlier cars had their top decks given covers.

One of Chesterfield Corporation's electric tram cars has been preserved, as well as one of the earlier horse drawn tram cars, at Crich Tramway Village. Number Seven was one of the original twelve Aston type cars. It was withdrawn in 1927 when the tramway was closed and became a holiday cottage [3] before being preserved in 1973. After a long restoration process it was returned to working order in 1997. Number 7 originally had an open top deck but had the deck covered in 1919 when it was repaired following the 1917 tramshed fire (see above).
Chesterfield Tram #7
Preparing to depart

#7 has been restored to running order at Crich Tramway Village

Top floor of #7

Although the top floor is covered, platforms are still open to the elements

Chesterfield horse tram #8, also preserved at Crich

[1] Barry Marsden, Chesterfield Tramways (Middleton Press, 2004) p. 2
[2] Marsden Fig. 118 
[3] Marsden Fig. 120

Southend Pier Railway Postwar Electric Stock

The Southend Pier Railway opened in 1890 and operated toast-rack style electric tram cars along it's length. After the pier and railway was re-opened following a period of closure during the Second World War passenger numbers greatly increased and the need was felt to replace the original cars with a more modern design. AC Cars of Thames Ditton were contracted to built four trains of seven cars each (in total twelve motor cars and sixteen trailers) for the 1,067mm gauge railway, each using design and technology similar to London Underground tube trains of the time including air operated sliding doors and rheostatic electric brakes [1]. The cars had four wheel trucks (made by Maley and Taunton [2]) with a 4.4m long wheelbase, somewhat long for four wheel vehicles though the pier railway lacked any tight curves and the long wheelbase aided stability.

Number built: 28 (4 7-car trains)
Built: 1949
Builder: AC Cars
Formation: Driving Motor (DM)+Trailer(T)+T+DM+T+T+DM

The new rolling stock proved reliable in service though passengers numbers gradually dropped during the 1950s and 1960s. The pier was also beginning to become in serious need of refurbishment. Much of the pier head was damaged in a fire in 1976 though the railway was undamaged [3] and had proved highly useful in evacuating the pier, it was finally closed in 1978. The pier remained railway-less until 1986 when a new diesel railway began operation [4]. Several electric cars have been preserved at the pier railway's own museum and at Leigh-on-Sea.
Car #21 preserved at Leigh-on-Sea

Postcard view of pier railway seen from the pier head end (KD Collection)

Another postcard view, this time at the shore end (KD Collection)

Another view of #21, it now lives on in an art gallery cafe!

[1] Keith Turner, Pier Railways & Tramways of the British Isles (Oakwood Press, 1999) p. 55
[2] Robert Harley, Southend-on-Sea Tramways (Middleton Press, 1994) Fig. 115
[3] Turner p. 61
[4] Dr Edwin Course, Barking to Southend (Middleton Press, 2002) Fig. 117

Class 25 (BR / Sulzer 1,250hp Type 2 Diesel-Electric)

Following on from the Class 24, the Class 25 Type 2 diesel-electric locomotive was built in large quantities in the 1960s and became a very common sight on British Rail in the late 1960s and 1970s before being phased out in the 1980s. However the early Class 25s shared the same design flaws of the Class 24 such as the awkward layout of the engine room which hindered maintenance and the position of air intake louvres and filters (some of which got so filthy they stopped working). The draughtiness of the cab was also a problem largely thanks to the seldom used gangway doors [1]. During the long production run a number of improvements were made which are detailed below.

Number built: 327
Built: 1961-67
Builder: BR Derby, Darlington, Crewe and Beyer Peacock
Motor: Sulzer 6LDA 28B diesel
Power: 1, 250 hp (932 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The Class 25s were mixed traffic locomotives though spent much of their time on freight (not all were fitted with train heating boilers) but also some cross-country passenger services [2]. As the 1980s wore on the changing nature of the freight business meant they were becoming underpowered and regional cross country passenger duties were increasingly going over to multiple units. They were all withdrawn by 1987 though 20 have been preserved.

Class 25 sub-classes are listed below but there were also differences within sub-classes too especially with respect to train heating provision (or lack of).

Sub-class Details
25/0 Original, very similar to Class 24 but with uprated engine
25/1 Improved lighter traction motor and other weight saving measures
25/2 Redesigned interior, air filter louvre layout and cab with gangway doors removed
25/3 Final version with improved equipment
25/9 Locomotives dedicated to mineral traffic
D7612 at Chinnor

D7629 at Wirksworth

Another view of D7629 at Duffield (EVR)

D7629 approaches Idridgehay

D7659 at Rowsley South

Withdrawn Class 25 seen at Tyseley in the late 1980s (film scan)

[1] Brian Haresnape, Production Diesel-Electrics Types 1-3 (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 33
[2] John Vaughan, Diesels on the London Midland (Ian Allan, 1981) p. 30

Southampton Corporation "Knifeboard" Tram

The Southampton Corporation tramcar fleet had to be designed to travel through the reduced clearance of the medieval Bargate [1]. The Corporation's tramcars were therefore shorter and narrower than those of other fleets and the Corporation retained open-topped trams until the 1920s when specially built low height domed cars were built. Tramcars built before that between 1899 and 1916 were of a similar design though built in batches by different manufacturers including Hurst Nelson and the Corporation themselves.

Information for Hurst Nelson built tramcars
Number built: 12
Built: 1903-04
Builder: Hurst Nelson
Motor: 2 Dick Kerr DK9A electric motors (DC OHLE)
Power: 50 hp (37 kW)

Despite more modern tramcars being built in the 1920s some of these earlier tramcars survived in service until the closure of the Southampton tram network in 1949. No. 45 was able to survive into preservation (it was the first tram to be preserved by a private body) and is now at Crich.
No. 45 at Crich

Front windows

Stair way

Roof detail

[1] R.W. Rush, British Electric Tramcar Design 1885-1950 (Oxford Publishing, 1976) p. 64

Class 458 5-JOP

The Class 458 4-JOP (Juniper Outer-suburban Porterbrook) was built for South West Trains in the late 1990s to replace some Class 411s, although designed for the ex-Southern Region 750v DC third rail network they were "future proofed" with provision to support a pantograph and overhead electric collection though have not carried one yet [1].

Their entry into service as 458/0 was unfortunately fraught with technical difficulties with serious usage on the London Waterloo to Reading and Guildford-Ascot routes not happening for several years and after many modifications [2]. The unreliability saw SWT plump for the "Desiro" Class 444/450s instead of more 458s to replace the majority of its "slam door" EMU fleet [3].

Number built: 120 (30 4-car sets)
(rebuilds) 180 (36 5-car sets)
Built: 1999-02
(rebuilds) 2013-6
Builder: Althom (Washwood Heath)
(rebuilds) Wabtec (Doncaster) & Brush Traction (Loughborough)
Motor: 6 Althom ONIX 800 traction motors (750v DC third-rail)
Power: 2, 172 hp (1, 620 kW)
Formation: (original) Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)+
Pantograph Standard Open (PSO)+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+
(rebuilds) Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+

In 2011 after the withdrawal of the similar Class 460 from the Gatwick Express it was decided to use cars from the 460 to strengthen the 458s as five car trains (5-JOP). The trains were also refurbished and rebuilt with an improved appearance includinfg full gangways. Five "new" 458/5s (as they became known) were also created from spare rebuilt 460 cars. Work was completed in 2016 [5]. They are now operated by South Western Railway.
SWR 458 520 at Addlestone

458 535 in SWT days at Clapham Junction

Another SWT 458 at Clapham Junction

Close up of 458 503

SWR 458 515 at Clapham Junction

SWR 458 506 at Reading

[1] "Class 458" Southern Electric Group <>
[2] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013), p. 356
[3] "Train firm to replace new fleet", BBC News <>
[4] "Fire damaged 458 under repair", Railways Illustrated Issue 157 (March 2016)
[5] "458/5 programme nears completion", Today's Railways UK Issue 171 (March 2016)