Yorkshire Engine Company Taurus

Taurus was a diesel-hydraulic locomotive developed by the Yorkshire Engine Company trip freight work and heavy shunting. It had two Rolls Royce diesel engines, only one being used at very slow speeds. Taurus was demonstrated on British Railways in 1961-2 though no orders arised, but in any event the kind of duties a locomotive such as Taurus could be used for were soon to disappear.

Taurus on test [1]

Number built: 2
Built: 1961-63
Builder: Yorkshire Engine Company
Motor: 2 Rolls Royce C8SFL diesels
Power: 600 hp (450 kW) 
Formation: 0-8-0DH

With a glut of ex-BR shunting locomotives entering the market in the late 1960s, the Yorkshire Engine Company found it difficult to sell Taurus to any industrial users. A second Taurus was built however, this was for the Spanish railway operator RENFE and was to 1668mm gauge. No other orders were forthcoming though the Spanish Taurus has survived into preservation.

A similar type built by the Yorkshire Engine Company was the Indus. This was very similar to the Taurus though had a similar gearbox (the differential compound gearbox of Taurus having proved to be problematical - indeed the Spanish Taurus was given the Indus gearbox). Two Indus were built for industrial users and survived into the 1980s.
Taurus under construction [1]

[1] "The Taurus multi-purpose locomotive", International Railway Journal Vol. 1 Issue 5 (1961) p. 16

Sheffield Supertram (Siemens-Duewag)

The Supertram is a fleet of trams built for the Sheffield Supertram light rail network which began operation in 1994. At nearly thirty five metres long the Supertrams are one of the longest articulated vehicles built for public transport in the UK [1].

Supertram 120 departs Spring Lane

Number built: 25
Built: 1993-4
Builder: Siemens-Duewag
Engine: 4 Three-Phase Siemens traction motors (750v DC OHLE)
Power: 1, 420 hp (1, 060 kW)
Wheel arrangement: B-B-B-B

The trams were built at Siemens-Duewag and first tested on Düsseldorf's Rheinbahn network before being shipped over. The Supertrams consist of three articulated sections [2] and have all powered axles due to the steep gradients on part of the network [3].

The Supertrams underwent a full refurbishment in 2006-08 which included interior an exterior changes including the replacement of the original destination boards with LEDs to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Tram 117 arrives at Attercliffe

Aboard a Supertram behind the cab

Tram 118 at Fitzalan Square / Ponds Forge

Tram 119 at Hyde Park

Tram 118 again, passing a sister tram at Woodbourn Road

[1] Supertram Vehicle Information <https://www.stagecoachbus.com/supertram/vehicle-information>
[2] Colin J. Marsden, Rail Guide 2016 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 282
[3] Robert Pritchard & Alan Yearsley, UK Metro & Light Rail Systems (Platform 5, 2019) p. 138

CIE A Class / 001 Class

These locomotives were built for the Córas Impair Éireann (Irish Railways) in the 1950s and became the backbone of the CIE locomotive fleet performing mixed traffic duties for several decades. However, as built they had Crossley 2-stroke diesel engines which turned out to be very unreliable. Finally in the late 1960s, CIE had the fleet rebuilt with EMD engines which proved much better, though had to be downrated from 1, 650 hp due to stresses on the cooling and transmission systems.

CIE A3 in service [1], this locomotive is now preserved

Number built: 60
Built: 1955-56
Builder: Metropolitan-Vickers
Motor: Crossley HSTV8 diesel
(rebuild) EMD 12-645E diesel
Power: (Crossley) 1, 200 hp (890 kW)
(EMD) 1, 325hp (988 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Co-Co

The locomotives remained in service until final withdrawal in 1995. Four have been preserved.

A10 in the workshop [1]

[1] "New look for Irish transport", International Railway Journal Vol. 1 Issue 4 (1961) p. 28

Class 777 Metro

The Class 777 is an electric multiple unit for the Merseyrail network replacing Classes 507 and 508. The Class 777 is part of Stadler's Metro family and is designed for high capacity and rapid acceleration on the busy Merseyrail network. The first Class 777s were delivered in 2020, with the official hand over and public unveiling at Birkenhead North in September 2021 [1] though the type did not enter service until January 2023.

Merseyrail 777 142 in battery mode at Headbolt Lane

Number built: 212 (53 4-car sets)
Built: 2018-2021
Builder: Stadler Rail
Motor: Stadler traction system (750v DC third rail or battery)
Power: 2, 800 hp (2, 100 kW)

The Class 777 is designed to work with the Merseyrail 750v DC third rail network, though can be fitted for AC overhead operation if required in the future. Seven of the units have been fitted with batteries for operation to the new station at Headbolt Lane which opened in 2023, the line at the station not being third rail electrified. Merseyside could order a further fifty nine trains in future for future service enhancements and extensions.

The Class 777 has all of the usual features of a modern multiple unit, including walk-through wide gangways, electronic information screens and seats of questionable comfort! The Class 777 was phased into operation on the Merseyrail network, starting with the branches to Kirkby and Ormskirk in early 2023 but by late 2023 has largely taken over from the 507s and 508s.

777 018 at Orrell Park

777 009 at Moorfields

777 018 at Sandhills

Aboard a Class 777 showing the cab end

777 011 arrives at Bidston

[1] "First Class 777s handed over", Modern Railways (October 2021) p. 72

Huddersfield Corporation Tramways

Huddersfield Corporation Tramways operated between 1883 and 1940 to 1,416mm gauge. The trams were initially horse and steam powered but electric trams began operating from 1901. The first trams built for the corporation were twenty five double bogie double deckers built by G.F. Milnes. These had open top decks initially.
English Electric built 121 [1]

Information for original tramcars
Number built: 25
Built: 1900
Builder: G.F. Milnes

A second batch of thirty six tramcars built by the British Electric Car Company were built as the electrified network expanded. These tramcars were single bogie cars though were also double deckers. More trams were built in the following decades by the United Electric Car Company which later became part of English Electric. The corporation also operated a couple of dedicated coal trams.

Despite much of the tram fleet still being fairly young the corporation began converting over to trolleybuses in the early 1930s. The trams ran for the final time in June 1940. All trams were scrapped.

[1] English Electric Journal 1923-04 Vol 2 Issue 4 p. 175

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 the fitting of only one pantograph and with changes to equipment. The AL6 is very similar to the Class 85 AL5 technically except for the stub nose cab ends.

Freightliner 86 622 at Crewe Heritage Centre

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 at up to 100mp/h on West Coast Main Line 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 for improved high speed running and reducing track wear, and with equipment for multiple-working. The Class 86/4 were fitted with flexicoil suspension and SAB wheels for mixed-traffic duties. The 86/5 was a trial locomotive to test ways of improving performance on heavy freights. The 86/6 were 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 seen on the network, they have recently been withdrawn from hauling Freightliner trains though can appear 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.

86 259 at Tyseley

Freightliner 86 639 and friend head through Stafford

Also heading through Stafford is 86 259

Most Freightliner 86 hauled duties uses pairs of locomotives

Another Freightliner 86 pair head through Rugeley Trent Valley

[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