Harsco Rail Stoneblower

Stoneblowers are specialised machines used by Network Rail to maintain ballast under track. Sensors on the Stoneblower measure the alignment of the ballast under the track down to 0.5mm, and then if needed the track is lifted and small stones are blown into any spaces found [1] using compressed air. This is claimed by Network Rail to be more durable than using a tamper as it doesn't disturb the existing trackbed and can extend the life of track [2].

Information
Number built: 14
Builder: Pandrol Jackson / Harsco Rail

Network Rail maintains a fleet of stoneblowers built by Pandrol Jackson who were later bought by Harsco Rail. Eleven work on straight track with three Multipurpose Stoneblowers for switches and crossings. The latter three were developed by Harsco Rail and Network Rail, who are considering replacing their older machines with more of these advanced multipurpose machines.
Two views of DR80201 passing through Warwick

On the front of DR80201 is a crane used for loading stone

[1] Royston Morris, Railway Maintenance Vehicles & Equipment (Amberley Publishing, 2017) p. 15
[2] Network Rail. Track treatment fleet <https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/looking-after-the-railway/fleet-machines-vehicles/track-treatment/>

Class 168 Clubman

The Class 168 Clubman were the first new DMUs to be ordered after rail privatisation. They were built for the Chiltern routes providing much needed extra capacity and remain on these routes today operated by Chiltern Railways [1]. The 168s are used on fast and semi-fast services out of London Marylebone and are capable of 160kph / 100mph [2].

Information
Number built: 67 (19 3 or 4-car sets)
Built: 1997-2006
Builder: Adtranz Derby later Bombardier Derby
Engine: MTU 6R183TD13H diesel per car
Power: 1, 688 hp (1, 260 kW) or 1, 266 hp (945 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+Motor Standard Lavatory
(MSL)+Motor Standard (MS)+DMSL or DMSL+MS+DMSL or
DMSL+MS+MS+DMSL

The original five Class 168/0s are 4-car sets based on the Networker cab design (they were originally 3-car but were strengthened to four), the subsequent and later built 168/1s and 168/2s use the Turbostar design and are very similar to the Class 170. These two sub-classes are a mixture of three and four car sets.

The Class 168s are fitted with trip cock equipment as they share lines with London Underground stock on the Harrow-on-the-Hill to Amersham route. This equipment applies the brakes if a LU signal is passed at danger [3].

The Chiltern fleet has being strengthened with a new sub-class 168/3 formed by transferred Class 170s from Trans Pennine Express [4].
Chiltern 168 111 at Haddenham & Thame Parkway

168 003 at High Wycombe

168 325 passes through Lapworth

At Beaconsfield

168 109 at Chalfont & Latimer

168 113 at Hatton

[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 154
[2] Gavin Morrison, British Railway DMUs in Colour (Ian Allan, 2010) p. 45
[3] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), "Class 168 Clubman", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 216 December 2015-January 2016 (Second Generation DMUs Classes 165-185) p. 22
[4] "TPE goes for new loco-hauled trains for new franchise", Today's Railways UK No. 173 May 2016

Class 395 Javelin

The Class 395 Javelin has been built for domestic services on the HS1 route in Kent and also other commuter routes in the South East. The Javelin is built for high speed and can reach up to 225kp/h (140mp/h) on the 25v AC electrified HS1 route and 161kp/h (100mp/h) on other routes electrified by DC third rail [1].

Information
Number built: 174 (29 6-car sets)
Built: 2007-09
Builder: Hitachi
Engine: Hitachi traction system (16 motors) (25kV AC OHLE &
750v DC third rail)
Power: 2, 253 hp (1, 680 kW)
Formation: Pantograph Driving Trailer Standard Open (PDTSO)+
Motor Standard (MS)+MS+MS+MS+PDTSO

The Class 395 is based on Hitachi's 400 Series Mini Shinkansen and A-Train train families. The trains were built as part of the upgrade to the capital's transport infrastructure before the 2012 Olympics and entered service in 2009. The Javelin fleet is operated by South Eastern and has greatly reduced commuter travel times into London St Pancras.
A Javelin waits at St Pancras 
Two 6-car sets head into St Pancras, the nose code retracts to allow coupling

Another Javelin at St Pancras

Side view of a Javelin

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 298

Class 91 Intercity 225

After a long wait British Rail finally got the go-ahead and funds for the electrification of the East Coast Main Line (originally it was supposed to have taken place at the same time as the WCML) in the 1980s. For this electrification they needed a new fleet of express passenger locomotive. These were the Class 91 which were coupled to Mark 4 coaches with a Driving Van Trailer on the other end [1]. This system was also called the Intercity 225 (replacing the Intercity 125 as it did on the ECML) the name referring to the fact they could go 225kp/h (140mp/h). However this has been restricted to 125mp/h in everyday use, on a test train one Class 91 reached 162mp/h in 1989 (the British locomotive speed record).

Information
Number built: 31
Built: 1988-91
Builder: BREL Crewe
Engine: GEC G426 traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 6, 080 hp (4, 533 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Unusually the Class 91 is asymmetric with a streamlined cab at one end and a blunt ended one at the other. It can operate fully in either direction though of course usually travels pointy-end first, especially when hauling an express. The blunt end cab is fully operational and indeed the Class 91 can travel at up to 110mp/h this way around. As built the Class 91s were 91/0s but became 91/1s after refurbishment [2].

They remain on express duties on the ECML though will be replaced by a new generation of high speed trains in the next few years. They are currently operated by LNER, before that Virgin East Coast, East Coast, NX East Coast, GNER and BR Intercity. What happens to them next is currently unknown, although their reliability could be better it is likely they could find further use after being cascaded to other routes.
91 101 at York

Front on with 91 115 at York

91 128 in East Coast days at Leeds

91 109 at London Kings Cross

91 121 at Darlington

91 124 at York

[1] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 80
[2] Colin J Marsden, Traction Recognition (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 92

Leicester Corporation Tramways

Leicester Corporation Tramways took over tram operations (which had been running in horse drawn form since 1874) in the city in 1901. The system was electrified, being one of the last of Britain's major cities to adopt electric tramways [1], and greatly expanded. It opened for electric operation in 1904 and included the rather busy Clock Tower Junction where six tram lines converged, the junction requiring over one hundred tons of track and rather complicated overhead lines. To launch the new service fifty nine new double decker electric trams were bought in early 1904 from the Dick Kerr Electric Railway & Carriage Company of Preston, forty more coming later the same year of which Number 76 (see below) was one of.

Twenty more trams arrived in 1913/14 for a new initiative in "Pay as you enter" boarding [2] (see photo below) with colour coded pre-paid tickets. The final trams arrived in 1920. Not long afterwards the Corporation began operating motor buses and in the early 1930s started to replace trams with buses. However the tram service managed to survive until after the Second World War with the last tram running in 1949.

Information for original trams
Number built: 99
Built: 1904-05
Builder: Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Company of Preston
Engine: 2 Dick Kerr electric motors (550v DC OHLE)
Power: 50 hp (37 kW)

One of the survivors of the Leicester Corporation fleet is Number 76 . It was originally built as an open topped tram though a cover was added as with the rest of the fleet just before the First World War, inclement weather cutting into revenue. The tram continued to have open platforms and balconies but these were covered as well in 1929.

Number 76 survived in service until 1947. The body was sold to become a cricket pavilion in Yorkshire though in 1960 it was preserved at the Crich Tramway Museum and restored to it's 1920s condition though not with the original truck. One of the original batch of trams, Number 31, also still survives and is currently being preserved after decades serving as an outbuilding on a farm.
Survivor #76 at Crich

Abbey Road Tram Shed, public domain image [1]

Building of Clock Tower Junction, public domain image [1]

The Mayor and local politicians celebrate the start of Pay As You Enter, public domain image [2]

Another view of #76

[1] "The Leicester Corporation Electric Tramways",  Street Railway Journal (Vol XXIII No. 23, June 1904) p. 830
[2] "Prepayment zone system inaugurated in Leicester", Electric Railway Journal (Vol XLI No. 16 April 1913) p. 720

Class 455 (BREL York Suburban Services 4-car)

The Class 455 electric multiple unit uses were built by BREL York [1] in the early 1980s to replace 4-SUB and EPB stock on Southern Region routes and are an example of 1982 Standard High Density Stock. All in all one hundred and thirty seven sets were built between 1983 and 1985. Currently they are operated by Southern and South Western Railway on commuter lines out of Waterloo, Victoria and London Bridge.

Information
Number built: 548* (137 4-car sets)
* including 43 cars from Class 508s
Built: 1983-85
Builder: BREL York
Engine: 4 EE507-20J traction motors per set (750v DC third rail)
Power: 1, 000 hp (746 kW)
Formation: Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+
Trailer Standard Open (TSO)+DTSO

The units were based on the work behind the prototype Class 210 DEMUs and are related to the Class 317 and 318, like them being derived from the British Rail Mark 3 coach [2]. There are 3 sub-classes: 455/7, 455/8 and 455/9 all of which remain in use, a major visual difference is that the /7 and /9 sub-classes have a more rounded roof than the /8 which despite the numbering was built first. 455/7s were built as 3-car sets but included a carriage (TSO) taken from the Class 508 EMUs which they replaced to make them 4-car. Since privatisation the Southern 455/8s have lost their cab gangways in favour of an air conditioning unit and now look different from the other sub-classes.

They were set to remain in service into the 2020s following refurbishment and the fitting of new traction motors to some units [3]. (It is worth noting that the replaced motors are reconditioned English Electric motors from older SR EMUs such as the Class 405 and indeed dated from the early post-war period!) However the change in the South West Trains franchise in 2017 to South Western Railway will probably see these 455s withdrawn by 2020 [4] though as yet there are no plans to replace Southern's 455s.
SWR 455 746 at Clapham Junction

SWT 5917 at Guildford

Southern 455 810 at Peckham Rye

Aboard an SWT 455


SWR 455 849 at Guildford

SWT 5712 at Vauxhall


[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 351
[2] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 77
[3] "Vossloh Kiepe UK to deliver traction upgrade to South West Trains’ Class 455 fleet" http://www.vossloh-kiepe.co.uk/vossloh-deliver-455traction-upgrade/>
[4] "Class 455 Death Sentence", Modern Railways (May 2017) p. 25

Hunslet Engine Company 9346-9451

These industrial narrow gauge shunters were the last locomotives built at the Hunslet Engine Company's Jack Lane Works. The works in Leeds had since 1864 had built thousands of steam and later diesel shunters mostly for industrial use. These final locomotives were built for the tunnelling of the Jubilee Line Extension project in East London. The Jack Lane Works closed in 1995.

Information
Number built: 6
Built: 1994
Builder: Hunslet Jack Lane Works
Engine: Deutz diesel
Power: 90 hp (67 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 4wDH

They were 4 wheel diesel hydraulic narrow gauge shunters to 610mm gauge. A couple have been preserved. 9347, named Peter Wood, is preserved at the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway as one of the line's diesel "thunderbirds" ready to take over if one of the steam locomotives has a problem, as well as perform other duties on the line. 9351 is preserved at the Statfold Barn Railway.
9347 Peter Wood at Stonehenge Works
The narrowness of the locomotive can be seen in this frontal view

Peter Wood is #81 in the Leighton Buzzard Light Railway fleet