Class 139 Parry People Mover

The Class 139 is unique on the British Railways system being powered by an experimental flywheel system. The flywheel stores energy, being charged by a Ford diesel engine when the railcar is at rest, and also recycles kinetic energy from the brakes and from downhill operation[1].

London Midland at first and currently West Midlands Railway operates the railcar along the short Stourbridge branch between Stourbridge Junction and Stourbridge Town [2]. Two Class 139s have been built. There was also a prototype built in 2002 which was used to prove the flywheel concept. It ran on a number of heritage lines for testing and was referred to as the Class 999.

Number built: 2
Built: 2007-08
Builder: Parry People Movers
Motor: Ford DSG423 diesel driving flywheel
Power: 86 hp (64 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Second (DMS)

The Class 139 is a small railcar (less than nine metres long) though has seating capacity for over twenty people plus over thirty standing.

The Class 139 began operation on the Stourbridge branch in 2009 releasing a Class 153 for other duties. The Class 139s are not allowed on any other part of the network and have their own little "depot" at Stourbridge Junction [3].
LM 139 002 at Stourbridge Town

Interior view

LM 139 002 at Stourbridge Junction

Another view of 139 002 at Stourbridge Town

Cab view

The short length of the platform at Stourbridge Town can be seen here
[1] PPM Technology <>
[2] Where can i ride on a PPM railcar <>
[3] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 118

Andrew Barclay 376

Andrew Barclay built locomotive 376 in the early Post War period to it's then standard design, it is very similar to the locomotives built for the Army at the end of the Second World War like Andrew Barclay 371. AB376 however was destined for civilian industrial use, it was supplied to Lever Brothers at their Port Sunlight works.

Built: 1948
Builder: Andrew Barclay
Motor: Gardner 8-cylinder diesel
Power: 150 hp (112 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-4-0

When those works closed AB376 was sold to British Gypsum and worked at their site at Erith until retirement and preservation in 1985. For a time the locomotive was at the North Downs Steam Railway then later the Spa Valley Railway. Nowadays it is at the Tyseley Locomotive Works. It is currently being restored.
AB376 at Tyseley Locomotive Works

Rear view of 376

Class 438 4-TC

In the 1960s BR Southern Region wanted through electric services from London Waterloo to Weymouth, the problem being however that the line had only been electrified as far as Bournemouth in 1967. Instead of having a loco hauled service all the way Southern Region used its typical ingenuity to come up with a novel solution [1][2]. A powerful EMU was developed (4-REP) which propelled 4-TC (Trailer Control) rakes (basically rebuilt Mark 1 coaches with driving cabs at either end) as far as Bournemouth. Then a modified Class 33/1 diesel locomotive with high-level control pipes would propel the 4-TC(s) the rest of the way to Weymouth (the return trip being the opposite way around).

4-TCs could also work in multiple with Class 73/1s and Class 74s in a push-pull manner using the twentyn seven-wire EPB control system [3]. If other (incompatible) locomotives were used then the 4-TCs were plain hauled stock.

Number built: 126 (28 4-car sets, 3 3-car sets, 2 spare vehicles plus 3 later additions)
Built: 1966-7, 1974 (rebuilds from Mark 1 coaching stock)
Builder: BR York
Motor: N/A
Power: N/A
Formation: Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)+Trailer First Corridor (TFK)+
Trailer Brake Standard Corridor (TBSK)+DTSO
3-TC same except for no TFK

Although primarily used on Waterloo-Weymouth services 4-TCs and 3-TCs were also used on elsewhere such as London Waterloo to Salisbury and Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia services. Electrification finally reached Weymouth in 1988 with the service taken over by Class 442s though the 4-TCs remained in service until 1992.

The 3-TCs were augmented to four coach sets in 1974 by adding the missing TFK [4]. The 4-TCs were Class 491 and the 3-TCs Class 492 under TOPS though later on all were reclassified as Class 438 [5].

A number of vehicles have been preserved including two complete 4-TC sets, one of which is owned by London Underground and carried a "faux teak" vinyl livery for operation with preserved locomotives for a time though is now in London Transport red.
The LU 4-TC set in current London Transport red

The LU 4-TC in the former faux teak livery

Connecting up to 68 025

More familiar 4-TC motive power, a Class 33

The LU 4-TC with a Class 66

The LU 4-TC at Kidderminster SVR

[1] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), "4-REP, 3-TC, 4-TC", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 220 August-September 2016 (BR Southern Region Electric Multiple Units) p. 38
[2] John Glover, BR Diary 1958-1967 (Ian Allan, 1987) p. 120
[3] David Brown, Southern Electric Vol. 2 (Capital Transport, 2010) p. 208 
[4] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 67
[5] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 375

Sheffield Corporation Open-Topped Double Decker Tram

Among the earliest electric trams built for what would become one of the biggest fleets, G.F. Milnes and the Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works of Preston produced a number of open-topped double decker trams for the Sheffield Corporation Tramway in 1899 and 1900 to work alongside single decker trams. They were soon joined by other double decker trams built by Brush.

Information for ER&TCW Trams
Number built: 30
Built: 1900
Builder: Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works
Motor: 2 British Thomson-Houston GE52 electric motors (DC OHLE)
Power: 54 hp (40kW)

Within a few years the trams were fitted with top-covers though with open balconies. Sheffield Corporation rebuilt and modified their trams frequently with trams like the later preserved Number 74 looking very different when it left service than when it started. Number 74 gained a top cover, a different truck and electrical equipment in it's twenty two years in Sheffield and the following thirty years in Gateshead. Following withdrawal in 1951 the lower deck was sold to become a garden shed! Finally in 1990 it was preserved and has been rebuilt with a top deck from another Sheffield tram and a truck from a Leeds one.
Number 74 has been restored to working order at Crich

Top deck balcony


Class 06 (Andrew Barclay 204hp Diesel-Mechanical)

The Class 06 was one of the many types of shunter bought by British Railways for freight yards with sharp curves. It has a short wheel base but otherwise was similar to other Andrew Barclay shunters and had a good performance for a locomotive of its size. As well as yard work it could also be used for trip work between yards. Thirty five were built for Scottish Region in the late 1950s [1]. Most were withdrawn in the late 1960s as the freight business on British Railways changed dramatically though ten survived into the 1970s and received TOPS numbers [2]. The last survivor 06 003, by now in departmental service in Reading, survived until 1984.

Number built: 35
Built: 1958
Builder: Andrew Barclay
Motor: Gardner 8L3 diesel
Power: 204 hp (152 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-4-0

This last locomotive in service, 06 003 (D2420), is now the only Class 06 still in existence. It is now part of the Heritage Shunters Trust collection and is undergoing restoration back to working order.
06 003 seen in 2016

Cab view

Rear view


[1] Brian Haresnape, Diesel Shunters (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 60
[2] Heritage Shunters Trust Stock List 2015

NER Petrol Inspection Car

The North Eastern Railway built the first of a number of petrol-engine powered inspection cars in 1908 [1]. The car was just over five metres long and included seating for NER officials (six permanent seats and two camp stools) as well as a map table in an open saloon, they also had a driving cab at both ends. In 1911 two more cars were built, these were larger and could seat up to twelve passengers and had more powerful White & Poppe engines.

Number built: 4
Built: 1908, 1911, 1923
Builder: NER York
Motor: Four-cylinder petrol engine
Power: 40 hp (30 kW) 

One of these later cars was destroyed in a fire in 1921, a slightly larger replacement was built in 1923. In the late 1920s the cars' engines were replaced by Leyland motors. They survived in service, now with LNER, until 1939 when it was decided to withdraw them from use because of their unsuitability for use in any other duties. All three cars were scrapped.
Original 1908 petrol car [1]

Interior view

[1] "New Petrol Rail Inspection Car", Railway Times (April 1908) p. 386

Class 40 (English Electric 2,000hp Type C(4) Diesel-Electric)

The Class 40 was one of the early classes of diesel locomotive built by British Railways as part of the Modernisation Plan which would ultimately replace steam traction. It was a direct development of the prototype LMS and SR diesel locomotives of the late 1940s [1] and was the first large diesel locomotive in the Type C (later Type 4) power classification to be delivered [2].

Class 40s served across the rail network being allocated to London Midland, Eastern, North Eastern and Scottish Regions. Initially the class was used on top link expresses though their performance, while adequate on some routes like the West Coast Main Line, was not on other routes and they were replaced by more powerful locomotives on expresses before long.

One drawback with the Class 40 was their weight, at over one hundred and thirty tons, and the long 1Co-Co1 bogies with extra unpowered wheels to carry the bulk and keep it within a reasonable route availability. One Class 40 gained a bit of notoriety early in it's career as it was hauling the train involved in the Great Train Robbery in 1962.

Number built: 200
Built: 1958-62
Builder: English Electric
Motor: English Electric 12CSVT Mk 2 diesel
Power: 2, 000 hp (1, 490 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 1Co-Co1

The popular Class 40, known as the Whistler due to the sound they make, continued to serve BR well, much of the time on freights and secondary passenger duties as newer diesel locomotives like the Class 47 and 50 displaced it from front-rank work. Withdrawals began in the late 1970s and all were withdrawn by 1985. Seven have been preserved but not all currently in running order.
40 106 arrives at Highley

40 118 at Tyseley

40 106 at Kidderminster SVR with a "newer" EE loco!

This side view shows the length and bulk of the Class 40

40 106 at Highley

[1] Brian Haresnape, Early Prototype & Pilot Scheme Diesel-Electrics (Ian Allan, 1981) p. 49
[2] John Glover, BR Diary 1958-1967 (Ian Allan, 1987) p. 9

Newcastle Corporation Tramways

Newcastle Corporation Tramways began operations in 1901 with an eventual network that was eighty two kilometres in total length. However the setting up of an electric tram network was not without opposition [1]. The council was unable to come up to any agreement with the existing horse tram company and the city was without any tram system at all after the horse tram licence expired and the new electric network began operating a few months later. Interestingly the council originally wanted to use cable hauled trams before deciding instead to go for overhead electric.

The network grew throughout the early decades of the twentieth century reaching it's final extent in 1925, three hundred trams were in service by 1928. Like with many street tram networks however the decline began in the 1930s as buses and trollybuses began to take over the routes. The street trams survived until 1950.

Information for Class F trams
Number built: 30
Built: 1901-02
Builder: Hurst, Nelson & Company, Brush Traction
Motor: 2 General Electric 203N electric motors (550v DC OHLE)
Power: 80 hp (50 kW)

The tram fleet came from a number of different manufacturers with bodies made by Hurst, Nelson and Company and Brush Traction with electrical equipment from a number of sources. Trams were a mixture of single and double deckers with some longer double bogied cars of higher capacity. Later on some coupled cars were also used on some routes [3].

A couple of trams have been preserved including 102 shown below which is at Crich. 102 was built in 1902 and is an interesting example of how trams could be heavily modified throughout their lives. As originally built 102 had a single deck Hurst, Nelson body with open sides for use in good weather, and roller blinds which could be used when it was not! However it was quickly decided to convert them in-house with enclosed lower sides and an open top deck. The tram was also retrofitted with updated electrical equipment during it's life.
Preserved 102 at Crich

Double decker tram [2]

View of collector and top deck on 102

High capacity double bogie car [2]

Another view of 102

Single decker car [2]

[1] "New transportation system for Newcastle-upon-Tyne", Street Railway Journal Vol (May 1901) p. 547
[2] Ibid. p. 551
[3] Charles Klapper, The Golden Age of Tramways (David & Charles, 1974) p. 129

Midland Metro Urbos 3

The Urbos 3 fleet is the second generation of light rail rolling stock built for the Midland Metro from Wolverhampton to Birmingham, replacing the earlier T-69 fleet [1].

Number built: 21
Built: 2012-15
Builder: CAF
Motor: 12 traction motors (750v DC OHLE)
Power: 1, 320 hp (960 kW)

The Urbos is a successful type built by CAF used in dozens of light rail systems across the world though the Midland Metro fleet is the only Urbos 3 stock used in England (the type is also used in Edinburgh).

They were introduced for the extension of the Midland Metro from Birmingham Snow Hill to Birmingham New Street railway station. They are slightly wider than the T-69s they replaced (about seventeen centimetres) thus the line had to be closed for a few weeks to allow for platform modifications before the Urbos 3 could enter service. They are also nine metres longer and can carry up to two hundred and ten passengers per tram compared to one hundred and fifty six on the T-69 (though the actual number of seats is almost the same).

CAF have developed rechargable batteries to the fleet to allow them to operate on future extensions to the line where there are no overhead wires [2]. The batteries are now been fitted to the fleet.
Tram #31 in the new TfWM Midland Metro blue livery

#34 outside Birmingham New Street

At the Stephenson Street spur

#31 arrives at Jewellery Quarter

#17 and a friend at The Hawthorns

#21 with battery packs on the roof
[1] Colin J Marsden, Rail Guide 2016 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 280
[2] Colin J Marsden (ed.), Light Rail (Key Publishing, 2018) p. 63