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Tunnels on trains
Posted on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by Thomas Young

Having covered the TML PXA/KEA box wagons (built to carry Channel Tunnel lining segments) in a recent profile, I now get to talk about some more recent cases of trains carrying tunnels.

I came across a photo of one of the ex-British Gypsum 40ft KFA/FBA container wagons taken at Tonbridge this May. The wagon had some curious and colourful modules on board.

FBA 600019 at Tonbridge West Yard, courtesy of Richard A Jones.

Some digging (sorry!) suggested that these were for use on a new flow carrying concrete tunnel lining segments from a factory at Grain (in Kent) to Ruislip, for use in HS2 (High Speed 2 rail line) construction. The paths for this working have been in place for a while but it does not appear to have started running yet.

The HS2 route features several tunnel sections, and this new freight working is presumably to serve the London tunnels (West Ruislip to Old Oak Common, and perhaps also the Old Oak Common to Euston ones). More tunnels under the Chiltern hills are already part-completed, and they used concrete segments produced in a plant near the southern portal, just north of Denham. Given that Denham is only a couple of miles from Ruislip, it is curious that they don't use the same plant for the London tunnels. By the way, if you watched the 'Inside the Factory' TV show about trains recently (with Gregg Wallace getting very excited witnessing a Greater Anglia 720 unit being built at Derby!), you would have seen the segment (Sorry again! I'm not doing these on purpose...) covering the HS2 Chilterns tunnels.

Another slight oddity is that there has recently been a flow of concrete tunnel segments into Grain. This carried parts cast at the Tarmac plant in Tallington (on the ECML north of Peterborough) and intended for use in the Thames Tideway 'Super Sewer'. The segments were loaded onto special modules carried by DB FCA container flats. At Grain the segments were transferred onto barges for movement to various other locations. The loaded train seemed to always run during the night, and I have not been able to trace the timings for the returning empties. It is believed that the workings may now have finished anyway. You can view a video of one of the loaded trains running in daylight at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRnbJwexUkY.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
The end of the 317s
Posted on Thursday 14th July 2022 by Thomas Young

I have been advised that the final class 317 passenger workings are expected to take place this Sunday. So, another class bites the dust. Will they be missed? I was reminded of some articles written around the time that the first 317 units were built (1981) that berated the design for being ugly, with the appearance purely functional and no consideration given to aesthetics. The Southern Region class 455 units that followed were perhaps even worse, with their dangling 'bagpipes' on the front ends. The design was improved later in the 1980s, with Network SouthEast insisting on improvements that led to the relatively attractive class 321 units, at the expense of losing the end gangway connections.

The initial class 317 was not very attractive (although we all became accustomed to them), but it evolved into the much more attractive 320/321/322 family. Here a 317 passes a 322 last year.

I was going to add some comments about other ugly trains that remain in service, but the subject is very, er, subjective. And liveries play a large part as well. Anyway, not really news, so I'll leave it until I have got the forum up and working!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Wagon updates
Posted on Monday 4th July 2022 by Thomas Young

The first of the MRA side-tippers to be rebodied has been seen at the former RTC in Derby. The new body has numerous vertical ribs but also a curious longitudinal chamfer, making it look a little like a hopper. This dispels my theory that the box bodies off MXA wagons might be used. The modified wagon had been painted in all-over yellow and appeared to be numbered 81.70.5831.001-9 with TOPS code JNA-Y. More details will no doubt emerge soon.

Some MRA wagons are destined to retain their side-tipping functionality, and work is to start shortly to fit a water-based dust suppression system to 100 of the wagons.

Delivery of the large batches (260 of each) of FEA-W and MLA-B/W wagons for the Wascosa / Network Rail / GB Railfreight contract is ongoing, with both being at about the half-way stage. More advanced are the outputs from W H Davis comprising FWA intermodal triples and JNA-U box wagons. The latter used some components from scrapped HHA coal hoppers, but another batch of box wagons is also under construction at Davis, these being all-new and for an as-yet unknown customer.

The next big batch of JNA-T boxes from Astra Rail has started arriving, with 30 blue wagons (81.70.5932.461-490 from an order for 236) delivered in late-April. Virtually identically to the earlier 5500 series of JNA-T wagons, the numbers follow on from the Wascosa MLA-B/W wagons, since the 5500 series has been (almost) fully used up. The intended uses for this new batch have not yet been announced.

There have been a few tweaks made to TOPS classifications over the past couple of years, the logic for which can usually be seen. For example, new sub-codes were added to BDA (and derivatives) and SSA types, to allow differentiation of wagons with lever-operated brakes from those with hand-wheels. However, a change late last year has me confused. New cement tank wagons 81.70.7829.031-053 were delivered with a new AARKND of JGA-P, and earlier examples 81.70.7829.000-030 were changed from JGA-N to JGA-P to match. This would seem to have been to remove the conflict of code JGA-N applying to two very different types (the 7829 cement tanks and the Aggregate Industries open hoppers). However, at the same time, an earlier batch of cement tanks (BLI11701-11730) were also changed, from JGA-M to JGA-N, while the AI hoppers (AI27101-27122) were left as JGA-N, meaning that the conflict has merely been moved! All three batches of cement tanks are broadly identical and of course should not even be JGAs at all, this code being for open hoppers. Codes JCA and JDA were designated for bogie powder wagons in the reshuffle of 1990, though the only other examples delivered were coded JPA! Am I missing something....?

Until last year, both of the types shown above were coded as JGA-N, which didn't seem right....

Now, both of the types shown above are coded as JGA-N, which also doesn't seem right! The similarity between the two cement tank wagons is evident, and they should surely have the same code.

In a further twist, the design codes for the BLI11701-11730 wagons were also changed, from JG016B to JG019A. This is presumed to relate to the reclassification, rather than to any modification, but again the logic behind the change is not easy to see.

Note added Tue 05/07/2022 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
Llamafish wrote to advise that the new JNA-T wagons are for use by Mendip Rail, and that a second batch of thirty (81.70.5932.491-520) has already arrived and was moved from Eastleigh to Whatley yesterday.
Source: n/a

Recent MU developments
Posted on Monday 4th July 2022 by Thomas Young

As planned, Southern ended its use of class 455/8 units at the timetable change in mid-May, and many have already been sent away for scrapping. The similar South Western Railway units remain in use pending the introduction of the class 701 'Arterio' units. The few remaining class 315 units were also expected to end service on TfL Rail, though this has not yet been confirmed. With the Elizabeth Line now running (albeit in three unconnected sections) all 70 class 345 units have now entered passenger service. Just three of the class remain in shortened 7-car formation.

East Midlands Railway has reformed some of its class 222 units, with two coaches from each of two 7-car 222/0 units (222005 and 222006) removed and used to increase the four former Hull trains 4-car 222/1 units to 5-car length.

Deliveries of various classes is ongoing, including the first of the class 398 tram/trains for Transport for Wales (delivered by road in May). The only new class to enter passenger service recently has been the 720/1 with Greater Anglia. Originally planned to be 10-car units, the order was changed to 5-car units, making them virtually the same as the 720/5 units, most of which are already in service.

Note added Tue 05/07/2022 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
User Llamafish confirms that a handful of class 315 units (along with a few 317s) remain available for service at present, though without booked duties. He added that the three 387/3 units remaining with C2C (303/304/305) came off service at the end of June and have moved to storage at Peterborough, pending enterering service with Great Northern. The other three 387/3s (301/302/306) have been used by GWR for some time but are also now heading for GN. I wonder if these will replace the 387/2s that have been 'loaned' from Gatwick Express to Great Northern?
Source: n/a

MU round-up addendum
Posted on Tuesday 26th April 2022 by Thomas Young

Further to yesterday's news item, Dan sent a couple of photos that are relevant.

The first 720/6 for C2C was seen on delivery at the weekend.

The rebuilt 458/5 units are quite different from their original form (see yesterday). Besides the blue livery, the gangway connection is now much more prominent, and the cowlings either side of the couplings have been replaced by over-ride protection plates. I wonder what they will look like after the next rebuild?! Note the different windows on the second coach, identifying it as a former class 460 vehicle.

Dan also corrected my notes about the class 456 units, of which only two have actually been scrapped. The remainder are in store at Long Marston.

Thanks to rogue246 for news that 2 more class 231 Flirt DMUs for Transport for Wales were delivered today, 231001 and 231003 being moved as a 5Q99 Ripple Lane to Cardiff Canton. Nat added that the new trains were unfortunately very heavily graffitied, presumably during their transit from Switzerland.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Multiple-Unit round-up
Posted on Monday 25th April 2022 by Thomas Young

Delivery of several large fleets of multiple units has been ongoing in recent months, although (as far as I know) only one type has actually entered passenger service - the Greater Anglia 720/5s, of which nearly 60 (out of 89 on order) are now in use. Other types that are still being delivered are CAF Civity DMUs in classes 196 (West Midlands) and 197 (Transport for Wales), Stadler Flirt DMUs in class 231 (Transport for Wales), Bombardier Aventra EMUs in classes 701 (South Western Railway) and 730 (West Midlands) and Stadler EMUs of class 777 (Merseyrail).

Not previously mentioned, C2C has also ordered some Aventra units, and the first of these was delivered a week ago (19th April). Originally planned to be formed as 10 of 6-car units, then changed to 6 of 10-car units and finally to 12 of 5-car units, with numbers 720601-720612. Partly because of this, the units for Greater Anglia that were switched from 10-car to 5-car will remain as 720/1 rather than being changed to 720/5. The number range will simply be extended to be 720101-720144.

Greater Anglia's class 720/5 units are the only recent type that is actually in service. 720538 was seen at Bethnal Green last July.

Although many of these new trains are not yet in service, withdrawal and disposal of older types is also ongoing. A handful of 315 and 317 units remain in service but are expected to finish in May and be sent for scrap. With the class 321 units, 33 remain in service (Renatus rebuilds 321301-321330 and ex-Yorkshire 321901-321903). The remainder were not PRM-compliant and have been withdrawn, although many have been put into store pending possible rebuild as hybrid-powered and/or parcels units. After a spell in Scotland covering for problems with newer units, no further use was found for the class 365 Networker Express units, and most have now been scrapped (a couple of cars have been preserved, while the last stored unit is due to be moved to Newport for scrapping tomorrow).

The Renatus rebuilds of class 321 have a distinctive livery, including black window surrounds.

Following South Western Railway's decision not to proceed with upgrades to the former Bournemouth units (class 442), these stylish trains have been scrapped, as have SWR's class 456 2-car units, which were all taken out of service in January. Withdrawal of the large fleet of SWR 4-car class 455 units should start once the new 701s enter service, while Southern plans to dispense with its 46 455s at the May 2022 timetable change. Southeastern still has a number of Networker class 465 units in store, but none have yet been scrapped, while 18 former South Western class 707 units are now here, with most repainted blue and put in service. The last 12 will follow when SWR can release them.

The 2-car class 456 units were normally used to bolster 8-car trains up to 10-cars.

The green livery applied to Southern's class 455 units made them look very different to the ones in SWT/SWR red.

The newest trains to be taken out of service are the Greater Anglia Electrostar class 379s, only built in 2010. These are being stored pending possible re-use elsewhere. The small fleet of 6 even newer Electrostars (class 387/3, built in 2016) are expected to become redundant at C2C following the delivery of their new 720/6s. Three of the 387/3 units have actually been in use with GWR for a while (alongside similar 387/1 units), and this may now become permanent.

It is to be hoped that a new home will be found for the 30 Electrostar units of class 379.

Finally, an oddity. South West Trains (as was) overhauled its fleet of 30 4-car class 458 Alstom Juniper units in 2013-2016, using cars from redundant Gatwick Express class 460 units to turn the fleet into one of 36 5-car units. South Western Railway has now started taking the 458 units out of service to allow them to be rebuilt (again) as express 4-car units!

I don't seem to have photographed any of the rebuilt 5-car 458/5 units in their blue livery, so here is a view of the type in its original livery and 4-car guise.

If you can correct or add to any of this item, please get in touch, or add a note. I will be reviewing wagon news shortly.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
First Wascosa FEA wagons delivered
Posted on Sunday 30th January 2022 by Thomas Young

The first of 260 FEA bogie flat wagons ordered as part of the Wascosa/Network Rail contract were delivered yesterday, being moved from Dollands Moor to Eastleigh. There were 20 wagons, numbered in the range 83.70.4524.026 to 83.70.4524.070 of which 18 were fitted with flat-deck general-purpose modules. One wagon had low mesh dropside modules (like a Super Tench), while the last looked like a Bogie Bolster, with bolsters and stanchions. As noted recently, the TOPS code for these wagons appears to have been changed from the originally proposed FEA-W to FEA-S, the same as on most of the earlier single (as opposed to twin) wagons. A video of the delivery run can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt0Mi2-QBKA. Thanks to Rogue246 and Llamafish for the info.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Second batch of MLAs and weed-killers delivered
Posted on Tuesday 11th January 2022 by Thomas Young

Another 20 of the Wascosa MLA wagons arrived today, moving from Dollands Moor to Eastleigh in the early hours. Wagons were 81.70.5932.231-250. These (and the 30 delivered at the end of last year) have been added to the database.

Also, two more of the new 'smart' weed-killer trains are reported to have been completed (the first train was mentioned in news here on 30th August last year). Full details of the new trains are not yet to hand but each comprises 3 x KFA former container wagons. The existing KFA numbers are retained, with additional numbers in the 99.70.9395.004-009 range.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Yet more new deliveries
Posted on Thursday 30th December 2021 by Thomas Young

Another delivery of new wagons has come through the Channel Tunnel, moving onwards to Eastleigh early this morning. The train comprised 30 MLA-W low-sided open wagons for Network Rail, from a total of 260 that are expected under the Wascosa contract. Numbers of today's arrivals were 81.70.5932.201-230. Thanks to users Nat37670 and rogue246 for the heads-up.

Note added Fri 31/12/2021 by Nat37670
Category: Classification/Coding
Off the back of that the new FEA are on the system as FEA-S.
Source: TOPS
Note added Fri 31/12/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Classification/Coding
Although the new MLA wagons were originally expected to be coded MLA-W (to indicate the lessor Wascosa, as applied to the JNA-W box wagons and planned for the FEA-W flats), they have apparently appeared on TOPS as MLA-B (like the similar wagons bought by EWS back in 2008).
Source: TOPS list from contributor

More imports
Posted on Tuesday 28th December 2021 by Thomas Young

Arriving from France earlier today were 11 new JGA-P cement tank wagons numbered 81.70.7829.031-041. These are from the order for 23 wagons mentioned here back in August. The owner and user are not yet known, though the new wagons are believed to be to the same design code (JG018A) as earlier wagons owned by Ermewa and leased to Tarmac/CRH. Details will be added to the database once confirmed. Thanks to user rogue246 for the news.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Imports and Exports
Posted on Thursday 18th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Further to the news story posted earlier today, the first two Stadler Flirt units for Transport for Wales did indeed arrive today. The consist was given as coaches 381002 + 381202 + 381402 + 381302 + 381102 + 381004 + 381204 + 381404 + 381304 + 381104. The unit numbers are not confirmed but are presumably 756002 and 756004 231002 and 231004. Note that the class 231 DEMUs are officially 4-car, while the 756 units are coming in both 3-car and 4-car formations. However, as with the earlier class 755 units for Greater Anglia, they also include a short 'Power Pack' (PP) coach, containing diesel engines but no passenger accommodation. The PP cars are also assigned stock numbers, so the 3-car and 4-car units will be referred to here as 4-car and 5-car respectively! Correcting my earlier post, the 756 are actually tri-mode, able to run on diesel, overhead electric or battery power.

While looking for information on these trains, I stumbled across something else. Vivarail 230002, one of the hybrid units rebuilt from London Underground D-stock trains, has been in the United States since April this year. Based at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania, it is acting as a prototype for potential 'pop-up' metro schemes.

Note added Fri 19/11/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Construction/Delivery
Thanks to the contributors who pointed out that the first units delivered were actually class 231 DEMUs rather than class 756 tri-mode units. I have updated the news story. This clears up something that I thought was odd, whereby the units had coach numbers in the 3xxxxx series, whereas the Greater Anglia class 755 units had 9xxxxx. The 3xxxxx series had already been used for the Vivarail class 230 DEMUS, but before you think there is a logic to these things, the series has also been applied to coaches in class 345 and 745 EMUs!
Source: n/a
Note added Fri 19/11/2021 by Llamafish
Category: Construction/Delivery
The delivery of the new TfW units was actually reported to be 231002 and 231004.
Source: Online gen posts

More new trains on the way
Posted on Thursday 18th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Delivery of the new Stadler trains for TfW (Transport for Wales) is expected to start imminently, with the 18:06 Dollands Moor to Ripple Lane expected to be used. The first may actually arrive today, although it is not known if this will be a class 231 DEMU or a bi-mode 756. By the way, I seem to have missed the latter off in my listings of new and forthcoming class codes.

A bit further down the pipeline, the 260 MLA-W box wagons for Network Rail are expected from early 2022. Numbers have been allocated as 81.70.5932.201-460, these following directly on from the JNA-W wagons currently being delivered. Thanks to rogue246 for both these items.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
MRA tip-off
Posted on Wednesday 17th November 2021 by Thomas Young

A correspondent suggested that some of Network Rail's new JNA-W wagons would be replacing MRA wagons working on the Cumbrian Coast and from Redcar. I thought this seemed strange, as the MRA wagons have low-sided boxes that can be tipped to either side, whereas the new wagons are plain boxes that have to be loaded and unloaded by grabs. Apparently, some MRA sets are being used as box wagons, with the generators and tipping equipment isolated.

Another member then found a news report on the East Midlands Business Link website, only posted yesterday. This stated that Loram at Derby had been awarded a contract by Network Rail to 're-purpose' at least 250 of the MRA wagons. The work will involve removing the tipping elements to create 'reusable and far more versatile non-tipping static containers'. At present, each wagon has two tipping boxes on it, with one wagon in each 5-wagon set also having a generator set fitted between the two boxes, this being used to power the tipping machinery. Although not clearly stated, I presume that the rebuilding will involve the removal of the existing boxes and the fitting of a new, full-length box body.

Or perhaps (and I am just speculating here) the MRA wagons will be fitted with the boxes currently on the fleet of MXAs. The latter were formed a few years ago by fitting new box bodies onto the underframes of former steel wagons. The steel wagons had been modernised in the 1970s but were originally built in the 1950s, and they may be getting a bit worn out. It was noticeable that quite a few were at Stoke wagon works (including some with the box bodies removed) when Dan took photos there recently. We shall see....

The current configuration of the MRA wagons is shown in this view of generator-fitted 501044 at Eastleigh in July 2019.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New JNA-W wagons
Posted on Friday 12th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Derek managed to catch Network Rail's newly delivered JNA-W wagons on their move from Dollands Moor to Eastleigh yesterday. As expected, the wagons are virtually identical to the recent JNA-T box wagons, apart from the small object near the centre top of each end, which I would guess is probably a light. Note also the Swiss flag on the end, Wascosa being a Swiss company.

JNA-W 81.70.5932.170-0 was at the rear of the rake of 25 wagons being delivered to Eastleigh, and was seen passing through Winchfield running about an hour late.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Arrivals and departures
Posted on Wednesday 10th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Due to move from Dollands Moor to Eastleigh tomorrow are some new JNA-W box wagons for Network Rail (the order for which was mentioned in fleet news on 24th January this year). The batch of 50 wagons has appeared on TOPS as numbers 81.70.5932.151-200 to new design code JN069A and in new pool 1612. A photograph of one of the wagons taken in Germany a couple of weeks ago (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/152684342@N06/51631609162/) shows that they are very similar to the numerous JNA-T wagons but in yellow livery with large Wascosa lettering. Thanks to users rogue246 and Nat 37670 for the heads up.

Going the other way, I was surprised to hear that the small batch of HLA-B hoppers only built in 2010 have gone for scrap. They moved from storage at Hither Green to Wembley, onwards to Bescot and finally to EMR at Kingsbury, arriving last Thursday (4th November). It seems odd to scrap such young hoppers, when (slightly) older coal hoppers are still being rebuilt for aggregates use. However, the HLA-B wagons were slightly non-standard, with higher than normal discharge chutes, and (presumably) a consequent reduction of cubic capacity. Thanks to Llamafish for this news.

The dozen HLA-B hoppers were mainly used from Angerstein Wharf near Charlton. 82.70.6956.006-4 was seen at Woolwich Arsenal on 15th April 2013.

Note added Thu 11/11/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Construction/Delivery
There were 25 JNA-W wagons in today's Dollands Moor to Eastleigh working, 81.70.5932.151 to 81.70.5932.175 inclusive (but not in order).
Source: 2 separate sighting reports

Yet more new TOPS codes
Posted on Wednesday 27th October 2021 by Thomas Young

Several new TOPS classes have been created for recent and forthcoming types. Although not yet added to the database, these are listed below (in numerical order)

Class 18 has been assigned to a batch of 15 Bo-Bo hybrid battery/diesel locos to be built by Clayton for leasing company Beacon Rail. These are to have a very low top speed and are most likely to be used in industrial complexes rather than on the mainline.

Number 19001 was applied a few years ago to a Mk3 Driving Van Trailer coach converted by Artemis Intelligent Power into a self-propelled development vehicle. 2 JCB diesel engines drive hydraulic motors, while regenerative braking is also featured. The vehicle has only seen trial use on the Bo'ness preserved line, and class code 19 is not officially registered.

Class code 93 was allocated in 2018, although an order was not placed until January 2021. These are to be tri-mode (o/h AC electric, diesel and battery) Bo-Bo locos to be built by Stadler for Rail Operations Group. Up to 30 are expected, with the initial order for 10 due to be delivered in 2023.

Sub-class 153/9 was created in January 2021 for a group of class 153 single-car DMUs transferred to Transport for Wales (TfW). The numbering is to distinguish the transferred vehicles (which are intended as a short-term measure and are not compliant with PRM regulations) from TfW's existing 153 units.

Similarly, new sub-class 156/9 was added at the end of 2019 for class 156 2-car units transferred from Greater Anglia to East Midlands Railway, although in this instance the differentiation was between different types of Passenger Information Systems fitted.

This is intended for an electric-only parcels/freight unit converted from redundant class 319 units as a more basic variant of the class 768 (q.v.). Having said that, Eversholt have converted a class 321 unit into an express freight carrier for demonstration purposes, and this has retained its original number (321334).

The new units under construction by Stadler for use on the Tyne and Wear Metro are to be class 555. The use of the rare 5xx code is due to the Metro featuring DC electrification but why pick 555? Is it to follow Merseyrail, whose new trains are 777?! Come to think of it, if the new Merseyrail trains are DC-powered, shouldn't they have a 5xx class code?

Following the conversion of a class 319 dual-voltage EMU into a hydrogen fuel-cell powered test unit classified 799 in 2019, the 'Breeze' project intends to similarly rebuild several class 321 units for passenger use. These have been assigned class code 600, starting a whole new series.

Rail Operations Group started its 'Orion' project to create new trains for parcels/package-freight traffic, using class 319 units rebuilt with 'flex' diesel power packs like those fitted to the class 769 units now in use with Great Western, Northern and Transport for Wales. Originally proposed to be class 769/5, the first unit emerged in July 2021 as a class 768 instead.

Note added Mon 08/11/2021 by Llamafish
Category: Other/General
As well as those above, another new class has surfaced - this being class 614. Converted from 314209, unit 614209 has been converted to hydrogen power as part of the 'Scottish Hydrogen Train project', aimed at looking at new ways of propulsion. Conversion work is being undertaken at the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway.

On a similar note, another hydrogen-powered EMU has also surfaced, this being 799201, which was converted from 319382 at Long Marston. This is referred to as 'HydroFlex 2' and follows on as the next development stage from 799001. 799201 was demonstrated (on EMU power only!) in the Glasgow area in conjunction with the COP26 summit.
Source: Various

More about the JNA-U numbering
Posted on Saturday 2nd October 2021 by Thomas Young

A correspondent has come up with the reason why the number series for the new build of JNA-U wagons starts at the seemingly random 81.70.5932.105. Numbers xx.70.5932.000-104 were reportedly allocated to MLA wagons 503500-503604. These were built in 2007/2008, just before the TSI (Technical Specification of Interoperability) was adopted, after which all new-build wagons were given EVNs (European Vehicle Numbers). I have read that EVNs were allocated to all existing rolling stock (locos and coaches as well as wagons), though I have never seen any details of these, and the vast majority of stock has continued to display their existing 'domestic' numbers.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More on the new FFA-G wagons
Posted on Friday 24th September 2021 by Thomas Young

40 of the new FFA-G container wagons (20 pairs) were moved from Wembley to Southampton on 20th September. The train comprised various wagons in the range 81.70.4846.005 to 81.70.4846.107 and most pairs were not formed of consecutively numbered wagons. Some excellent photos can be found at www.47soton.co.uk/2021/09/new-ffa-g-wagons-for-freightliner.html and these show that they are 40-foot deck wagons, rather like the FWA type, and are for use by Freightliner, carrying their (newish) pale grey livery with orange/yellow logos. The full TOPS code of FFA-G is carried, along with UIC type code Sggrrss, but there is no VKM (Vehicle Keeper Marking). Thanks to Dave M for the heads-up on these. The relevant codes and numbers have now been added to the database, likewise for the latest JNA-T boxes. I am going to hang-fire on the JNA-U wagons until delivery has commenced.

Note added Sat 25/09/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Classification/Coding
The design code for these new wagons has been confirmed as FF002A, while the wagons are in new pool 9342.
Source: TOPS list from contributor

Wagon news
Posted on Thursday 23rd September 2021 by Thomas Young

The latest issue of Rail Express magazine reports the delivery of the first examples from two new batches of box wagons. First up are the 46 wagons being built by W H Davis for Beacon Rail (per news of 15/04/2021). These are now known to be for use by GB Railfreight, and they are to carry the standard dark blue livery with large, yellow GBRf lettering. The wagons appear to be longer than the recent JNA-Ts and feature horizontal ribs on the ends which wrap around to the sides. The wagon shown in the magazine had rusty buffers suggesting that these, along with the bogies, have come from scrapped Freightliner HHA coal hoppers. The new wagons are to be coded JNA-U and the first one is numbered 81.70.5932.105-6, with the magazine reporting that the batch will be 81.70.5932.105-150. This is rather odd, as I am not aware of any other xx.70.5932.xxx numbers ever being used.

Also mentioned in Rail Express is the arrival in July of 18 new JNA-T wagons numbered in the range 81.70.5500.958-976. This ties in with the news item here on 30/08/2021, although the reason for the gap in the number series is not mentioned. The new wagons are in VTG dark blue livery and soon entered service carrying HS2 spoil from Willesden Euroterminal to Barrington.

Staying with new wagons, user Llamafish has mentioned that the first of the new FFA-G wagons have been delivered. As per the news item on 30/08/2021, these wagons are to be formed in pairs, though not it seems with consecutive numbers. More on this item soon.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Wagon news
Posted on Monday 30th August 2021 by Thomas Young

Interoperability documents on the ORR (Office of Road and Rail) website provided details of three new batches of wagons. Information on the owners/operators of the wagons was not included, though they did not seem to relate to any of the orders that have previously been announced. I found these documents a few weeks ago but curiously, when I looked for them today to check some information, they seemed to have been removed from the website. Details of the batches are given below anyway.

42 more JNA-T box wagons are/were to be built by Astra Rail with numbers 81.70.5500.958-999. 'Missing' numbers 5500.859-957 are presumably allocated to wagons from earlier orders, though the total of 99 is rather odd. The new batch have a revised design code of JN067A. Also to be built by Astra Rail are 230 bogie flat wagons, formed into 115 twin-sets. These will be coded FFA-G with numbers 81.70.4846.000-229. The FFA TOPS code thus makes a return, having once been common on Freightliner wagons. Indeed the proposed design code of FF002A was previously allocated (on paper at least) to the Freightliner prototypes. Finally there are to be 23 JGA-P wagons numbered 81.70.7829.031-053 built by French firm Millet AFR. The numbers suggest that these will be bogie cement tank wagons like the ones built in 2016. The JG018A design code is the same, although the earlier examples were to TOPS code JGA-N.

A new TOPS code has been introduced for some BLA coil carriers (converted from BBAs in the 1990s) fitted with replacement bogies. This is BLA-T, which ties in with the BAA-T and BBA-T codes introduced when those types were given new bogies some time ago, while the design code is changed to BL002A. The replacement bogies for the BLA-T wagons are believed to have been recovered from scrapped HTA coal hoppers. Talking of HTAs, a couple more buffer-fitted examples have been reported, renumbered to 330707 and 330818. With the type now been scrapped in large numbers, perhaps these two were to replace earlier conversions.

Not very topical but I have learned that the shortened, ex-Freightliner HHA hoppers also have a new TOPS code, this being HHA-E. As previously reported, these wagons have a revised design code of HH003A.

Previously unknown design codes assigned to existing types include BB002N, BD008A, BD008C and HT051C.

The August issue of Rail Express magazine mentioned the latest FRA-B conversions, saying that they were done at Eastleigh (as per the earlier batch) and that the wagons were renumbered in the order given in my news story of 13th June. The magazine also showed the first of three new 'Smart' weed-killing trains to be operated by GB Railfreight. These comprise modules fitted to intermodal flats, in this case KFA wagons VTG95378-95380. These wagons were from a batch of 13 built for waste traffic with Bow Midland in 1998. The traffic never started and several of the wagons spent long periods in store, though a few were modified for use in electrification trains during the West Coast upgrade. The article mentioned that the three wagons also carried EVNs of 99.70.9395.003-5, 99.70.9395.003-5 and 99.70.9395.002-7 respectively, noting that the duplication of 003 was no doubt an error. A sighting on this website has confirmed that the numbers are 99.70.9395.003-5/001-9/002-7. Also mentioned on the same page was the rather surprising return of the Babcock 'Mega 3' intermodal wagons. Built in 2003 for use by Blue Circle, they were numbered BCC11501-11522 with TOPS code KAA. They did not prove successful and were eventually 'exported' to continental Europe in 2008. They returned to the UK this June and are expected to be used between Immingham, Hull and Doncaster.

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Site news
42 site news items found.
A few more tweaks
Posted on Saturday 6th August 2022 by Thomas Young

I have made some small improvements to a couple of pages. User will probably not notice any differences, unless I have mucked up. As usual, if you encounter anything strange, or if you have any comments or suggestions, please get in touch.

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41 new photos
Posted on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 by Thomas Young

41 more photos have been added today and are (again) a rather mixed bunch, coming from no fewer than 7 different people.

The first 6 were taken by Alan Webster in 2005. He sent them to me in 2016 and I put them aside pending the launch of the new website. Then I forgot about them. Sorry Alan!

The numerous Sea Urchin conversions had already gone by the time I started photographing wagons. This is Transrail-branded T110169 at Newport.

Next up are 5 from Dave Warby's Flickr collection that I saved a year ago then also forgot about!

Vacuum-braked tank wagons were rare by 1990, when Dave found TEX54808 at Fishguard Harbour. No TOPS code is carried but there is an 'AFI' branding on the solebar, suggesting this was a TTF

Brian Rolley kindly gave me permission to use some fascinating photos he took at the Allied Steel and Wire works in Tremorfa, Cardiff. These will be featured in an upcoming Profile article.

These very short bogie wagons originally had tanks and carried Chlorine. Bought for internal use, they were converted into flats.

As well as the tunnel-related photo (see today's fleet news), Richard A Jones allowed me to use a couple of his photos of recently-delivered multiple units.

It is hard to make units with end gangways look attractive, especially when they carry a livery like this! Two West Midlands class 730 units were seen on test at Crewe in May.

Paul visited the Maidenhead Beer Festival in July and sent a couple of photos of GWR units.

A lovely view of a class 800 at Paddington. The white visible around the various recesses makes me wonder if the green livery is vinyls rather than paint.

Derek made another of his regular visits to Eastleigh and photographed various wagons, including several brand-new FWA container triples.

These YEA wagons appear to have been modified. The side rails for the travelling gantry manipulator have been removed, while the rail load is being held in place by new bolsters.

Finally I again dipped into Huw's magnificent (and growing) Flickr collection of 1980s photos for some more images for the upcoming profile.

This is what the ASW wagons mentioned above looked like before their tank barrels were removed.

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Progress IS being made...
Posted on Thursday 28th July 2022 by Thomas Young

I hope that users of this site are clear that LTSV-RD is very much a work-in-progress. Some of the content and functionality has yet to be added and (more significantly) there is masses of data that has not yet been inputted. I am working on it, but it is sometimes disheartening to consider how much still remains to be done. For example, over the past few days I have been having a push on the numbers that have not yet been assigned status codes (q.v.). After plodding through hundreds of records, there were still over 11,000 remaining. On the other hand, this does mean that over 97 percent of the numbers in the database DO have a status code. I am also cheered by the fact that users Nat37670 and Llamafish are helping out, and in fact they have been responsible for a staggering number of updates, for which I am extremely grateful.

Completion of the work on status codes will enable a clearer distinction to be made between stock that still exists and stock that has 'long gone'. A page listing just 'current' numbers will be created, which should be easier to use than the main numbers list. It will almost certainly be much faster too. As always, I would be glad to receive any comments or suggestions (or even complaints). Otherwise I will just carry on doing what I think you want me to do!

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An Origins story
Posted on Tuesday 19th July 2022 by Thomas Young

I have been adding some notes about wagons that ended their days in internal use at the South Wales locations run by Allied Steel and Wire (later Celsa). This actually relates to the origins of this website. Back in about 2008 I was researching TUA tank wagons for a profile article for my old LTSV Wagons website (the article has still not appeared by the way!). I found a mention of one of the tank wagons in a posting on the RMweb forum (which is primarily about railway modelling). The post reported that the wagon had been acquired for internal use at Tremorfa, and it also had a lot of information about other ex-mainline wagons that went the same way. I realised that this information might be useful to me in the future, so I saved a copy, but then I got to thinking about how I could reference it so that it could be easily found later. Information often seemed to turn up in unusual places (such as a modelling forum) and often covered several different topics. There was also the consideration that these sources may not be permanent. Websites don't last forever, and even major forums sometimes have a clear-out, with older posts being lost. My first thought was to create a private document, to link snippets of information to particular numbers, batches, TOPS codes etc. Changing this to a database seemed logical, followed by the idea that the information might be of interest to others as well. So I decided to turn the database into a website, and the final change was to enable users to contribute their own bits of information, adding to the pool of knowledge. I then spent the next 10 years or so (not continuously!) planning the database and collecting and inputting data. And here we are....

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Sorry, a funny thing happened whilst I was on the RMweb forum. The posts about Tremorfa included mention of several ex-Murgatroyds/ICI BP bogie chlorine tank wagons that had been acquired. These wagons had recently been on my mind after I had seen some photos of them in Huw Millington's collection. I had also made an icon of them from the BR diagram. Now the RMweb forum is one of those websites that has a lot of adverts, including videos. Normally I find these annoying but here, the videos were at least relevant. The one that was playing as I read the post was about a model layout called Shenston Road, which was fantastically detailed and featured a steelworks and lots of interesting wagon models. And then the video showed a train on the layout, hauled by a 47 and comprising the very same chlorine tank wagons! What are the chances? Presumably the models were scratch-built.

Anyway, this is in danger of turning into another ramble. So I'll stop.

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New profile, photos and icons added
Posted on Thursday 14th July 2022 by Thomas Young

Second update. In fact a triple update, comprising three elements.

Firstly, the new profile on pre-1990 bogie open wagons is now available. Click on the link below to view it, or head to the Profiles index page to see them all.

Profile 62: Early (Pre-1990) Bogie Open Wagons

Secondly, 21 more photos have been uploaded.

I found some photos taken by my father in 1965 of the Consett Iron Ore trains. Partly because of this, I have decided that these wagons could be covered in the new profile!

The other photos are from the collections of Huw Millington (16) and Dan Adkins (1) and are also for use in the new profile.

Finally, I have added another 63 new icon images. The subjects this time are 'ferry wagons', most of which seem to be tanks.

Design Code IBE263 Tank Wagon. BR diagrams are never fully to scale, and some are notably not even in proportion. This one looks a bit suspect!

Design Code IBE376 Tank Wagon. Looks a bit unbalanced!

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Looking and learning
Posted on Thursday 14th July 2022 by Thomas Young

I am still a bit unwell unfortunately, but I have been able to get on with some work. Over the last few days I have been researching and writing a new profile article about pre-1990 bogie open wagons. As usual, this has involved looking at lots and lots of photos, re-reading lots and lots of books and magazine articles, and also going through some of the thousands of BR diagram book pages on the BMRG website. Doing this has taught me a few new things, not usually learned directly but by piecing different bits of the picture together. For example, comparing photos with the listings data on this website, or relating news items from magazines with known changes in the data. This is a bit like detective work, and it is one of the aspects I enjoy. Anyway, since I still haven't built the forum, I will mention a couple of these 'discoveries' here.

1. Some batches of wagons had a mixture of disc and shoe braked bogies
Quite a few wagons built in the 1980s and 1990s used recycled running gear, usually from scrapped tank wagons. Bogies fitted to tank wagons included a variety of different makes and models but most shared a similar basic design, making them rather hard to tell apart. However, they also came in both disc and shoe braked versions, and these are usually easier to distinguish. I had not previously realised that some of the batches of new wagons built in the 1980s and 1990s used bogies with both brake types, though not on the same wagon of course. These include the numerous TML PXA and Railtrack JNA box wagons, most of which are still in service today.

This KEA-Z clearly has shoe brakes, while the similar wagon it is coupled to has disc brakes.

2. Bogie wagons with disc brakes all seem to have 'opposed' brakes
Looking at photos of TML and Railtrack wagons with disc brakes, I was puzzled that the bogies at one end seemed to have wheelsets with discs while the other always had plain (or 3-hole) wheelsets. I had read (in an excellent article about bogies in Rail Express magazine) that there was a thing called 'opposed disc brakes', but it did not explain what this was. I eventually realised that each bogie had brakes on the wheels on one side only. The discs always seem to be fitted to the bogie at the right-hand end, whichever side you looked at.

This is one of the numerous JNA-A wagons, initially operated by Railtrack. The wheelsets on the bogie at the right-hand end have brake discs, while those on the left are plain.

3. The ARC 270xx wagons had bogies of two types
Procor built 17 box wagons for use by ARC in 1986/87 and photos suggested that these were fitted with boxy Schlieren M25 bogies. The Metro Enterprises PO Wagons books had shown them having BSC Axle Motion bogies, which I had always taken to be a mistake. The 2nd edition of this book showed just the two outer wagons having Schlieren bogies, but this still seemed wrong. I then found some early photos on Paul Bartlett's website which clearly showed that five of the inner wagons did in fact have Axle Motion bogies (similar to those on the PTA wagons the new batch was intended to work with). This in itself is a little odd, as the Axle Motion bogie was unlikely to still be in production by 1986. Perhaps the bogies had been made earlier as spares for the huge PTA fleet, or perhaps they were recovered from the few tank wagons that had been so fitted. Either way it would result in a limited supply which could explain why such a small batch of wagons did not all have the same bogie types.

I do not yet have any photos of these wagons that I can use, which is a pity as the next discovery also related to them.

4. Some of the ARC 270xx wagons were re-bogied after a derailment in 1989
Photos on several websites (such as Martyn Read's and Andy Jupe's) had shown the former ARC wagons in storage in the 2004-2007 period, and it was notable that several were by then mounted on Gloucester GPS bogies. I then read about a derailment and subsequent collision at Taplow Bridge in 1989 which had damaged several of the batch. The numbers mentioned happened to be the same as those noted with GPS bogies, so it seems safe to assume that the replacement bogies were fitted when the wagons were (eventually) repaired in 1991.

I was also reminded of two other points, both of which you need to bear in mind when looking into wagon details.

1. Books (nearly) always contain mistakes
Harsh but true, even the best books are likely to contain a couple of mistakes (for example the Metro books were pretty good but, as seen, not fault-less), while some others had loads. I can't really criticise, since my own website no doubt has many errors itself. However, I have the benefit of being able to correct these once found. The brave authors and publishers of wagon books in the 1980s and 1990s may have made a few mistakes, but a partly-wrong book is better than no book at all. And perhaps the errors came from the information that they were supplied with. Still, I have learned that I should try and check facts, either against other publications or on-line photos, whenever possible.

Among the best, but not infallible, Metro Enterprises published several wagon books in the late-1980s and early-1990s.

2. The allocation of design codes was not very consistent
By this I mean the application of the principle whereby the 'diagram' part (eg PG016) distinguishes major variants, with the full 'design code' (eg PG016D) being used for minor variations. To give two contrasting examples, Procor built a series of box wagons in the 1980s to the PX029 diagram. However the PX029A/B/D Sheerness wagons were 62ft long, while the remainder were 52ft long. I would consider that a major difference! On the other hand, 3 large batches of PTA tipplers were built for British Steel in the 1970s. Each batch comprised three types (inner, fixed outer and rotating outer), and each sub-type from all three batches appears to have been identical. However, the design codes started a new diagram for each batch. As far as I can see, PT002A, PT003A and PT004A were all identical, as were PT002B, PT003B and PT004B etc. Of course, the TOPS code reshuffles of 1990 threw the system into further disarray by keeping the numerical part of the design codes the same. For example, PX046A became JN046A, even though there was no JN045 diagram.

My final point in this ramble concerns on-line photo galleries. There are now loads of photo collections available on-line which feature wagons, admittedly mainly from the digital camera era. These have proved invaluable when researching details but there is a major problem. The ability to easily find photos of any given type of wagon depends very much on how the user has chosen to name and organise their photos. Flickr is the most common provider of on-line galleries and their model only seems to support a single layer of albums. So a user may create an album called JNA, but that could contain anything from 1980s-built box wagons to the hordes of JNA-Ts delivered over the past few years. Within that album, the photos are shown in order of filename, which may or not relate to the wagon numbers. But that is assuming that the user has created an album called JNA. Lots of users have albums called 'Wagons', or 'Bogie Wagons' or 'Private-Owner Wagons' or any combination. Worse still, the photos may only have been put in an album called 'Stratford July 2016' or whatever. With Flickr, the albums seems to be arranged in the order they were added, rather than by their name. Some users have been very careful and created their albums in such a way that the resulting order is logical, but many do not.

After the demise of Fotopic (way back in 2011!), Flickr has become the defacto standard for on-line photo galleries. It offers lots of display and organisation options but I still feel it lacks some flexibility, while the usefulness of any single gallery is very dependent on how the owner has organised it.

What all of this boils down to is that it can be very hard to find photos of a particular type. I have a number of 'go-to' Flickr sites, which have lots of photos and sensible organisation (these are listed on my Links page in the Articles section). Beyond that though, finding stuff is often down to luck or perseverance. For the new profile, I spent a while hunting for photos of former TML box wagons in Boulby potash traffic. I did find some other stuff that interested me (Diesel Brake Tenders in the 1970s for example) but no potash.

I had considered the possibility of setting up a Flickr group with a photo pool, but these don't seem to allow the use of albums/folders at all. My other plan, which I will proceed with, is to improve my links page by running it off a database table and adding more sites. You will then be able to filter the list of sites to show only (for example) sites with photos of wagons taken in the 1980s at at least medium resolution and with downloading enabled. However, I think that the most useful thing I could do would be to get the existing 'photolinks' sections fully working. This allows links to individual photos to be referenced to any given stock number and/or TOPS or design code. I won't be using it to add links to every photo on-line of a JNA-T wagon (for example), but I will add links to photos that are rare or interesting, and over time this should build up into a useful resource for future research. I will pick-up on this work once I am feeling a bit better - it will require my coding head which is currently stored unserviceable!

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More icons
Posted on Tuesday 5th July 2022 by Thomas Young

It's been almost a year since I added any new icons. I have been looking at tank wagons recently (thanks to Huw Millington's photos) so I have made up a set of icons covering various design codes in the TBx, TCx, TDx, TEx, TRx and TSx series. There are 81 in total, plus I slipped in 3 more of PXx wagons, including a pair of unusual-looking hot ingot wagons. Samples below.

Design Code TB001A Bogie Tank Wagon - Chlorine

Design Code TE016A Bogie Tank Wagon - Class B

Design Code TR020A Tank Wagon

Design Code PX009A Bogie Hot Ingot Wagon - Insulated

These images are derived from the drawings in the BR diagram books, so detail is somewhat basic (typically omitting all underframe parts), but they have all been cleaned-up, and re-sized to a consistent scale. Having said that, the images shown above have been set to shrink-to-fit, so may not all be to the same scale...

I will be adding the new icons to the relevant designs, batches and TOPS codes shortly.

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LTSV is unwell
Posted on Monday 4th July 2022 by Thomas Young

I have been rather poorly for the last couple of weeks, meaning that work on LTSV has slowed down. It doesn't seem to be anything more than a cold/flu, but it is proving very hard to shake-off.

One thing I have been doing is to have a proper look through the 1,600+ wagon photos on Huw Millington's Flickr site. What sets this collection apart from most others is that the photos were mainly taken in the 1980s. Going through the photos has impressed upon me the quality of the images and also the breadth of coverage. Huw evidently got around a bit, and almost every type of private-owner and ferry wagon in use at the time was photographed, including some real rarities. Most of the types are of course now long-gone and the collection has become a very valuable record of the time. The good news is that Huw has decided to make a start on scanning the rest of his photo collection. So far added are 94 images of BR-owned air-braked wagons, including such delights as ODA, OEA, ex-BCA, ex-BLA and BXA types, again mainly taken in the 1980s. Huw has created a separate album for the new additions, which can be found here.

Somewhat related to this, I am currently working on getting the photolinks function to work, meaning that links to individual photos of interest can be added to relevant numbers, TOPS codes or design codes. I also hope to upgrade the listing of other on-line photo galleries, making it easier to find sites containing particular types of photos (eg '1980s Wagons').

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Unexpected side effects
Posted on Thursday 23rd June 2022 by Thomas Young

I made some changes to my website configurations today, to enable error messages to be shown when a user tries to access a page that doesn't exist. Unexpectedly, this seemed to knock-out most of the thumbnail images shown across various pages. I eventually tracked this down to my using a lower-case letter S instead of a capital in the image filepaths. It seems that the configuration change made the case sensitivity more strict. Anyway, I think I have now fixed all the affected pages but please get in touch if you find anything amiss.

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Is it time for more photos yet?
Posted on Saturday 18th June 2022 by Thomas Young

83 more photos have been added today and are a rather mixed bunch.

Nathan sent some excellent photos taken a few days ago at Margam.

A couple of the recently-rebogied BLA-T wagons were seen.

A Westerleigh to Robeston tank train contained various types, in various liveries and conditions. This was one of the cleaner ones.

Paul also sent a couple this week, including a Stadler 755/4 seen today.

I then continued with the clear-out of my loco photos from the past 15 years. Covered this time are the second-half of the 66/7s, along with some 67, 70, 73, 86, 90 and a single 92.

Probably the most interesting photo in this section is a First Scotrail class 90 at Wembley.

Finally I made another raid on Dave Warby's Flickr collection to illustrate some Southern Region multiple-unit types that I have not been able to cover with my own photos.

I have taken hundreds of photos at this location (Lewisham), but none of a class 415/1!

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More photos plus one and a half new profiles
Posted on Thursday 9th June 2022 by Thomas Young

A relatively small batch of 28 photos is being added today. 19 were taken by Derek in Eastleigh recently. Subjects include all three wagon types being supplied under the Wascosa / Network Rail deal.

Several FEA-W wagons were caught, all of which had 'Salmon' flatbed modules installed.

Next are 9 more from Huw Millington's collection.

This wagon never entered service in the form shown here, but it had an interesting life.

Using Huw's photos (plus some others), I have written a new profile, giving a detailed look at the 200-or-so 2-axle vans that featured in the TOPS-era private owner fleet. Click on the image below to view this, or head to the Profiles list page.

Profile 61 : 2-axle Private-Owner Vans

I have also taken the opportunity to update an earlier profile, with much more detail and lots of photos.

Profile 8 : POA/SSA Scrap Metal Wagons

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Site access problems
Posted on Sunday 5th June 2022 by Thomas Young

Some users reported difficulties accessing certain pages on LTSV-RD yesterday. I am not aware of any issues or service outages so I am going to assume that these were just passing 'blips'. Please contact me if you experience any problems.

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Second update - Sightings list improved
Posted on Monday 30th May 2022 by Thomas Young

The sightings list page was getting embarrassingly slow to load (between 12 and 20 seconds) so needed looking at. It is now working much faster (about 0.5 seconds), and still retains all the existing sort, search and filter functions as before. This required changes to the database and to all the pages related to adding/editing sightings. The pages were tested but (as usual) if you come across anything broken or strange, please get in touch.

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Yet more photos, old and new
Posted on Monday 30th May 2022 by Thomas Young

Here comes another set of 63 photos, covering a broad range of subjects. I know it is not time for another batch yet but adding photos is relatively quick and easy, unlike the other fixes and enhancements that are on my 'to-do' list! Some of the highlights are, er, highlighted below.

Paul Nicholls sent some photos covering new units (such as the Stadler 755) and an old one (a 1960s railbus at the East Anglia Railway Museum).

Dan visited London this month and photographed one of the South Western Railway class 701 units which may one day carry passengers! He also sent some photos of the three FZA wagons, following some correspondence about them.

Next up are another 32 photos taken by my father in the 1970s and early 1980s. Some are not great, and the subjects cannot be positively identified in a few, but I hope they are of interest nonetheless.

I had another dip into Dave Warby's excellent Flickr collection to pick-out some more gap-fillers, ranging from antique grain hoppers to recent Mk5 coaches.

Huw Millington (of Brickset fame) has a collection of 1,600 wagon photos on his Flickr site, which are special because most are from the 1980s. He kindly gave me permission to use some of the photos here. This first set of 10 looks at private-owner vans, never the most common type. To see the whole collection, use the link on my links page.

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More old photos (and one very new one)
Posted on Tuesday 24th May 2022 by Thomas Young

Today is a special day for my local station of Abbey Wood, as it has seen the much-delayed start of passenger services over the new Elizabeth Line.

I didn't get up early to ride the first train, but here is 345018 at Abbey Wood in mid-morning.

The other 86 photos being added today are all from the 1980s and 1990s. I am surprised at how many photos from this era I keep finding, and there are still a few yet to add.

17 photos are from an open day at Stewarts Lane depot in April 1988, where the displays included some track machines such as USP-5000C DX77315.

Six photos from the south end of the West Coast Main Line in March 1987 include classes 85, 87, 310 and 313. Here is 310074 near North Wembley.

On 2nd May 1987 I went out to photograph the Three to the Sea railtour, since class 20 locos were rarer than hen's teeth in London. Unfortunately my best shot was lost thanks to a passing EMU.

Various other London locations were visited that day, accompanied by two friends. Where are they now?

Next up is a bunch of photos from the Railfreight exhibition at Cricklewood in 1989. Among the exhibits was the innovative Trailer Train.

Wrapping this batch up are five photos taken on preserved lines in the early 1990s, including an XP64 coach on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

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Raising the profile of profiles
Posted on Saturday 21st May 2022 by Thomas Young

There are 60 Profile articles on LTSV-RD, each covering a type or group of types. The first 59 deal with wagons, while just one has so far been added on other stock (EMU class 313). The profiles vary in length - some are quite detailed while others are very brief indeed - and they have not been updated in a while. All of this will be addressed in due course. What occurred to me recently was that the profiles were somewhat isolated from the rest of the site. For example, you could be looking at the page detailing TOPS code MTA and there would be no indication that a profile covering this type was also available.

To rectify this, I have added links that encompass most of the TOPS codes, batches, designs/diagrams, Fishkind names and lots that are referenced in the existing profiles. Hence if you were looking at the detail page for design code BA001A (for example), there will be a section headed Profiles which will contain a link to the article on BAA Bogie Steel Wagons. Some items may link to more that one profile, for example TOPS code YXA crops up in four different profiles. I have also added 'backwards' links, meaning that if you are looking at the profile on BAA Bogie Steel Wagons, you will see links to relevant batches, design codes, TOPS codes etc. As always, please let me know if you encounter anything odd or obviously wrong.

In case you hadn't come across these profiles before, take a look at the Profile List page. Work on various other improvements is still on-going....

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Another load of downloadable PDF pages added
Posted on Saturday 7th May 2022 by Thomas Young

Another 9 pages have been added to allow PDFs to be produced of various lists. These are for the Batch List, Coach Type List, Design/Diagram List, Listing List, Lot List, Number Series List, Number Status Code List, Photos List and Pool List. I have also fixed (hopefully) an issue with the page breaks on the Sighting List PDF. In all cases, the links above will take you to the web version of the page. There, you can set any filters and/or sorting that you want, then click on the PDF icon to generate the report.

I have tested each of these pages but please let me know if you find anything wrong, particularly concerning line- and/or page-breaks.

There are a few more list pages that require PDF versions, then I will start work on the detail pages (for example to produce a PDF showing all information about a particular number, TOPS code, diagram etc).

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More downloadable PDFs added
Posted on Monday 2nd May 2022 by Thomas Young

A couple more PDF documents have been added, these being for Numbers and Sightings. Links to the PDFs can be found in the introduction text of the relevant data pages (Numbers and Sightings). As before, these are 'dynamic' PDFs, so they will include the latest data and will use any user-selected filtering and sorting.

I am still getting to grips with the process for constructing these documents, and there are some quirks (particularly to do with page breaks), so please let me know if you spot anything awry.

Note also that the PDF for numbers can take a while to generate, depending on how many results you have. I managed to run a report of all B/DB-prefixed BR wagons in the database (113,766 records) but it took a whopping 97 seconds to generate. Mind you, it did have 1,836 pages! Anything larger would probably hit server time-outs. Fortunately, the file sizes are reasonable, so downloading should not be an issue. For example, the 1,836 page Numbers report weighed in at 8.75MB.

A minor associated change is that you can now filter the sightings list by year of sighting, for example to see all sightings in 1987.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Yet another bunch of photos
Posted on Friday 29th April 2022 by Thomas Young

My excuse for adding another 164 photos is that I had a local day out yesterday and photographed quite a few freight trains.

66798 took a crane and some bogie boxes from Eastleigh to Hoo in the morning (shown here), then returned in the afternoon with Autoballasters.

An Allington to Whatley train was notable for including a single HHA-E ex-Freightliner 'shorty' in amongst the usual HOA-B and IIA-B hoppers.

17 of the 20 JNA-A boxes rebuilt from JSA coil carriers were seen working from Cliffe to Stewarts Lane. These wagons are now in their third lives, having been new as Iron Ore tipplers, ironically with bodywork very similar to that now fitted (see also Fleet News of 6th December 2019).

Plasser track maintenance trolley DR98219 was caught moving from Clapham to Hither Green, while similar DR98218 was photographed earlier going the opposite way. A swap over?

I also turned my camera on some Southeastern units (which I usually ignore).

Class 375 units are split into four different sub-classes. This is a 4-car, dual-voltage (though not used as such) 375/6.

The mainstays of Southeastern suburban duties are the class 376 Electrostars and class 465/466 Networkers, examples of both types being seen at St Johns.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More photos. Now 7000 plus
Posted on Tuesday 26th April 2022 by Thomas Young

Another bundle of photos has been added, with none from Derek this time. I might be doing this instead of tackling the harder jobs, but a couple of the photos are quite topical.

The first 4 are from Paul Nicholls and include the dinky little class 139 trains.

Unlike anything else on the rails, the two class 139 'units' are Parry People Movers, with a small LPG-powered engine, a (relatively) large flywheel (1m diameter and weighing 500kg) and no traditional buffers or couplings. They are only used on the self-contained Stourbridge branch.

Dan sent a couple of topical views, and these will be shown in fleet news. After that are 28 photos I took in Lewisham last week.

I have somehow managed to avoid photographing any class 375 units until now, even though I see them all the time. They don't usually pass through Lewisham though, and this was an ECS working.

A couple of GBRf's class 66/7 locos carry the 1987 Railfreight livery, which suits the type quite well. 66793 has Construction sector markings.

Finally I have dug out another dozen photos taken by me or my father in the late 1980s. The quality is not great but there is some variety.

When we visited the National Railway Museum in York in 1987, the adjacent stabling point contained a variety of locos (08, 20, 31, 45 & 47) plus this unidentified shunters truck, which was originally a demountable tank wagon.

I think I was trying to be 'arty' with this shot of a class 110 DMU, also unfortunately unidentified.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Yay, more photos
Posted on Tuesday 19th April 2022 by Thomas Young

Another set of photos has been added, this time totalling 133. The first 110 are more from Derek Everson, taken in May/June/July 2021.

Of interest among the wagon photos are some of the large batch of FWA triple sets currently being delivered for GB Railfreight.

Derek also included (perhaps inadvertently) some loco and unit photos. New types not previously shown include 57/3, 88 (above) and 321/9.

Nigel Longdon sent six recent photos from Eastleigh.

Some of the recently-delivered FEA wagons for Network Rail are temporarily being used on intermodal traffic by GB Railfreight. This photo also shows that the wagons are lettered as FEA-W as originally planned, though they were put on TOPS as FEA-S.

Dan recently had a trip to Blackpool, to do the Heritage Tram Depot tour at the Rigby Road depot (which he thoroughly recommends by the way). On the way back, he photographed some unit types that have not previously been shown on LTSV.

Various stored trams were seen, including Balloon car 726.

The CAF Civity units used by Northern are quite distinctive and come in diesel and electric versions. This is a class 331/0 EMU at Salford Crescent.

A couple of weeks previously, Dan had caught one of the Merseyrail articulated class 777 units passing Northampton on delivery.

I still have lots more photos to add but I should probably focus on data and PDFs for a bit first.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Posted on Monday 18th April 2022 by Thomas Young

Before I get back into the swing of updating the data on this website, I thought I should make some progress with making the content downloadable, especially as I had promised that this would be done during 2021! I have added a couple of test pages today and, so long as there is no negative feedback, these will be developed and extended to cover other aspects of the data. The pages done so far are the Fishkind list and the TOPS class/code list.

If you would like to assist with checking that these work OK, head to the respective list pages (links above), where you will see a small 'PDF' link at the top of the main data table. There are a few things to note:

1. When you click on the link it will open a new browser window (or tab) and display the PDF in it. The PDF can then be printed or saved if required.
2. The PDF should show the same as the equivalent webpage, with the same sorting and filtering applied.
3. The PDF with all TOPS codes runs to 72 pages but has a remarkably small file size.
4. There are some small issues with formatting, which will be addressed soon.

If you do encounter anything odd, please get in touch.

Also coming up soon are more photos, including another large bundle from Derek, all taken in the second half of 2021.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
171 new photos added
Posted on Friday 8th April 2022 by Thomas Young

A batch of 171 new photos has just been uploaded. The first 7 are from Paul Nicholls and show part of the former GWML Electrification High-Output System at Stanford-le-Hope in Essex.

This Windhoff MPV carries numbers DR76901 and 99.70.9131.001-8.

Both Dan and Nathan have photographed examples of the recently arrived Wascosa MLA-B wagons for Network Rail.

Dan caught 81.70.5932.218-7 in a train passing his usual haunt at Northampton.

Nathan also found some of the converted BYA-O wagons at Port Talbot. They were in 'slab' mode, hence did not have the curious plates that earned these wagons their Stegosaurus nickname.

966041 at Port Talbot.

The remaining 160 photos are all by Derek Everson, and taken in January-April 2021. Subjects include barrier wagons on EMU deliveries, various engineers wagons, the Heathrow tanks at Colnbrook and a variety of intermodals at Eastleigh.

Rail Adventure bogie flats and vans are being used on deliveries of class 701 EMUs to South Western Railway.

Super power for a pair of FCA wagons now fitted with Super Tench, mesh-sided modules.

Coalfish wagons (TOPS codes MHA and MPA) are now rapidly being withdrawn and scrapped.

Tank wagons arriving at Colnbrook, with fuel for the nearby Heathrow Airport.

Container trains may seem a bit boring, but Derek found that they often contain several different types of wagon.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Normal service will be resumed shortly
Posted on Saturday 2nd April 2022 by Thomas Young

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I have hardly even looked at LTSV-RD over the past couple of months, as I have had to prioritise work on another web project (actually a replacement for my original 'LT Service Vehicles' website, which became more urgent following the discovery of some security issues with the old version).

The good news is that the work has now been completed, and the site went live yesterday. I don't have plans to create any more new websites for the time being - I've done four over the past two years. As such, I hope to have a lot more time to devote to 'content', across all four sites. There are also some outstanding (as in unfinished) features on LTSV-RD and I will be looking at those too.

I was pleased to see that a number of users have continued adding data (mainly sightings and listings) and I am very grateful for these.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Another new LTSV website
Posted on Friday 28th January 2022 by Thomas Young

There haven't been many updates over the past few weeks, mainly because I have been busy completing work on a new LTSV website. This site (my fourth) has now been launched and it may be of some interest to visitors here. It covers road vehicles used by UK railway companies, and features a large amount of data that was supplied by Merfyn Jones. The addition of records is only half complete but it will eventually detail all known vehicles operated from the 1920s to the present. There will also be photos, and users will be able to register for an account and then add their own sightings and notes. To view the new site, head to my 'portal' page at https://www.ltsv.com. If you happen to see any relevant vehicles (e.g. Network Rail, Freightliner, Southern etc) while out and about, I would be very happy to receive reports and/or photos.

I'll post the answers to the little quiz shortly.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
A little (and late) New Years Quiz
Posted on Wednesday 12th January 2022 by Thomas Young

Just for fun, see if you know the answers to these questions.

1. Class number 447 was proposed in 1989 for a small fleet of new-build EMUs to be used on a route of just over a mile. The plans were dropped when the development of the destination was cancelled. Where was the destination?

2. Three locos modified in 1985 were at one point going to be classified as 10s. What were they eventually classified as?

3. A diesel loco of which class spent six weeks off it's bogies at West Thurrock Power Station in 1976 for use as a static generator?

4. The last new unfitted wagons were built in 1971 and used on a short flow in the North East of England until the early 1990s. Where were the wagons loaded?

No need to send me the answers - I will be posting them here in a week or so. Snippets of information such as these are just the sort of the thing that the Notes feature on this website was created for. The items mentioned above have not yet been added as notes but they, and many others, will be over the next few months.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Don't forget to take your supplements
Posted on Wednesday 12th January 2022 by Thomas Young

Having added a review of the 2021 issue of the ABC Rail Guide last July and highlighted a few negative points, I have now discovered that Crecy had actually issued a supplement to the book back in May which addressed some (but not all) of these issues. For example, all the London Underground and tram/light-rail stock is now listed in full, but track machines are not, and there has been no attempt to improve the 'index that isn't an index'! The 80 page supplement is free of charge and can be obtained (in PDF format) by e-mailing Crecy, details on their website. I have added details of the contents of the Supplement to my review - click on the image below to view.

The cover of the 2021 supplement.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
News search glitch fixed
Posted on Wednesday 12th January 2022 by Thomas Young

Further to the news item posted yesterday, I created a little script to automatically update the searchable text entries. Hopefully this will have fixed the problem without causing new issues, but if you spot anything odd on the news page, please let me know about it!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
A little glitch
Posted on Tuesday 11th January 2022 by Thomas Young

I have just discovered a slight issue with the search function on the news page. When I edit a news item, the searchable text does not get updated. This means that the searches may not be accurate. For example, I added a mention of the new weed-killer trains to today's fleet news but it would not return when I searched for 'weed'. I have now fixed the cause of the problem, but I will need to go through all existing news items to make sure the searchable text is the same as the actual text!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Seasons Greetings
Posted on Tuesday 28th December 2021 by Thomas Young

This could be a late 'Merry Christmas' or an early 'Happy New Year', take your pick. I hope that you are all well and having a good holiday. I have been focusing on some other web projects of late, hence the lack of updates here. A quick news item has been added today, and I hope to be back into the swing of things in the new year.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
One train, two numbers
Posted on Wednesday 8th December 2021 by Thomas Young

I have recently been adding some details of track machines new over the past few years. This is a task I had been putting off, due to the complication that many of the items carry two different numbers. Numbers in the CEPS (Civil Engineers Plant System) scheme have been applied to machines that also now carry an EVN (European Vehicle Number). I have decided to handle these by designating one of the numbers (usually the 'domestic' one) as the 'primary' number, and the other as an 'additional' number. In each case, both numbers will be added to the database, but the additional numbers will be marked with a (+), as in 99.70.9125.909-0 (+), while both numbers will have a note attached to advise which one any listings, sightings etc should be attached to. What I need to do now is work out a way to provide a link from one number to the other.

Not the best of photos, but it does show a track machine carrying both a CEPS number (DR76922 applied on the cab sides) and an EVN (99.70.9131.022-4 on the front and sides).

This method will probably also be applied to the wagon types that carry additional numbers. The most common examples are HKA hoppers (ex National Power), and MXA Lobster box wagon conversions.

Under my plans, this wagon will be primarily listed under its original number of 950603, though EVN 82.70.4703.030-5 will also be added to the database.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Nip and tuck - more small improvements
Posted on Saturday 20th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Two sets of changes today. Firstly, my work to add status codes to all numbers (which is ongoing) has thrown up some inconsistencies about the application of codes. For instance, I had been marking any preserved loco that had a pool code as being 'Active', as this suggested that it was registered on TOPS for mainline use, though it would appear that some are actually confined to heritage lines. To try and resolve exactly which code should be used I have created a page that lists all 17 (!) status codes and gives guidance on what scenarios they apply to. Links to this page can be found in the Numbers section of the side menu on all pages in the Data section.

Secondly, a user asked if arrow keys could be used to move between photographs. I had actually been looking at implementing keyboard shortcuts for this. The use of arrow keys is not recommended (as their default action is to scroll) so I have used the N and P keys for Next and Previous respectively. A couple of other changes have also been made to the Photo View page. As always, please let me know of any issues these changes have caused, and I would also welcome any feedback or suggestions.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
52 new photos added
Posted on Friday 12th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Another mixed bag of photos has just been uploaded.

The first 28 are the next part of my clearout of loco photos, covering the low numbered class 66/7s. All the photos were taken in London, mostly in 2013. The locos may all be the same class but there is a lot of variety in the liveries and workings.

66741 was still in Freightliner green when seen coming over the crossings at Lewisham on 27th April 2013.

Dan had a peer into the DB Cargo (formerly Marcroft Engineering) works in Stoke on 25th September this year. The photos are pretty good, given that they were taken from some distance away, and all contain something of interest. I will be adding notes shortly to highlight some key points.

Almost hidden, this BYA had had some curious modifications.

Two other BYAs were in the process of being converted into hood-less BYA-O wagons.

To the fore in this overview is 310604, one of three HTA coal hoppers rebuilt as CGA covered hoppers in an unsuccessful attempt to capture some of the biomass traffic.

Dan was out again on 4th October and caught a pair of Freightliner's new 40ft FFA-G container flats passing Northampton.

81.70.4846.186-4 carries the newish Freightliner grey livery.

Derek snapped a few hoppers at Acton on 19th October.

The budget for the shortening of former coal/biomass hoppers for aggregates use did not run to a full repaint, as seen on HYA 83.70.6955.295-3

While some of us photograph wagons, Kieran Fallows buys them! His latest addition is OBA 110443, won in a charity auction run by East Midlands Trains.

The wagon is seen loaded onto a lorry at Derby Etches Park, ready for its move to Peak Rail.

Finally, Derek caught the first delivery run of new JNA-W box wagons yesterday, as shown under Fleet news.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Lots of little developments
Posted on Wednesday 10th November 2021 by Thomas Young

Although there is not much to show for it, a lot of work has been undertaken in the past few weeks. This has included:

1. Two key users have been conscripted as Site Editors
The site design allows for an intermediate level of account permission (between a normal contributor and the site admin), and two users have now had their accounts set to this level. They can now edit some of the key data tables and this has already proved to be immensely helpful in spreading the workload.

2. Numerous small tweaks and improvements have been made to a variety of pages
For example, the Number List page now allows you to view all numbers that do not yet have a status code (q.v.), and the search tool on the Sighting List also now works on the location field.

3. Status codes have been added to almost 50,000 numbers
All numbers in the database should eventually include a status indicator (e.g. active, stored, scrapped, renumbered, etc.), so that you can filter lists to show (for example) all active numbers. I knew that some still lacked this but I was amazed to find that there were in fact over 71,000 numbers without. I have been attacking these and nearly 70% have now been done, with the remaining 21,400 to be added soon.

4. Reused codes are now indicated by a (1).
The way this site deals with codes (such as TOPS codes and design codes) that have been re-used is not entirely satisfactory, and it is all too easy to link information to the wrong code. For example, TOPS code MHA applies only to the very short-lived use of former SSA scrap wagons to carry coal slurry, whereas the far more numerous ballast box wagons are referred to here as MHA (2), because they are technically the second use of the code. First-use codes have now had a (1) added (they were previously plain), and this will hopefully reduce the chances of linking to the wrong code. I am aware that there are a lot of incorrect links at present (see also news item of 29th April), and I will be working my way through these. I may also apply the (1) indicator to stock numbers that were later re-used, for similar reasons.

5. Reversions and renumberings are being worked on
At present, if an item of rolling stock is renumbered back to a number it had carried before, this is given a separate database record, marked with an (R) for reversion (as in 90038 (R)). As with re-uses, this can cause problems with linking to the wrong instance, though I felt it was required to be able to track through renumbering chains. I am currently looking at an idea to simplify the capturing of reversions, and this will hopefully also allow the renumbering pages to be finally completed.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Site setting preferences
Posted on Friday 29th October 2021 by Thomas Young

Having mentioned the site settings feature the other day, I have made a small change. When users are not logged-in, it works as before (if you change the settings, they will stay in place until you close your browser). However, when you are logged-in, there will be an additional button on the Site Settings page. You can use this to change the default site settings for your account. If you prefer large white text on a black background, you can set it, save it as a preference, and it will be applied each time you log-in. If you are happy with medium-size text in black on a white background then you don't need to do anything, since this is the default setting.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Hidden features on LTSV-RD
Posted on Wednesday 27th October 2021 by Thomas Young

Well, not exactly hidden, but perhaps easily overlooked. Here are some suggestions for how your 'user experience' (oh how I hate that phrase) might be improved.

1. Change the site appearance
You can change the colour scheme from the default 'black on white' to 'white on black' or 'black on grey' and you can make the font size smaller or larger. You can also apply colour highlighting to TOPS codes and/or stock numbers (in the news, articles and profiles pages). I find that the latter makes information easier to pick out. You can change all these settings from the 'Site Settings' page, near the bottom of the side menu on all pages in the 'Home' area.

2. Check your check digits
Some recent sightings appear to have incorrect check digits on EVN/RIV numbers. I have included a page which will show the check digit for any number you enter, including showing how it has been calculated. A link to the page is at the bottom of the 'Numbers' section of the side menu on all pages in the 'Data' area.

3. Don't use the 'Back' button
If you use the back button in your web browser to go back to the previous page you were looking at, you will often get an error message asking you to 'Confirm Form Resubmission'. I won't bore you with the reasons why this occurs and why it cannot be avoided, but I will offer an alternative navigation method. When you make a selection on any almost any page, your choices are saved as 'session variables', meaning they can be retained until you change them or close the browser window. So, for example, say you were looking at the photo gallery page and you selected photos taken by 'Santa Claus'. Then you click on one of the resulting thumbnails to view the image full size. If you want to go back to see all of Santa's photos, don't use the back button. Just click on the Photos button in the top menu, and the page will remember your previous selection. This applies to most pages on the site. The 'breadcrumb trail' (immediately above the current page content) can also be useful for getting back to where you were.

4. Direct URL editing
There is an even quicker way to get from one page to another. Say you were looking at the detail page for loco number 47185. The address bar of your browser should show https://www.ltsv.com/rd/number_detail.php?id=LT-47185. If you then wanted to look at 47237, you could click in the address bar, change the last three digits of the address and press return. Hey presto. This does not work so well for EVN/RIVs (where the 'ID' is not directly the same as the number), and it should not be used during editing processes (e.g. adding a sighting or a note).

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Just some small tweaks
Posted on Saturday 16th October 2021 by Thomas Young

I have recently been focusing on building a replacement for my LT Service Vehicle website, hopefully to launch around the end of the year. This work is needed as the site is basically 15-years old and the code is rather outdated and potentially unsecure. As a result, work on LTSV-RD has been taking a back seat, though I have today made a few small changes.

One change that users should notice is that the filters on all the various lists will now be highlighted in red once they have been applied. The reason for doing this is that the filters are 'session persistent', meaning that they will remain applied until you change them or close your browser. For instance, you might look at the photos page and select a filter to show only photos taken by John Smith. You could then go and look at some other pages, but if you come to the photos page again, this filter would still be in place. Before today, this was rather easy to overlook.

Another change is that I have hopefully fixed the time issue, where posts are marked with a timestamp that is out by one hour. As with all coding changes, there is the possibility that these changes will have had unexpected side-effects. Please get in touch if you spot anything odd.

Note added Wed 20/10/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
I believe the timestamping issue has now been fixed. Fingers crossed that I haven't mucked up anything else along the way!
Source: n/a
Note added Sat 16/10/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
Hmmm, the timestamping issue does not appear to have been fixed, at least not for notes! I will have to do some more investigating.
Source: n/a

Four appeals for help
Posted on Saturday 2nd October 2021 by Thomas Young

1. As mentioned in Fleet News today, it is understood that EVNs (European Vehicle Numbers) have been allocated to most, if not all, existing rolling stock. Does anyone have details of the number series that have been allocated?

2. I have seen mention of BR documents issued in the early 1970s that listed the new TOPS numbers allocated to existing private owner wagons. Does anyone have a copy of these documents that they would be willing to share, loan or sell? This would help with some gaps in the database, particularly for tank wagons.

3. Can anyone supply TOPS design codes for various modern (2000-2015) multiple unit coaches? I have fairly solid data up to 2000, and also for quite a few of the newest types, but classes like 170, 171, 172, 180, 185, 220, 221, 332, 333, 350, 357, 360, 375, 377, 378, 379, 380, 390, 395, 444 and 450 all have gaps.

4. Does anyone have a copy of Rail Express magazine issue 46 (March 2000) that they would be willing to loan or sell me? Rail Express is probably the best source for information on current rolling stock, and I now have every issue except this one.

Note added Wed 20/10/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
I now have a copy of Rail Express issue 46. My thanks to those of you who got in touch about this.
Source: n/a

'Unlisted' sightings
Posted on Thursday 23rd September 2021 by Thomas Young

Progress is still painfully slow, mainly because I am trying to work on multiple concurrent projects. Still, one thing I decided to do the other day was to tackle the 'unlisted' sightings. When you add a sighting, if a number you want is not included in the database, you can add it as an unlisted item. The idea is that I can periodically review these and add the numbers to the database where possible, thus improving the coverage and accuracy.

There are three scenarios in which a number may not be listed:
1. With old sightings (i.e. more than 20-odd years ago), the numbers may not have been added - for example I have not added most of the BR 16ton mineral wagons.
2. For more recent sightings, the number may not have been added because it is new.
3. For sightings at preservation sites, the same applies as for old sightings.

When I checked the other day there were almost 200 sightings of unlisted items, which is pretty impressive considering that there are still only a handful of people logging sightings. By adding various old and new numbers to the database I managed to halve this total, although I have since increased it again by logging some sightings of wagons in 1987!

If you do use the feature, please remember to include some additional information and not just the number. This will help ensure that the number gets added to the correct series. An example could be '12345 LMS 12-ton box van'.

Talking of slow, the Sightings List page seems to have become very slow to load, no doubt due to the increasing number of sightings being posted. I will see if I can streamline the queries to speed it up.

One final thing I should mention is that the pages for adding/editing renumberings are still not available. As a result, some new numbers (eg 156/9 units) have been added but the renumberings are not yet shown.

Note added Sat 02/10/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
Ref the Sightings List page being slow to load, I have done some tinkering and it is now a lot faster.
Source: n/a

A mixed bag of 67 new photos
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021 by Thomas Young

Time for some more photos, and today's additions are rather varied.

First up are 17 photos of BAA steel wagons and derivatives (BCA and BZA), all taken by Dan Adkins. I was looking at these to try and work out the differences between individual design codes. Although there were some inconsistencies, the results will eventually form either an article or an updated profile.

BAA number 900017 was still in virtually as-built condition.

Next up are 26 photos of Mark 1 carriages, mostly seen in preservation by Dan Adkins or Dave Warby. Again, I was looking at detail differences between diagrams, and these too will form the basis of an article in due course.

BSK number 35455 is preserved in 'classic' blue/grey livery. I always thought of this as blue/white, but the two colours are actually separated by a white line, 'Rail Grey' being a very light shade.

Following those are a dozen photos I took on a day out to Cardiff in 1985. Blimey, that's over 35 years ago now! Half were taken at Cardiff Central, with three each at Swindon Works and Paddington. Unfortunately, I had some grit in my camera that day and most of the negatives were scratched.

Rail blue was still the standard livery for almost all locos, including 08 589 seen passing through Cardiff Central.

A couple of photos of class 313 EMUs follow, these being for use in the profile of this type, which I still have to finish.

The Silverlink livery of purple and green was a bit of a shock when first seen, but I think it worked well, as seen on 313 117 at Kensington Olympia.

Then there are a couple of wagon plates. Mark Lawrence got in touch, asking about a plate he had. Based on the number shown, I figured it was from a BD type container, though I had never realised that containers had number plates.

This seems to be the numberplate from a BD-type container, although the build place and date are not given. I don't know if the paint colours are as per the original.

For comparison, here is a standard BR wagon builder's plate, from a Lowfit built in 1959. I inherited this plate from my father, and use it as a very large paperweight!

Keiran Fallows of the National Wagon Preservation Group got in touch a few months ago, to update me on two air-braked vans he has bought.

Rare centre-door VCA 200406 is being restored in Railfreight grey/red livery.

Derek sent a couple of photos taken at Watford Junction recently.

It doesn't seem long since former National Power HKA 300605 was shown on LTSV in freshly-applied DB red livery. However, it was actually almost seven years ago, which may account for how worn the wagon now looks.

Finally, Dan Adkins sent in three photos of the first of the new weed-killing trains, returning from tests on the Severn Valley Railway.

Formerly a container flat, VTG95379 still carries the KFA TOPS code, and also shows 'additional' number 99.70.9395.001-9. Note that the operator's 'cab' is in the centre, facing sideways.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some notes about some notes
Posted on Tuesday 31st August 2021 by Thomas Young

I always intended that Notes would be the main way in which background and contextual information could be added to 'flesh out' the basic data in the database. Added today are a baker's dozen of notes, covering some diverse topics including the renumbering of DMU cars to the 78xxx series in the 1980s, the slightly unfortunate lives of the Bow Midland container flat wagons and the changes made to codings of various flat wagons in the early days of TOPS. These can be found under the respective detail pages, but if you want to see them all, look for Notes in the side menu on the Home pages.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Spreading myself too thin
Posted on Monday 30th August 2021 by Thomas Young

I have, for several reasons, been sitting on some news stories for a couple of weeks. Firstly, some of the items will also require database changes (as in adding numbers and codes), which takes a bit longer. Secondly, looking at some multiple-unit details has revealed what appear to be errors in previously published information about coach types and formations, which I am still looking into. Thirdly, I am actually working on a large number of different projects and tasks, and sometimes new things crop up that have a higher priority. For instance, I recently found some security issues with my main LTSV (service vehicles) website. Although a replacement site is already in development, these really need to be fixed in the short term. Finally, I sometimes just feel like doing something completely different. Most of my free-time in the past week has been spent sorting Lego bricks and writing an article about East German trains!

Having said all that, the news item covering wagons has now been added, and lots more is 'in the pipeline'.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.