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Fleet news
11 fleet news items found.
Active Travel units and other news
Posted on Friday 10th November 2023 by Thomas Young

Some of the class 153 single car diesel units are being modified as 'Active Travel' vehicles for use in conjunction with other units. These have additional stowage space for bicycles and luggage. Five with ScotRail for use on the West Highland line have retained their original numbers, while six being converted for Transport for Wales are being reclassified as 153/5s, with unit numbers changed from 1533xx to 1535xx.

Deliveries of various unit types is ongoing, with most now also being used in passenger service, including (from 27th September) the first 720/6 units for C2C. No news yet on the much-delayed introduction of class 701 Arterio units with South Western Railway, though they are now also taking delivery of former 5-car 458/5 units rebuilt (again) as 4-car 458/4s.

With wagons, the third order of (30) IIA-D Biomass wagons for Drax power was delivered in two batches in August and October. GB Railfreight doubled its order for FEA-G container twin-sets from 100 to 200 (400 individual wagons), and the first of the new batch (numbered from 81.70.4663.201 upwards) started arriving in September. A follow-on order for 20 similar twins has been tacked on for Wascosa, which will presumably be for use by Network Rail.

September also saw the delivery of the first examples of a second set of BYA-O 'Stegosaurus' coil carrier conversions. 30 were modified in 2021, now to be joined by another 40.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Unit renumberings
Posted on Thursday 28th September 2023 by Thomas Young

There have been several instances of unit renumberings over the past couple of years, often with set numbers in the 9xx range to distinguish units with non-standard features. Class 153 that were not PRM-compliant became 153/9s, while class 156 units transferred from Greater Anglia to East Midlands were temporarily renumbered to 156/9s until their Passenger Information equipment was altered to match the existing East Midlands units. Perhaps the most complex case involved the Southern 171s.

For its remaining non-electrified lines, Southern had taken a fleet of new-build Turbostar units from 2003 onwards, classifying these as 171 since they had Dellner couplers unlike the BSI couplers fitted to other Turbostars (class 170). The fleet was formed of 10x2-car 171/7s and 6x4-car 171/8s.

In 2016, four ex-Scotrail 3-car 170/4 units were acquired. They were modified with Dellner couplers and reformed as 2x2-car units (171/2) and 2x4-car units (171/4). Changes in demand meant that these additional units were no longer required and, from August 2022, they were reformed back into 3-car sets and regained their original class 170/4 unit numbers, although they retained the Dellner couplers. The units were transferred to East Midlands Railway, where it was decided to renumber them as 170/9s to highlight their non-standard couplers. They were eventually modified in spring 2023, then reverting (for the second time) to their 170/4 numbers.

As if that wasn't enough, the native Southern fleet also saw changes, with each of the 4-car units losing a coach to one of the 2-car units. The shortened units retained their existing numbers 171801-171806, while the lengthened units were changed from 171721-171726 to 171807-171812. The remaining 4 2-car units were unchanged (171727-171730).

3-car unit 171811 was formed by adding a coach from 4-car 171803 to 2-car 171725.

I should point out that I am in the process of adding all these renumberings to the database, but there are still a few more to be done.

Note added Thu 28/09/2023 by Llamafish
Category: Numbering
Most of Southern's 2-car 171s, up to 726 at least, were delivered as class 170s, being fitted with standard BSI couplings until late 2004, when they were converted and numbered in the class 171 series. I believe that 727-729 were delivered as class 171s from the outset. A photo online suggests that a unit numbered 170727 was initially released into traffic, but was almost immediately sent to Ashford Chart Leacon depot, where it emerged in a new livery and with a new number - becoming SWT's 170392, with an entirely different unit now taking the vacant '727' number. 170392 was of course to come full circle, later returning to Southern as 171730.
Source: online

New units in photos
Posted on Tuesday 29th August 2023 by Thomas Young

Further to recent mentions in Fleet News, Dan has sent in photos of class 777/1 and 805 units.

777144 was seen on delivery. The units with extra batteries have additional lettering to highlight their 'off-the-juice' capability.

The first 805 was seen on a test run. Destined for Avanti West Coast, the livery vinyls had yet to be applied.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Old trains
Posted on Sunday 6th August 2023 by Llamafish

Inevitably, when new trains begin to arrive (see previous news item), the old ones have to make way. On the multiple unit front, PEP derived stock is on the hitlist in both the South and the North. In the South, all of the class 313s have now finished, and all have been despatched to Eastleigh Works for disposal. In Liverpool, with the ongoing delivery of new class 777 units, the numbers of classes 507 and 508 in service continue to decline every week, with two units released for disposal at Sims in Newport every two weeks.

The arrivals of the first class 555s on Tyneside has resulted in several of the 'old order' being sent for disposal at Tyne Dock.

Class 321 units continue to leave Anglia for the last time. None of the fleet are now in service, and are stored at several locations nationwide. There are regular scrap moves of the non-Renatus units from Worksop and Wolverton, to Booths of Rotherham or Sims of Newport.

Time is nearly up for their similar counterparts operating out of Northampton depot. It has been touted for some time that the duties covered by the handful of class 319s operated by LNR will go over to class 730 operation. This looks to be getting closer, as two class 319s have already departed for scrapping, and class 730s are beginning to accumulate at the Southern end of the WCML.

Not a fleet withdrawal, but changes are also happening with SWR's class 458 fleet. As built, the class was a 30-strong fleet of 4-car units. The first change came in 2016 when the fleet was augmented by withdrawn class 460 vehicles, to create a fleet of 36 5-car units. This second change, happening at the moment, currently involves reducing the fleet back to 4-car units, and a third renumbering, the completed units becoming 4584xx. The former class 460 vehicles will be stored at Long Marston. It has been suggested that the six additional sets created will not be retained by SWR and will also be stored.

The decimation of stalwarts among the wagon fleet continues to gather pace. Nearly two-thirds of the Coalfish ballast wagon fleet have now been scrapped, with at least one train heading to a scrapyard every week. Also joining the Coalfish are members of the OBA, OCA and SPA fleets, of which numbers are declining rapidly. Happily however, wagon 112000, the doyen of the OCA fleet, has now been preserved.

With the advent of many new boxes and hopper wagons over the past couple of years, the old JYA and JHA wagons are disappearing from the West Country, initially via storage at Gascoigne Wood.

VTG has also had another clearout, this time all of the TDA bogie tanks have been sent for disposal from Long Marston, all of them leaving at regular intervals to Wards at Ilkeston.

Finally, the last major fleet to have the death sentence passed to them is that of the CDA china clay fleet, synonymous with Cornish freight for the past 35 years. It's been suggested that the fleet could come out of use as early as the 11th August, a date already poignant for railway enthusiasts. DB recently announced a tender for 40 wagons. The story may not quite be over however, as the Bodmin Railway, in conjunction with the National Wagon Preservation Group (NWPG), have announced the intention to try and preserve a short rake of the wagons. Details of the fundraising effort, and how to contribute, can be found online.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New trains
Posted on Sunday 6th August 2023 by Thomas Young

The first class 93 Stadler tri-mode loco was delivered at the end of June. 93001, in Rail Operations Group green livery, is now at Worksop for trials, expected to be joined by 93003 and 93004 in September. Ten locos are on firm order, with options for a further 20.

Also from Stadler, deliveries of class 777 units for Merseyrail are continuing, with the first of the class 777/1 sub-class arriving in January. These are units (initially totalling 7) fitted with additional batteries to allow their use on the non-electrified line to Headbolt Lane. The unit numbers have had 100 added, and all are from the Swiss-built element of the order (units built in Poland were the odd-numbered ones). Numbers are thus 777 140/142/144/146/148/150/152. For functional reasons, I have decided to show these as renumberings from the originally planned 777 040/042 etc, even though the latter numbers were probably never carried. The overall order has been increased by one to 53.

Stadler is also building 46 class 555 units for the Tyne Wear Metro, and the first of these 5-car trains (555 003) was delivered at the end of February. Although there are numerous differences, both the class 555 and 777 trains are articulated and have primarily yellow liveries.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
HS2 tunnel segment trains
Posted on Sunday 21st May 2023 by Thomas Young

I mentioned these in the news of 2nd August 2022, but it appears that the trains did not actually start running until about April 2023. This week I popped out to photograph the returning empties passing through Clapham High Street. The loaded trains run in the evening but it may be possible to photograph them in mid-summer.

66754 hauling the West Ruislip HS2 Stop Boards to Grain Thamesport tunnel segment empties at Clapham High Street on 18th May 2023.

Most of the train was formed of 40ft FBA-K wagons, like 600015, each of which had one green and one blue module fitted.

There were also a number of 60ft FEA-C twins, such as 650017. Each of these wagons had two of the green modules fitted, with either a gap in between, or a low dropside module. The latter appear to have been formed by fitting new ends to the dropside modules latterly carried by some FEA-S wagons for infrastructure work.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More new biomass hoppers plus update on recycled ex-tipplers
Posted on Saturday 6th May 2023 by Thomas Young

W H Davis is building a batch of 30 new biomass wagons for Drax Power, numbered 83.70.0698.226-255. These follow on from (and are to the same design as) the 225 IIA-D wagons built between 2013 and 2016, although the TOPS and Design codes for the new wagons are not yet known.

Things have been quiet on the programme to rebody former MRA side-tipplers as JNA-Y open box wagons. Loram at Derby has completed around 100 wagons but until recently they were being stored (at York and Gascoigne Wood). They are now entering service so I have added the numbers (81.70.5831.001-250) to the database.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Steel Carrying Fleet Carry Ons.
Posted on Friday 31st March 2023 by Nat37670

As mentioned in a previous item DB Cargo have been working hard at getting more steel coil carrying wagons back in traffic. BYA and BRA wagons have been modified at Stoke and Cardiff Tidal being released into traffic minus their covers. Another new TOPS code BYA-H and associated design code BY006F has appeared alongside the already mentioned BYA-C. Reinstatements from store to these new codes has lead to the demise of the BRA with no vehicles now classified as such on the system.

Modification of the BTA fleet at Knottingley continues, at this time there are 22 examples now to design BT008A, TOPS code BTA-A has been retained. The work involves removing stanchions and shortening those remaining. Finished examples are in South Wales currently used on a flow of imported steel slab from Newport Docks to Port Talbot.

Reinstatement of the ex BR fleets appears slow with a couple new BLA-T appearing these being 910206 and 910260, both previously BBA. New as BCA-T are 900059 and 900095, both of these previously BZA.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Crumbling Castles and Unwanted Unicorns.
Posted on Saturday 25th February 2023 by Nat37670

43005 was switched off yesterday joining already stored 43022, 43041 and 43160 as the run down of the GWR class 255 Castle fleet begins. The plan is for seven diagrams from May, three from September and full withdrawal in December this year. Coaching stock wise GW01 is stored and GW04 and GW13 have been disbanded.

In Wales today 769007 became the first Transport for Wales class 769 to be withdrawn due to the introduction of the new class 231s. The nickname unicorn used locally by those seeing these as mythical creatures due to their ultra poor reliability meaning they rarely show up. 769007 should move by road from Cardiff to Long Marston this coming week. The remaining seven sets are all to go by the May timetable change with the 769/4 sets staying longest.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Units in and out of service
Posted on Friday 17th February 2023 by Llamafish

The latter part of 2022 and the early part of 2023 have seen a few changes on the multiple unit front, with several new fleets coming into service.

Classes 196 and 197 have now started to enter squadron service in the West Midlands and North Wales respectively. This has meant that classes 170 and 175 from these regions can begin to be cascaded, with the class 170s moving to EMR at Derby. Rumours suggest that class 175s will head to GWR. In South Wales, class 231s have now entered service in the valleys.

GreaterAnglia continues to receive steady deliveries of class 720 units, with nearly half of the 720/1s and all but a few of the 720/5s now delivered. These have started seeing off the class 321s from the region, with eight of these now in warm storage in Wembley Yard.

11 of the 12 class 720s intended for c2c have now been released from Derby. None of these have entered service as of yet, but several members of the fleet can be seen daily on the WCML, undertaking testing and proving runs.

It was suggested that from the December 2022 timetable, LNR were to replace the class 319s operating out of London Euston with class 730/0s, whilst these were waiting to replace the class 323s on the Cross City line. However, this doesn't appear to have taken place, and the majority of the class 730s now delivered are currently based at Oxley for testing purposes.

Also based at Oxley for testing purposes are the first class 805s for Avanti West Coast. These will eventually replace the Voyager fleet. 805001 and 805003 have been on test between Oxley and Carstairs.

In Merseyside, the first class 777 has finally entered service, after various issues were sorted. This means that the elderly class 507 and class 508s will now gradually bow out of service.

There is also a fleet of similar vintage still in use in the south, these being the small fleet of class 313s that operate on the south coast. These too are now starting to be withdrawn, with class 377 and class 387s taking over their duties.

An important question remains though, will we see a class 701 enter service in 2023?

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Steel Coil Carrier Status.
Posted on Saturday 11th February 2023 by Nat37670

By the end of 2022 the entire fleet of ex BR steel coil wagons sitting on FBT6 bogies were out of use. Pool 2201 now described as FBT6 ON HOLD contained 220 vehicles, broken down as 47 BCA, 117 BLA, 56 BZA. These have all been marked as stored on LTSV.

A new TOPS code has been added, BCA-T. At the time of the report (3rd Feb) just 3 BCA were in active service to this code and a new design of BC005C. Surprisingly 2 of these refurbished vehicles were BAA prior, these being 900040, 900081.

BLA wise 11 examples were in traffic, all BLA-T with the newer bogies.

BZA there were 9 active these to a new code BZ002B, also rebogied but all still BZA-A, TOPS not failing in its inconsistent approach one would expect these to be BZA-T.

Away from the ex BR fleets a large number of BYA and BRA have been dragged out of store to help cover the shortfall. Examples that have been stored for 10 or more years have been dug out of bushes at Margam, Swansea Docks, Llanwern, Tees Yard and taken, most by road, to DB Cargo Maintenance at Stoke-on-Trent. A lot of these have been reinstated as open steel coil carriers by removal of the 3 roof sections and retaining the high ends. Being different to the BYA-O conversion a new TOPS code of BYA-C has been assigned and the design code of BY006E.

With DB Cargo being desperate for coil wagons further changes are expected over the coming months.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Site news
25 site news items found.
This month I have mostly been....
Posted on Friday 10th November 2023 by Thomas Young

...out of action (stored unserviceable), with a cold followed by a back injury. I am not completely recovered but I have made a start on some updates, first up being some recent unit deliveries, renumberings and disposals. As ever, there is masses to do, and I am planning to take a 'little but often' approach to make some headway.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
This week I have been mostly...
Posted on Friday 6th October 2023 by Thomas Young

...wrestling with Intermodal RIV renumberings. I realised that some of the data on the 70.4938 batch of wagons was out of date, and it turned out to be quite a complex job. Comprising just 225 twin wagon sets, many were renumbered, some then reverted, while others were split into 2 separate coupling adaptor wagons, then reconverted to intermodal twins with the original numbers but not all reapplied to the same wagons! The data is almost complete and I am planning to also write a new profile article to give some context to the changes.

These wagons are probably best remembered for the Scunthorpe to Ebange (France) steel billet flow, for which they carried special modules as seen on 31.70.4938.037-9 at Denmark Hill in 2013.

Note added Sun 08/10/2023 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
The data updates for the 70.4938 wagons have now been (hopefully) completed. Of 225 twin sets, 127 were given new numbers as twins, of which 83 have since reverted to their original numbers. A further 16 twins were split and renumbered as 32 single wagons. All of these have also since reverted to their twin numbers, but not all to the same numbers as originally carried! All will be explained in the forthcoming profile.
Source: n/a

Power-door Mk3s
Posted on Thursday 28th September 2023 by Thomas Young

Earlier this month I went to Neasden to photograph the Mk3 coaches used by Chiltern Trains. With the announcement that TransPennine Express is to cease using its Nova 3 trains (class 68s with Mk5 coaches) in December, the Chiltern trains may soon be the only regular day-time loco-hauled/propelled services.

Driving Van Trailers (built for the West Coast Mainline) are at the London end of each rake.

The slam doors have been replaced with flush-closing plug ones.

With a bit of help from my friends, I am also able to show the other users of Mk3 coaches with power doors, although they are all already being taken out of service.

CrossCountry had five HST sets rebuilt with recessed sliding doors, each set including a Trailer Composite Kitchen (like 45005 shown here) converted from loco-hauled Open Standards.

GWR had 16 shortened sets for secondary services in the South West, with similar doors to the CrossCountry sets.

ScotRail introduced rebuilt and shortened HSTs for its Inter7City services from 2021. These feature another new type, the Trailer Guard's Buffet First, rebuilt from Trailer Firsts.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Progress with the data
Posted on Sunday 3rd September 2023 by Thomas Young

This week I have been working on three separate sets of data updates.

1. Renumberings over the past year or so (not yet complete).
2. Flagging up wagons which have been preserved (ongoing, and has also resulted in some updates to older renumberings).
3. 129 preserved steam locos added to the database. These are all the examples believed to have been allocated 98xxx TOPS numbers.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More photos
Posted on Tuesday 29th August 2023 by Thomas Young

146 more photos have just been uploaded, starting with a return visit to Harringay earlier this month. I timed it to make sure I would see at least one IC225 train in the new/old LNER livery.

Double-retro. A 1930s name and a 1980s livery now adorn the remaining Mk4 trains used on the East Coast.

I also caught a couple of 800/1 Azumas, that I managed to miss last time.

Later the same day I finally caught the loaded tunnel segment train, though in the dark only a few of the photos were usable.

The Grain to Ruislip service is scheduled to pause at Hither Green, and on 9th August it actually did.

Next I dipped into Dave Warby's Flickr collection to help fill some gaps in my coverage of older EMUs. Types now shown include 302, 305, 307, 308 and 319.

The 307 units are long-gone, and Liverpool Street today is barely recognisable compared to this 1986 view.

I travelled quite a lot as a kid in the 1970s and 1980s, but the 504s were one class I never saw any of.

Dan has helped fill lots more gaps, with photos of more recent EMUs in various parts of the country.

Scotrail's class 380 units have a distinctive appearance, due largely to their 'reclining' gangways!

Disposal of Merseyrail class 507 and 508 units has now commenced, following the entry into service of the first 777s.

Nathan sent in some recent photos of steel wagons in South Wales, these being former pipe carriers now converted for slabs but still coded BTA.

There is a slight, but noticeable, sag to most of the wagons seen in this train!

Merf allowed me to use some of his older photos to plug more gaps, with several classes that I will now never be able to see.

The only class 05 to gain a TOPS number was the one exiled to the Isle of Wight.

To see the curious class 13 'Master and Slave' hump shunters you really had to go to Tinsley.

Finally, an LTSV crossover, in more ways than one. While out photographing London Transport Service Vehicles (for my original website), I managed to take a photo of one with a train crossing above!

A Freightliner class 59/2 passes above an Abellio London Ford C-Max crew ferry car at Stewarts Lane (Battersea).

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New photos (2020s vs 1980s)
Posted on Tuesday 8th August 2023 by Thomas Young

The 96 photos uploaded today fall into two categories. First up are 71 taken recently, starting with a few from Paul Nicholls. Some highlights are shown below, but to see all 96, cick on Photos above.

The Elizabeth Line class 345 units are very similar to the Anglia class 720s (see below), but with lots of detail differences. Paul captured this view at Maidenhead.

At his local station, Paul came across a C2C class 357/3 unit with Pride adornments.

I visited Stratford last month, mainly to photograph the 755 Flirt units now scheduled on some Norwich to London turns.

Delivery of the large fleet of class 720 units is now almost complete. This is one of the 720/1 units that were originally ordered as 10-car units but changed before delivery to 5-car sets.

Some Norwich trains are currently formed of 755/3 and 755/4 bi-mode units. Note the short (but wider) power car.

Another Pride-related livery has been applied to Overground 378205

One freight was photographed. All IKA intermodal wagons look more or less the same to me, though perusing these photos I noticed that the IKA-F wagons have a notably different intermediate coupling from that on the more common IKA-Js.

Nathan photographed a trial train of Stent (a type of sand) from Burngullow to Longport. This used the recent JNA-V wagons.

Most of the JNA-Vs have lettering for 'Land Recovery Ltd', although I always seem to read it as 'Land Rover Discovery' !

However, a couple curiously carry boards referencing Carlsberg. Is this advertising?

Nathan also sent an excellent shot of a CDA wagon that has gained some special livery adornments. This type is apparently due to be taken out of service very soon (see Fleet News).

The remaining 25 of today's photos are all from the 1980s, when men were men, diesels were blue and the Western region had no overhead. These are all scans of either prints, negatives or slides, and the quality is variable.

Two 25 plus 31 combinations were seen at Banbury in 1983.

Wagon fans may get nostalgic at this consist seen near Clapham Junction.

My dad caught a Halibut at Brixton in 1988! Although the number is not legible, only two examples of this type were built.

A 47/0 brings parcels vans into Paddington in 1985.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some data updates
Posted on Sunday 6th August 2023 by Thomas Young

I have been a bit distracted with a new project lately (relating to London buses), but I am now back and have started with some updates on new trains. The details are in Fleet News, while the relevant numbers, batches and codes have now been added to the database.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
81 more photos
Posted on Sunday 21st May 2023 by Thomas Young

Another 81 photos have been uploaded today.

Paul was in Sheffield in April and he sent in a bundle of photos of units, locos, wagons and trams seen there. This is re-formed 3-car Sprinter 150003.

You can play spot the difference with this comparison between a 158/0 and a 158/9. Spoilers: They are the same!

It's nice to see some of the Blue Circle 'Chevron' tanks still in use, though I suspect their replacement is being planned.

Dan supplied some photos of new trains, including the 196 DMUs that have recently entered service (though photographed whilst on test back in September 2021).

Also at Dan's usual Northampton haunt were some of the new FEA-G container twins for GBRf.

The JNA-Y box wagons converted from MRA side tipplers are unlike any other wagons, and have also recently entered service. This example was seen at Toton.

Derek photographed the Eastleigh to Hoo working at Hook on 15th May, when it was formed of just a single FZA flat with its accompanying RRA runners. Derek noted that this regular service has reverted to class 73 haulage of late, and that the last two digits of the headcode were displayed on the front blinds.

I photographed the empties of the recently-started HS2 tunnel segment service at Clapham (see today's Fleet News Story).

The remainder of today's photos are some of my mine that I found down the back of the sofa, including a couple of breakdown cranes at Old Oak Common in 2008.

Since renumbered and lengthened (twice), 378009 was at Stratford in 2010.

Also since renumbered (in this case back to 450051), this South West Trains Desiro was one of several modified to high-capacity by the removal of some seats.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More numbers added
Posted on Saturday 6th May 2023 by Thomas Young

I have just added a load of numbers to the database, comprising the 250 JNA-Y ex tippler boxes for Network Rail (81.70.5831.001-250), another 20 FEA-G container wagons for GBRf (81.70.4663.081-100) and 30 new-build biomass hoppers for Drax Power (83.70.0698.226-255). I have also been able to add numbers to two of the old photos uploaded last month. Dan did some amazing detective work to work out the IDs of two of the class 33 locos seen at Kensington Olympia in 1987.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
277 new photos added
Posted on Thursday 6th April 2023 by Thomas Young

Time for some more photos, this time a batch of 277.

In February 2022 Russ sent me four photos taken at Eastleigh, including this interesting view of a class 153 unit in use with Network Rail. Sorry for the delay Russ - these slipped through a crack in my filing system.

Also lost then found were four photos of locos at Stratford in September 2021, taken by Malcolm Conway. The head of filing has since been replaced!

I visited the south end of the ECML last December but failed to catch any of the class 91 locos in their new/old livery. Derek kindly plugged that gap with some views taken at King's Cross.

Paul spent Christmas in the West Highlands of Scotland and sent some photos of the Mk1 coach used as holiday accommodation at Loch Awe.

Teddy sent in some photos of the YXA/IFA sleeper wagons with their colourful crates, adding another type to our coverage.

Nathan's amazing photo of steel wagons dumped at Margam really needs to be viewed at full size. Visit his Flickr site to see more beautiful drone shots.

The somewhat bland meat in today's photo sandwich is made of 248 images caught by me earlier this week in London. The sun was out and I managed to see a total of 26 freight trains in the space of a few hours on Monday and Tuesday. I had some issues (camera trouble, bad timing/planning/luck etc) and a couple of interesting trains were missed. But I got a bundle of decent images, including a couple of not previously seen batches/types.

Two of the trains were hauled by 66/3s, new to Fastline, latterly with DRS and now working for GBRf.

Some of the JNA wagons were still looking almost factory-fresh.

This MRA set was marked as having had Sand Modifications. Does anyone know if there are new design codes?

The only 4-wheel wagons seen were a handful of OCAs, looking increasingly tatty.

For some reason, hopper wagons seem more prone to 'artistic' decoration than box wagons. It looks like the job on this one was interrupted.

Plugging another gap, I found that I had actually photographed a class 142 Pacer on my trip to Newcastle back in 2018.

Having visited Kensington Olympia, I was reminded that I had found some slides taken there by my dad in about 1987. The quality is middling but the subjects are interesting.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Another large data dump
Posted on Sunday 19th March 2023 by Thomas Young

I have dropped over 80,000 records into the database this week. These comprise a complete set of listings for all locos, coaches and units (including formations) as at January 2010 and as at November 2020. The former was chosen to slot in between the existing data sets for 2000 and 2019, while the latter was selected as the source (unusually) gave pool codes for most coaches and units. The listings table now has almost 400,000 records in it, which means that the Listings List page can be a bit slow to load. I will see if I can perhaps streamline the queries.

With my coding head now back in the cupboard, I am (finally) focusing on content. I have been refining some of the existing data, and I am also starting to look at articles and profiles. It's probably about time we had some new photos as well...

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some new (and old) book reviews
Posted on Tuesday 7th March 2023 by Thomas Young

I haven't added any book reviews for a while, though this is more down to a lack of bookshops than to a lack of new books! Having found an excellent second-hand bookshop surprisingly near to my home, I am today adding reviews of three titles I found there. I have also done a write-up on Hugh Longworth's recently revised DMU masterpiece. Click on either cover image to read the review, or head to the Reviews List page to see them all.

If you like 'proper' DMUs, you will like this book!

I am trying to brush-up my knowledge on pre-Nationalisation wagons and this looks like a good place to start.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Help is (finally) at hand
Posted on Monday 6th March 2023 by Thomas Young

The Help section of this website is now available. Besides reminding users of some of the built-in assistance, there are also two user guides. The first covers the basics of how to use the site to find information. The second looks at creating a user account and adding/editing your own information. A third guide, intended for Site Editors and Admin users will follow in due course.

Both of the guides have lots of screenshots, giving step-by-step guidance for some of the more complex processes. They can be viewed on-line (in sections), or downloaded as complete PDFs. The PDFs are both over 80 pages long, but I have included internal hyperlinks in the contents pages.

I wouldn't say that you need to refer to these guides in order to use LTSV-RD, but I would hope that they are useful, given that they took me a while to put together. I'm sure most users will find out something they didn't know. The Help page can be found in the Home menu, or from the link in the menu at the foot of every page.

Having crossed off another item on my to-do list, I reckon the next job will be to look at increasing the amount of LTSV-RD content that can be downloaded, including improving some of the earlier PDFs. Then I must get on with finishing the articles that have been shown as 'In Preparation' since this site was launched...

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Still more to do (false summits)
Posted on Tuesday 21st February 2023 by Thomas Young

It looks as though the numerous updates of last week have not caused any serious problems. However, my thinking that this would be the end of development work (at least for a while) proved to be misplaced. I had started work on the User Guide / Help pages and this involved going through each process step by step. In so doing I have found several little things that need fixing or which could be improved. I'll be making these changes on the local copy as I go, and hopefully both the Guide/Help and the revised pages will be finished and uploaded within a week or so. There will then be one more largish job (other than data) still to do, and that is to improve and increase the downloadable content.

A potential issue arose today when my webhost advised me that the version of PHP that my website uses is now out of date. I either need to upgrade to a newer version, or pay a hefty monthly fee for 'extended support'. I have been through this a couple of times over the years. One upgrade did require me to rewrite the code on a lot of pages but I believe this will not be necessary this time. I have looked at the specs for the software and the changes don't seem to involve any features that I use. There was a lot of technical stuff that went over my head though! I'll upgrade the software sometime in the next week or so, and fingers crossed, nobody will notice anything!

By the way, it may seem a bit odd to be writing the 'manual' for a website over two years after the site was launched but I had my reasons. Mainly it was because I wanted to include screenshots in the help pages and it seemed logical to wait until the appearance and functionality of the pages was more-or-less finalised before doing these. The upgrades of last week should be the last major changes for a while, so I am now pressing ahead. The other reason was that I figured that a well-designed website should be usable without referring to help pages. Not sure I achieved that!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Functionality Improvements now online
Posted on Thursday 16th February 2023 by Thomas Young

All the page files that have been changed over the past few weeks have now been uploaded. As I said, you might not notice much in the way of differences but there are lots. For more details, take a look at the About - What's New page.

Given the amount of changes, I would not be at all surprised if I have made the odd slip-up. If you spot anything odd or that doesn't work, please let me know as soon as possible so that it can be fixed.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Functionality Improvements almost ready
Posted on Wednesday 15th February 2023 by Thomas Young

I have now completed all the changes I plan to make at this stage. I'm going to do a bit more off-line testing then upload the whole lot in one go. If everything looks OK, I will then post some information about what has been changed.

I have today added another couple of forum posts as part of my 'Developer Blog'. The first looks at the approvals model used for contributed content on this website (Why did I make the approvals system so complicated?!), the second considers a newly-discovered problem with some old numbers (Should be S2526S, not S2526S! A tale of pre-Nationalisation numbers).

The latter post mentions the excellent books by Hugh Longworth about coaching stock inherited by BR. I have just acquired another of his books, this being an updated version of the one covering 1st generation DMUs, first published in 2010 (and which I missed at the time). This looks to be another invaluable reference work and I will be adding a full review shortly.

Finally, my attempts to buy the said DMU book led me to write a further forum posting (Where have all the bookshops gone?). It's more of a rant/moan really but there you go.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Improvement works still in progress
Posted on Saturday 11th February 2023 by Thomas Young

Functionality Focus Fortnight has now lasted almost four weeks and I am not finished yet. 75 files (over a quarter of the total) have been revised, some of them drastically, although this will scarcely be noticeable. A lot of the changes are just about improving processes, error-trapping, date-checking etc. The changes are still only on my off-line copy for now. I'll update when they go live.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Progress update
Posted on Sunday 29th January 2023 by Thomas Young

Work on the functionality enhancements (see news for 22nd January) is ongoing, but it may now take slightly more than a fortnight since I have also been tackling one of the data jobs mentioned mid-week. A (1) has been added to all of the numbers that were re-used (of which there were 2,720) and about half of the numbers that were reverted. There are another 250 still to do so I should be done in a couple of days. I also corrected quite a lot of sightings and listings that were linking to the wrong instance of a number.

I then wrote a long forum posting about the problems dealing with reversions in particular. The way they are implemented on this website is consistent with database logic, but that is not always the same as human logic! Anyway, writing the post helped me to see a potential solution, and this is currently being tested off-line.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some planned data changes
Posted on Wednesday 25th January 2023 by Thomas Young

Work on the functionality improvements is ongoing but today I want to mention some planned changes to data. There are three changes, all arising from user feedback, though none of them are particularly major.

UIC type codes to be added
Firstly, a user asked if UIC type codes (such as Ealnos) could be included. The simplest way I could think of achieving this (without making any changes to the database structure) was to add the codes to the batch descriptions. For example, the batch of wagons numbered 81.70.5500.000-073 now has a description of 'Bogie Open Box Wagon [Ealnos]'. Note the square brackets. This enables you to search for UIC type codes. You could (for example) enter [Ealnos] in the search box on the batch list page, though in reality searching for Ealnos will provide the same results. Perhaps more usefully, you can find all batches that have had a UIC type code added by simply searching for [ or ]. I have only added codes to a handful of batches so far - more will be done in due course and the idea may also be applied to the type descriptions for TOPS and design codes.

Preserved steam locos to be added
Secondly, a user asked if mainline-registered steam locos could be added, so that full consists for sightings of railtours could be reported. It was suggested that these could use the TOPS numbers, as these are (unsurprisingly) what is shown in TOPS reports. (In case you did not know, all preserved locos permitted to work on the mainline are allocated an individual TOPS number, in classes 98 (for steam locos) or 89 (for diesels). The numbers are not carried on the locos themselves, except inside the cabs). The LTSV-RD database is capable of handling steam loco numbers so I am currently looking at how they could be added. For example, whether I should include just mainline-registered or all preserved locos.

Re-used numbers to be clearly indicated
To reduce the chances of listings and sightings being linked to the wrong instance of a number, I am adding a (1) after any number that was later either re-used or reverted, in much the same way as was applied to TOPS codes here last year. For example, what was displayed as 15001 will now display as 15001 (1). There are a couple of thousand numbers that need changing this way and I am working my way through them. The idea is that, if you are entering a sighting or listing and one of the numbers comes up with a (1) after it, it will indicate to you that there are later instances of the same number. In most cases, the later number is likely to be the one you actually want!

The re-use (and reversion) of stock numbers is a real pain when trying to record everything. There are lots of listings and sightings that evidently link to the wrong instance, most of them having been added by me! For example, I found some Mk1 Corridor Composites that were shown as being in Caledonian Sleepers livery, and some Mk1 suburbans that were apparently allocated to Neville Hill in 1989! I am fixing these errors as and when I find them, but please feel free to let me know if you spot something that is evidently wrong. See it, say it and so on.

I should perhaps clarify that I only consider a number to be re-used if it is re-used in the same series. For example, Fruit D van 92001 and 100mph bogie brake 92001 were both in the BR coaching stock number series, so the latter is counted as a re-use. The electric loco 92001 and the car-carrying wagon RLS92001 (plus class 9F steam loco 92001) were each in a different number series so they are not counted as re-uses.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Functionality Focus Fortnight
Posted on Sunday 22nd January 2023 by Thomas Young

Over the past couple of years I have divided my LTSV-RD time between working on data (numbers, listings, TOPS codes etc), content (photos, news, articles etc) and design (functionality and appearance). In terms of functionality, a lot of small improvements and critical fixes have been made 'on the fly', but some of the more involved changes have been added to my to-do list, which already had other items that had not been completed before launch. To clear the list, and hopefully make the site a bit easier to use, I have decided to spend a couple of weeks working solely on functionality improvements.

The changes are widespread but not fundamental - most pages will still work basically the same way as before. But many small things, such as the ways dates are entered, will be improved. I am working on an off-line copy of the site so you will not see any changes just yet. Once the changes are complete and tested, I will upload the whole lot in one go.

If you have any comments or suggestions for changes, this would be a good time to pass them on.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More photos added
Posted on Saturday 14th January 2023 by Thomas Young

The third and final bundle of Derek's photos from 2022 has just been uploaded, with 206 images taken between July and December.

A pair of class 325 post EMUs was caught at Watford Junction. I have always liked these units, and it occurred to me that the inclusion of 'proper' buffers does give them a slightly more traditional look than most modern EMUs.

An engineering train seen at Wandsworth Road included one of the FZA switch carriers (as mentioned here last May). Perhaps more interesting was that one of the accompanying spacer wagons was RRA-S 400003, one of the last of the former SAA wagons still in use.

Some of the recent JNA-T batches are illustrated for the first time, firstly with this rake of silver VTG 81.70.5500.7xx wagons at Wandsworth Road.

At Eastleigh was one of the FAA well wagons now used with Cowans-Sheldon cable-drum carrying modules.

Preserved at Swanage is 'Blue Spot' fish van E87929. These wagons make an interesting study of BR numbering policy. Initially given coach numbers and regional prefixes, they were later considered to be freight stock but the numbers were not changed. This led to some curious anomalies.

The ubiquitous JNA-T box wagons seem to now dominate stone traffic at Westbury, but at least they are in several different liveries. Numbers are now in the 81.70.5932.461+ range, since the 70.5500 range has (almost) been used up.

Still at Westbury, and still on JNA-Ts, 81.70.5500.732-9 is one of a batch that has Cappagh lettering.

Also at Westbury were some track machines, including one of the impressive Matisa P95 track renewal machines. This photo shows most (but not all!) of DR78822.

Back at Eastleigh, a train of YVA (ex BDA) cable-drum carriers was seen, together with their support van.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Memories of warmer days
Posted on Sunday 18th December 2022 by Thomas Young

The second part of Derek's latest batch of photos has just been uploaded and comprises 138 images taken between March and June 2022. Some highlights are shown below.

Seen at Willesden Junction was a rake of MMA-A box wagons. Apart from the livery and ownership, these are identical to the JNA-T types, though they are much less common 'down south'.

Also at Willesden Junction were some IDA-Q Lowliners as part of a Tesco train.

Wickham built 5 passenger railbuses and one track recording car, with similar bodywork but a very different underframe. Only the latter survives and Derek found 999507 at the Lavender Line.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Icons and distractions
Posted on Friday 16th December 2022 by Thomas Young

As regular visitors will know, I am rather easily distracted. A request from a member of the National Wagon Preservation Group for graphics of a TTA tank wagon lead me to look into a plan I have had on the back-burner for a while. It involved making coloured icons from scratch, rather than from Trainz models. I figured it would be rather laborious so I was putting it off while there was much else still needing doing.

It turns out that the process is fairly quick, particularly if decent source drawings are available. So, I have just added two icons for TTA wagons, plus a third of the unique MVA bogie box wagon.

BPO green, but without the shield logo.

ESSO grey

One of the two losers in the MUA vs MVA vs MXA battle

As a result, the planned update of fleet news is delayed. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause....

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Time for more photos
Posted on Tuesday 13th December 2022 by Thomas Young

I have just added 146 new photos, with some more to come shortly.

First up are 7 sent in by Dan Adkins a few months back. These cover some of the Turbostar varieties and also a surprising survivor.

The livery may look rather like Greater Anglia, but this 170/2 is actually with Transport for Wales.

Although photographed in 2012, this 'Tope' ZCV on an isolated piece of track at Ince Moss is still there today. More surprisingly, it is the very last survivor from over 800 such wagons rebuilt in 1989-1991.

Kieran Fallows provided an update on his 'Project: Railfreight' collection.

OBA 110443 (bought last October) now carries the classic 1980s Railfreight livery.

A new addition is OAA 100036, seen just before it was moved from Whitemoor to the Great Central Railway.

Paul was in Yorkshire in October and photographed several types of unit at Leeds.

A 331/1 in Northern Rail livery.

Also in Northern colours, the 333 units have the same rounded fronts as the now-departed Heathrow Express 332s.

I had a quick visit to Hornsey to try and catch some more ECML units in the brief winter sun.

Open-access operator Lumo uses new class 803 units.

I caught one of the LNER 800 units this time, though the light was already fading.

I then received a pack of 3 CDs from Derek Everson, full of photos taken over the past year or so. As usual, they are from Eastleigh and other locations around London and the South East. The first 82 photos to be processed cover the period from late-2021 to February 2022

Unusual visitors to Eastleigh were some of the DRS PFA wagons that originally carried Cawoods coal containers.

These odd-looking wagons have tilting beds to enable them to carry trackwork (such as points and crossings) that would otherwise be too wide. Can they also carry sheets of glass though?!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
I have ballsed-up the side menus!
Posted on Sunday 11th December 2022 by Thomas Young

I've made some more cosmetic changes ahead of starting on the screenshots for the user guides. The side menus have been tidied up, with some items re-arranged and a few removed (pages for 'Duplicate Numbers', 'Names' and 'Liveries' were initially planned but now seem unlikely) and coloured balls added to each item. Some sort of marker is required (for when the text wraps) and I had initially used hyphens. These have now been replaced by little balls, with a nominal colour-coding scheme. Green is for pages that I see as being the primary content of this site. Yellow is for index pages or pages with data that could be considered to be secondary. Red is for pages that are not yet available. I had also made a blue ball but I figured that just made things look complicated again!

Another change is that I have added more columns to the All Numbers page. To avoid the page getting too cluttered, these are accessed using tabbed dividers at the top of the table. The page is now divided into four sections. The original columns are (mainly) now in Main, while Renumberings, Photos and Stats will show other relevant columns.

I have been trying to make the revised top menus work more like the buttons that they have been styled to represent. However, for now they will only work if you click on the actual text in the 'button', not if you click on a plain part.

Do let me know if you approve of these changes, or more importantly, if you don't.

Finally, I have started preparing a new batch of photos which should be added in the next few days.

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