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Fleet news
18 fleet news items found.
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the blue livery, the gangway connection is now much more prominent, and the cowlings either side of the couplings have been replaced by over-ride protection plates.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.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More about the Stegosaurus
Posted on Saturday 24th July 2021 by Thomas Young

A news item about the BYA-O 'Stegosaurus' conversion has been added to the DB Cargo website. The wagon (966050) was in fact the second design, an earlier conversion having been proved unsuccessful. The revised version is intended to carry hot rolled coil but also has removable dividers to enable it to take slabs. As such, it is similar in concept to some of the specialised steel wagons built by BR in the 1960s. The new conversion has been tested with Tata Steel and was evidently acceptable since a production batch of 29 similar rebuilds is now underway at Stoke. The news article (with photo) can be found at https://uk.dbcargo.com/rail-uk-en/metaNavi/news/The-Stegosaurus-is-alive-and-well-and-living-in-Stoke-says-DB-Cargo-UK--6312660. Thanks to Nat37670 for finding this.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More FRA renumberings
Posted on Sunday 13th June 2021 by Thomas Young

A second set of Freightliner FRA bogie container flats is being renumbered, presumably again for use on Railhead Treatment duties. Four wagons, numbered 613109 to 613112 have been noted so far, and are believed to have previously been 613001/002/024/027 (order unknown). It is not yet known how many are being done, or where the conversions are being undertaken.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Site news
37 site news items found.
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....

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
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.
Yet more EMU photos
Posted on Saturday 24th July 2021 by Thomas Young

I had two more days out this week, though not primarily for photography. On Wednesday I stopped at Bethnal Green for half-an-hour and found that a lot had changed since my last visit 2 years ago.

The class 90s have gone, and I didn't see any 315s or 360s, although I was told that at least a couple of 315s were still working. Older trains still to be seen were 317s and 321s. There were also a couple of ex-Northern units of classes 321/9 and 322.

London Overground class 710s were much in evidence, mainly AC 710/1s but also a couple of dual-voltage 710/2s.

A few Greater Anglia class 720s were seen but deliveries of the type are still ongoing.

Two batches of Stadler class 745s units have taken over the Stansted and Norwich services, although it was noted that the batches were being mixed. 745002 (with 1st class accommodation) was correctly working from Norwich. Note that only the last 3 digits of the number are shown, and the class number does not appear anywhere on the units.

Displaced from Stansted Express work, the 379 units are due to go off-lease in a year or two, but for now they are appearing on various other workings.

On Friday I was in the south and took a few photos at Brockley and Sydenham.

DMUs are now rare in London, one of the exceptions being Southern class 171s used on services from Uckfield. A 4-car 171/8 was seen trailing a 2-car 171/7

Southern's newer Electrostar units have gasket glazing rather than bonded and are formed into 5-car sets. 377617 was seen heading South.

After several abortive attempts, I finally managed to get some decent photos of London Overground's DC-only 378/1 units.

The oldest 3rd-rail units still in service are the 455s used by Southern and South Western Railway.

I should reiterate that it is not my intention to flood this website with photos of passenger trains. I would like to get at least a couple for each class/batch/design code, but after that further additions will only be made to cover variations or changes. Or if I get better photos than the ones I have used!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Out again - 73 more photos
Posted on Monday 19th July 2021 by Thomas Young

With lockdown officially finished and the sky still blue, I decided to do some more photography today, although I ended up getting myself annoyed. The sun always seemed to be in the wrong place (or I was, or the train was, or other trains were), my favoured spot at Acton Wells Junction has been rendered unusable by vegetation and my Oyster card glitched. I ended up paying £22 for my travel instead of it being capped at £10.60 - I will be chasing a refund. Anyway, I got a few new types, including some LUL trains to illustrate the article about their numbering.

As well as photographing trains on the Bakerloo, District and Piccadilly lines, I also managed to catch (just) the 1960/1973 stock Track Recording Train at Acton Town.

To Royal Oak again, changes since last time were that the Elizabeth Line 345s are now running in 9-car formations, and the Heathrow Express has been taken over by class 387 units.

At Kensal Green I caught a couple of London Overground 710 units, including 5-car 710376. The numbers for these have been changed from those originally planned and I will need to update the database.

Having failed to find a good place to photograph Central Line trains, I had a ride on the Greenford branch, now an isolated diesel route that only goes as far as West Ealing.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
132 new photos
Posted on Sunday 18th July 2021 by Thomas Young

I went out photographing yesterday, for the first time in ages. I had hoped to cover various London-area types not currently featured on LTSV, although my plans were curtailed by the extreme heat and by a variety of LUL line closures. The bulk of today's 132 additions were taken at Harringay on the ECML, and debut LNER and Hull Trains IETs plus Great Northern 717s.

Although I captured one of LNER's 5-car 801/1s and several 9-car 801/2s, I managed not to see any of their bi-mode 800s.

Hull Trains 802305 was still running in anonymous blue livery but was coupled to fully-lettered 802304.

Great Northern 717011 has been given NHS appreciation adornments.

Several former Gatwick Express 387/2 units have been transferred to Great Northern and are operating in de-branded red.

Over at West Hampstead Thameslink I caught some of the class 360 units recently transferred from Greater Anglia and given EMR Connect branding for services from Corby. By the way, I have marked these photos as being class 360/1 but it appears that they should actually be 360/0....

Also there was 222101 in EMR Intercity livery.

Finally at West Hampstead LUL I photographed a couple of Chiltern units, including 168214.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
100 more icons
Posted on Friday 9th July 2021 by Thomas Young

A further set of 100 icons have been added (and are in the process of being linked to the relevant design and batch detail pages). The first 20 cover more pre-TOPS loco-hauled coach diagrams, followed by 62 pre-TOPS diagrams for main-line diesel locos (which later became classes 20-46) then finally a set of 18 TOPS design code diagrams for bogie steel wagons in the BAx/BBx and BCx ranges. To see all the new icons, go to the Icon List page and sort by Date Added (newest first). A few samples are shown below.

Diagram 93 Mk1 Open Third

Diagram DE/3002/3 BRCW Type 3 (Class 33)

Design Code BC003A Bogie Bolster C

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New book reviews
Posted on Wednesday 7th July 2021 by Thomas Young

I like to be able to look at a book before I buy it, which has been somewhat problematic in recent times. Besides the COVID-19 restrictions, my favoured book shop (Ian Allan at Waterloo) has permanently closed. As such, I have not added any new reviews for a while. However, I have now obtained the 2021 edition of the ABC Rail Guide, which has been revised slightly following the change of editor from Colin Marsden to Pip Dunn (both very much experts in the field). I have now added details of the 2021 edition to the existing review, along with details of the last Colin Marsden edition (2020) to enable the changes to be more clearly shown. Click on either of the cover images below to read the full review - you will then need to scroll down to see the images of pages from these two editions.

The cover of the 2020 edition.

The cover of the 2021 edition.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Photos - Six 60s and a lorra lorra sheds
Posted on Friday 2nd July 2021 by Thomas Young

I was slightly surprised to realise that it has been over 13 years since I started photographing freight trains, my first outing being in late 2007. Over the years I have published several thousand photos of wagons but, until recently, the locomotives were not included. As the scope of the site has now been extended, I decided to go back and add the locos as well. Rather predictably, the photos are dominated by class 66s. The 157 photos added today cover EWS/DB and Freightliner locos, with a couple of DRS ones too. GBRf and Colas locos will be added in due course.

The photos have been added in loco number order and heading the batch are six photos of class 60 locos. 60054 was still in its original Trainload Petroleum livery when seen at Lewisham in 2008.

Class 66s in EWS livery make up the bulk of the photos, such as this view of 66180 on vans at Acton Mainline in 2010.

Class 66s from the erstwhile 'green team' of Freightliner are also featured. 66610 was heading the lengthy HOBC train at South Kenton in 2013.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More photos, old and new
Posted on Sunday 13th June 2021 by Thomas Young

It has been too hot for brain-work this week, hence I have not yet made any headway with the remaining features and functions of the website. Instead I have uploaded a batch of 59 new photos. There is a real mixture of subjects so I have outlined the highlights below.

First up are 20 photos taken locally yesterday, mostly of an engineers train heading to a possession beyond Plumstead. As well as yet more Falcons, this included some Salmon and Bass and a KFA doing an impression of a Salmon.

Touax-branded KFA TIPH93430 had infrastructure flatbed modules and was loaded with bundles of new sleepers.

Next are a couple of photos taken by Dan in April showing the recently recoded FOA container flats, including a detail shot that shows how they differ from the FKAs from which they were converted.

FOA on the left, FKA on the right.

Following those are 8 recent photos from Malcolm Conway of trains passing Stratford.

Seeing a West Midlands Railway 172 in London is pretty unusual, this example heading home from a visit to Ilford Works.

This view of Colas 37421 pulling inspection saloon Caroline makes a nice comparison with the photo of this same loco published in April.

New contributor Dave Blower found this grounded Vanfit body in Warwickshire.

Then there are a dozen more 1980s/1990s photos by my father, mostly showing locos around London.

47053 on ARC PGAs, though I can't work out what it is doing on platform 7!

Finally there are 15 photos from Dave Warby's excellent Flickr collection (link to be added soon). He recently gave me permission to nick a few photos to show types that I have not already covered. As well as a few DMU and EMU classes, this first set include several 'mundane' but now long-gone wagon types.

I left it too late to photograph the Heathrow Express class 332s myself.

HKV Iron Ore hopper B437621 must have been one of the last of its kind when seen at Bescot in 1992.

Photos have normally been linked to the design code that applied at the time of the photo. However, for older wagons that have not had major modifications, I will be linking to the original diagram number instead. So, for example, a Vanwide in today's batch is shown as being to TOPS design code ZD146A and also originally to diagram 1/217. The link to the design detail page will use the latter. I do have a potential solution which will enable one-to-many relationships (e.g. one photo to two or more designs) in due course.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
BMRG Diagrams now listed
Posted on Sunday 6th June 2021 by Thomas Young

About a month ago (on 8th May), I mentioned a plan to catalogue the diagrams available in the scanned BR rolling stock diagram books on the Barrowmore MRG website. This task has now been completed, taking the quantity of drawings referenced on this website from 67 to 8,102! My estimate of there being about 8,000 diagrams was pretty accurate, though this does of course include numerous duplicates, where the same diagram (sometimes with changes) appears in multiple books. There are in fact more diagrams on the BMRG site, but these are of track machines and steam locos and do not relate to specific diagram/design numbers.

Now, when you look at the detail page for a diagram or design code, there will be a listing of the drawings available. The link will simply take you to the page on the BMRG website where all such documents can be found. However, I have added details of the file and page number for each diagram, making it much quicker to find a specific drawing. You can also view a listing of all drawing references on the Drawing List page.

Coverage includes most of the diagrams issued for BR locos, coaches, units, wagons and containers, and also TOPS design codes/diagrams up to the early 1990s.

As usual, this job led to a couple of related tasks. Firstly, the drawings section on the design and lot detail pages needed some tweaking. Then I found that 139 drawings were of diagrams that were not yet in the database. After adding these diagrams I found that 5 referred to TOPS codes that were not yet in the database. I think I have covered everything now!

Although the drawings are typically of medium to low quality (for example, underframe details are rarely shown), they usually contain lots of other information such as lot numbers, TOPS codes etc. This information will be progressively added to the database over time.

The amazingly detailed drawings by Colin Craig (that can also be found on the BMRG website) have been added as well. These mainly cover air-braked types. If/when more diagram books get added to the BMRG site I will update the listings. I also intend to make the drawing index file available as a downloadable spreadsheet, but I need to finish work on the 'Downloads' page first....

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
The early bird catches the freight
Posted on Friday 4th June 2021 by Thomas Young

Today's update sees the addition of 80 photos which I took locally over the past week. On two days I was up early enough to see the Whitemoor to Hoo Junction engineers train pass at 6:30am - this is the only regular infrastructure train scheduled to take the Woolwich line. Unfortunately the train was rather boring on both occasions, being formed entirely of JNA-C, MLA and IEA low-sided boxes. Same loco to boot!

66757 on the early Whitemoor to Hoo train. At least the sun came out the second time.

I also photographed the Angerstein to Woking train again. I wasn't going to publish the photos because they were the same JNA-T boxes as last time. However, I noticed two very slightly interesting aspects. Firstly, the train seems to carry two different commodities, with sand in the first ten wagons and gravel in the remainder. Looking at previous photos, this seems to be the normal practice. Secondly, the loading of some of the wagons looked almost dangerously uneven...

Surely the weight distribution on this wagon will be a bit off!

And I photographed the irregular Scunthorpe/Doncaster to Angerstein train again, still using (mainly) the same MBA box wagons as last time.

The rather unimaginatively named 'Maritime Intermodal Five' with 17 MBAs in tow nears the end of its long journey.

As a break from boxes, I captured a few shots of Southeastern EMUs.

A pair of 376s head towards the sunrise.

With this batch the total photo count has passed the six thousand mark. I have received some new photo submissions, and I still have lots of old ones to show. So the next lot to be added will hopefully be a bit more interesting.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Dealing with dates - Part 2 (storing and displaying)
Posted on Wednesday 26th May 2021 by Thomas Young

Databases (and spreadsheets) are amazingly clever at handling dates, but only if you are dealing with exact, individual dates. If you require a bit of vagueness (for instance to enter '05/2021', 'c.26/05/2021' or 'by 2021') they either don't accept the entries or the sorting goes awry. Having tried various solutions to this problem in the past, the one I settled on for this website is to use a plain text field. Dates are stored in the format dYYYYMMDDp, where d is the letter d, YYYY the 4-digit year, MM the 2-digit month, DD the 2-digit date and p an optional prefix such as 'circa' or 'by'. Today would therefore be d20210526. The letter d at the front is not strictly necessary but it prevents the value being interpreted as numeric (which would result in 05/2021 being sorted 'before' 25/12/1997 for example). This method works, with the resulting sort order being more-or-less spot on. And I have added code to automatically rearrange the values to display the dates in the conventional format.

However, there are some issues. Firstly, users need to remember to use this (rather unnatural) format when entering or editing information. Secondly, I have not put in much validation, meaning that dates such as 29/02/2021 will be accepted. More to the point, 35/14/2021 would also be accepted! So, I am working on a further bit of code that will mean that users can enter dates in the 'natural' format and the value will be encoded and validated before being stored. It is complicated though. Take next Tuesday. This could be entered as 02/06/2021, 2/6/2021, 02/06/21, 2/6/21, 2-6-2021, 02.06.2021 or any of many other permutations. I reckon I can handle this! One thing I won't be able to do is recognise if you are American and using their MM/DD/YYYY format. 06/02/2021 will be read as being a date in February.

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