Multiple Unit Monday – A Wickham in Wales

Class 109 DTCL E56171-20140816D.Wickham & Co. Ltd. DTCL E56171 & DMBS E50416
Carrog Station, Llangollen Railway, August 2014

This two-car diesel multiple unit (DMU) was built by D.Wickham & Co. Ltd. of Ware, Hertfordshire in 1957 and was one of five such sets allocated to branch line services in East Anglia.

As more and more branch lines closed in the 1960s these Wickham sets were deemed surplus to requirements and were withdrawn from service. Two were exported to Trinidad, two were scrapped but the fifth (E56171 and E50416, later renumbered TDB975006 and TDB975005) was converted into a saloon (complete with kitchen facilities) for use by the General Manager of British Rail’s Eastern Region, remaining in use until 1980.

Eventually preserved by the Llangollen Railcars group the unit was restored at the Midland Railway-Butterley thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant and it returned to service in 2004.

Class 109 DTCL interior-20140816Interior of DTCL E56171
Carrog Station, Llangollen Railway, August 2014

The beautifully restored interiors are a very comfortable and stylish way to travel and the large windows give a fantastic view of the Denbighshire countryside that the Llangollen Railway passes through.

The Wickham sets were withdrawn before TOPS* classification was applied but they were allocated Class 109 by British Rail.

*The TOPS computer system for managing locomotives and rolling stock is something I’ll be going into more detail about in a future post.

Industrial Action – A pair from Pilkington’s…

A recent search for something else entirely turned up a forgotten folder of images taken at the Nene Valley Railway in April 2008 and amongst them was this little tyke.

Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE 'DONCASTER' (works no.2654 of 1957)-20080407Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE ‘DONCASTER’ (works no.2654 of 1957)
Wansford Station, Nene Valley Railway, April 2008

‘DONCASTER’ is a Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd (YE) 0-4-0 Diesel Electric locomotive that was built in 1957 as works no.2654. One of five such locos supplied new to glass manufacturer Pilkington Brothers Ltd of St. Helens, Merseyside, no.2654 was rendered redundant by new plant in 1984 and sold to the Doncaster & District Railway Preservation Society who moved it to what was then the Sandtoft Transport Centre in Lincolnshire (now The Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft).

Sold again to the Yorkshire Engine Group, the loco moved to the Nene Valley Railway for rebuilding, which included the fitting of a 250hp engine to replace the original 200hp example.

The name ‘Pilkington’ clanged a great big bell in the dusty recesses of my memory and after much searching I turned up this image, taken at the Llangollen Railway in 2014.

Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE 'PILKINGTON' (works no.2782 of 1960)-20140816Yorkshire Engine Co Ltd 0-4-0DE ‘PILKINGTON’ (works no.2782 of 1960)
Llangollen Station, August 2014

‘PILKINGTON’ is another of the five YE 0-4-0DE locos supplied to Pilkington Brothers Ltd and like no.2654 was a casualty of modernisation at St Helens. Built in 1960 as works no.2782 it originally carried the name ‘QUEENBOROUGH’ but was renamed after it was donated to the Llangollen Railway.

‘COWLEY HILL’ (works no.2687 of 1958), another of the five St Helens’ locos also made it into preservation but was sold to T.J. Thomson, Stockton-on-Tees, for scrap from the Telford Steam Railway in May 2010.

I believe that ‘DONCASTER’ is now in the care of the Industrial Diesel Railway Preservation Group who intend restoring it to working order.