Diesel multiple units
In the 1980s most Tyseley DMUs were three-car Class 116 sets, but there were also a number of mixed sets containing vehicles of other
types. They never had many Class 100 Gloucester-built units, but there were one or two odd cars in use at various times. In this shot
a Class 100 DMBS peeks out into the evening sun while standing at New St (platform 10b).
The SVR's three-car DMU was working Bewdley - Kidderminster shuttles at the diesel gala on Saturday 6th October 2012. Meantime the
two-car was parked in its usual spot behind Bewdley station, alongside some steamers.
Met-Camm power twin E50321+E51427 arrives at Quorn with the 16:20 Loughborough - Rothley. This was taken at 16:25 on Friday 29th
April 2005, and it was something of a consolation prize after D123 on the 15:45 from Loughborough came past while the sun was behind
A Class 101 power-twin formed of vehicles 53160 and 53164 arrived at the Chasewater Light Railway in late 2006. This set carried unit
number 101685 in its last years of service working off Longsight depot in Manchester, where it was colloquially known as "Daisy",.
It was withdrawn from traffic at Christmas 2003, a mere 47 years after these vehicles entered service. This shot was taken at 13.21 on
Sunday 14th January 2007, and shows the 50 year old DMU departing from Chasewater Heaths with 53164 leading.
A three-car Class 120 waits to depart from Aberystwyth on the afternoon of Thursday 21st August 1980. DMBC M50727 leads, and if my
memory is correct the CCT parcels van departed behind the DMU as a trailing load.
1993 was a fascinating period for multiple units in the West Midlands. It marked the transition period from first generation DMUs and EMUs,
primarily classes 116, 304 and 310, to second generation units, primarily classes 150, 156 and 323. But that transition period produced all
manner of units which weren't normally seen on local services in the Birmingham area. Notable amongst these were classes 117, 119,
305 and 308. Also of note was the frequent use of DMUs on electric diagrams, particularly on the Walsall and Coventry routes. This shot shows
117314 working a New St - Coventry local service, and was taken at 13:44 on Saturday 17th March 1993.
Tyseley based DMU twin T208 coasts through Ryecroft Jct with a Hednesford - Walsall service in a shot which was probably taken during
the summer of 1989. Ryecroft was still looking remarkably rural back then, despite the fact that it's almost in the centre of Walsall.
New housing would soon be built on the land to the right, and unchecked tree growth would close down the view, but at this stage you
could still see Mill Lane bridge in the background and trains off the Sutton Park line were visible as they crossed Cartbridge Lane.
T224 coasts towards Ryecroft Jct with the 15:35 Hednesford - Walsall service. My notes suggest it was running a little late
when photographed around 16:05 on Saturday 8th April 1989. These Class 114 twins spent most of their 30-odd years
allocated to Lincoln, but in late 1987 just over a dozen sets migrated to Tyseley. Some were withdrawn within 18 months,
but a few survived until 1991. Two sets were required for the half-hourly Saturday Walsall-Hednesford service.
T408 forms a southbound Cross-City train, seen leaving Four Oaks in the late summer of 1989. Much was to change at Four Oaks when
electrification came in 1992/93. Apart from the masts and wiring the signalbox closed, with control of the line passing to the Aston
Signalling Centre (located at Duddeston in the old Vauxhall Shunt Frame). The DMUs also disappeared, being superceded first by a mix of
older EMUs, and a year or two later by the Class 323s which are still used today. Trains still turn back at Four Oaks - in the midweek
off-peak timetable there are six trains an hour on the Cross-City, of which two turn at Lichfield Trent Valley, two at Lichfield City and
two at Four Oaks.
55027 leaves Castle Bar Park with a branch service from Greenford. Summer 1989 I think, can't find the exact date.
55031 and 55027 pass Forders Sidings at 08:19 on Saturday 24th July 1999. They were forming the 07:50 Bletchley - Bedford service.
I think the signal post did lean over a little, although the angle may be exaggerated by the camera here. Another visit to this
location one week later revealed that all the trees in the background had been cut down.
A Tyseley - Bescot convoy of DMUs drops down to Ryecroft at 11:18 on Saturday 5th May 1990. This train was bound for the
Open Day at Bescot, which took place on Sunday 6th. My notebook records the formation as M55993, T305 (the chocolate and
cream triple), N669 (the blue twin), two trailers (in blue and grey), plus W22W on the rear - the latter not really visible
in this shot.
The Severn Valley's three-car DMU rounds the curve at Bewdley heading for Kidderminster. This photo was taken at 13:03 on
Thursday 4th October 2012.
On Sunday 6th May 1990 there was an Open Day at Bescot. A couple of railtours ran in connection with this, one of which saw a pair of Class 205
DEMUs work a Yeovil Jct - Walsall charter. 205030 and 205032 arrived at Walsall around 12:40, and after decanting their passengers went ECS to Tyseley.
This is the return Tyseley - Walsall ECS, passing Ryecroft Jct at 17:09. The return to Yeovil left Walsall around 17:40. I don't recall much fuss
being made about this working at the time, but in retrospect it was a bit of a whopper. Hastings DEMUs got around a bit, both in BR days and
subsequently. They famously made regular visits to Spalding for the annual flower show, and once reached as far north as Carlisle on a railtour. However
the two and three-car Class 205 and 207s didn't wander far from the Southern Region. There were booked workings to Reading and Bristol from Basingstoke
and Portsmouth/Salisbury respectively, and I believe they occasionally reached Cardiff on the latter axis. But I can't recall another working further
north than this.
150002 comes off the North Warks line at Tyseley, This unit was the second of the original three-car Class 150 prototypes,
originally built in 1984, and photographed here at 17:06 on 10th August 2008.
150217 passes Leamore at 16:05 on Monday 30th May 2005. The train is 2H69, the 15:42 New St - Rugeley Trent
Valley. I'd gone out for 66557 on a Rugeley-bound coal train but it came about one minute too soon, just before the sun emerged and
just before I'd got my camera out of the bag. Not wishing to waste the rather nice light I hung on for the unit, which was just about
worth doing as it was one of the recent acquisitions from Anglia, and had yet to be spoilt by having Central Trains branding splashed
all over it.
The ex-Anglia Class 150s subsequently gained Central Trains branding. This pair are led by 150229, and were working
a service to Shirley when photographed at Summerfield, just south of Kidderminster, at 15:03 on Thursday 9th August 2007.
150237 passes Leamore at 14:16 on Wednesday 21st February 2007 while forming the 13:35 Stafford - New St (2H15).
150248 formed 2094 Worcester - Weymouth on Thursday 8th May 2008, photographed passing Croome Perry at 15:17.
In early 2016 ATW had a set of STP paths used for route learning/refreshing around Birmingham. These were 5Z51 Chester - New St, via
Crewe, Shrewsbury, Bescot and Soho. Followed by 5Z52 New St - Wolverhampton via Aston and Bescot. Then 5Z53 Wolverhampton
- New St via Tipton, the Soho loop and Aston. And finally 5Z54 New St - Chester via Soho, Bescot, Wolverhampton and
Stafford. Motive power was either a Class 150 or a Class 158. On Wednesday 3rd February 2016 the unit was 150253, seen here forming
5Z54 just north of Bescot at 14:11. To the right of the railway is the Willenhall arm of the River Tame,
canalised at this point. And to the right of that is the diverted public footpath that runs around the new
Lidl distribution depot, still under construction when this shot was taken.
150255 is seen here in the modified livery used by Central Trains after it was acquired from Anglia Railways. It's approaching Pleck Jct
on the up slow line at 18:16 on Friday 9th June 2006. This was a Stafford - New St working, dating from before the Cannock line services
were cut back to Rugeley Trent Valley. Nowadays 150255 earns its corn working South Wales valley services for Arriva Trains Wales.
A Class 153 plus 170 combination heads past the remnants of Bordesley Yard at 14:36 on Thursday 18th February 2016. It's forming 2V34, the 14:19
Whitlocks End - Worcester Foregate St.
An unidentified Class 158 heads through Allscott, Salop, with the 09:23 Holyhead - Birmingham International. The late-running service
was photographed at 12:53 on Monday 2nd January 2012.
When I visited Whittlesey on Friday 8th September 2006 I had to have a picture of the signalbox. Ideally the train in this shot would
have been a freight, preferably one with a GBRf Class 66 on the front as this is their patch. If it had to be a unit I'd have preferred
a One Railway version. In the event the only freight which came west in the right time slot was the Whitemoor - Tallington trip which was
hauled by 66240, and it passed while the sun was behind a cloud (again). In fact four or five units came past before the sun shone properly
on one of them, and that one happened to be 158783 working 1M22, the 12:57 Norwich - Liverpool.
158864 passes Cossington at 17:44 on 19th August 2009. I have to confess that on first digging this shot out I had no clue what the
livery was, or the TOC for which the unit was working. Turns out this was the Alphaline
livery, first used by British Rail. When this photo was taken the unit was working for East Midlands Trains, and this may be a Norwich -
158950 passes Croome Perry while forming the 14:51 Great Malvern - Weymouth. This picture was taken at 15:18 on Friday 3rd October 2008.
An unidentified Class 158 passes Bagillt at 14:01 on Friday 24th October 2008. It was forming the 12:35 Holyhead - Cardiff, due Flint 14:03.
170106 heads south through Willington at 11:47 on 15th September 2007. The unit had been inherited from Midland Mainline
by Central Trains, and was carrying a slightly revised version of its former livery. The Central Trains franchise
was nearly at an end, with services like this one on the Birmingham - Derby - Nottingham axis becoming part of
the Cross Country empire from November 2007.
On the same day as the shot at Whittlesey above, 170201 worked 1E78 12:38 Liverpool St - Peterborough via Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.
It's seen here arriving at March, bang on time at 15:15, and passing 66555 standing in the down loop. The freight is 6M14, the Harlow - Bardon
Hill stone empties. This is a bit of an opportunist shot, as I'd only stopped in March to get a drink, and 6M14 was stood in the loop as I
drove over the level crossing. It followed the unit, but when it departed the sun was yet again behind a cloud and the scene was only
170507 whizzes through Portway in the glorious late-afternoon light of Wednesday 31st October 2007. A couple of freights passed around the
same time, but neither were lit as well as this unit.
170514 crosses the River Tame near Tame Bridge while working 2A66, the 14:42 Rugeley Trent Valley - New St. It was on time when
photographed at 15:22 on Thursday 27th September 2018. West Midlands Trains took over the previous London Midland services in
December 2017, and by autumn 2018 a number of their units had been reliveried. This unit carries what I gather is an interim colour
scheme for trains running under the West Midlands Railway brand which don't have a long-term future with the franchise. The
previous green ends have been replaced by what is usually described as orange/gold, but to me looks like a sort of light brown ochre.
It works a bit better on the alternate version of the livery, applied to units that the franchise is retaining for West Midlands
local services. This has a dark purple body in lieu of the much brighter silver/white base colour on this unit.
170515 worked 2K09, the 09:07 New St - Rugeley TV, on Wednesday 1st May 2013. It passed Hednesford box at 09:57, four minutes late.
The signalbox here, which dated from 1877, closed at the end of August 2013 when the line was re-signalled.
A busy scene at Saltley Viaduct on the morning of Tuesday 1st July 2014. The time is 07:53 as two-car unit 170523 powers away from New St,
passing three-car 170102 which is heading into the city. A shot that's dated by the rake of EWS coal hoppers on the down goods line.
170633 leaves Rugeley Town with a Rugeley Trent Valley - New St service at 13:53 on Saturday 3rd August 2013. Brereton Sidings
signalbox was just a few weeks away from closure, which came at the end of that month. Much has changed in the intervening
years. Resignalling swept away the mechanical boxes, and electrification saw off the DMUs (north of Walsall at least). Sadly
a new timetable coupling Chase line trains with London services was a predictable shambles, importing southern WCML and
Coventry-corridor delays into the Chase line timetable. Rugeley passengers ended up taking the biggest hit with late-running
northbound trains frequently turned short at Hednesford. The signalbox was donated to the Chasewater Railway, the plan being
to eventually use it at the west end of Chasewater Heaths station.
A five-car Class 172 combination near Bordesley Jct at 14:11 on Thursday 18th February 2016. The train is 2S46, the 13:37 Stourbridge Jct - Whitlocks
172333 is the lead unit in this 5T03 ECS from Tyseley to The Hawthorns, seen passing Small Heath at 14:41 on Sunday 27th August 2017. It ran via Stourbridge
Jct to reverse. The rest of the diagram was 2T03 15:35 The Hawthorns - Snow Hill; 5T06 15:45 Snow Hill - The Hawthorns; 2T06 15:53 The Hawthorns -
Kidderminster and finally 5B06 16:31 Kidderminster - Tyseley. These were football reliefs to help disperse fans coming out of a West Brom vs Stoke
game, which finished 1-1.
172339 arrives at Stourbridge Jct with a southbound service. This shot was taken at 16:32 on Friday 11th May 2012, at which time
signal SJ87 was still controlled from Stourbridge Jct box. When off it would normally show single yellow as the signal in advance
is SJ79 at Stourbridge North Jct. The latter signal, just visible in the centre distance, is approach-released for trains taking
the sharp curve onto the Stourbridge Extension route to Smethwick. A green at SJ87 would only appear for a freight taking the
OWW main line towards Kingswinford Jct. When Stourbridge Jct box was abolished in August 2012 its signals were taken over by the
WMSC at Saltley. This was a "re-control" of the existing signals and they retained their SJ prefix. SJ87 was subsequently
updated to an LED, with just one lamp positioned at the bottom of the main head, where the red lamp was.
175102 approaches Craven Arms at 17:36 on Tuesday 2nd June 2009. This service was the 13:10 Milford Haven - Manchester, due here at 17:28.
175105 passes Penmaenmawr at 11:18 on Friday 24th October 2008. It was forming the 10:30 Holyhead - Cardiff.