I have spent most of my working life in railway vehicle testing and vehicle commissioning for the old British Rail organisation based at Derby. During my long career I worked at the Derby Locomotive Works, Derby Carriage & Wagon Works, the London Midland Region's Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineer's Department (CM & EE), the BRB Department of Mechanical & Electrical Engineers (DM & EE), the Research & Development Division (R&DD), the DM & EE again and for Serco after they took over this part of the railway industry.
Projects with which I have been involved during this time have included vehicle acceptance testing, HST prototype high speed riding tests, APT-E, APT-P, Load Measuring Wheel development, High Speed pantograph development, derailment investigation, commissioning of Class 90, Class 91, Mk IV coaches, Sprinters, railbuses, Automatic Train Protection commissioning and many others including numerous trips abroad.
After an apprenticeship in the locomotive works at Derby and a spell at the LMR's CM&EE Headquarters at Nelson Street, I joined the BR Testing Section in late 1970. The first testing work I was involved with was investigating alternator failures on the Class 73 electro-diesels for which we conducted tests running between Basingstoke and Winchester. In early 1972 the scene moved to Scotland where the class 27-powered push-pull sets were having numerous problems on the Edinburgh - Glasgow runs. This was followed in the summer of that year by tests on the new generation PEP stock suburban trains on the Southern Region which were conducted on the Farnham to Alton line. By 1973 I was involved in testing the air-conditioning on the prototype HST and Mk3 coaches on the ECML - which included being present on the 140+ mile/h runs in June of that year.
A move to the Research Division in 1974 saw involvement with derailment investigation, the development of load measuring wheelsets, general work at the Old Dalby test track and the overhead high speed current collection project. This culminated in the introduction of the BR/BW high speed pantograph onto BR and abroad.
Returning to the DM & EE in the mid 1980's I was involved with the commissioning of the prototype 'Sprinters', the class 150 and class 151, which were then based at Etches Park depot in Derby. Following the type testing programme the trains enjoyed promotional trips around the UK and initially entered service on the Matlock line. Further work of this nature included the 150/1's, 150/2's, 155's and 156's and the numerous railbuses followed by a move upmarket to the IC225 on the ECML working initially out of Bounds Green, commissioning of the locomotives and Mk4 coaching stock etc. This also extended to the class 90 fleet, DVT's etc on the WCML.
Following this a change of direction resulted in a prolonged period with the pilot ATP schemes on both the GW main line and the Chiltern lines.
More general test and monitoring work followed in the late 1990's as privatisation bit but sanity returned in 1999 when I was again involved with testing the latest trains; class 175's and class 180's,. Sunderland Metro, Class 220 and 221 Voyagers, electrical load bank testing, operation of rail grinders and finally the Hitachi Verification Train .
I left Serco Railtest in the summer of 2005 and spent some time working on the London Underground's Transmission-Based Train Control system testing at TubeLines' Highgate Test Facility. I later worked on the first unit of the Victoria Line Upgrade which was tested at Litchurch Lane works, Derby prior to commencing its test programme in London.
Further work involved the production of operational safety cases in connection with on-track brake testing with Voyagers and I now work for Bombardier Transportation in Derby.
Please click on the thumbnails for more pictures and information. Please note there are five further indexes, namely the early days index, the my early days index, the R&DD Index, the commissioning index and the Serco Index which access further pages of interest.
Click on the pictures for more information and pictures.
Copyright © 2000-2013 Dave Coxon. All rights reserved
If you have any queries about the any of the subjects or can add any further information or photos to the site, please contact me and I shall be pleased to help.
You may also be interested in my new photo site covering railways home and abroad over the last 45 years - this is still under construction following the demise of Fotopic
or my site about BR's test tracks at: