DBSO - push-pull Norwich to Liverpool St

During the late 1980's the London to Norwich services were electrified and the second hand ex-WCML Class 86 locomotives and ex-Edinburgh - Glasgow push pull DBSO's (Driving Brake Standard Open) were introduced.

The author was involved with the commissioning of the DBSO's and the associated Time Division Multiplex (TDM) control system and was based at Norwich Crown Point depot.

The former Scottish region DBSO's   were hand-me-downs from the Edinburgh Glasgow services and were originally used with class 47 power. However they were then hard-wired with through control cables but following the cascading to Norwich they were upgraded and fitted with TDM through control for use with the class 86 locos - which of course had already been operating with the system on WCML.

One unusual feature of the Norwich services is the use of the locomotives at the London end whereas the class 91 and Mk4 DVT on ECML and the original WCML formations usually had the locos at the Country end.

They survived into 2006 working with the class 90's but were then withdrawn in favour of even more cascaded stock in the form of ex-WCML Mk3 DVT's - together with the Mk3 coaching stock. This makes the London Norwich service coaching stock amongst the most pleasant to travel on today. Nice big coaches with plenty of leg room, seats at the windows and no engine underneath!

After their withdrawal several DBSO's were acquired by Network Rail for potential use with test trains and are painted in the familiar yellow livery.

Click on the picture for a bigger image - photos are the author's unless otherwise stated.

DBSO Norwich

A newly refurbished Driving Brake Second Open (DBSO) stands in Platform 1 at Norwich Thorpe station at the head of a London train in the early days of the new service. This arrangement was later reversed such that the DBSO was at the country end.

Author's collection

Ipswich DBSO 9710 arriving at Ipswich with a Norwich service on 6th September 2001

Steve Jones


DBSO 9704 arrives at Ipswich on 29th June 2006 - this was at the head of one of the last Mk2 rakes in service at the time Norwich DBSO 9714 stands on the stops at Norwich on 29th June 2006


The 'new breed' at Ipswich - a former WCML Mk3 DVT brings up the rear of a London train on 29th June 2006 9703 DBSO 9703 with a new  lease of life pictured at the 'Tyesley 100' open day on 28th June 2008

West Somerset Railway

DBSO 9703 at Bishops Lydeard (WSR) on 15th July 2008 Derby DBSO 9708 with the SGT at Derby on 19th September 2008


Back to Commissioning index

Back to home page