Logo  The IVA88 Exhibition Train

During the early summer of 1988 the International Transport and Traffic Exhibition (IVA88) was held in Hamburg, Germany. British Rail was asked to participate and sent a representative train of vehicles to the exhibition. I was asked to organise the transit move from Derby to Hamburg and back. I enlisted the assistance of Railfreight International, who were the main agents for shifting freight to and from the UK. They dealt with all the paperwork necessary for the journey. It was unusual being a train of seven vehicles (including locomotives and passenger vehicles) so a great deal of work went into these preparations.

This was a very interesting project as since the last time vehicles had been sent abroad, the cross channel train ferry had been replaced and the operational methods upgraded. In former days (of the Night Ferry Trains) the ferry had a special enclosed dock facility with lock gates. As the boat tied up within the dock the gates were closed and the water level adjusted such that the train ferry was level with the dockside. Vehicles were loaded and unloaded on the level.

The modernised version of this did away with the special dock and instead had an adjustable drawbridge (known as the Linkspan), which could be configured to allow vehicles to run down (or on the level) onto the train ferry, whatever the state of the tide. Dunkerque had a similar arrangement.
However these were designed to accommodate bogie freight vehicles, which had a deal more flexibility in their bogie movement than coaching stock and electric locomotives. Hence the movement of the train onto and off the train ferry (at both ends of the journey) had to be carried out at times when the tide was about mid-point (for loading and unloading). It was fortunate that this time in June 1988 was in daylight hours.

The train consisted of the following vehicles.
Class 89 co-co AC electric locomotive (89001) from Hornsey
Class 90 bo-bo AC electric locomotive (90008) from BREL Crewe Works
Class 91 bo-bo AC electric locomotive (91003) from BREL Crewe Works
Class 150/2 2-car Sprinter DMU (52263/57263) from Cardiff Canton Depot
2 x BREL International Coaches (99523 and 99520) from BREL Litchurch Lane works, Derby
2 x 4 wheel former Southern Region ferry vans as match vehicles for the BSI couplers of the Sprinter (889009 and 889015) from Eastleigh. These vans somehow survived the intervening 20 years, originally as match wagons for moving Sprinters around the country and were finally acquired by the South Devon Railway where they have recently been re-painted - see below.

Other interesting challenges arose with the need to accommodate the Sprinter within the formation. This train had BSI couplers and Westcode electric brakes. The problem of the couplers was overcome by equipping the two redundant ex-SR vans from Eastleigh with BSI couplers on one end and these were used as match wagons. The vans were also used to take various pieces of equipment to Hamburg which were required for the exhibition and were specially re-painted in the IVA88-Sprinter livery. They were built in 1958 at Lancing Works
In the light of the above the Sprinter could be mechanically coupled in the train but we were still faced with the brake incompatibility. The solution was to run a specially made hose through the Sprinter (which fortunately had corridor connections in the cabs). In this manner the Sprinter was through-piped with the brake pipe thus maintaining continuity but was not braked itself.
Since there were now two unbraked 40 tonne vehicles in the formation it was thought prudent to undertake a number of braking test with the whole train. This was completed at the Old Dalby test track a week or so before departure and a speed limit of 60 mile/h was therefore applied to the train.
Following the initial braking tests at Old Dalby the train left the Railway Technical Centre, Derby on the evening of 22nd May 1988 bound for Dover Western Docks. At Dover the train was loaded onto the SNCF train ferry 'Nord Pas De Calais' for the journey to Dunkerque. Look here for a series of pictures of the ferry docking

Here is a pictorial record of the journey to Hamburg, the exhibition and the return trip.

Click on the pictures for a bigger image - all photos by the author unless otherwise credited

Cardiff Canton 150263 in the sunshine at Cardiff Canton depot prior to its departure for the RTC where it was to be marshalled into the Hamburg train.

Ian Walmsley

Near Leicester The Class 89 en route from Bounds Green to RTC on 25th April 1988 - pictured at Cossington near Leicester

D R Towers

In the workshop One of the International coaches in the EDU workshop at RTC Derby.

Author's Collection

RTC The International coaches at the RTC

Author's collection

RTC The locos pictured in the RTC yard

Colin Marsden

The locos and match wagon next to the power box at the top of the RTC sidings

Jonathan Morley

Old Dalby The train at the Old Dalby test track whilst undergoing brake tests

Author's collection


After it completed its brake testing at Old Dalby the train returned to the RTC for final preparation before commencing its journey to Germany on 22nd May

Waiting at Dover On the afternoon of 22nd May the train is pictured in the yard outside Dover Western Docks having just arrived from Derby 33203 In Western Docks Yard the shunting was carried out by a couple of class 33 locos. Here is 33203 marshalling the vans.
150263 arriving at Western Docks sidings

Jerry Spillett

The three locos  being shunted into the sidings

Jerry Spillett

A general view of the sidings

Jerry Spillett

33203 the yard shunter replaced the DSLs used on the old link span with Yours Truly supervising the loading and looking very smart

Jerry Spillett

91003 awaiting loading

Jerry Spillett

90008 awaiting loading

Jerry Spillett

89001 awaiting loading

Jerry Spillett

The new link span on the Admiralty Pier

Jerry Spillett

89001 awaiting loading

Jerry Spillett

The two International coaches

Jerry Spillett

Ready for loading 89001,90008 and 91003 wait in the yard ready to join the ferry Dover Western Docks Yard The scene in Western Docks Yard on 23rd May 1988 as the train is marshalled ready to be propelled onto the ferry.
LinkSpan A view of the LinkSpan in its raised position with a glimpse of the new SNCF train ferry 'Nord Pas-De-Calais' (NPDC) beyond Here we go! The locos are propelled down the gradient onto the LinkSpan
Loading the locos The view from the ferry's train deck as the three locomotives are propelled over the LinkSpan by 33203   Loading The view from the cab of the Sprinter at Dover Western Docks as the train is propelled down the slope towards the LinkSpan and onto the ferry
Freight Freight wagons were also being loaded - here the class 33 propels a couple of Ferry wagons onto the ferry On board One of the International Coaches is securely chained to the deck for the journey across the Channel. Freight stock occupies the roads either side.
Dunkerque The view of the SNCF LinkSpan from the bridge of NPDC as the ship docks at Dunkerque NPDC The NPDC train ferry at sea. It is still in existence having been converted into a conventional Ro-Ro ferry around 1995 after the opening of the Channel Tunnel. Look here for some pictures of the inside and out of the ferry Look here for pictures of it docking at Dover

Author's collection

On the bridge The author enjoys a spell on the bridge Docked at Dunkerque The NPDC train ferry docks at Dunkerque

On arrival in Dunkerque the train was re-assembled and examined by the SNCF prior to being loco-hauled by various locomotives via Tourcoing, Brussels, Aachen and Dusseldorf, to Hamburg where it arrived on the afternoon of 25th May.

Tourcoing 1 am! On 24 May 1988 at 1 o'clock in the morning the train is pictured in Tourcoing yard, on the Belgian/French border, en route to Hamburg. Tourcoing day time Later in the morning the train is pictured awaiting a French locomotive to continue on its journey to Hamburg
Passing through Belgium

En route through Belgium the train consist can be clearly seen in this photo from the rearmost International Coach. Note left hand running.

Dave Bates

Aachen The train pauses at Aachen en route
Aachen. The train is pictured in the yard at Aachen prior to departure behind a Class 140 Bo-Bo. Note the barrier wagons which DB marshalled into the formation for additional braking capacity. Belgium-German Border

The train approaching the German border - note right hand running

Dave Bates

passing through Germany A picture taken from the rear of the train en route through Germany Cl89 Hamburg On arrival at the site in Hamburg the train was stabled next to the main line and the abattoir.
89 001 A fine shot of 89001 with the Sprinter in the background. The wire was not energised - the pantograph is raised purely for the photographer - me! 90 008 The Class 90 locomotive 90008 with its pan up

91 003

The Class 91 locomotive 91003 Hamburg Exhibition sidings Visitors walk between the vehicles. Access to the vehicles was supervised by the BR staff on site.
International coaches The International coaches await the visitors Hamburg Exhibition sidings The view from the roof of the Class 91 shows the British stock, the Class 90 and Class 89 behind the Class 91 and the Sprinter behind the International Coaches, still with the match wagons attached.
90008 and 91003 with one of the Internationals behind

Phil Dewhurst

Some photos taken by local railway enthusiast, Thomas Bade, shows the train passing through Dammtor station, Hamburg near to the exhibition site

Arrival Class 89  with brake force wagons leading Class 89 Class 89
Class 90 Class 90 International coach International coach behind match wagons and the Sprinter
International at rear International coach at the rear Class 91 on site Class 91 on site
Class 90 on site Class 90 on site Class 89 on site Class 89 on site

After arrival the train was stabled next to the local abattoir whilst awaiting marshalling into the final positions - I remember the awful smell.

Class 91 being shunted For the exhibition it was necessary to turn the Class 91. The picture shows a diminutive DB shunter hauling the loco to a convenient triangle nearby View from 91 cab The view from the cab during the turning move
Altona The class 91 in Hamburg Altona station during the turning move

Dave Bates

Shunting puzzle The class 91pictured here after the move and awaiting allocation to its final position
Map A map of the site of IVA88 including the exhibition site and the sidings where the vehicles were stabled Badge This was my entry badge for the show
Exhibition plan

The exhibition hall plan

Exhibition hall Inside the exhibition hall the British Rail stands are empty - before opening time
More stands Another shot from the information desk - note the model class 91 and Mk4 coach More And another view - note the Networker mock up in the right background
Cover The cover of the magazine which was handed out at the BR stand Catalogue The cover of the British catalogue of companies

After the stock was positioned and everything set up we had to tear ourselves away and fly back to the UK. Two weeks later after the exhibition had finished we flew back again to prepare the train for the return journey.

Hamburg sidings The landmark TV tower dominates this picture of the International Coaches and Sprinter outside the exhibition site. Hamburg sidings A DB express hauled by a Class 103 electric loco passes 91003 at the head of the re-formed train awaiting departure from Hamburg on June 15th 1988
Off we go The train leaves Hamburg heading for home On way home - Germany The train is seen passing through Germany on a nice sunny evening en route for home
Homeward bound Another shot as the train runs through Germany Tourcoing In the late afternoon of 16th June, the train undergoes a check by the SNCF C & W Department at Tourcoing Yard on the way home
Sprinter The Sprinter with its match wagons waits at Dunkerque before being propelled onto the ferry IVA88 van A close up of the side of one of the match wagons ADB889015 photographed at Dunkerque on 17th June.
Dunkerque The train is propelled towards the train ferry at Dunkerque on 17th June 1988 Dunkerque This SNCF Alco A1A A1A diesel loco dates from the Second World War
Whole train A view of the complete train as it was being propelled towards the ferry at Dunkerque
Nearly home The ferry awaits  NPDC The NPDC train ferry in its later SeaFrance livery entering Calais harbour

Jan Zanders

Back on dry land Back home in Dover Western Docks yard, the Class 33 has just hauled the Sprinter off the ship and had dropped it off in readiness for the locos to be marshalled in front. Dover 17-6-88 The Class 89 is placed next to the leading match wagon and the 91 can be seen in the background ready for the last leg
56028 heads the train from Dover on 17th June 1988

Laurie Ball 

B889009 One of the IVA88 match wagons B889009 repainted and looking good at Totnes Riverside on the South Devon Railway on 17th August 2008

The train returned to the RTC overnight on 17th June 1988 after which the various vehicles were returned to their rightful owners. An undertaking of this nature is highly unlikely ever to take place again.


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