The Mk3 Driving Van Trailers (DVT) were built primarily for operation with the then new class 90 locos for push-pull duties on the WCML. Their use was eventually extended to the class 86 and 87's after these locos had undergone minor modifications to make them suitable for this role. The DVT's were designed such that they could operate the locomotives remotely using a Time Division Multiplex (TDM) system of control by which 'signals' are sent through the standard Railway Clearing House (RCH) lighting jumper cables to operate the controls of the locomotive.

I remember undertaking TDM trials on the WCML with a couple of class 85s and a rake of Mk2 coaches, mainly between Crewe Basford Hall and Stafford. The locos were not permanently fitted for TDM just 'jury-rigged' and monitored.

Later when the Mk3 DVTs arrived they were also trialled in a similar way but with a class 86 which would be then have been coming off works fitted with TDM kit.

86248 with 82103 & 82105, Top & Tailing a TDM Test Train at Stafford Station on the 1st September 1989

John Hill

Although this system worked well in theory the practice was somewhat fraught and the sight of a locomotive marshalled next to the DVT after a TDM failure was quite common in the early days. Later the fleets of Mk2 and Mk3 coaches were re-wired with the standard UIC screened cables as fitted to the Mk4 coaches and the operation improved markedly.

The M3 DVT's were unusual in that they were the only vehicles to be fitted with the T4 bogie which was a contender for the Mk4 coaches. Nuff said!

With the introduction of the full Pendolino services their days on the WCML seemed to be over but a number of them have been acquired by other new operators and charter services. Until quite recently (2014) VWC still had a class 90 and DVT substituting for the damaged Pendolino which was involved in the derailment at Lambrigg.

Amongst their alternative operators have been Scotrail on the North Berwick services (82106, 82109, 82112, 82120 and 82132) between May 2004 and September 2005. 

EWS (DB Schenker) have 82146 on their company train (repainted in silver),

Wrexham and Shropshire used them with class 67's and Hull Trains did use one with the class 86 when it deputised for the damaged class 222 unit, although these have now ceased operation. Chiltern now use them on their 'InterCity' trains between Marylebone and Birmingham.

The main user is still NX East Anglia (formerly 'One railway') who have15 of them with their Mk3 rakes and class 90 locomotives.

It looks like they will (rightly) be with us for a while yet.

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

Old Dalby 82101 is pictured undertaking horn audibility tests during its acceptance test programme in 1989 -  probably at the north end of the Old Dalby test track.

Author's collection

International 82101 stands in Birmingham International station in the company of a sister DVT not long after their introduction

Author's collection

Crewe DVT No:82122 in original InterCity livery pauses at Crewe en route for Euston in the summer of 1990
WCML near Winsford Another unidentified member of the class head south near Winsford on the WMCL in the summer of 1999
Southbound from Carlisle A Mk3 DVT is pictured at the head of an Up express leaving Carlisle bound for Euston on 4th August 2002
WCML An unidentified DVT heads south past Long Buckby Wharf near the M1's Watford Gap services on 22nd March 2004
Near Weedon A northbound service propelled by a class 87 passes under the bridge near Dodford north of Weedon on 30th June 2004
Near Weedon DVT No: 82125 heads a southbound service at the same spot
Crewe On 20th July 2006 DVT No:82131 stands in platform 12 at Crewe with 90017 at the rear of a short Mk2 rake
Still red ex-WCML DVT No:82118 still in red and black, pictured at Ipswich on the rear of a London express on 29th June 2006
New paint job DVT No:82121 sporting the new 'one' livery on the rear of another London express leaves Ipswich on 29th June 2006 - another livery change is on the way for NX
Marks Tey 82139 passing Marks Tey with a Norwich service on 25th July 2007
Euston 82101 is the sole survivor on the WCML and is seen here at Euston on 19th June 2009
Norwich Sister unit 82133 plies its trade between London and Norwich where it is pictured on 11th July 2009
Pretendolino 82126 on the substitute Pendolino at the buffer stops in Euston 0n 14th August 2009
Marylebone 82301 in Marylebone on 21st May 2010 before the demise of WSMR

More pictures will be added as time permits


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