Test Coach MENTOR
|Following the electrification of the WCML in the mid-1960's it was found necessary to monitor both pantograph performance and the state of the OverHead Line Equipment (OHLE). In order to accomplish this an ex-LMS coach was converted with the addition of a flat roof section and an observation window etc.|
All photos from Author's collection unless otherwise indicated
|The OHLE test vehicle employed in the early years of electrification shown fitted with a Faiveley AMBR pantograph and coupled to an AC locomotive. It is unlikely that this method of monitoring would have been used as the locomotive's pantograph would influence the performance of the test pan. Usually diesel locomotives were used.|
|Another picture of the coach M39580 shows it at Euston|
|The use of video recording was pioneered on the coach - the vehicle survived in Research service to become Lab 26 and wear the red and blue livery|
In 1973 a new coach was introduced which bore the name 'Mentor'. This was an acronym for 'Mobile Electrical Network Testing, Observation and Recording'.
After the electrification between Weaver Junction and Glasgow was completed in early 1974 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had a ride on the vehicle which was marshalled into a small version of the Royal Train.
The vehicle numbered ADB975091 was operated by the LMR CM&EE and based oddly enough at Nelson Street at Derby, a long way from 25kV overhead line. It was converted at Swindon from a BSK 34616 built in 1955. Around the mid-1980's it carried the logo 'Test Car 3' and was transferred to the DM&EE at the RTC when a re-organisation did away with the Regional CM&EE's.
The author worked on OHLE-monitoring using the coach whilst working at Nelson Street in the early 1970's and again in the mid-1990's but this time for Railtest.
It is still going strong in 2011 although displaced from front line service by a new Mk3 vehicle in the New Measurement Train.
Click on the picture for a bigger image - all photos are BR Official unless otherwise credited
|Mentor 'as new' somewhere on WCML|
|The 'Royal Train' including Mentor
|Inside the coach - as well as the recording of signals from the pantograph its behaviour could be observed through the specially fitted window|
|Mentor in the EDU workshop showing the Stone Faiveley AMBR pantograph which it usually carried when new|
|Another view towards the observation window showing the telemetry system used to carry the signals from the pantograph to the test coach|
|At the RTC in its bright yellow
livery in March 2005 now equipped with a BR/Brecknell Willis Highspeed
|Mentor is seen here monitoring
the overhead line using its Highspeed pantograph and passing Upper Broughton on the Old Dalby test track on
27th January 2007
The coach is operated by DB Schenker on behalf of Network Rail
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