Early days at the Railway Technical Centre (RTC)

The author joined the Testing & Performance Section of BR in 1971 working initially on technical  investigations into locomotive in-service problems . At this time there were many interesting items of rolling stock in the yard at the RTC including locomotives, DMU's coaches and wagons often specially modified for various experimental roles.

Here are a few photos of the scene at the RTC and a few other places in the late 1960's and early 1970's plus a bit of history.

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

Way and Works

A photo taken from the Way & Works sidings in the early days of the RTC showing the Engineering Development Unit workshop under construction.

Colin Marsden

I now declare .....

This is HRH Prince Phillip opening the Research Division's new HQ in 1964- note Dr Richard  Beeching in the background.

Colin Marsden

The view outside the Test Hall looking towards the station in 1964. The EE 350HP shunter would appear to be undertaking some testing. Note the greasetop which the driver is wearing and the now long gone St Andrews church in the background

Colin Marsden


This ex-SR 2-BIL EMU was pictured in the yard in the summer of 1972. It was acquired for 'make-up' vehicles when testing new air-braked stock as most of the vehicles available to us at the time were vacuum braked.

The 2-BIL awaiting scrapping at Armitages Whittington Hill, Chesterfield, c1973 



S15705, a 1200 HP Metrovick co-bo locomotive and formerly numbered D5705, was saved from the scrapyard by R&DD for use on the Tribometer test train and is shown here in the Way & Works sidings in the summer of 1972. The locomotive is steadily nearing full restoration.

Test Car 1

Test Car 1 was a former WR autocoach and is shown here with a 4-wheel Yeoman hopper inside the EDU workshop in 1972.


DM395104 was a former LNWR full brake which was used as a mobile workshop - I don't think it survived into preservation. It appears to be one built to Diagram 383 between 1910-1911 and was 42ft long, possible original number M32104.


The loco is pictured again with the Trib train on the Goods Road at the back of Derby station

David Hills

Baby Deltic

Also saved from the scrapyard for use on the Tribology test train was this EE 1100 HP 'Baby Deltic' No: D5901 - pictured here running light engine on the Up Slow line north of Leicester station.

Somewhere on WCML

The overhead monitoring coach MENTOR pictured at an unknown location in the early 1970's

Author's collection

A couple of EE Type 1 locos (later class 20) pause at Sileby box in May 1972 en route to the south.


E2001 earlier in its career at Rugby on 21st April 1968


E2001 The pioneer 25kV locomotive E2001 (ex-18100 GWR gas turbine) is shown here dumped in the sidings at Rugby on 11th May 1972

Gresley buffet

Gresley buffet car E9129E from 1937 was caught on camera at York during the HST prototype testing during the summer of 1973. It survived the cutting torch and is now fully restored to its LNER condition and running on NYMR. Test Car 5 ADB975051 pictured when new on 22nd December 1972 at the top of the yard at the RTC

Author's collection


On 21st March 1972 former WR diesel hydraulic Warship class No:832 'Onslaught' is shown after arrival at the RTC for use as a rolling load at the test track. It is now preserved. How are the mighty fallen! Deltic 9008 'The Green Howards' pictured at York on a parcels train in summer of 1973 - probably on a running-in turn from Doncaster.

More pictures and info will be added as time permits


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