The Research Division in the 1970's

The author worked in the R&DD from 1974 to 1984

One project which I had a small share in around 1976 in was a repetitive weekend job at Tollerton on the ECML north of York. The work involved measurement of the rails (top, cant etc) using a theodolite and staff, gauge and cant stick. These measurements were to be supplemented/verified by the laser beam system installed in the vehicle but I don' think that it ever worked in anger. This was mounted in a converted Trestrol wagon known as 'Cyclops' since the aperture through which the laser was directed was thought by some to represent an eye.

The project was part of an on-going study into track settlement following tamping. At a given interval the track would be tamped by the local Civil Engineers and then we would then measure its deterioration over the following weekends. Track tended to have a 'memory' and eventually would revert back to its previous state dependant upon the effectiveness of the tamping process.

Later the Stoneblower (developed by R&DD) would overcome this problem.

The following photos are courtesy of Paul Bartlett ( where not otherwise credited

Money making vehicle! A general view of Cyclops in the sidings at Tollerton
Cyclops RDB901601 was originally a freight vehicle with six wheeled bogies. A compartment was built on the top to accommodate the equipment and some crew facilities. I remember sleeping on the floor the Saturday night before the Sunday test day. The class 08 loco which was used to propel the vehicle along the Slow line during the measurement test is shown alongside
Cyclops in action in May 1980 on the Up Slow near Tollerton

Richie Brown

Business end The business end - note the original Tollerton Jcn signal box in the background
Soil Mechanics The vehicle was operated by the Soil Mechanics section of R&DD
Inside A glimpse inside the entrance area showing various hydraulic equipment
Bogie A close up showing the six wheel bogie
Crew's quarters Another view of the vehicle's crew accommodation
Mickleover Stabled at the Mickleover test track in December 1987

Colin Marsden

A taste of the Research Division's projects in the 1970's

The following photos are courtesy of Colin Marsden except where indicated

African Queen One of the early experimental tampers was known as 'The African Queen' after the boat operated by Humphrey Bogart in the film of the same name. In the background of this picture on Way & Works Sidings is HSFV1 and the short length of OHLE used for resonance testing - still there in 2013
E-Train coach APT-E bodyshell undergoing end loading tests in the R&DD Test Hall. Note the POP train in the background.
 Maglev The Maglev in the Advanced Projects Division workshop
Main Test Hall A general view of the Research Test Hall showing  LEV1, the prototype Stoneblower, a London Underground vehicle and the Maglev. Note what appears to be a load measuring wheelset in the foreground with side covers to protect the strain gauges.
Unimog The R&DD's Unimog being used on former Leicester and Swannington railway outside Glenfield Tunnel in connection with a promotional TV advert for BR
Advanced Projects Lab The Advanced Projects Lab in the 1970's. The building in the right centre was the control office which commanded a view of the whole laboratory and housed the controls to most of the equipment.

The pit on the left housed a number of brake dynamometers and roller rigs

Note one of the POP train vehicles in the background

Author's collection

Advanced Projects Lab Another view with a bogie from APT-E on the dynamometer rig

Author's collection

More pictures will be added as time permits


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