The Track Inspection Coach (TIC)

Owned by Network Rail but operated by DB Schenker, the Track Inspection Coach No: DB999508 was one of a number of similar vehicles purpose built at Swindon in the early 1960's for the Western Region Civil Engineer's Department of BR. Following major changes within the railway in the late 1980's it was converted to its present form with recessed windows and transferred to the DM&EE and then to Railtest.

The author was involved with the fitting and monitoring of video recording equipment to the TIC and assisted on various inspection runs primarily in South Wales in the late 1990's.

It is normally loco-hauled, in the company of other vehicles for braking purposes, at the rear of a test train. Engineers from Network Rail and the infrastructure maintenance companies ride in the vehicle and can observe the track from either end through panoramic windows. The on-board instrumentation records various track parameters such as rail top, cant gradient, twist and level onto disk and paper and the vehicle has an unusual audible warning system to immediately identify those locations where parameters are exceeded. 

During 2003 it completed a major upgrade including a new diesel-powered 240v generator, re-furbished B4 bogies and a totally new monitoring and instrumentation system as part of Network Rail's continuing improvement programme. 

It succumbed to all-over yellow and operated until recently whenever TRU primarily (or TRC) was in dock. It had no planned programmes but was held as a spare recording vehicle. Generally it went out with make-up vehicles to suit and either a pair of DRS 37s or RVEL 31s.

Photos are the author's if not credited


Here is TIC in the yard at RTC around 1998 prior to its upgrade


Here it is on the Old Dalby test track heading south after a publicity shot in 1998


At Borough Green on 22nd July 2004

P W Seale

Upper Broughton TIC passing Upper Broughton on the Old Dalby test track on 24th January 2007

In the consist of this monitoring train at Duffield in 2008 On the West Somerset Railway in June 2011

The End

By the beginning of 2014 TIC had been retired and no longer had track geometry measuring equipment fitted to it. So it could not even be used as back up anymore. It has been succeeded by TIC2 (another Mk 2 coach) which used to be called ‘Track Lab’.

Luckily the WSR stepped in to preserve it .

DB999508 restored to maroon livery pictured at Williton on the West Somerset Railway in May 2017

Paul Hadfield


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