During the early 1970's the author was involved in acceptance testing of new freight vehicles onto BR. We also tested vehicles following service problems, derailments etc
One favoured route from Derby was to Aylestone Junction, just to the south of Leicester. This route was both convenient and suitable having a mixture of welded and jointed track, some jointed was even installed on the fast lines at this time. On arrival at Aylestone Jcn, the train was put onto the slow line and the loco would then uncouple and go forward to Wigston Junction where it would reverse and return to run round the train and haul it back to the RTC.
In these early days RTC had two class 47's (D1960 and D1961) allocated for test work from Toton depot when required. Both were equipped with ETH from new and had been extensively tested at RTC after delivery in 1968.
D1960 is now 47703 and is at the Wensleydale Railway but D1961 was scrapped as 47515 in 2006.
Here is a selection of photos of the freight testing and the railway scene in the early 1970's
Click on the picture for a bigger image - all photos are the author's unless otherwise credited.
The main freight test vehicle was Test Car 1. This was a former GWR-designed Hawksworth autocoach although built by BR. It was acquired in late 1971 and is seen here sometime in 1972 coupled to two BSC bogie tippler wagons. The exhaust pipe from the temporary portable generator, which was fitted in the original luggage compartment, can be seen protruding from the open window.
In this later picture, probably sometime in 1973, the Test Car has now been fitted with a permanent generator to supply power for the test equipment. The new radiator grille can be seen at the far end and the former driving position can be seen at the near end. These end windows were very useful when running as they enabled the test engineers to observe the wagon under test.
It has also been fitted with modern hydraulic buffers but retained its GWR bogies at this time.
|The vehicle still had its original steps which could be swung out by use of a large lever in the central cross corridor. Here's a snap of testing staff boarding the vehicle via the steps - location unknown - possibly Manton on the line between Kettering and Melton.|
Test Car 1 was originally an auto-trailer based on the former GW Hawksworth design, which was usually found on branch line services coupled to an 0-4-2 tank loco. The coach was built by BR in Swindon to Diagram A38, Lot 1736 and was formerly number W233W. It was fitted with a driving position at one end - to the right on the middle photo, complete with bell. The author remembers that it was maroon when it first arrived and was originally fitted with a temporary portable hand cranked diesel generator in the former luggage compartment - see photo one above.
It was gradually equipped with all that is necessary for testing work, 240v generator, kitchen and workshop. It was painted chocolate and cream for the GW150 celebrations in 1985 (above) but was de-commissioned in 1998 and was resident at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley where it served as a support coach for the 7F preservation group, latterly it has been purchased by the 5542 group who plan to restore it to its original condition.
........and much later
|Pictured at Sileby on 10 March
1983 is a test train headed by 45036 (also carrying its old number, 45) with
TC1 autocoach ADW 150375 and an ICI hopper
More pictures will be added as time permits
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