Lab Coach 1

In 1970 the R&DD converted a Mk1 coach No:M1003 into a high speed dynamics laboratory coach numbered RDB975000. It was built for the Dynamics Group of the R&DD and based at the RTC, Derby

It was designed such that it could carry a pantograph but not under 25kV OHLE as it was originally not fitted with insulators on the roof, nor earthing straps etc. on the underframe and wheelsets.

The vehicle was equipped with an original compartment, a kitchen (below the flat roof area), a large instrumentation area, a generator compartment but no separate workshop.  It had no internal access to the flat roof.

The main instrumentation area had a raised dias from which any pantograph fitted to the flat roof area could be observed. Instrumentation including an on-board computer which had a large associated reel-to-reel tape recorder and punched card reader. It also had a teleprinter telex keyboard for communication with the computer.

It was used extensively in the development of the BR/BW high speed pantograph at the Old Dalby test track in the late 1970's, where it was used with HSFV4 on dynamic and static testing.

Although it initially retained its original BR1 bogies the vehicle was later equipped with a design of bogie derived from APT-E and was capable of being hauled at up to 125 mile/h. I only recollect this happening when it was paired with Lab 6 on a series of high speed tests in Scotland when investigating 2-pantograph operation using an HST set in June 1982. For this occasion the vehicle was modified for use under 25kV, with pantograph foot insulators and earthing bonds across the wheels and between the body and bogies.

It was also used together with HSFV4 when undertaking curving tests with HSFV1, fitted with Load Measuring Wheels, which took place initially in Cornwall and later on the Conway Valley line in North Wales in October 1976.

The vehicle was taken to GC North at Ruddington after being stored at RTC out of use for many years and was photographed there in August 2012 (see below) but by November 2013 it had been scrapped.

Click on the picture for a bigger image - All pictures are the author's unless otherwise credited


Inside Lab One on a pantograph test at Old Dalby circa 1980 - note the telex keyboard for entering data into the computer, the oscilloscope above it. On the right is the instrumentation rack and computer's reel-to-reel tape machine Llanwrst Lab One in a curving test train pictured at Llanwrst on the Conway Valley branch in October 1976

Old Dalby

Lab One on the Old Dalby test track during static OHLE resonance testing in the mid-1970's with HSFV4 behind. Note it is fitted with BR1 bogies at this stage in its life

BR Official

Lab One at RTC in the late 1970s now fitted with LC1 (Lab Coach One) bogies

BR Official

Old Dalby

Lab One with HSFV4 pictured at the top of the Widmerpool straight on the Old Dalby test track behind an unidentified class 47 in the late 1970's. Note that the pantograph is not raised suggesting that the train is stopped next to the PWay hut at 114MP where instrumentation was sometimes housed.

The train ran at up to 100 mile/h with the 4-wheeled former ferry van HSFV4 whose novel suspension was well able to cope.

Test hall

Lab Coach 1 in the R&DD Test hall on 17th September 1987 in its new Research livery of red and beige.

Colin Marsden

Old Dalby Lab One is marshalled next to the loco in this long distance view of a pantograph test train at Old Dalby in 1982

Way and Works

Lab Coach 1 on 12th September 2002 in the RTC Way and Works sidings where it had lain for many years slowly rotting away

Brian Dawes

Ruddington At Ruddington on 4th August 2012


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