Test Car 1

First version

The first dynamometer car No:M45050 was built by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company in 1912 and inherited from the LMR CM&EE. It was used for a number of tests in the 1960s and was last used on riding tests with fly-ash wagons between Derby and South Wigston on 22nd August 1967. It was finally withdrawn in November 1970.

It was, to my knowledge, never painted in the red and blue of RTC departmental vehicles and I doubt if it was ever known as Test Car 1.

Photos are BR official unless otherwise credited

new M45050 when new
On test A BR standard class 4 No:73008 pulls away from Kirkby Stephen station with M45050 Dynamometer car No:1
Beyer Garrett 4999 on test with Dynamometer Car No:1 behind the locomotive - possibly between Derby and Trent Junction in the 1930s

Courtesy Alan Barton

Freightliners Dynamometer Car No:1 on a Freightliner test train at the entrance to Derby C&W Works on 21st January 1964. Look here for the test details
re-born Restored to its former glory at Butterley


Second version

The second Test Car No:1 was converted in the early 1970s at the Engineering Development Unit, RTC, Derby from a former BR/WR autocoach which had been built in Swindon to Diagram A38, Lot 1736 in the early 1950s.

This is the interior layout as I remember it in the 1970s

This vehicle was formerly numbered W233W which it still carried when it arrived at the RTC as well as its original maroon livery. A very attractive vehicle with its original GW bogies and long elegant buffers and it even had its warning bell.

Once it arrived it was quickly re-numbered DW150375 and re-painted into red and blue. It was temporarily equipped with a hand-cranked generator set to supply power for instrumentation (and the kettle) and became Test Car 1. Later a more permanent conversion was undertaken with a purpose-built generator room housing a diesel generator set. It was never altered inside apart from the creation of the generator room. The cooking facilities etc were within the main saloon. I don't think it even had a toilet but a chemical one was installed for emergencies.

Later it was equipped with B4 bogies and extended buffer mounts having Oleo pneumatic buffers fitted. No doubt safer and more efficient but this destroyed the vehicle's character.

It was repainted again in 1985 but this time into chocolate and cream for the GW150 celebrations  although it never carried this livery as an autocoach. After this re-paint it lost its allegiance to either CM&EE or DM&EE as it only carried the name Test Car 1 and its running number.

After it was retired it was used as a support coach for the 7F Preservation Group at the Midland Railway Centre.

News from July 2013 suggested that the vehicle had moved to the South Devon Railway for restoration by the 'Locomotive 5542 Limited' Group.

See details on their website here

Photos are BR Official unless otherwise credited

Buckfastleigh A Hawksworth autocoach in BR's blood and custard livery arriving at the South Devon Railway's Buckfastleigh station.

Test Car 1 would have been similar to this before it came to the RTC and it may well be joining its sister coach soon


Early days Repainted into Departmental red and blue in 1972 but still showing the first portable generator exhaust pipe sticking out of the window
New paint job After conversion - note grilles on the newly installed generator compartment at the rear
Test Car 1 Test Car 1 in summer 1972 - note its original GW bogies and long elegant buffers - on a test train with a 35t hopper. Also note the headcode on the class 47 - 1T 21 - a favourite at the time.


inside Inside the vehicle c1973 showing instrumentation and hard working staff. This is looking towards the original driving compartment now used as an observation window


Mickleover On test at the Mickleover test track in 1974


Inside Another view of the interior c1980 - a much more permanent instrumentation installation. This is looking towards the observation end where windows have been installed in the door and bulkhead
Inside Looking the other way shows improved and re-positioned seating, the cross corridor and the original doors to the luggage compartment. This housed the generator whose control panel can be seen on the left hand bulkhead
Chocolate & cream Test Car 1 was repainted into chocolate and cream for the GW150 celebrations in 1985 although it never carried this livery as an autocoach. Note that it now has B4 bogies and very much altered buffers which spoil its appearance
MRC Restored to its maroon livery it was on display at the Matthew Kirtley museum, at Swanwick Junction Midland Railway Centre. It still has the Oleo buffers and B4 bogies


TC1 In its new home at Buckfastleigh SDR on 25th August 2013. Next to the centre door is a destination sign for Ashburton



Back to Test Cars

Back to RTC Rolling Stock index

Back to main index