Test Car 4
|In 1961 the BR Western
Region out-shopped their new Dynamometer car DW150192. It had been converted
from a 1947 Swindon-built third class corridor carriage to a design by
F W Hawksworth, on lot number 1691 and originally carried the number W796W.
It is rumoured that the donor vehicle was involved in the Milton derailment of November 1955 and that's why it was chosen for conversion. What is recorded is that it was withdrawn as condemned stock in August 1958 and took three years to convert.
There were articles in the railway press at the time of its out-shopping as a Dynamometer Car.
Click the link!
Pictures below are BR official unless otherwise credited
After its retirement it was bought by Alan Civil and he wrote a small paperback book in 1985 - now out of print
THE WESTERN DYNAMOMETER CAR by T. D. A. Civil- 44 pages.
It was equipped with various pieces of measuring and recording apparatus including a system from the road wheels to accurately record speed and distance travelled. Also included were
Whilst based at Swindon the car was used extensively on testing numerous improvements to existing steam locos - such as the double-chimneys on the Kings and also on the new prototype main line diesels.
The BR Diagram book entry for the Dynamometer Car - click here for a bigger version
Interior layout as I remember it in the 1970s
generator room had a diesel generator which produced power for the coach and
instrumentation. Although it had an electric starter motor it also had a
crank handle which could be engaged on the crankshaft from the outside of
the vehicle in case of difficulty in starting. Problem was if the coach was
not alongside a platform it was virtually impossible to reach and turn the
In the late 1960s the car was transferred to the DM&EE's Testing Section at the RTC Derby along with other regional vehicles.
I worked on the Stress & Vibration Section of the Testing & Performance department who used this vehicle, between 1971 and 1974..
I remember a few tests where we used the Test Car,
I'm sure there were more but I forget. Here are a couple of anecdotes from those days
After de-commissioning, the vehicle was purchased privately for preservation in 1983 and moved to the Foxfield Railway the same year, but was subsequently sold to the group restoring BR 4-6-2 71000 "Duke of Gloucester", as a support coach and fully restored as a Dynamometer car. It was put to good use behind the Duke on more than one occasion but not for long and is currently resident at West Coast Railways, Carnforth.
Unfortunately it has been stored outside at Carnforth since 1994 and is in a poor state of repair
Diesel testing on WR
Didcot with the Dynamometer car in June 1964
|Prototype Brush diesel
No:1200 'Falcon' with the Western Region Dynamometer Car in chocolate and
cream livery somewhere on the old GWR in February 1962. On the
completion of the RTC and the formation of the DM&EE the vehicle was transferred to Derby to become
Test Car 4.
Another shot of Brush prototype locomotive 'Falcon' on the Lickey Bank with a 600 ton test train in February 1962
Dainton Bank, the dynamometer car
in use with a Brush Type 4 locomotive in 1962
|Prototype BC&W diesel
No:D0280 'Lion' with the Western Region Dynamometer Car in
chocolate and cream livery just north of Bromsgrove Station at the
bottom of the Lickey Incline in August 1962
AEI/Brian Webb Collection
|The Western Region Dynamometer Car, not yet re-painted, is in this torpedo wagon test train at Cargo Fleet, Middlesbrough on 7th August 1969|
|Test Car 4 at
Rugby on Freightliner LMW tests in September 1972
|On May 3rd 1973
locomotive 86202 is pictured at Auchencastle with a 600 ton test train
including the ex-Western Region dynamometer car (now Test Car 4) and banked by
Class 85 E3082
| A group of
engineers in Test Car 4 during the May 1971 high speed tests on WCML. Note the
wood grain veneer on the walls, the speedometer above the door and the
modern instrumentation. This latter includes the 19 inch rack full of
amplifiers plus a Southern Instruments UV recorder. This view is looking towards the
vestibule in the main saloon.
Pictured here from L to R 'unknown' (possibly local LMR staff from Euston), Bob Morton, Herbert Titchener ('Titch'), Paul Moseley (in doorway) and seated at desk Don Dummer and Cliff Belfield seated against the vestibule.
|The main control panel above the chart recording table showing the speedometer, brake gauges etc - this was a separate fitment in the main saloon and comprising the chart recording table as well as the ingenious XY plotter. This photo was take during the high speed testing at Cheddington on WCML in May 1971 with the needle off the clock.|
|Now in red and
blue and carrying the Test Car 4 branding, it is pictured at Crewe Basford Hall with a test train in
It became Test Car 4 in the early 1970s and was re-painted from chocolate and cream to blue and red, much to the disgust of the ex-Swindon engineers.
|Behind a class
45 and a couple of Mk2s near Ratcliffe power station with Freightliner
vehicles - probably early 1970s.
|Test Car 4 pictured in the EDU being rigged for a test on 2nd April
1982. Note the 27-way cabling over the roof which was added when the vehicle
was marshalled in a push-pull set on the Edinburgh-Glasgow service test
train in 1972.
With 71000 'Duke of Gloucester'
See the Duke's website here
|Test Car 4
pictured on the North Wales coast behind class 8P Pacific No:71000
'Duke of Gloucester' n the mid 1980s.
Derbyshire in the 1990s
|The second Test Car 4 was a Mk3 coach
which was originally part of the prototype HST (originally E10000 then
W40000). It was converted at Derby by the R&DD and became
Lab Coach 15 'Argus'.
When the R&DD were rationalising their stock in the
mid-1980s the vehicle was donated to the DM&EE and became Test Car 4.
It was generally little used by the Testing Section, as it was too large (C3 loading gauge) and also the days of testing using numerous channels of data were fading. It also had limited staff facilities and a small fuel tank for its generator which limited its range of test work.
Test Car 4 RDB975984 was to have been scrapped in early 2003 but was rescued and now forms part of the New Measurement Train
|R&DD Lab 15
'Argus' pictured at Eastleigh on 21st July 1987 on what looks like a
|In Serco livery
as Test Car 4 at Crewe Electric Depot on 3rd May 1997
|At Old Dalby in
1999 with a container gauging train for clearing OHLE for larger boxes
vehicle showing the extensive instrumentation racks and fixed seating
|In the NMT
formation at Carlisle on 3rd July 2007
|Back at Old
Dalby on 30th July 2010
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