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Wagon news
Posted on Monday 30th August 2021 by Thomas Young

Interoperability documents on the ORR (Office of Road and Rail) website provided details of three new batches of wagons. Information on the owners/operators of the wagons was not included, though they did not seem to relate to any of the orders that have previously been announced. I found these documents a few weeks ago but curiously, when I looked for them today to check some information, they seemed to have been removed from the website. Details of the batches are given below anyway.

42 more JNA-T box wagons are/were to be built by Astra Rail with numbers 81.70.5500.958-999. 'Missing' numbers 5500.859-957 are presumably allocated to wagons from earlier orders, though the total of 99 is rather order. The new batch have a revised design code of JN067A. Also to be built by Astra Rail are 230 bogie flat wagons, formed into 115 twin-sets. These will be coded FFA-G with numbers 81.70.4846.000-229. The FFA TOPS code thus makes a return, having once been common on Freightliner wagons. Indeed the proposed design code of FF002A was previously allocated (on paper at least) to the Freightliner prototypes. Finally there are to be 23 JGA-P wagons numbered 81.70.7829.031-053 built by French firm Millet AFR. The numbers suggest that these will be bogie cement tank wagons like the ones built in 2016. The JG018A design code is the same, although the earlier examples were to TOPS code JGA-N.

A new TOPS code has been introduced for some BLA coil carriers (converted from BBAs in the 1990s) fitted with replacement bogies. This is BLA-T, which ties in with the BAA-T and BBA-T codes introduced when those types were given new bogies some time ago, while the design code is changed to BL002A. The replacement bogies for the BLA-T wagons are believed to have been recovered from scrapped HTA coal hoppers. Talking of HTAs, a couple more buffer-fitted examples have been reported, renumbered to 330707 and 330818. With the type now been scrapped in large numbers, perhaps these two were to replace earlier conversions.

Not very topical but I have learned that the shortened, ex-Freightliner HHA hoppers also have a new TOPS code, this being HHA-E. As previously reported, these wagons have a revised design code of HH003A.

Previously unknown design codes assigned to existing types include BB002N, BD008A, BD008C and HT051C.

The August issue of Rail Express magazine mentioned the latest FRA-B conversions, saying that they were done at Eastleigh (as per the earlier batch) and that the wagons were renumbered in the order given in my news story of 13th June. The magazine also showed the first of three new 'Smart' weed-killing trains to be operated by GB Railfreight. These comprise modules fitted to intermodal flats, in this case KFA wagons VTG95378-95380. These wagons were from a batch of 13 built for waste traffic with Bow Midland in 1998. The traffic never started and several of the wagons spent long periods in store, though a few were modified for use in electrification trains during the West Coast upgrade. The article mentioned that the three wagons also carried EVNs of 99.70.9395.003-5, 99.70.9395.003-5 and 99.70.9395.002-7 respectively, noting that the duplication of 003 was no doubt an error. A sighting on this website has confirmed that the numbers are 99.70.9395.003-5/001-9/002-7. Also mentioned on the same page was the rather surprising return of the Babcock 'Mega 3' intermodal wagons. Built in 2003 for use by Blue Circle, they were numbered BCC11501-11522 with TOPS code KAA. They did not prove successful and were eventually 'exported' to continental Europe in 2008. They returned to the UK this June and are expected to be used between Immingham, Hull and Doncaster.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More about the Stegosaurus
Posted on Saturday 24th July 2021 by Thomas Young

A news item about the BYA-O 'Stegosaurus' conversion has been added to the DB Cargo website. The wagon (966050) was in fact the second design, an earlier conversion having been proved unsuccessful. The revised version is intended to carry hot rolled coil but also has removable dividers to enable it to take slabs. As such, it is similar in concept to some of the specialised steel wagons built by BR in the 1960s. The new conversion has been tested with Tata Steel and was evidently acceptable since a production batch of 29 similar rebuilds is now underway at Stoke. The news article (with photo) can be found at https://uk.dbcargo.com/rail-uk-en/metaNavi/news/The-Stegosaurus-is-alive-and-well-and-living-in-Stoke-says-DB-Cargo-UK--6312660. Thanks to Nat37670 for finding this.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More FRA renumberings
Posted on Sunday 13th June 2021 by Thomas Young

A second set of Freightliner FRA bogie container flats is being renumbered, presumably again for use on Railhead Treatment duties. Four wagons, numbered 613109 to 613112 have been noted so far, and are believed to have previously been 613001/002/024/027 (order unknown). It is not yet known how many are being done, or where the conversions are being undertaken.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Another TOPS code change
Posted on Sunday 23rd May 2021 by Thomas Young

Following the changes to the TOPS codes for BDA and related types (mentioned here on 8th February) another new code has recently come to light. SSA-B has been assigned to all remaining wagons in the number series 470100 to 470180. These wagons were previously SSA-A, have design codes in the SS001x range, and were originally new-build POAs. The remaining SSA wagons (number range 470000 to 470099) have design codes in the SS002x range, have remained as SSA-A and were originally POA wagons built on the underframes of redundant British Steel Ravenscraig PGA hoppers.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some snippets
Posted on Wednesday 19th May 2021 by Thomas Young

Wagon 966050, the curious-looking 'Stegosaurus' conversion, is now known to be coded BYA-O (presumably for 'Open') and is to new design code BY007A.

Answering my own question from 24th January, the latest issue of Rail Express magazine has a photo of a reduced-length HHA hopper in VTG grey, working from Arcow quarry in North Yorkshire. The caption adds that the type has also been noted at Rylstone and Tunstead.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Design Codes for new FWA wagons
Posted on Tuesday 27th April 2021 by Thomas Young

The design codes for the new FWA triple-sets (see 15th April) are now known. The FWA-C outer wagons are to FW005A, while the FWA-D inner wagons are to FW005B. These codes will be added to the database later today. Thanks to DA for the info.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Passenger Stock Disposals
Posted on Friday 16th April 2021 by Thomas Young

With the delivery of lots of new trains over the past couple of years, there has been a corresponding flow of older trains being sent away for scrapping. I have caught up with some of these today, using the numerous listings added by user Nat37670 to update the main number records. Sims of Newport is a name I had not heard of until recently, but they do seem to be doing the majority of scrapping at present. Other firms are involved as well, and one of the photos received today showed a Europhoenix class 37 hauling a pair of class 321 units from Clacton to Masboro (Rotherham) for scrapping by Booths.

Europhoenix 37884 hauling Greater Anglia units 321360 and 321354 from Clacton to Booths at Rotherham, seen passing through Stratford today. Note that this loco has been fitted with drop-head Tightlock couplers and hence does not require barrier/adaptor vehicles.

I don't know if the quantity of stock being scrapped has actually increased recently or is it just that I notice it more now that they are starting to eat into types of train introduced in the 1980s and which I can (just about) remember seeing when new. These include class 142/143/144 Pacers, HSTs, EMUs of classes 315, 317 and 321, and Mk3/Mk4 coaches.

Note added Sun 18/04/2021 by Nat37670
Category: Other/General
Definitely a huge amount of passenger stock gone to the scrapyard over the last two years. The 14x Pacer fleets have fallen foul of PRM requirements (Person of Reduced Mobility). Stock is now required to have retention tank fitted toilets and slam doors are no longer permitted. The age of most of this stock saw modifications not worth while. The last time scrapping levels were this high was probably back around 2002-4 when the southern region 3rd rail slam door EMUs were being withdrawn, the West Coast loco hauled fleets and various overhead EMUs, class 303/312 etc.

Wagon news
Posted on Thursday 15th April 2021 by Thomas Young

The first of the new GB Railfreight FWA triple sets have now entered service, Dan photographing some in a Felixstowe to Hams Hall service yesterday. Conveniently the wagons have their full TOPS codes marked on them, and we therefore now know that the outer wagons are indeed FWA-C, but the inner wagons are in fact FWA-D.

New FWA-C 83.70.4520.202-0 is an outer wagon, similar 83.70.4520.223-6 being visible on the left.

The inner wagons are coded FWA-D, like 83.70.4521.037-9 photographed yesterday.

These new TOPS codes will be added to the database later today.

Two further orders for new-build wagons have been announced. W H Davis it to build 46 bogie box wagons for Beacon Rail, these re-using bogies and equipment from scrapped Freightliner HHA coal hopper wagons. Greenbrier Europe will build 100 FEA twin intermodal sets for GB Railfreight.

The BYA conversion mentioned recently is illustrated in the latest issue of Rail Express magazine. It has been nicknamed 'Stegosaurus', and when you see the photo you will understand why! Unfortunately I do not yet have a photo which I can publish.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Wagon news
Posted on Wednesday 31st March 2021 by Thomas Young

A couple of bits of news today. Two of the IDA 'Super Low 45' container wagons have been deleted from TOPS (39.70.4901.022-6 and 39.70.4901.030-9). Both wagons were less than 10 years old, and 022 had been stored since being damaged in a shunting accident at Daventry back in January 2012, when it had been in service for less than 3 months.

BYA number 966050 has been seen at Stoke in a modified condition. The sliding covers have been removed, along with their runners, and what was the interior has been fitted with some large cradle structures. The wagon was freshly repainted in DB red, though it is not yet known if this is a one-off.

Thanks to Llamafish for these and numerous other bits of info.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Putting 2 and 2 together (and hopefully not getting 5)
Posted on Tuesday 16th March 2021 by Thomas Young

Looking at the batch of photos published on 11th February in conjunction with the information in the database has enabled me to learn a bit more about several codes. For instance, the FQA triple-set container wagons converted from FCAs have the same yellow stripe along their decks as carried by the earlier FXA conversions. The FXA modifications were to allow the carriage of 'hi-cube' containers and the deck markings were to highlight this. By deduction, the FQA conversions must also have received the deck-height modifications. Similarly I learned that the HHA-D variant of Freightliner coal hopper is for those converted into EMU adaptor/barrier wagons. HHA-C was for a one-off biomass conversion while HHA-B seems to have been introduced for changes to the braking system mid-way through the build. Staying with Freightliner hoppers, it appears that code HXA-B was introduced for the 4 wagons built with SCT Barber bogies instead of ELH ones, since joined by many conversions from HXA-A.

The yellow deck stripe is clearly visible on this FQA-I wagon.

The brake wheel on HHA-B hoppers is body-mounted, whereas on HHA-As it was fitted to the bogie.

All of this may be old-hat to the wagon experts out there, but I don't think the information has been published before, and certainly not all in one place.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Wagons news update
Posted on Tuesday 16th March 2021 by Thomas Young

A couple of news items from the latest issue of Rail Express magazine. Firstly, there was an update on the FWA Ecofret container flat triple-sets being built by W H Davis for GB Railfreight. The prototype set (formed of 83.70.4520.198-0 + 83.70.4521.035-3 + 83.70.4520.199-8) is apparently still undergoing testing at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby. Production of the batch has continued and 16 sets were moved to Gascoigne Wood (near Selby) for storage in February 2021. These comprised outer wagons 83.70.4520.200-231 and inners 83.70.4521.036-051. The wagons were said to be to new TOPS code FWA-C, though the design codes are not yet known.

The other news concerns the withdrawal of all but two wagons from the batch 33.87.4767.000-047. Only built in 1998, these French-registered bogie steel carriers (with sliding canvas hoods) were coded IHA-F, and they are being scrapped by Sims at Newport (South Wales).

Seen in 2013, this IHA-F was sent for scrap in February 2021.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More new TOPS codes
Posted on Sunday 21st February 2021 by Thomas Young

A couple more new TOPS codes have been added to the database. BTA-Z has been applied to disc-braked BTA pipe wagons, presumably at the same time as the BDA, BEA, BFA and YVA wagons mentioned last time.

Perhaps more interesting is the recoding of some FKA Megafret low-deck container twins as FOAs, following modifications to the spigots. Eleven wagons have been reported so far, all changing from FKA-A design code FKE878 to FOA-A design code FO003A (Design codes FO001A/B and FO002A were used for the earlier incarnation of FOA which was a pair of former BAA bogie steel wagons modified as FOA-G Nuclear Flask Carriers). Note that the new design code for the Megafrets is in the domestic series. Does this mean that these wagons will not be working to the continent, or could it be perhaps that the separate 'E-series' of designs is no longer being used.

I don't have any photos of new type FOA yet, but 81.70.4908.024-2 is one of the FKA-A wagons recently recoded thus.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New TOPS codes for BDAs and derivatives
Posted on Monday 8th February 2021 by Thomas Young

A fact that I just discovered almost by accident was that several new TOPS codes (or at least new AARKNDs) were issued during 2019 for BDA bogie bolsters and wagons rebuilt from them. These were to distinguish the wagons with clasp brakes (and brake levers) from those with disc brakes (and brake wheels). This had been tried quite a few years ago with new codes BDA-D and BDA-H but those changes seem to have never been implemented. The new codes are all for disc braked wagons and are BDA-S (with clasp brake wagons staying as BDA-R), BEA-B (others staying as BEA-A), BFA-U (remainder BFA-S), MXA-B (remainder MXA-A) and YVA-S (remainder YVA-Q). I need to do a bit more checking before adding these to the database.

Another change is that some seemingly erroneous design codes have been tidied-up. There were some MXA wagons that initially got design codes that seemed wrong based on the type of brakes fitted. For example, most MX005A wagons were clasp braked, but a couple weren't. Likewise with MX007A for disc-braked wagons. A new list suggests that these anomalies have now been rectified.

MXA 950821 was initially coded as an MXA-A to design code MX005A. It has now been given new TOPS code MXA-B and the design code has been revised to the more appropriate MX007A.

Note added Sat 20/02/2021 by Nat37670
Category: Classification/Coding
Also appears the same with the BTA fleet, 950862 and 950984 have been recoded BTA-Z with the rest of the fleet (950736 downwards) remaining as BTA-A.
Source: TOPS
Note added Thu 11/02/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Other/General
The new TOPS codes (and some related new design codes) have now been added to the database, along with some listings which show which wagons they apply to. I'm still not sure how to deal with the MXAs dual-numbering though...!
Source: n/a

Dual-voltage Class 701s?
Posted on Monday 1st February 2021 by Thomas Young

The ORR documents mentioned in Site News on Saturday (30th January) have yielded some useful information about the design codes, formations and EVNs for some recent batches of DMUs and EMUs. The document covering South Western Railway's class 701 units seems to suggest that 3 of the units (10-car 701001 and 5-car 701501 and 701502) will be fitted out for dual-voltage use, perhaps only temporarily for testing. The driving cars of these units have different design codes to the remainder, and the 'Operator Code' is shown as DM(DV) instead of DM(DC). More tellingly, the adjacent coaches in the 10-car unit also have changed design codes and an operator code of PM(DV1) instead of (P)M(DC1). This suggests that a pantograph will be fitted, whereas the (P) on the others usually indicates a coach with a pantograph well but no pantograph. The two 5-car units are similar, except that there is only one PM(DV1) car.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
I wanted a JRA-H, not a JRA-H!
Posted on Sunday 24th January 2021 by Thomas Young

This is not really fleet news but it sits here better than under site news. An article I plan to write one day concerns oddities, errors and inconsistencies around the assignment of TOPS codes. The withdrawal of the Bardon JRA-H hoppers reminded me of this but the article is not likely to appear for a while, there being lots of other jobs above it on my 'to-do' list. So here is a quick taster.

TOPS codes were intended to provide a means of distinguishing different types of wagons. To function well it would seem logical that all wagons of a particular type should have the same TOPS code, and no TOPS code should be applied to more than one different type. This applies to 3-letter TOPS codes, but even more so to the 4-letter codes, where the fourth letter should be used to distinguish lesser variations between similar types.

To be honest, this logic has been applied in most cases, but there are a few exceptions....

This Bardon hopper wagon was assigned TOPS code JRA-H

This ex-Tiphook box wagon, though completely different, is also a JRA-H

Going to the other extreme, the three wagons shown below are all essentially similar wagons owned by Network Rail, used for the same role and even carrying the same basic livery. Yet they have radically different TOPS codes of IEA, JNA and MLA respectively. To highlight the irony, I have selected three similar photos all taken at the same location.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Wagon news
Posted on Sunday 24th January 2021 by Thomas Young

New builds
JNA-T box wagons 81.70.5500.769-803 were delivered in September 2020, these being the last of an order for 200 for VTG. As with many of the earlier wagons, they went initially into store at Long Marston.

The only other wagon order believed to be outstanding was that from GB Railfreight for FWA Ecofret2, and there have been no further updates on this since the prototypes were sent to Derby for testing in June 2020. However, in October 2020 Network Rail announced a major order for 570 new wagons. Four companies are in fact involved, with the wagons to be built by Greenbrier Europe (in Poland and Romania), owned by Wascosa (a leasing company based in Switzerland), maintained by GB Railfreight and used by Network Rail. The order includes three distinct types, 260 modular flat wagons, 260 low-sided open wagons and 50 high-sided open wagons and they are expected to be given TOPS codes FEA-W, MLA-W and JNA-W respectively, the W being for the lessor. The flat wagons will be fitted with various body modules for infrastructure work. It seems likely that some will be used for carrying track panels, to replace the elderly Salmon/Osprey types. Delivery of the wagons is due to start in late 2021.

The programme to shorten former Freightliner HHA hopper wagons is ongoing, with at least 25 wagons being completed in autumn 2020. Does anyone know where these are being used?

Disposals have continued apace, with several batches being rendered extinct. Most notably, all of the FNA-B/FNA-C nuclear flask carriers numbered in the 5500xx have gone, having been replaced by new EVN-numbered FNA-D wagons.

All of the JGA hoppers bought by Bardon in the late 1980s have been sent for scrap, along with the 24 JRA hoppers originally used by ECC (English China Clays) but later transferred to Bardon / Aggregates Industries work. These two types have been replaced by 62 HYA 'shorty' hoppers supplied by VTG.

The Bardon JGA hoppers were delivered (as PHAs) in a vivid green and yellow livery but have latterly operated in shabby 'track dirt' brown!

Other types going for the chop include ex-Sheerness Steel JXA opens, ex-British Steel JTA/JUA tipplers and PGA 4-wheel hoppers, examples of each being show below. The latter two types were both large fleets, with several hundred of each, and they must now be nearly all gone. Once I get the database more up-to-date I hope to be able to provide more precise coverage of withdrawals.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Catching up with the new class codes - Part 4: 8xx EMUs
Posted on Wednesday 6th January 2021 by Thomas Young

The previous section of this review ended up rather lengthy, so for this final instalment I will keep it brief. The 8xx class series is for high-speed EMUs, and (so far) all additions have been variants of the Hitachi IEP (Inter-City Express Programme) originally planned in 2012 as a HST replacement. These have been built in Japan, Italy and at the new facility in Newton Aycliffe.

Class 800 are 'bi-mode' (diesel and overhead electric) and are formed into four fleets. 36 x 5-car units are class 800/0 numbers 800001-800036 for Great Western Railway, 13 x 9-car units are class 800/1 numbers 800101-800113 with LNER, 10 x 5-car units are class 800/2 numbers 800201-800210 also with LNER while 21 x 9-car units are 800/3 numbers 800301-800321 with GWR. The 800/3 units were originally intended to be electric-only 801/0 units numbered 801001-801021.

The streamlined design seen on GWR 800/3 800310 near Paddington is common to all Hitachi IEP types.

The class 801 units are all-electric (apart from one diesel engine per unit for emergency use). Following the switch of the GWR 801/0 units to bi-mode 800/3s, all remaining 801s are used by LNER. 801/1 units 801101-801112 are 5-car units while 801/2 units 801201-801230 are 9-car.

One of LNER's 9-car 801/2s heads north through Harringay.

Class 802 units are similar to class 800 units but with technical changes to make them suitable for the gradients and sea-wall sections at the western end of the Great Western main line. GWR uses 5-car 802/0 units 802001-802022 and 9-car 802/1 units 802101-802114. Further 5-car units were ordered by TransPennine Express (802/2 numbers 802201-802219, referred to by the operator as 'Nova 1' trains) and Hull Trains (802/3 numbers 802301-802305).

Some of Hull Trains' class 802/3 units entered service in plain blue before the application of lettering and graphics. Note also that these trains do not have yellow warning panels on the ends.

Five 5-car class 803 units are on order for East Coast Trains, a new 'open-acess' operator.

The new operator of the West Coast mainline, Avanti West Coast, ordered two batches of train based on the Hitachi IEP. 13 class 805s will be 5-car bi-mode trains for London to Holyhead services, while 10 class 807s will be 7-car electric units for the Euston to Birmingham/Liverpool/Manchester routes. Numbers 805001-805013 and 807001-807010 have been allocated.

East Midlands Railway ordered 33 x 5-car bi-mode units to replace their HST fleet. Further details are awaited.

Note added Sun 21/02/2021 by Thomas Young
Category: Classification/Coding
The East Midlands Railway units are to be class 810 with numbers 810001-810033, and they will have a slightly revised front end design. EMR will be branding these trains as 'Auroras'.
Source: Wikipedia

Catching up with the new class codes - Part 3: 7xx EMUs
Posted on Wednesday 6th January 2021 by Thomas Young

With the 3xx series of class codes apparently getting rather full (due to the desire to avoid 6-digit EMU numbers conflicting with existing 6-digit wagon numbers), the decision was taken in about 2013 to open the 7xx and 8xx series for use. Class numbers in the 7xx series were assigned to 'normal' EMUs, while the 8xx series was for 'high-speed' EMUs. Now I may be missing something but the use of the 7xx series so far appears to have been rather haphazard, with new numbers seemingly allocated in a random manner. This summary covers all 7xx class numbers, in numerical order.

The Thameslink 2000 programme was eventually completed about fifteen years later than originally envisaged, and with it came a large new fleet of trains. Built by Siemens to their 'Desiro City' design, the trains were delivered between 2015 and 2018 and were to two different lengths. Sixty were 8-car units classified as 700/0 and numbered 700001-700060, while another 55 were 12-car 700/1s numbered 700101-700155. The type entered service in June 2016, with deliveries completed in May 2018.

The expanded Thameslink network now includes services over Great Northern lines to Peterborough and Cambridge, as shown by 12-car 700/1 700152 passing New Southgate in April 2019.

Another fleet destined to be quite large is the Bombardier 'Aventra' class 701. Ordered by South Western Railway for inner and outer suburban duties, the order was divided between 60 x 10-car units (701/0s 701001-701060) and 30 x 5-car units (701/5s 701501-701530). Delivery of the 10-car units commenced in June 2020. The trains are to be referred to by SWR as 'Arterios'.

Ordered by Stagecoach and delivered in South West Trains red livery, the 30 x 5-car 707 units were built by Siemens to the 'Desiro City' design. Numbered as 707001-707030 and delivered between December 2016 and February 2018, the first entered service in August 2017, just three days before Stagecoach lost the SWT franchise. The new operator (a First Group and MTR joint venture which was to subtly rebrand the operation as 'South Western Railway') had already announced a large order for new trains from Bombardier that would replace all existing suburban units, including the youthful 707s. The latter are likely to be transferred to South Eastern.

707017 leads 707003 on a Kingston loop service approaching Wimbledon in November 2019.

London Overground placed orders with Bombardier for their 'Aventra' EMUs, these being intended to work the newly-electrified Gospel Oak to Barking line, and to replace class 315s on the lines from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt and Chingford. The orders were later expanded to cover usage on the Romford to Upminster line, and to replace some of the class 378 units on the Euston to Watford Junction route. The 30 Liverpool Street units emerged as 4-car, AC-only 710/1s numbered 710101-710130, while the remainder were dual-voltage units comprising 18 x 4-car 710/2 units numbered 710256-710273 and 6 x 5-car 710/3s 710274-710279. The numbering of the dual-voltage units is curious, and I had thought it was to allow the last three digits of the set numbers to follow on from the earlier class 378 units. However, the latter ran up to 378257, so there is an overlap. The first 710 was delivered in December 2017, but there were major delays to testing and commissioning, the first 710/2 not entering service until May 2019. The first 710/1 followed in October, initially also on the Gospel Oak to Barking route before the first workings from Liverpool Street in February 2020. Deliveries of the units was all but complete by the end of 2020.

Another fleet of Siemens 'Desiro City' units, the class 717 were ordered as 25 x 6-car units by Govia Thameslink for use on Great Northern suburban services. 717001-717025 were delivered between July 2018 and January 2019, entering service from March 2019 and fully replacing the elderly class 313 units by the end of September.

717001 at Harringay in July 2021.

Yet another fleet of Bombardier 'Aventra' units to be built at Derby, the 720s are destined to replace most of the suburban units on the Greater Anglia network. Initially planned to include 22 x 10-car units as 720/1s 720101-720122 and 89 x 5-car 720/5s numbered 720501-720589, it was announced in 2020 that the order for 10-car units had been changed to one for further 5-car units. Although not yet confirmed, it is presumed that this will translate to 44 more 720/5s with numbers 720590-720633. Although the first cars were shown to the media in September 2018, deliveries (of 720/5 units) to Ilford did not begin until January 2020, with the first entering service that November.

720/5 720543 calls at Stratford in April 2021.

Bombardier secured more orders for its 'Aventra' design when West Midlands Railway chose to take several batches as class 730 units. 36 x 3-car 730/0s numbered 730001-730036 are to be used around Birmingham with 29 x 5-car 730/1s (730101-730129) for outer suburban services and 16 x 5-car 730/2s (730201-730216) for longer distance work. The first units emerged from Derby during 2020. Class 730 units differ from most other recent EMUs in being fitted with end gangway connections.

As part of the total renewal of the Greater Anglia fleet, orders were placed with Stadler of Switzerland for four batches of unit. Two were to be pure-electric and these were classified as 745s. Both batches were formed into 12-car units made up of pairs of articulated coaches. The ten 745/0s (745001-745010) were for use between Liverpool Street and Norwich, while ten 745/1s (745101-745110) were for Stansted Express services and were standard-class only. Deliveries ran from May 2019 to May 2020, with the type entering service in January 2020.

745/0 745008 at Stratford in April 2021.

The other type of train built by Stadler for Greater Anglia were class 755 'bi-mode' (diesel and electric) units. The trains are articulated and uniquely feature a short section which houses the diesel engines (mounted either side of a through-gangway). These 'power-pack' cars are sometimes not counted as coaches, meaning that the two types of train are sometimes quoted as 3-car and 4-car in length, and sometimes as 4-car and 5-car respectively. Taking the latter approach, the 14 x 4-car trains are 755/3 units 755325-755338, while the 24 x 5-car trains are 755/4 units 755401-755424. Note that the last two digits of the 755/3 units follow from those on the 755/4s. Deliveries started in November 2018 and were completed in April 2020, the class having entered service in July 2019.

The class 769 units are not new, having been rebuilt from class 319 4-car EMUs previously used on Thameslink services. New diesel engines were mounted underneath each former driving trailer car, enabling the type to operate both on and off electrified routes. A 'tri-mode' variant was later added, with the capability to work on third-rail electrified routes. Work on the conversions was started in 2018, with the first delivered (to Northern) before the end of that year. Northern had ordered 8 units, Transport for Wales 9 units and Great Western Railway 19 of the tri-mode variant. The type had a lengthy testing period, with the first entering passenger service (with Transport for Wales) in November 2020. Although not yet confirmed, the class 769s are expected to retain their original set numbers (for example, 319002 became 769002).

Merseyrail placed an order for 52 x 4-car units from Stadler in February 2017, to replace their existing fleet of class 507 and 508 EMUs. Class number 777 was assigned, and the first example (777003) was delivered in January 2020. As of the end of that year, none had entered passenger service.

The final class to be mentioned in this section is a one-off experimental unit, converted from a class 319 EMU. 319001 was rebuilt in 2019 with hydrogen fuel cells fitted in the motor car, and renumbered as 799001. It had been due to undergo trials in 2020.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Catching up with the new class codes - Part 2: 3xx and 4xx EMUs
Posted on Wednesday 6th January 2021 by Thomas Young

Continuing my review of new and planned class codes, this time I will cover EMUs given class codes in the 3xx and 4xx series traditionally used for AC and DC EMUs respectively.

For use by Northern Rail, CAF built a fleet of units to their 'Civity' design, these being similar in appearance to the 195 DMUs. Class 331/0 comprises 31 x 3-car units, numbered 331001-331031, while 12 x 4-car 331/0s are 331101-331112.

The Elizabeth Line in London (previously known as Crossrail) will be run using 70 x 9-car units numbered 345001-345070. Although delivery of the trains has been completed, the opening of the line has been delayed and many of the units are being used (some shortened temporarily to 7-car units) between Paddington and Reading and between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. The remainder are mainly in store at Old Oak Common depot.

345017 was in 7-car format when seen working into Liverpool Street in April 2019.

Entering service with Scotrail in mid-2018, this fleet comprises 46 x 3-car 385/0s numbered 385001-385046 and 24 x 4-car 385/1s numbered 385101-385124. Delivery of these Hitachi-built units was completed in late 2019.

TransPennine Express has introduced three new fleets of trains, referred to internally as 'Nova 1', 'Nova 2' and 'Nova 3'. The 'Nova 2' fleet was made up of 12 x 5-car EMUs built by CAF to their 'Civity' design but featuring streamlined ends. Classified as 397, 397001-397012 were delivered between December 2018 and November 2019, and are used on services from Scotland to Liverpool/Manchester.

Class 398 has been allocated to a fleet of 36 x 3-car Stadler 'Citylink' Tram-Trains ordered for use on South Wales Metro services.

The first all-electric versions of Viva-Rail's D-Train concept (using former London Underground stock) are 5 x 2-car 484 units ordered by South Western Railway for use on the Isle of Wight. The first example was delivered in November 2020 and they are scheduled to enter service in April 2021.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Catching up with the new class codes - Part 1: Diesels
Posted on Wednesday 6th January 2021 by Thomas Young

I have got slightly out of touch with developments with new train deliveries over the past few years (while I have had my head stuck in web design mode) and I don't really know my 701s from my 710s. To remedy this, I decided to make a list of all the new class codes that have been introduced or planned, as much for my own benefit as anything else. To start things off, this item looks at the diesel classes added. If you spot any errors or omissions please let me know. Note also that some of the information will not yet be shown in the data pages, though this will be addressed over the coming weeks.

Ten former class 56 locos are being re-engined and modernised by EMD at Longport for use by GB Railfreight. Expected to be numbered 69001-69010, the first was nearing completion in late 2020.

A fleet of 25 x 2-car (195/0 numbers 195001-195025) and 33 x 3-car (195/1 numbers 195101-195133) diesel multiple units built by CAF in Spain and Newport (Wales) for use by Northern Rail. The first entered service in mid-2019 and the last was delivered in November 2020.

Also built by CAF, 12 x 2-car (196/0 numbers 196001-196012) and 14 x 4-car (196/1 numbers 196101-196114) are due for West Midlands Trains. The first was delivered in mid-2020.

More CAF 'Civity' units were ordered by Transport for Wales, comprising 51 x 2-car 197/0s and 26 x 3-car 197/1s. Set numbers are yet to be advised.

The Viva-Rail conversions of former London Underground D-stock trains into diesel or hybrid units have gained a few orders. After two prototypes (diesel 230001 and diesel-battery hybrid 230002), three diesel sets (230003-230005) were delivered to West Midlands Trains in 2018/2019 for use on the Bedford to Bletchley line. A further five battery sets (230006-230010) were ordered for use by Transport for Wales between Wrexham and Bidston, with deliveries starting in mid-2020.

Class code 231 has reportedly been allocated to a fleet of 11 x 4-car Stadler 'Flirt' DMUs ordered by Transport for Wales.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Site news
56 site news items found.
A mixed bag of 67 new photos
Posted on Sunday 5th September 2021 by Thomas Young

Time for some more photos, and today's additions are rather varied.

First up are 17 photos of BAA steel wagons and derivatives (BCA and BZA), all taken by Dan Adkins. I was looking at these to try and work out the differences between individual design codes. Although there were some inconsistencies, the results will eventually form either an article or an updated profile.

BAA number 900017 was still in virtually as-built condition.

Next up are 26 photos of Mark 1 carriages, mostly seen in preservation by Dan Adkins or Dave Warby. Again, I was looking at detail differences between diagrams, and these too will form the basis of an article in due course.

BSK number 35455 is preserved in 'classic' blue/grey livery. I always thought of this as blue/white, but the two colours are actually separated by a white line, 'Rail Grey' being a very light shade.

Following those are a dozen photos I took on a day out to Cardiff in 1985. Blimey, that's over 35 years ago now! Half were taken at Cardiff Central, with three each at Swindon Works and Paddington. Unfortunately, I had some grit in my camera that day and most of the negatives were scratched.

Rail blue was still the standard livery for almost all locos, including 08 589 seen passing through Cardiff Central.

A couple of photos of class 313 EMUs follow, these being for use in the profile of this type, which I still have to finish.

The Silverlink livery of purple and green was a bit of a shock when first seen, but I think it worked well, as seen on 313 117 at Kensington Olympia.

Then there are a couple of wagon plates. Mark Lawrence got in touch, asking about a plate he had. Based on the number shown, I figured it was from a BD type container, though I had never realised that containers had number plates.

This seems to be the numberplate from a BD-type container, although the build place and date are not given. I don't know if the paint colours are as per the original.

For comparison, here is a standard BR wagon builder's plate, from a Lowfit built in 1959. I inherited this plate from my father, and use it as a very large paperweight!

Keiran Fallows of the National Wagon Preservation Group got in touch a few months ago, to update me on two air-braked vans he has bought.

Rare centre-door VCA 200406 is being restored in Railfreight grey/red livery.

Derek sent a couple of photos taken at Watford Junction recently.

It doesn't seem long since former National Power HKA 300605 was shown on LTSV in freshly-applied DB red livery. However, it was actually almost seven years ago, which may account for how worn the wagon now looks.

Finally, Dan Adkins sent in three photos of the first of the new weed-killing trains, returning from tests on the Severn Valley Railway.

Formerly a container flat, VTG95379 still carries the KFA TOPS code, and also shows 'additional' number 99.70.9395.001-9. Note that the operator's 'cab' is in the centre, facing sideways.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some notes about some notes
Posted on Tuesday 31st August 2021 by Thomas Young

I always intended that Notes would be the main way in which background and contextual information could be added to 'flesh out' the basic data in the database. Added today are a baker's dozen of notes, covering some diverse topics including the renumbering of DMU cars to the 78xxx series in the 1980s, the slightly unfortunate lives of the Bow Midland container flat wagons and the changes made to codings of various flat wagons in the early days of TOPS. These can be found under the respective detail pages, but if you want to see them all, look for Notes in the side menu on the Home pages.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Spreading myself too thin
Posted on Monday 30th August 2021 by Thomas Young

I have, for several reasons, been sitting on some news stories for a couple of weeks. Firstly, some of the items will also require database changes (as in adding numbers and codes), which takes a bit longer. Secondly, looking at some multiple-unit details has revealed what appear to be errors in previously published information about coach types and formations, which I am still looking into. Thirdly, I am actually working on a large number of different projects and tasks, and sometimes new things crop up that have a higher priority. For instance, I recently found some security issues with my main LTSV (service vehicles) website. Although a replacement site is already in development, these really need to be fixed in the short term. Finally, I sometimes just feel like doing something completely different. Most of my free-time in the past week has been spent sorting Lego bricks and writing an article about East German trains!

Having said all that, the news item covering wagons has now been added, and lots more is 'in the pipeline'.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Yet more EMU photos
Posted on Saturday 24th July 2021 by Thomas Young

I had two more days out this week, though not primarily for photography. On Wednesday I stopped at Bethnal Green for half-an-hour and found that a lot had changed since my last visit 2 years ago.

The class 90s have gone, and I didn't see any 315s or 360s, although I was told that at least a couple of 315s were still working. Older trains still to be seen were 317s and 321s. There were also a couple of ex-Northern units of classes 321/9 and 322.

London Overground class 710s were much in evidence, mainly AC 710/1s but also a couple of dual-voltage 710/2s.

A few Greater Anglia class 720s were seen but deliveries of the type are still ongoing.

Two batches of Stadler class 745s units have taken over the Stansted and Norwich services, although it was noted that the batches were being mixed. 745002 (with 1st class accommodation) was correctly working from Norwich. Note that only the last 3 digits of the number are shown, and the class number does not appear anywhere on the units.

Displaced from Stansted Express work, the 379 units are due to go off-lease in a year or two, but for now they are appearing on various other workings.

On Friday I was in the south and took a few photos at Brockley and Sydenham.

DMUs are now rare in London, one of the exceptions being Southern class 171s used on services from Uckfield. A 4-car 171/8 was seen trailing a 2-car 171/7

Southern's newer Electrostar units have gasket glazing rather than bonded and are formed into 5-car sets. 377617 was seen heading South.

After several abortive attempts, I finally managed to get some decent photos of London Overground's DC-only 378/1 units.

The oldest 3rd-rail units still in service are the 455s used by Southern and South Western Railway.

I should reiterate that it is not my intention to flood this website with photos of passenger trains. I would like to get at least a couple for each class/batch/design code, but after that further additions will only be made to cover variations or changes. Or if I get better photos than the ones I have used!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Out again - 73 more photos
Posted on Monday 19th July 2021 by Thomas Young

With lockdown officially finished and the sky still blue, I decided to do some more photography today, although I ended up getting myself annoyed. The sun always seemed to be in the wrong place (or I was, or the train was, or other trains were), my favoured spot at Acton Wells Junction has been rendered unusable by vegetation and my Oyster card glitched. I ended up paying £22 for my travel instead of it being capped at £10.60 - I will be chasing a refund. Anyway, I got a few new types, including some LUL trains to illustrate the article about their numbering.

As well as photographing trains on the Bakerloo, District and Piccadilly lines, I also managed to catch (just) the 1960/1973 stock Track Recording Train at Acton Town.

To Royal Oak again, changes since last time were that the Elizabeth Line 345s are now running in 9-car formations, and the Heathrow Express has been taken over by class 387 units.

At Kensal Green I caught a couple of London Overground 710 units, including 5-car 710376. The numbers for these have been changed from those originally planned and I will need to update the database.

Having failed to find a good place to photograph Central Line trains, I had a ride on the Greenford branch, now an isolated diesel route that only goes as far as West Ealing.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
132 new photos
Posted on Sunday 18th July 2021 by Thomas Young

I went out photographing yesterday, for the first time in ages. I had hoped to cover various London-area types not currently featured on LTSV, although my plans were curtailed by the extreme heat and by a variety of LUL line closures. The bulk of today's 132 additions were taken at Harringay on the ECML, and debut LNER and Hull Trains IETs plus Great Northern 717s.

Although I captured one of LNER's 5-car 801/1s and several 9-car 801/2s, I managed not to see any of their bi-mode 800s.

Hull Trains 802305 was still running in anonymous blue livery but was coupled to fully-lettered 802304.

Great Northern 717011 has been given NHS appreciation adornments.

Several former Gatwick Express 387/2 units have been transferred to Great Northern and are operating in de-branded red.

Over at West Hampstead Thameslink I caught some of the class 360 units recently transferred from Greater Anglia and given EMR Connect branding for services from Corby. By the way, I have marked these photos as being class 360/1 but it appears that they should actually be 360/0....

Also there was 222101 in EMR Intercity livery.

Finally at West Hampstead LUL I photographed a couple of Chiltern units, including 168214.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
100 more icons
Posted on Friday 9th July 2021 by Thomas Young

A further set of 100 icons have been added (and are in the process of being linked to the relevant design and batch detail pages). The first 20 cover more pre-TOPS loco-hauled coach diagrams, followed by 62 pre-TOPS diagrams for main-line diesel locos (which later became classes 20-46) then finally a set of 18 TOPS design code diagrams for bogie steel wagons in the BAx/BBx and BCx ranges. To see all the new icons, go to the Icon List page and sort by Date Added (newest first). A few samples are shown below.

Diagram 93 Mk1 Open Third

Diagram DE/3002/3 BRCW Type 3 (Class 33)

Design Code BC003A Bogie Bolster C

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New book reviews
Posted on Wednesday 7th July 2021 by Thomas Young

I like to be able to look at a book before I buy it, which has been somewhat problematic in recent times. Besides the COVID-19 restrictions, my favoured book shop (Ian Allan at Waterloo) has permanently closed. As such, I have not added any new reviews for a while. However, I have now obtained the 2021 edition of the ABC Rail Guide, which has been revised slightly following the change of editor from Colin Marsden to Pip Dunn (both very much experts in the field). I have now added details of the 2021 edition to the existing review, along with details of the last Colin Marsden edition (2020) to enable the changes to be more clearly shown. Click on either of the cover images below to read the full review - you will then need to scroll down to see the images of pages from these two editions.

The cover of the 2020 edition.

The cover of the 2021 edition.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Photos - Six 60s and a lorra lorra sheds
Posted on Friday 2nd July 2021 by Thomas Young

I was slightly surprised to realise that it has been over 13 years since I started photographing freight trains, my first outing being in late 2007. Over the years I have published several thousand photos of wagons but, until recently, the locomotives were not included. As the scope of the site has now been extended, I decided to go back and add the locos as well. Rather predictably, the photos are dominated by class 66s. The 157 photos added today cover EWS/DB and Freightliner locos, with a couple of DRS ones too. GBRf and Colas locos will be added in due course.

The photos have been added in loco number order and heading the batch are six photos of class 60 locos. 60054 was still in its original Trainload Petroleum livery when seen at Lewisham in 2008.

Class 66s in EWS livery make up the bulk of the photos, such as this view of 66180 on vans at Acton Mainline in 2010.

Class 66s from the erstwhile 'green team' of Freightliner are also featured. 66610 was heading the lengthy HOBC train at South Kenton in 2013.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More photos, old and new
Posted on Sunday 13th June 2021 by Thomas Young

It has been too hot for brain-work this week, hence I have not yet made any headway with the remaining features and functions of the website. Instead I have uploaded a batch of 59 new photos. There is a real mixture of subjects so I have outlined the highlights below.

First up are 20 photos taken locally yesterday, mostly of an engineers train heading to a possession beyond Plumstead. As well as yet more Falcons, this included some Salmon and Bass and a KFA doing an impression of a Salmon.

Touax-branded KFA TIPH93430 had infrastructure flatbed modules and was loaded with bundles of new sleepers.

Next are a couple of photos taken by Dan in April showing the recently recoded FOA container flats, including a detail shot that shows how they differ from the FKAs from which they were converted.

FOA on the left, FKA on the right.

Following those are 8 recent photos from Malcolm Conway of trains passing Stratford.

Seeing a West Midlands Railway 172 in London is pretty unusual, this example heading home from a visit to Ilford Works.

This view of Colas 37421 pulling inspection saloon Caroline makes a nice comparison with the photo of this same loco published in April.

New contributor Dave Blower found this grounded Vanfit body in Warwickshire.

Then there are a dozen more 1980s/1990s photos by my father, mostly showing locos around London.

47053 on ARC PGAs, though I can't work out what it is doing on platform 7!

Finally there are 15 photos from Dave Warby's excellent Flickr collection (link to be added soon). He recently gave me permission to nick a few photos to show types that I have not already covered. As well as a few DMU and EMU classes, this first set include several 'mundane' but now long-gone wagon types.

I left it too late to photograph the Heathrow Express class 332s myself.

HKV Iron Ore hopper B437621 must have been one of the last of its kind when seen at Bescot in 1992.

Photos have normally been linked to the design code that applied at the time of the photo. However, for older wagons that have not had major modifications, I will be linking to the original diagram number instead. So, for example, a Vanwide in today's batch is shown as being to TOPS design code ZD146A and also originally to diagram 1/217. The link to the design detail page will use the latter. I do have a potential solution which will enable one-to-many relationships (e.g. one photo to two or more designs) in due course.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
BMRG Diagrams now listed
Posted on Sunday 6th June 2021 by Thomas Young

About a month ago (on 8th May), I mentioned a plan to catalogue the diagrams available in the scanned BR rolling stock diagram books on the Barrowmore MRG website. This task has now been completed, taking the quantity of drawings referenced on this website from 67 to 8,102! My estimate of there being about 8,000 diagrams was pretty accurate, though this does of course include numerous duplicates, where the same diagram (sometimes with changes) appears in multiple books. There are in fact more diagrams on the BMRG site, but these are of track machines and steam locos and do not relate to specific diagram/design numbers.

Now, when you look at the detail page for a diagram or design code, there will be a listing of the drawings available. The link will simply take you to the page on the BMRG website where all such documents can be found. However, I have added details of the file and page number for each diagram, making it much quicker to find a specific drawing. You can also view a listing of all drawing references on the Drawing List page.

Coverage includes most of the diagrams issued for BR locos, coaches, units, wagons and containers, and also TOPS design codes/diagrams up to the early 1990s.

As usual, this job led to a couple of related tasks. Firstly, the drawings section on the design and lot detail pages needed some tweaking. Then I found that 139 drawings were of diagrams that were not yet in the database. After adding these diagrams I found that 5 referred to TOPS codes that were not yet in the database. I think I have covered everything now!

Although the drawings are typically of medium to low quality (for example, underframe details are rarely shown), they usually contain lots of other information such as lot numbers, TOPS codes etc. This information will be progressively added to the database over time.

The amazingly detailed drawings by Colin Craig (that can also be found on the BMRG website) have been added as well. These mainly cover air-braked types. If/when more diagram books get added to the BMRG site I will update the listings. I also intend to make the drawing index file available as a downloadable spreadsheet, but I need to finish work on the 'Downloads' page first....

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
The early bird catches the freight
Posted on Friday 4th June 2021 by Thomas Young

Today's update sees the addition of 80 photos which I took locally over the past week. On two days I was up early enough to see the Whitemoor to Hoo Junction engineers train pass at 6:30am - this is the only regular infrastructure train scheduled to take the Woolwich line. Unfortunately the train was rather boring on both occasions, being formed entirely of JNA-C, MLA and IEA low-sided boxes. Same loco to boot!

66757 on the early Whitemoor to Hoo train. At least the sun came out the second time.

I also photographed the Angerstein to Woking train again. I wasn't going to publish the photos because they were the same JNA-T boxes as last time. However, I noticed two very slightly interesting aspects. Firstly, the train seems to carry two different commodities, with sand in the first ten wagons and gravel in the remainder. Looking at previous photos, this seems to be the normal practice. Secondly, the loading of some of the wagons looked almost dangerously uneven...

Surely the weight distribution on this wagon will be a bit off!

And I photographed the irregular Scunthorpe/Doncaster to Angerstein train again, still using (mainly) the same MBA box wagons as last time.

The rather unimaginatively named 'Maritime Intermodal Five' with 17 MBAs in tow nears the end of its long journey.

As a break from boxes, I captured a few shots of Southeastern EMUs.

A pair of 376s head towards the sunrise.

With this batch the total photo count has passed the six thousand mark. I have received some new photo submissions, and I still have lots of old ones to show. So the next lot to be added will hopefully be a bit more interesting.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Dealing with dates - Part 2 (storing and displaying)
Posted on Wednesday 26th May 2021 by Thomas Young

Databases (and spreadsheets) are amazingly clever at handling dates, but only if you are dealing with exact, individual dates. If you require a bit of vagueness (for instance to enter '05/2021', 'c.26/05/2021' or 'by 2021') they either don't accept the entries or the sorting goes awry. Having tried various solutions to this problem in the past, the one I settled on for this website is to use a plain text field. Dates are stored in the format dYYYYMMDDp, where d is the letter d, YYYY the 4-digit year, MM the 2-digit month, DD the 2-digit date and p an optional prefix such as 'circa' or 'by'. Today would therefore be d20210526. The letter d at the front is not strictly necessary but it prevents the value being interpreted as numeric (which would result in 05/2021 being sorted 'before' 25/12/1997 for example). This method works, with the resulting sort order being more-or-less spot on. And I have added code to automatically rearrange the values to display the dates in the conventional format.

However, there are some issues. Firstly, users need to remember to use this (rather unnatural) format when entering or editing information. Secondly, I have not put in much validation, meaning that dates such as 29/02/2021 will be accepted. More to the point, 35/14/2021 would also be accepted! So, I am working on a further bit of code that will mean that users can enter dates in the 'natural' format and the value will be encoded and validated before being stored. It is complicated though. Take next Tuesday. This could be entered as 02/06/2021, 2/6/2021, 02/06/21, 2/6/21, 2-6-2021, 02.06.2021 or any of many other permutations. I reckon I can handle this! One thing I won't be able to do is recognise if you are American and using their MM/DD/YYYY format. 06/02/2021 will be read as being a date in February.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Transport books and magazines looking for a good home
Posted on Sunday 23rd May 2021 by Thomas Young

I have inherited a sizeable collection of transport books and magazines, which I am now looking to find good homes for. Most are bus or train spotter's books, the railway items including;
  • 14 Ian Allan Combined Volume rail ABCs 1961-1982 (some marked)
  • 25 Platform 5 Locos & Coaching Stock 1985-2019 (mostly unmarked)
  • Various similar titles along with some general railway books
  • 65 recent magazines (Rail and Today's Railways UK)
The bus items are more numerous and include an almost complete set of 393 PSV Circle G-lists, 90 Bus Handbooks (all in mint condition) and other similar titles.
If you would like any of these items, or you require further details, please get in touch by e-mail to tom@ltsv.com. There will be no charge for the items, unless posting them is the only way to get them to you. Collection from Abbey Wood (London) or nearby would be preferred. Any items that remain at the end of July will probably end up being recycled.

Update 26/05/2021: Some of the books have already been taken and I have marked these above.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
1993 Network SouthEast listings added
Posted on Wednesday 19th May 2021 by Thomas Young

Wednesday is RD Content/Data day on my new timetable, and I have today uploaded a load of new listings derived from the 1993 Network SouthEast Infrastructure Resources Guide that I mentioned here on 8th May. Just under 2,400 items were added, these including all locos, track machines and wagons used for maintenance work in the NSE area. The details usefully include TOPS and pool codes, and some items have livery and/or allocation information too. To see all the listings, pick 1993 in the Year filter on the Listing List page. The descriptions for each pool code in use at the time have also been added, along with previously unlisted pools and rolling stock numbers.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More tweaks
Posted on Monday 17th May 2021 by Thomas Young

My scheduled Monday project has hit an impasse, so I have instead made a couple of small, but hopefully useful, changes to pages on this website.

Firstly, the search box on the All Numbers page no longer has automatic wildcards. Until today, if you typed 123 in the search, the page would show all numbers containing 123, such as 11230, 79123, 123114, 33.68.4909.123-4 and so on. From today, if you enter 123, you will only get results that are just the number 123. To do a partial match search, you need to add your own wildcards. % (the percent sign) will match any number of characters (including none). Therefore entering %123 will find 123, 5123, 34123, 444123 and so on. Perhaps more useful is the underscore (_), which will match any one character. Hence entering _123 will find 2123, 3123, 4123 etc. You can combine wildcards (as in 123_%), and use them more than once (as in %96_4_). Guidance notes have been added to the page.

The other change is on the TOPS code detail page. I recently mentioned the re-use of TOPS codes, and the fact that you can easily end up looking at the wrong instance. Where codes have been re-used, a box will now appear providing links to the other uses of the code you are looking at. For example, if you are on the page for TOPS class 142 (Derby DMU Driving Trailers), there will be a link to class 142 (2) (the Pacer railbuses). And if you are looking at the page for TOPS code BXA (the trestle wagons), you will see links to BXA (2) (converted BAAs) and to BXA (3) (converted BBAs).

I am still working on the re-numbering sections (displaying, adding and editing) and I have also started creating the pages to allow users to add links to photos on other websites.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Self-discipline and multiple disposals
Posted on Wednesday 12th May 2021 by Thomas Young

I decided to try giving myself a timetable, setting aside different days of the week for different tasks. The reason is that I have been rather neglecting some of my other projects, plus of course I keep distracting myself! Anyway, Wednesday is now 'LTSV-RD Data and Content day', and I have completed two tasks.

Firstly, I updated all the incorrect links to DMU and EMU TOPS codes that I mentioned here at the end of April. I also fixed a few loco records that were wrong (notably classes 20/3 and 86/5) though I did discover there were more wagons with duff links besides the KTAs that I had already mentioned. Codes like BCA, BXA and HBA have been re-used, and I need to check that all references point to the correct instance in each case. It's on my list....

The other job was related to the huge amount of disposal listings that have recently been added by user Nat37670. These included more than 300 HTA hoppers going for scrap over the past few years. I have now been through all these listings and updated the base number records.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
What is Ealnos?
Posted on Monday 10th May 2021 by Thomas Young

A visitor asked what the code Ealnos signifies. This appears below the number on the numerous JNA-T bogie box wagons. Ealnos is an example of a UIC type code, these being applied to most wagons with 12-digit RIV numbers. These codes are similar to TOPS codes but provide some very specific details of the characteristics of each wagon. They also differ in that they can vary in length, and that only the first letter is capitalised. For more information, a section of my Article 14 covers this topic. By the way, the link to the DB Schenker Freight Wagon Catalog (which has tables to decode UIC type codes) is currently defunct. I will try and find a new source, but until then, the decoding tables can also be found in the European Union document linked from the same page.

The UIC type code of Ealnos can be seen below the number of this JNA-T wagon.
E = Open High-Sided Wagon
a = With 4 axles
l = Without side tipping
n = To carry more than 60t
o = Without end tipping
s = Authorised to run at up to 100km/h

This TEA-L tank wagon has the UIC type code of Zans, also displayed just below the number.
Z = Tank wagon
a = With 4 axles
n = To carry more than 60t
s = Authorised to run at up to 100km/h

I did not include UIC type codes when planning the structure of the database for this website, since they only apply to certain groups of rolling stock. However, they could be added as notes against the relevant batches and/or TOPS codes.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Well worth a look (or 'Getting sidetracked again!')
Posted on Saturday 8th May 2021 by Thomas Young

I had been working on some more icons, based on drawings in the BR diagram books available on the Barrowmore MRG website. This site is a fantastic resource, with about 70 downloadable diagram books and various other documents. The only drawback is that it can be difficult to find specific diagrams, the organisation and naming of the collection being somewhat erratic. I figured that an index of the diagrams would be useful and I have started working on this. However, as there are probably around 8,000 individual diagrams available, it may take a little while! Once complete I will be able to use the information to import drawing references to the database here. Thus if you looked at (for example) design code BA001B, it would tell you the book/s and page number/s where diagrams can be found. I could also make the list available as a single downloadable file.

Checking the site today I found that some more files had been added since I last visited. These include documents detailing the London Underground service stock fleet (with numbers, drawings etc). Perhaps of even more use is a file entitled Network SouthEast Infrastructure Resources Guide. This 130-page document dates from June 1993 and has a wealth of information about the wagons and locos used by NSE for infrastructure work. As well as overviews of each type there is a full list of numbers (showing TOPS and pool codes), and lots of related information. The document can be found near the bottom of the page http://www.barrowmoremrg.co.uk/Prototype.html.

I also found that the collection of drawings by Colin Craig has been expanded and now includes 70 different types (or sub-types). These drawings are fantastically detailed and far removed from the often rather basic drawings found in the diagram books. The page for Colin's drawings is at http://www.barrowmoremrg.co.uk/ColinCraig.html.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
78 more icons added
Posted on Tuesday 4th May 2021 by Thomas Young

I have just added another bundle of icons, all 78 being line-art diagrams covering early DMUs, diesel shunters and a variety of coaches. The icons will be added to the relevant design/batch pages later today. To see all the new icons, go to the Icon List page and sort by Date Added. A couple of samples are shown below.

Diagram DE/209/1 (later Class 07)

Diagram 613 Park Royal Railbus

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
The trouble with recycling
Posted on Thursday 29th April 2021 by Thomas Young

Quite a few stock numbers and TOPS codes have been re-used over the years. For example, 92001 was a Fruit D van new in 1958 but later re-appeared on a Gangwayed Brake in 1982, while TOPS code KTA applied to 2-axle Strip Coil T wagons until 1983, and then to bogie container wagons from 2004. The database that runs this website has been designed to take such things into account, but it is not foolproof. A lot of the functionality of the site comes from linking pieces of information together. For example, wagon number GERS97700 is linked to batch GERS97700-97774, which in turn is linked to TOPS code KTA and so on. The problem arises in ensuring that the links point to the correct instance of a given code or number (when there has been more than one use). The KTAs are a good example, as the batch GERS97700-97774 is currently incorrectly linked to TOPS code KTA (the Strip Coil wagons), when it should be linked to KTA (2).

I thought I had been very careful with re-used numbers, and with re-used TOPS codes for wagons (although the example just given suggests that at least some mistakes were made). However, one area I forgot to consider was the re-use of multiple-unit TOPS class codes. This aspect may not be well known, since the original uses of the codes only lasted a few years before being changed. Full details will be given in the article on multiple-unit classification (which should be ready in a week or so) but, to summarise, the initial allocation of class codes to DMU trailer cars and Southern Region EMUs in the early 1970s were extensively revised in about 1979 and 1975 respectively. To give an example, class 142 was originally applied to Derby DMU Driving Trailer cars, these being integrated with class 108 in 1979, while class 142 was later used for Leyland 'Pacer' railbuses. The Southern situation is a bit trickier since some of the codes were re-used straight away. Class 423 originally applied to BR-design 4-EPB units. In 1975 those units were reclassified as 415/2s but at the same time the 4-VEP units (which had initially been allocated class 432) were reclassified as 423s!

The main TOPS code/class listing on this website has all these re-uses shown but I have recently discovered quite a large quantity of incorrect links in related data (mainly in batches and listings). Thus if you look at class 143, it appears to show that some Gloucester Driving Trailer Composites were built by Barclay in 1986! I will be working on rectifying these errors over the next couple of days.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
102 more photos
Posted on Tuesday 27th April 2021 by Thomas Young

While I am in photo-editing mode I thought I would make a start on a back-log of photos from Derek Everson. 102 are being added today, with perhaps another couple of hundred to follow in due course! The photos were all taken in 2019 and they feature a lot of familiar types such as HRA, JNA-C, JZA, MLA and a lot of JGA-Ns. A couple of oddities are highlighted below.

Preserved FGA 601652 at the NRM in York, with one of the unsuccessful caboose boxes onboard.

A train of early HYA-B 'Shorty' conversions was seen in Leeds.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Scotland in 1988
Posted on Sunday 25th April 2021 by Thomas Young

No progress to report with the outstanding pages and functionalities. I had been working on the text for one of the missing articles (multiple-unit classifications - prompted in part by the recent addition of some EMU and DMU photos) but today I got side-tracked again.

I discovered a stack of about a hundred photos from the 1980s which had not been scanned when I did my dad's collection about 5 years ago. This is probably because I was mainly using negatives, and he did not have these ones. I suspect that I have them somewhere... Anyway, the 24 photos added today are all from a holiday in August 1988 when a friend and I bought 7-day Freedom of Scotland passes and did all the main routes. I didn't take very many photos, but I was pleased to see that I had captured a few coaches and units. Also the quality is middling. If the negatives do turn up I may be able to post improved scans later. A couple of samples are shown below.

A classic view of Kyle of Lochalsh, with typical West Highlands weather! 37421 waits on a short train of Mk1 and Mk2 coaches.

A bit of a mystery is the purple livery on this Mk2 coach. All my sources say that 9400 remained in blue/grey until withdrawn in 1990

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
A fourth set of photos for this week
Posted on Sunday 18th April 2021 by Thomas Young

Yet another batch of photos has been added, these being 24 taken of multiple units (mainly) in about 1987 by me or my father. The subjects were rather mundane at the time but the passage of time has given them value and I just wish we had taken more. Of course photography in the pre-digital age was a lot more expensive, so you had to be a bit selective.

The photos are not brilliant quality. This is a class 415/4 EMU seen between Clapham Junction and Battersea Park.

Also added today is a single photo of an LMS brake van that was seen undergoing restoration in 2010. Pre-Nationalisation wagons are a bit of a grey area for me, but this photo has been included to tie-in with some recently added data (batches, designs and numbers of preserved examples) on LMS and SR brake vans.

ex-LMS brake van 700003 found at the somewhat unlikely location of Walthamstow in 2010.

Right, I really need to knuckle-down and get on with some coding now!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Yet more new photos
Posted on Friday 16th April 2021 by Thomas Young

Four photos taken earlier today at Stratford have just been added. One of these shows a 66/4 in Freightliner's 'new' orange livery. This has been around for a couple of years now, but I am still not used to it!

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Another error found and fixed
Posted on Friday 16th April 2021 by Thomas Young

When I added the listings for 2019 in February, the formations for class 315 units somehow got added as only containing 3 cars each instead of 4. This has now been rectified. Please let me know if you find any other mistakes.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More photos already?!
Posted on Thursday 15th April 2021 by Thomas Young

Typical. You wait a week for some new photos and then two lots come along together. The 19 photos just added are not very newsworthy, but they are topical, having been taken just 2 hours ago. They show a rake of MBA 'Monster-Box' wagons being used on a Doncaster to Angerstein Wharf circuit. This irregular service was also photographed last summer, when it was making use of 2-axle SSA box wagons.

66206 approaching Abbey Wood with 17 empty MBA wagons in tow.

The train included 3 of the buffer-fitted MBA-C wagons, including 500008 bringing up the rear.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some more new photos
Posted on Thursday 15th April 2021 by Thomas Young

A further set of 23 photos has just been uploaded. As well as the new FWA wagons (as shown under Fleet News), this includes:

13 photos taken at Old Oak Common in March 1987. The first class 50 loco had just been withdrawn so I had decided to focus on them that day.

8 photos of ICA/TEA wagons in Calcium Carbonate traffic from new contributor Evan Ross. These were photographed in Stonehaven last week.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
100 days later
Posted on Saturday 10th April 2021 by Thomas Young

LTSV-RD has now been on-line for a little over three months and (thankfully) there have been no major problems since it was launched. There are however numerous sections and functionalities that either have not yet been added or which need improvement. I am working through these but progress is rather slow. For example, I am currently having difficulty with displaying the renumbering 'chains'. I am also dividing my time between this and three other website projects. The general target is to have all design work completed by the end of 2021. That is not to say that the design of the site will then be 'frozen'. There will no doubt be further changes and improvements over the coming years.

A total of 19 member accounts have been activated so far, including 4 admin/test accounts. This is not a lot but it suits my plan. Once the site is more 'complete', I will be doing some self-promotion on forums etc to try and increase the numbers. There are a couple of oddities about the membership so far. Firstly, 2 members have been responsible for the vast majority of added content (for which I am very grateful). A couple of others have made a few posts but many have made none. Can I remind users that they only need to register for an account if they wish to add a comment or a sighting. You can view all sections of this website without having an account or logging in. Secondly, 2 other members have registered for an account but then not activated it. I cannot tell if this is because they changed their minds or if there is a problem with the activation process. If you have experienced any difficulties with accounts, please get in touch so that I can try and fix any issues.

As mentioned, two members have been busily adding lots of sightings, listings and notes. By the way, the homepage claim that we have 11,383 sightings (as of today) is perhaps a little misleading. I think I should change this to read '661 sightings (with 11,383 items)'. The pages to add and edit sightings are all ready to use, though the process takes a bit of getting used to. Sightings can be added of (almost) any item of rolling stock at any time. You can also add sightings 'second-hand'. For example, you might see a train consist reported on a web forum somewhere. You could add this as a sighting, marking that it was seen by 'Other' rather than 'Self'. There are two options for adding sightings - either as a single item or as multiple items (for example all locos at a given depot, or all wagons in a particular train). Freight train consists are perhaps the most useful additions to make, along with unusual other sightings, though you can report anything you like.

Database size
As the stats on the homepage show, there is a lot of data contained in this website. At present there are almost 730,000 database records spread across 53 different tables. My hosting provider imposes a size limit on databases of 1000MB. When LTSV-RD was launched the database was about 150MB so I figured that there was plenty of room for growth. However, after adding the 2019 listings in February (a total of 44,343 records), the size jumped to 234MB, which didn't seem right. Fortunately it has now gone back down to 174MB, presumably as a result of background compacting or re-indexing. As such it looks like it will be a long time until I need to start worrying about this aspect.

There has been a slow but steady flow of new photograph contributions since the site was launched, and I extend my thanks to everyone who has helped. My general policy is to continue to major on wagons. Any wagon photos will be used so long as they are of reasonable quality. Having said that, I don't know how many more JNA-T photos I can stomach! For other rolling stock (locos, coaches, units etc) I may be a bit more selective. I would like to eventually have at least one photo for most of the major types/classes. To achieve this with older types, I intend to make approaches to several people who have relevant photos on Flickr, asking if I can use some of their images. By the way, photos on other websites can (or will soon be able to) be linked from LTSV-RD, but these links will be text only.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
40 more photos, old and new
Posted on Thursday 8th April 2021 by Thomas Young

Another 40 photos have just been uploaded, comprising a very mixed bunch.

The first 15 were taken by my father in the early 1980s and are all of diesel locos.

Next are a couple of rolling stock photos by Derek Everson from the same era.

New contributor Malcolm Conway has sent some photos taken at Stratford this week.

Also taken this week, an interesting coach conversion seen by Nathan.

Finally there are a dozen photos from Dan Adkin's Flickr site, covering types not previously shown.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Dealing with dates - Part 1 (detail and accuracy)
Posted on Wednesday 31st March 2021 by Thomas Young

There are two distinct areas of work that are planned for this website. The first is to complete the design and functionality of the site itself. Although this is not yet complete, work is now underway on the second stage, namely adding masses of data. For no particular reason I have chosen to start with changes to rolling stock in 2011, while user Nat37670 has been bringing things up to date by adding recent TOPS data for wagons and also disposal details for numerous units and coaching stock. Most of this data is dated (so to speak), so I wanted to say a bit about how this is being dealt with. This first part covers the level of detail and the accuracy of the dates.

The database that runs this site has been designed to store dates with variable levels of detail. For example, if a loco is known to have transferred on a particular date, that date will be stored in full. Similarly, if only the month (or accounting period) is known, that will be shown. For many items (particularly wagons) only the year - or even range of years - is known.

Where it is provided, the 'official' date of each event is used, this being the date recorded by the RSL (Rolling Stock Library). If it is known that the actual date differs from this, a note will be added.

For new or renumbered stock, where the RSL date is not known, the date that the stock was delivered will be used. For imported stock, this will be the date that the stock entered the UK.

For stock being scrapped, the date of scrapping will be shown (if known), otherwise the date of arrival at the scrapyard will be used. Obviously the latter is less accurate since stock can remain intact for some time (e.g. Woodhams of Barry), or can even be rescued for preservation.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More data added and another correction
Posted on Wednesday 31st March 2021 by Thomas Young

Several new batches and over 700 more numbers have been added to the database today. Apart from 300 Clayhood wagons built over 60 years ago, and five Class 66 locos bought second-hand in the past two years, the rest are all RIV-numbered wagons. I have had some help in identifying numbers that are not yet included, and it is hoped that today's changes mean that virtually all of the current wagons are now shown.

The main correction is that the second batch of MWA box wagons for Freightliner were originally shown here as 81.70.5891.501-576 but were in fact 81.70.5891.500-575.

Looking at the press releases about the recent GBRf order for Ecofret container wagons, I am not convinced that the order was actually for 84 sets. The wording used could equally mean that 84 wagons (i.e. 28 triple sets) are being built. I have added the numbers for 28 sets, and the remainder will be added if it turns out that the order was indeed for 84 sets (252 wagons).

Update 30/04/2021: Wagons with numbers beyond the first 28 sets have now been seen, so the order must indeed be for 84 sets. The missing numbers have been added.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Some minor tweaks
Posted on Tuesday 16th March 2021 by Thomas Young

A couple of changes have been implemented today. Firstly, the version 2a of the All Numbers list page has been selected as the standard, and the other two variants have been removed. The page has also been changed slightly so that the Batch drop-down filter will only show batches that relate to the selection in the Number Series drop-down filter. For example, if you select 'Coaching Stock - SR' in the Number Series filter and then click on Apply Filters, the Batch drop-down will only show batches of numbers from the SR Coaching Stock number series. I hope that makes sense!

Another change is on the Listings list page, which now shows the date that each listing was added. You can sort on this column, allowing you to see which listings have been most recently added.

The final change for today is on the Add New Listing page. At the bottom of this there is now a check-box marked 'Remember'. If you tick this box, the next listing that you create will automatically be pre-filled with the same values (date, TOPS code, source, notes etc). You can still change the values if required. This feature uses session variables, so they will be cleared when you log-out or close your browser. It has already proved to make it much faster to enter multiple listings with similar attributes.

As always, please get in touch if you find anything that doesn't work.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Coaches that never existed and other silly errors
Posted on Sunday 14th March 2021 by Thomas Young

Thanks to AB for spotting a couple of mistykes. Perhaps the most important was that I had listed some Mk1 TSO coaches that never actually existed. Lot 30690 of 1961/1962 was for coaches numbered 4918-5044, but it seems that numbers 4967-4972 and 5011-5022 were never actually built. I have amended the database records (along with correcting some other errors), though this required me to go in through the 'back door' as I have not (as yet) added a facility to delete numbers! By the way, does anyone know why these numbers were missed?

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
A few new photos
Posted on Thursday 25th February 2021 by Thomas Young

I have just uploaded 26 photos, all taken locally yesterday. Among them are some of the recently shortened HYA hoppers that have replaced the Bardon wagons.

Shortened HYA-B 37.70.6955.279-4 shows the patch painting to cover old graffiti, and the remnants of the original First/GBRf/VTG lettering.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Links page now available
Posted on Wednesday 24th February 2021 by Thomas Young

The Links page that I mentioned recently has now been uploaded. It can be found here or in the Articles menu.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Listings for January 2019 added
Posted on Sunday 21st February 2021 by Thomas Young

I have been working on a big dump for the past few days, and I have finally been able to do it! The data is mainly a set of listings for all locos, coaches and units current at January 2019, with a total of 23,725 new records added (note that this includes one for each coach in each unit, as well as one for each unit itself). The data is not hugely detailed, lacking design codes for example, while pool codes are only included for locos. However, it does give us status, allocation, livery, unit formations etc. Also added to the database are a few batches that had not previously been recorded, plus another 1,199 actual stock numbers.

Since I now have datasets for 1982, 1989, 2000 and 2019, it would make sense to do another one for about 2009/2010 to give a good spread of coverage. A lot of the gaps in between will later be filled when I start inputting transfers and other dated changes.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
New article and update on downloadable content
Posted on Friday 12th February 2021 by Thomas Young

Released today is another of my 'background' articles, this being Article 12: Stock Classification - Wagons. Covering the different methods of classifying wagons used by BR both before and after the introduction of TOPS, it is quite lengthy. Because of this I have also made a PDF version of the article, so it can be downloaded and read off-line. A link to the PDF file has been placed at the top of the article page.

The PDF version of the article was 'custom-made', in that un-needed items such as menus and links were removed, the photos were switched to larger ones and the layout was tweaked to suit the pages. I do intend to make similar downloadable files based on many other pages on this website (including some of the data lists), but for the interim, I have just discovered a way that almost any website content can be successfully downloaded.

When I started working on the internet, browsers would have a file menu, and you could 'save' a webpage. The results were usually fairly unusable! But things have changed. In modern browsers, you can find the print menu and there will usually be options, including which device to print to. Selecting 'Save as PDF' here will do just that, putting the entire webpage into a single PDF. There are some issues, and it is not as good as having custom-made PDFs, but it is still useful.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
More new photos
Posted on Thursday 11th February 2021 by Thomas Young

Twenty new photos have just been published, these being from Dan Adkins' huge collection. He has kindly agreed to me using a few of his excellent images to fill some gaps in our coverage of recent wagon types. I have also taken the opportunity to update the data on some of the TOPS and design codes that are featured.

This HXA coal hopper is one of several types that don't come 'down south' very much, and which I have consequently not been able to show on LTSV-RD before.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Other websites are available
Posted on Monday 8th February 2021 by Thomas Young

I recently decided to add a 'links' page to this website, and this meant that I had to actually look at some other websites! The majority of the sites that I am initially adding are photo galleries, most of which are on Flickr or SmugMug. The way that some of these galleries were organised slightly annoyed me, for example where a gallery contains some wagon photos but there is no easy way to isolate them from other railway photos (and non-railway photos too, in many cases). But that is not what I wanted to rant about today!

Unless I am missing something, there are no websites that give details of the current railway fleets. I am not including paid-for web services, nor apps and downloadable software. I just mean a straightforward, on-line database of current stock. There was ABrail for locos, coaches and units, but that sadly seems to have closed down. Is there anything else? It was never my intention for LTSV-RD to serve as an on-line 'ABC', but it certainly could do so, at least when the data is brought up to date...

My other beef is (or was) to do with design. I found a few sites with what you might call 'rolling stock data', but they nearly all had issues for me. Some had lots of adverts, some required you to read a manual to work out how to view the data, some required you to register and log-in to even view the data, some were incomplete or out-of-date, and some just looked horrible. But then I realised that I was viewing these for the first time, and making snap impressions. I have been working on LTSV-RD for so long that it is impossible for me to view this website from a new user's perspective. I understand why certain things have been done in certain ways, but would anyone else? So I decided to be a bit less critical, and not to judge other sites until I had spent a bit of time using them (or trying to use them!). The links page will be available in the next few days.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Testing of back-ups and downloadable content
Posted on Monday 1st February 2021 by Thomas Young

Two important tests were undertaken today. The first was to download a copy of the database from the live website. Although this included 666,881 records across 53 different tables, the process only took a few minutes. The second test was to restore a database from a backup. I chose to restore my local database rather than the live one, this having the benefit of meaning the two are now synchronised. As I expected, this took a little longer, but still not much more than an hour.

I will be making most of the content of this website available for download in due course, so that users can view the data off-line, and so that (hopefully) not all will be lost if something happens to me. The plan is to use PDFs for as much as possible, but also to provide CSV data files, particularly for the largest data sets. I undertook some tests today of the process of making PDF versions of the list pages, and I hope to have at least one available (as a prototype) fairly soon. For the others, I will probably leave it for a couple of months, as there are still a lot of gaps in the data.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Today I have mostly been.... in data entry mode
Posted on Sunday 31st January 2021 by Thomas Young

Some recent data has been added to the database, including the new design codes and EVNs for recent MUs. With the EVNs (European Vehicle Numbers), I have added the batches but not each individual number. The updates include 60 new batches, 90 new diagram/design codes, 1038 new numbers and 8 new renumberings.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Getting side-tracked with side numbers
Posted on Saturday 30th January 2021 by Thomas Young

There is an awful lot of data-entry to be done on this site over the next few months/years, and I have made a small start. To avoid this becoming tedious, I tend to flit around from one subject to another. So, having entered a load of historical notes about early BR wagon lot numbers, I thought I would come right up to date and add some more of the DMU/EMU design codes obtained recently. The first of these were for the West Midlands class 196 DMUs, and these weren't in the database yet. So I started adding the details, but I had to resort to Google to find confirmation of the side numbers. The most useful result was a document on the ORR (Office of Rail and Road) website about the granting of interoperability authorisation (!). What I found interesting was that this also showed the EVNs (European Vehicle Numbers) assigned to each coach.

You can read more about this in the last paragraph of my article on Stock Numbering - Coaches, but in short, new trains now have to carry the full EVN on the side of each coach. The EVN is (so far) always based on the 'domestic' number, with a few extra digits before and after, and the application to coaches is usually done in such a way that the domestic number is highlighted. All ABC-type books that I have seen only list the domestic numbers, so I was quite pleased to find this information. But was it worth adding the EVNs to the database in addition to the domestic numbers?

I decided to add the batches of the EVNs, but not to add each individual number. Notes will be added to each batch to cross-reference the alternative numbers. If anyone has any views on this approach I would be interested to hear from them.

There are some other groups of rolling stock that also have two numbers each, most notably the HKA hopper and MXA box wagons, and various items of OTP (On-Track Plant). A different method is going to be needed to handle those and this is something I am still working on.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
Additions and changes
Posted on Friday 29th January 2021 by Thomas Young

A couple of users have been active in adding sightings, listings and notes over the past week, for which I am grateful. As well as adding content, this has allowed testing of the processes. I have just uploaded another bundle of new and updated pages. These are mainly for editing purposes, so most users shouldn't notice any changes. However, there is always the possibility that changing one thing has mucked up something else, so please get in touch if you encounter anything strange!

I can now enter unit formations in bundles rather than individually, and I have just added some for classes 139 (start with an easy one!), 175/0, 360/1, 700/0, 700/1 and 350/1-4.

Finally for today, registered users will now find that they can edit any listings that they have posted. Pages for editing notes and sightings will be added/enhanced next.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.
GWR Castles are not what they used to be!
Posted on Saturday 23rd January 2021 by Thomas Young

I have been adding some data related to the GWR Castle class. Not the steam locos, but the HSTs that have been shortened and fitted with power doors for use in the South West. The 4 coaches in each set have been renumbered (some re-using numbers originally carried by APT-P driving cars), while the fleet is collectively known as Class 255, this being displayed on the Castle-themed nameplates. I'm not sure if 255 is a genuine TOPS class, as the trains do not carry set numbers. They are allocated coach-set numbers GW01 upwards. Class 255 follows on from classes 252, 253 and 254 that were used for HSTs until the late-1980s.

An additional three sets are in the process of being rebuilt, though I can't add these coaches to the database yet as the new number range is not known. I also can't add the formations because somebody hasn't created the formation editing pages yet. I will have a word...

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More design codes added and some number corrections
Posted on Friday 22nd January 2021 by Thomas Young

The more detailed 'ABC' type books used to provide TOPS design codes (or at least diagram numbers) for coaches in multiple units, though this seems to have stopped several years ago. As such, I did not have this information for the more recent deliveries. Fortunately a very kind contributor has sent me a bundle of data on this subject, and I have just finished adding it to the database. Included are 142 new design codes and (unsurprisingly) 142 new diagram numbers. I have also added the codes to the relevant batches and photos, although not yet to the data blocks on the photos themselves.

As a by-product of this process, I found a few batches where the data I had was incorrect. This mainly concerned the coach ('side') numbers of some EMUs, so most people will not be too bothered. The entries have now been corrected but, for the record, the errors were:
DMS coaches in 745/1 units are 313101-313110, not 313001-313010
MS coaches in 710/1 units are 431201-431231, not 431401-431431
MS coaches in 710/2 units are 432256-432273, not 432456-432473
PTS-B coaches in 755/4 units are 981401-981424, not 981501-981524
Coaches 421130-421174 in 387/1 units are DMS, not DMC.

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User Sightings now enabled
Posted on Thursday 21st January 2021 by Thomas Young

Among a variety of updates just published are new pages that allow users to add their own sightings. The pages are a little bit complex but I have added guidance tips. If anyone would like to try out the process I would be interested in hearing about any problems or suggestions. I am deliberately not going to say any more about how to use (or even find) the pages!

Users can also now add their own listings. These have to be done one at a time so, if you have lots of information, please get in touch and I can look at loading it through the 'back door'.

As user-added sightings and listings are subject to the same approval process as the notes, I have added colour-coded status indicators to various pages. These should be self-explanatory. Finally there is a new page to view the latest additions to various tables, this being 'Additions' in the News menu.

Of course users won't be able to add sightings of items if the numbers are not yet in the database. Over the next week or two I hope to add some of the missing data from the past few years.

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More new photos
Posted on Monday 18th January 2021 by Thomas Young

Another 256 photos have just been uploaded, all taken by Derek Everson in the last 3 months of 2020. Lots of boxes and hoppers feature but worthy of note are...

The latest HOA-B hoppers for Mendip Rail are in Touax red. I don't think I can recall any private-owner hoppers being red before...

Believed to be internal user 083646, this wagon seen at Eastleigh Depot had a Freightliner bar coupling adaptor at one end and was loaded with a portable fuel tank.

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New Photos, Old Photos and Very Old Photos
Posted on Wednesday 13th January 2021 by Thomas Young

Work on various additional functions is still underway (users should be able to add sightings and listings within a week or two) but today's update features 138 more photos. I received two batches of photos last week, to which I have added some more of my late father's.

First up are 18 taken by Merfyn Jones in and around Llandudno Junction between the mid-1980s and mid-2000s. Some interesting types are featured.

460001 was originally an SAA steel carrier, renumbered when it was rebuilt as a prototype SPA plate wagon. When photographed it had been further rebuilt as an RRA runner wagon.

B787270 was one of many BR Ferry Vans to later see use as RBX barrier wagons.

The second set comprises 102 taken by Derek Everson, mainly at Eastleigh in autumn 2020 (between lockdowns!). There are a lot of 'mundane' types but two highlights are shown below.

The curious 'Rail Adventure' branding is seen on several former Cargowaggon flats used as runners for deliveries of new South Western Railway class 701 EMUs.

99.70.9515.004-8 is one of several 'Railvac' units built on former container wagon underframes. Strangely these retain their KFA TOPS codes.

I still have lots more of Derek's photos to add, both from later in 2020, and some from earlier years.

The final set is 18 photos taken in the early 1960s by Graham Young (my father). The subjects are mainly departmental coaches, most of which were already ancient when photographed. The photos are fairly good quality, having been scanned from negatives a few years ago.

An ex Great Eastern 6-wheel coach (with solid wheels) seen in departmental service.

There are a couple of wagons but the brake van is perhaps not the most interesting aspect of this photo taken in Newcastle in 1965!

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Going round in circles
Posted on Wednesday 6th January 2021 by Thomas Young

I was itching to get started on adding data and information to this website (i.e. doing what I originally created the site for) but I soon remembered that some of the admin pages (for adding and editing information) still need to be added, while many others need to be upgraded from the rather basic versions created earlier. So, I did a bit, but it is hard work, pages that change the database records having to be very carefully created and tested to ensure that they don't (for example) overwrite all records in a table rather than just one specific record. I also wanted to do something that users could actually see, not a page that only I would ever use.

So, I decided to spend an hour or two writing a news item about all the various new class codes introduced over the past few years. This was partly to help me to remember the difference between classes 710, 720, 730 etc! Anyway, the task took much longer than expected, mainly because I had to keep referring back to numerous different books and magazines to get information such as delivery dates. And that is precisely why I designed this website in the first place; to gather together bits of information that are currently scattered across various different sources. So, I needed to start adding data, but then I remembered.... RETURN TO TOP!

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LTSV-RD now open
Posted on Friday 1st January 2021 by Thomas Young

This website is now open and available for use. There are some gaps but these will be addressed over the coming weeks/months. My thanks go to the volunteers who have helped with testing of the site over the past week.

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Ho Ho Ho, new pictures!
Posted on Friday 25th December 2020 by Thomas Young

One thing I have been looking forward to doing is to make use of a bundle of photos sent to me over the past few years by Nathan Stockman. With the Christmas Day TV offerings looking very poor, I decided to spend this evening preparing them.

These photos are rather special for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are of very high quality. The 'high-definition' option I recently added to this website hardly does justice to the amount of detail on the originals. Secondly, they feature many types not shown before (mainly because they never come to London), including lots of my favourite bogie steel carriers. Thirdly, Nathan went the extra mile, tooling himself up to remove vegetation from in front of many of the long-stored wagons at Margam!

There are 54 photos in this set, a few highlights from which are shown below.

A BBA in almost original condition.

The unique prototype CDA china-clay wagon.

A double rarity. CEA covered hoppers did not last long, and there was only one with experimental suspension.

A long-withdrawn former Tilcon PGA hopper.

Some of the odd-looking NACCO china-clay TEAs.

A couple of the VXA generator vans used with the cable-drum carrying train.

Note added Sat 26/12/2020 by Nat37670
Category: Other/General
Merry Christmas Tom. Nice to see the photos 'live'. I still regularly visit the old yards at Margam, most of the stuff I sent from there has met the cutters torch and been replaced by things like WIA car carriers. Not very Welsh!

It Lives!
Posted on Thursday 24th December 2020 by Thomas Young

A large part of this website was finally unleashed onto the internet last night and, apart from a few small glitches, it seems to be working OK. The pages that feature big queries (that have to check through hundreds of thousands of records) have a reasonable response time, and the layouts work on a variety of screen sizes. Some of the pages were uploaded in an incomplete state and I will work on these over the next week, while also dealing with any bugs that are found. All being well, a full launch on 1st January should be possible.

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Getting closer...
Posted on Monday 7th December 2020 by Thomas Young

There are various reasons for the continued delay to getting this website to a state in which it can be launched, chief among which are its size and complexity. I was also perhaps somewhat over-ambitious in deciding to create this website at the same time as maintaining an existing one (the original LTSV) AND also developing two other new sites (LTSV-LTA and LTSV-RRV, both of which are admittedly considerably smaller). Still, I hope to be able to finally go on-line around the end of 2020. Having said that, I made the rash decision a couple of days ago to include member registration and log-in from day one. This will allow people to (hopefully) make a start on adding notes and comments, but it does mean that I need to do a lot of testing to ensure that the processes are robust and reliable. It should be an interesting few weeks!

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More whinging
Posted on Monday 2nd November 2020 by Thomas Young

Having learnt my lesson the hard way a couple of years ago, I now do fairly comprehensive back-ups once a month. These include all my saved photos, documents, scans, e-mails etc and amount to about 350GB. One of my back-up drives conked out a few months ago so, having bought a new one, I decided to use this for the 1st November back-up. With the new PC I bought in February, the full back-up process had reduced from over 5 hours to about 2. However, yesterday's took a painful 18 hours, for reasons that I can't explain. Ho hum.

On the bright side, I have taken advantage of my recent troubles to make progress in other areas. While my PC was away for repair I did a lot of work on the texts of the background articles for this website. And during yesterday's back-up I could not do any do page design work, but I was able to test the process for adding notes by inputting a few dozen about rolling stock changes in 1986. These were mainly about locos, coaches and units, though I do intend to focus mainly on wagons.

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Posted on Saturday 31st October 2020 by Thomas Young

If I was a superstitious person I could well believe that fate does not want me to finish this website. I do seem to have had a string of unconnected problems and setbacks, the latest of which was when my new(ish) PC developed a fault in early October. It had to go away for repair (apparently to Germany), and this meant that most of the month was lost. Still, I will press on until I feel that the first stage is ready to go up.

No notes have been left yet. ?There may be some notes posted but which have not yet been approved.