Class 124 questions

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by NoMorePacers, 17 Jan 2020.

  1. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Hello,

    I just wanted to ask 2 questions about the Class 124s. Namely:

    1) What services did they operate towards the end of their lives?

    2) What units replaced them?

    I would be very thankful for any answers.
     
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  3. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    I think one of their last "homes" was the Manchester / Sheffield fasts, often in mixed formations formed from Classes 123 & 124.
    Replacenents included Class 31s with about 4 coaches - initially including Mark 1 stock, but later mostly replaced by early Mark 2 stock.
     
  4. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Bevan - Was that seen as an improvement at the time over the 124s? I don’t think I ever rode on one so no experience of them.
     
  5. Bevan Price

    Bevan Price Established Member

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    Apart from the engine noise, there was little difference. Classes 123 & 124 were based on the Mark 1 coach designs.

    And the 123/124s were a vast improvement over the MetCam Class 101 etc. that had been used since fast services were moved from the Woodhead route to the Hope Valley route. Class 101s are now viewed through rose-tinted spectacles by many, but in practice many of them rode almost as badly as Pacers once they got much above 40-50 mph.
    I am not certain why the Classes 123 & 124 had such short lives - they were much better than almost all of the other 1st generation dmus
     
  6. anthony kelly

    anthony kelly Member

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    Yes that all sounds about right but I seem to remember them running out off hull.aswell to Sheffield
     
  7. Richard Scott

    Richard Scott Member

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    Did asbestos kill them off? May have been cheaper to use surplus loco hauled stock than strip them?
     
  8. deltic14

    deltic14 Member

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    Asbestos was certainly a significant factor in their demise which is why they were all disposed of very quickly in the firing tunnel of Mayer Newman within months of withdrawal. They were common on all the Hull / Sheffield / Manchester route and were mixed in with the former class 123 vehicles. I even saw a set at Lancaster in August 1983.
     
  9. delt1c

    delt1c Established Member

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    The 123's were said to be the finest riding 1st gen DMU's as they were fitted with B4 bogies unfortunatley the 124's rode poorly as with other 1st gen units, shame they weren,t rebogied with B4's
     
  10. Merthyr Imp

    Merthyr Imp Member

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    Class 123/124 sets also worked Newark North Gate to Cleethorpes services in the early 1980s. Sorry I haven't got the exact date for this photo:

    DMU at Lincoln 1980s.jpg
     
  11. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    You’ve got some great stuff in your collection Merthyr Imp. Lovely stuff.
     
  12. Edders23

    Edders23 Member

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    I remember the old 124 sets(5car after buffets removed late 60's I believe) did the Manc Victoria to Stalybridge Huddersfield leeds to Hull route and were very powerful (for a DMU) but got replaced by loco hauled sets on this route once HST's were introduced elsewhere releasing locos and coaches for cascade

    Once the 123's became surplus to requirements the two fleets were combined and 4 car Hybrid sets created which worked the hope valley and other routes including Sheffield to Cleethorpes and were tried out on other routes

    But BR decided loco hauled short sets would be better for trade and were very keen on getting rid of anything with asbestos insulation so they along with the 120 sets and others disappeared into the scrap yards
     
  13. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    There is lots of information here about the Class 124s and the 123s - and the website has details on all the other varieties of first generation BR dmus and the railbuses.

    https://www.railcar.co.uk/type/class-124/

    https://www.railcar.co.uk/type/class-123/
     
  14. Welshman

    Welshman Established Member

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    Although built originally for the Hull-Leeds City- Manchester Exchange & Liverpool Lime St service, they were occasionally used for excursions on a Sunday, eg. from Leeds to Blackpool. One I particularly remember seeing advertised, but unfortunately did not manage to ride, was from Leeds to Towyn. From what I can piece together, it ran via Huddersfield, Stalybridge, Manchester, Chester, Ruabon, Llangollen and what was then Barmouth Junction. I suppose in those days of the joined-up railway, it was slightly easier to timetable and plan such a journey.

    As has been stated upstream, I believe the presence of asbestos contributed to their early demise. A pity.
     
  15. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    A lot non-standard about these which may have caused compatibility issues
    Albion engines
    Pullman corridor connections
    Buckeye couplings

    all would tend to make mix-n-match working with other DMU types harder
     
  16. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    101 power cars did occasionally work with the 124s, sometimes substituting for a 124 leading power car. Not sure if they used gangway adaptors or not though to allow through access.
     
  17. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Yes I’m sure that that’s been covered on here recently. Someone posted a great photo of a 101 getting involved with a Trans Pennine unit. If I hadn’t had a couple of glasses of wine I’d probably be able to remember. :oops:
     
  18. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    I've seen at least two photos on Flickr and one in a book, but no captions ever explained if gangway adaptors were ever used and none of the photos showed the gangway end clearly enough to see.
     
  19. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    I remember seeing these Trans-Pennine formations with an odd Met-Cam driving car on the end in the late 1960s at Liverpool Lime St, and we did indeed discuss them here previously. Another poster said they did look at the gangway connections, and the two incompatible, and unconnected, gangways were just banging loose towards one another. Now the standard dmu gangways were based on the old LMS pattern, whereas the Trans-Pennines and BR Mk 1 stock had the more robust "Pullman" type. But there had been gangway adaptors for hauled stock, when both types were common and mixed, which presumably could have been used for the dmus as well. However, seemingly not.

    I never liked these dmu gangways unconnected, whose security for an unknowing passenger trying the door seemed to depend on a single locking pin. Some of the mixed formations I recall running around Edinburgh in the 1970s were like this semi-permanently, long term, where an extra power car had been added to the cab end of a normal 2-car unit.
     
  20. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Seen a number of photos of sets in and around Edinburgh and the Kingdom running like that, did they have a specific reason for doing that or was it just whatever was available to run, but it appeared to be a common enough thing for a part of the early/mid-1970s as if an operational practice developed for a period. The ScR Met-Camms were delivered as 3-car and ran almost exclusively like that until they were withdrawn and then later re-instated as 2-car power twins.
     
  21. delt1c

    delt1c Established Member

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    Was common thing on The Scr in 70’s. Remember a few times traveling in such combinations on the Shotts line. Usually was a 2 car Cravens with a 101 rages on the front and if memory serves me correct the gangway door locked. Was interesting to look through the door and see a cab bouncing around
     
  22. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    There were quite a number of 2-car sets in Scotland, batches of Met-Cams, Cravens, and the original Gloucester type. In the early 1970s the Gloucester driving trailers were withdrawn, and the power cars used to reinforce the others to 3-cars. There were no conductor ticket sales, and this gave extra both passenger and parcels accommodation, and more power to the sets, which had been failures if one engine shut down but just about ok on 3 out of 4. After a while the formations became very mixed, you could find both power cars together with the driving trailer tacked on, and I even recall, idling away in an east end bay at Waverley (so likely the North Berwick service), a Cravens-plus-MetCam twin with one of the former WR suburban-type single unit power cars inserted in the middle. No gangways connectable at all The Springburn to Cumbernauld shuttle was also notable for oddball combinations on the few times I saw it.

    It was another of those former WR single unit cars, I think one of those converted to an all-parcels interior, standing at exactly the same position at the east end Waverley bays, when I saw two vehicles numbered the same on the railway - it was car 55015, with Deltic 55015 alongside in the Up Main platform on an ECML express.
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2020
  23. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Pretty sure most of this interesting Scottish stuff had ceased by 1978 when I started commuting to school from Fife to Edinburgh. Virtually always a 3-car 101 in standard formation with cabs only at the ends.
     
  24. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

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    Yes, it seems to have settled down at that point until the Ayr depot fire which resulted in far more wacky combinations than before across Scotland.
     
  25. Whisky Papa

    Whisky Papa Member

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    The Calder Valley line certainly had some Class 123 operations in the mid 1980's, alongside Class 120 and what had been the native Class 110. I'm sure there were occasions when Class 124 appeared as well, possibly hybrid units as described above. I recall one evening trip in a compartement on a Class 123 when I had to intervene to deflect the attentions of a passenger towards a solo woman traveller.

    I can also recall dashing from the bus at Littleborough to get into the declassified First Class section of the 120's when they were on the Littleborough-Manchester Victoria shuttle during the Summit Tunnel closure (Nov 84 - Aug 85).
     
  26. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    I'd done my Sassenach Stint just before then, and left Edinburgh, for Teesside, and later Los Angeles … where I was amazed to see pictures of exactly my old youthful spotters' lair in Taunton turn up on the California television news with the Taunton sleeper fire. Anyway, I digress. The standard Met-Cam units were indeed always in the majority, the mixed units less so. There were also just a couple of proper Met-Cam 4-car sets in Scotland, which always looked a bit odd with the brake compartment in one of the trailers. The random formations seemed to start when the Gloucester driving trailers were withdrawn, and then more so when the WCML electrification in 1974 released from the Hamilton Circle and Lanark trains the large batch of Cravens 2-car units, which likewise seemed to be broken up and become loose vehicles.

    A further recollection (don't mind, do you) was an overloaded 3-car set on the afternoon connection to Carstairs into a Glasgow-Manchester electric service, with about a dozen of us at least standing all down the aisle in the front car alone, a Gloucester MBS, possibly the only one I ever rode in. All the way up to the halfway point summit speed gradually fell off to about 45mph, roaring in full power third gear, but at least for us standees it was stable. Over the top and it whipped up to 70mph down the other side but with some notable hunting, which was more of a challenge to hang on.

    Back to the 123s/124s, they may never have worked in Scotland, but the Albion engines were built in their factory in Scotstoun, inner Glasgow.
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2020
  27. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Ironic that after the Leyland implosion, one of the surviving businesses was named Albion - forging axles and propshafts at Leyland, not Scotstoun. Now owned by American Axle....
     
  28. Spartacus

    Spartacus Established Member

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    I can remember seeing a photo of that not long ago in the Llanuwchllyn area!

    Seems it may have been a Halifax - Towyn, presumably a play on words for Halifax Town, unless there was more than one tour https://www.railcar.co.uk/images/1997
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2020
  29. Taunton

    Taunton Established Member

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    One we don't seem to have mentioned, from the late 1960s for some time there was a Trans-Pennine 123 set, presumably spare, assigned to an about 17.30 train from Manchester Victoria to Blackpool South. This followed complaints (apparently a lot) from the Manchester-commuting patrons of South Shore, Lytham, etc, whose equivalent Club Train, Black 5 hauled, had been replaced by the motley 6 or 8 car combinations of various low density dmus on the route. Someone will know better what its overall roster was and thus how it got there.
     
  30. Fleetwood Boy

    Fleetwood Boy Member

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    I think someone has mentioned before how it was diagrammed, but can't remember off the top of my head. By the 1970s (when I saw it), it stabled overnight (there were two platforms available at Blackpool South then) and returned to Manchester Victoria on the morning return working. The equivalent peak time pair to/from Blackpool North was a Class 47 and Mark 1s, and there was also a diagram to/from Blackpool North which involved a Class 40 and Mark 1s which stayed out all day, including another round-trip in the middle of the day. All rather more interesting than now, and the capacity provided for commuting between the Fylde Coast and Manchester was incredible.
     
  31. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

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    That was also probably the main reason that none of them were preserved (plus the fact that they were withdrawn before there was much interest in preserving DMUs). I believe that the North Yorkshire Moors Railway wanted to preserve a 124, but that fell through because of the difficulty and expense of removing the asbestos and a last-minute decision not to run off-peak services in the 1985 operating season so the railway would have had very little use for a DMU.

    Yes, they were also regulars on the Hull-Leeds-Skipton-Lancaster/Morecambe service in their last few years. I believe that they mainly used to work the through trains to and from Hull on this route (which likewise went over to Class 31 haulage with the May 1984 timetable change) but also occasionally saw use on the Leeds-Morecambe locals, which they shared with conventional DMUs such as 101s, 108s and 111s.

    See also this thread on the 124s at https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/trans-pennine-dmu-evolution.165363/ and this thread on Hope Valley line services in the 1970s and 80s at https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/hope-valley-line-services-in-the-1970s-and-80s.159318/
     

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