XP 64 coaches

Cowley

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Evening folks.

I’ve been meaning to ask about the XP64 coaches for a while now and keep forgetting.
I’ve never actually seen one in real life (that’s real life, not makebelieve life ;)).
I seem to remember that the NYMR had some a few years ago, but what happened to them and how many of the original coaches survived?
D1733 (47853 in new money) which was the launch loco was a bit of a favourite of mine in later years. But does anyone remember seeing the loco and associated stock when it was originally launched?
It must have been so different to the green locos and maroon stock that was the standard fare back then.
Love to hear of any memories or interesting facts about it from the 60s.
 
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Ash Bridge

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I think four XP64s were originally purchased for preservation by the North Yorkshire Moors Rly & Dean Forest , 4728, 4729,13408 & 25508. I honestly haven't a clue if they are still operational though, I managed to photograph virtually a full rake of them behind a WR Class 47 passing Ash Bridge signalbox during 1973 on a special working, I could try to dig out the slide and scan it if you wish Mr C?
 

Cowley

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Please please do that Mr Bridge and isn’t this a bit past your bedtime? :lol::lol::lol:
 

2392

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Yes there was a pair based on the N.Y.M.R. from the early eighties, they actually belonged to the Diesel Traction Group. The unfortunate downfall of the surviving XP64s is the insulation used [it being of the Blue variety] and they were pretty well abandoned when the D.T.G. moved on in the late eighties, early nineties. So they were sealed up and left on the long siding in Pickering. They have since left for the Wensleydale Railway at Northallerton, who intend to decontaminate them and restore they to running order. Which could be a very costly business indeed, when you consider the amounts that the Moors and others have spent on removing the minor amounts on the likes of the steam heating main, slung underneath most older coaches.
 

Cowley

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Thanks for that, very interesting.
It seems that there used to be three others at The Dean Forest Railway but they were scrapped about 6 years ago. So does this mean that the above mentioned pair are the only ones left?
I’ll do a bit of digging later when I get time.
 

D60

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I experienced travel aboard XP64 stock on one occasion towards the end of their life on the main line. This was between Bristol and Cardiff, circa 1982(?).
I seem to think there were either 2 or 3 of the XP64 vehicles in a train of maybe 6 or so Mk1 carriages.
It was the doors/vestibules that struck me as being non-standard (that being my usual favoured position in the carriage in those days).
Can any other members confirm that Bristol to Cardiff was their usage at this time, whether they were allocated/diagrammed for specific services, where they were based (Cardiff?), how many were still in use at the end, and of which configuration(s), and when they were finally withdrawn from service..?
 

D60

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Poking about on the internet indicates that my memory of them from that time needs clarifying slightly..!

1980 would be very much more likely for my Bristol to Cardiff experience of them...

According to the Vintage Carriages Trust online register, the ones that entered preservation did so in 1981... (although how guaranteed or secure is 'preservation' always..? I was aware of the ones at the Dean Forest Railway, wasn't aware that they don't survive, see post above. And the VCT register describes the Wensleydale pair(?) as "at risk"..)

Late in their BR career they could be found on Cardiff to Weymouth trains, and there's an album of pics of them on these online (sorry can't share link on this phone). These are descibed as summer Saturday services... maybe their regular year-round weekday use at this time was Bristol to Cardiff morning and afternoon peak services..?

These pics show that their non-standard experimental bi-fold doors had been replaced by standard conventional Mk1 doors during a mid-life rebuild (said elsewhere to be in 1971). So I'm not sure what my memory of the apparent difference was, apart from maybe the difference in alignments at solebar level. (This obvious difference was retained throughout their lives... Another difference was the windows.. slightly less deep, possibly slightly longer, and with different sliding vents than on standard Mk1s, prefiguring those adopted for the early Mk2s.)

There's also a short b&w British Pathé film from 1964 on YouTube (sorry can't post link) of the XP64 launch, called "Train of Tomorrow", with exterior and interior sequences, showing certain of the experimental features which were adopted for future builds of BR 'express passenger' stock (the Mk2 builds from 1965 onwards) and others which weren't..

Also a BR publicity photo from the NRM archive online, of the bright new modern image of D1733 and the Derby-built XP64 stock in the Derbyshire landscape, launching BR's new 'corporate image' incorporating an early interpretation of 'blue and grey' (described here as applied as 'turquoise blue and ivory' rather than what became standard from 1965/6 onwards) and double arrows logo on a red background (as widely adopted except for on rolling stock!) and yellow front warning panel (which I think was already being applied at this time, and was thus an incidental part of the new image, but incorporated nonetheless).

So XP64 for 'express passenger' and 'experimental', heralding new design features and a new 'corporate image' for BR, and in many ways a prototype for future builds of Mk2s (although the actual prototype Mk2 carriage was being built at Swindon works in the same year, and was turned out in standard maroon!).

All in all a key stage in the development of BR, both for passenger stock development and image/identity... Let's hope the survivors can be saved...

(I like them a lot, and the whole image that came with them, in part because I date from 1964 also :) )
 

notverydeep

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Thanks for that, very interesting.
It seems that there used to be three others at The Dean Forest Railway but they were scrapped about 6 years ago. So does this mean that the above mentioned pair are the only ones left?
I’ll do a bit of digging later when I get time.
The Vintage Carriages Trust database suggests that one of the vehicles on the Dean Forest Railway, the TSO 4729 was still extant in 2016, however it does record the SK 25509 being scrapped in 2007 and the presumably unique FK 13407 being scrapped more recently in 2013. See this link http://www.cs.vintagecarriagestrust.org/se/search.asp and set the year to 1964 and there are entries for all five examples that were preserved, albiet now only two or three. Let us hope that the efforts to salvage the two at Wensleydale (TSO 4728 and SK 25508) are successful, but getting funding and / or volunteers for carriage projects is very hard...
 

Cowley

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The are riddled with BLue Asbestos.
PerhaPS BEST DISPOSED OFF!
There’s been stuff preserved that’s had blue asbestos over the years though. Unfortunately like Notverydeep said, getting volunteers and vast amounts of money for projects like these are not easy.
 

Steamysandy

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Shortly after they appeared they were allocated to the southbound "Morning Talisman" and it's return working ( Monday to Friday) but it didn't last long.
I remember seeing it passing East Linton one morning after I'd slept in and been late for work!
The other working had four Pullman Firsts and normal seconds as an experiment.
 

xc170

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In regards to the Asbeston, it's said that if it's undisturbed, it's safe, would it be possible to restore without disturbing it?
 

headshot119

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In regards to the Asbeston, it's said that if it's undisturbed, it's safe, would it be possible to restore without disturbing it?
No! The vehicle would need to be stripped and the asbestos dealt with by a qualified contractor before restoration could begin properly. Unfortunately blue asbestos was regularly sprayed onto the inside of the body-shells as insulation. This means a lot of the interior can't be salvaged as over the years it ends up stuck to the inside of the paneling.
 

BestWestern

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Do any of those 'Leyland National' carriages survive? Not the railbuses, but the loco hauled stock that was built (I assume there were more than one)?
 

Ash Bridge

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Just the one apparently, RDB977091, BR did earmark another ex mk1 chassis with another departmental number (RDB977171) allocated for a second vehicle, but as passenger response was less than positive the project was quietly dropped. Can't answer your main question about the coaches survival but I would be equally interested to find out.
 

Peter Mugridge

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It survives; it's at Kidwelly:

http://www.ws.vintagecarriagestrust.org/ws/WagonInfo.asp?Ref=2200

Experimental British Leyland coach body (based on Leyland National single-decker bus design) on u/f from BR Mk1 BCK 21234 (qv). Briefly used for testing in train formations on Brighton to Manchester services - not well received. P 1986 by NVR: 5 year loan to EKR (arrived 6/4/91). Some seats in storage, replaced by loose seats. By 02/11: owned by Gwendraeth Railway Society, and from 09/09/11 to Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr Railway at Cynheidre by agreement. By late 2016 / early 2017: returned to Gwendraeth Valley Railway at Kidwelly.
 

LOL The Irony

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BR did earmark another ex mk1 chassis with another departmental number (RDB977171) allocated for a second vehicle, but as passenger response was less than positive the project was quietly dropped.
It also happened around the time BR's relationship with Leyland started to sour.
 

Ash Bridge

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It also happened around the time BR's relationship with Leyland started to sour.
After some further reading yesterday evening it seems it wasn't just the relationship with Leyland that was souring, with adverse criticism in the press and comments such as "BR is reintroducing 3rd class travel" I'm sure I have a rather distant memory of seeing this coach in service passing through Stockport, it had a rather smaller profile than the other 'proper' coaches it was sandwiched between. It does beg the question what was it's structural integrity compared to a regular mk1 or mk2?
 

Bletchleyite

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After some further reading yesterday evening it seems it wasn't just the relationship with Leyland that was souring, with adverse criticism in the press and comments such as "BR is reintroducing 3rd class travel" I'm sure I have a rather distant memory of seeing this coach in service passing through Stockport, it had a rather smaller profile than the other 'proper' coaches it was sandwiched between. It does beg the question what was it's structural integrity compared to a regular mk1 or mk2?
Certainly stronger than a Mk1, unlike a Mk1 body the Leyland National body is structural. Don't know about a Mk2.
 

Cowley

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Certainly stronger than a Mk1, unlike a Mk1 body the Leyland National body is structural. Don't know about a Mk2.
Would it really be stronger though if in an accident it was basically a lightweight bus body in the middle of a load of heavy railway carriages?
I don’t think I’d want to be in one during an accident.
 

Bletchleyite

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Would it really be stronger though if in an accident it was basically a lightweight bus body in the middle of a load of heavy railway carriages?
I don’t think I’d want to be in one during an accident.
Yes, because a Mk1 is a weak body on a strong underframe, while a National is a stronger body on a strong underframe. This is why a Pacer is safer than a Mk1 and despite being an underframed design is not considered as the same thing.
 

Ash Bridge

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Would it really be stronger though if in an accident it was basically a lightweight bus body in the middle of a load of heavy railway carriages?
I don’t think I’d want to be in one during an accident.
2 joined together sat on a mk1 chassis apparently, but that aside my thought was similar to yours.
 

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