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Class 120 Swindon 3-car DMUs

Operations - Central Wales

The Central Wales line, with its long hills and ungated level crossings were mainly worked by five two-car 120s beginning in 1964.

In 1970 an extra train was added each day and so an additional set was formed. 50686 and 50733 had been in store but were reinstated to form set CTN605. Also the power cars in CTN604 were switched with those from set BL507, CTN604 now being 50681 and 50701 and BL507 now containing 51579 and 51588 along with centre car 59286. In May 1970 the six sets were formed as:

600 50664 50702

A BR Photo Unit picture taken on the Central Wales line at Pantyffynnon showing a token exchange between the driver of headlamp fitted C616 and the signalman. Date not known. Courtesy of Tom Clift.

After the mid-1982 influx of Met-Camms suffered asbestos problems and required heater & fuel modifications, two 3-car 120s were kept at Cardiff for West and Central Wales services. The two sets, C615 & C616, with extra headlamps, were originally Inverness sets.

Sets were also used in the North Wales line, such as 20:35 ex-Crewe, noted in Aug '83 was having an ex-works refurbished set 51783/59683/51792 working. This was the first of the batch of seven ScR sets to be refurbished (in June '77), when it was ScR set 300. It moved to Cardiff in April '80 becoming set C620. In 1982 it moved to the LMR.

A Cardiff set was noted on an unusual route on the 4th January 1983 when C615 was to be found working between Paddington and Oxford.

The class survived on the Central Wales line until May 1984 when the WR rid itself of its AEC units, these being replaced by Met-Camms from Bristol. The 120s went to Chester and Newton Heath (for Blackpool services). The Cardiff based power cars had an extra headlamp for extra visibility on the line.

The WR sets have covered the whole of the region, sets having been allocated to Bristol, Cardiff, Plymouth, Reading and Birmingham.

Cardiff - Crewe

The class operated a new Cardiff - Crewe service from 1970. The Canton based sets allocated to the services in May 1970 were:

501  50683 ? ?  
502 50693  59294  50735  (or 50693/59299/50738)
503 50653 59268 50707  
504 50679 59291 50727  
510 50668 59275 50721  
511 50675 59262 50716  
512 50648 59296 50706  
516 50660 59266 50729  
520 50674 59278 50723 (or buffet 59270)
524 50662 59260 50699  
526 50682 59288 50726  
530 50691 59277 50728  
533 50694 59279 50732  

W50723 was out of use with mechanical issues meaning set CTN had not been in use by May 28th 1970. The buffets were reinstated for these trains, and an extra power car was added to each train (locked out of use) for time-keeping purposes. Four vehicles were allocated to this, two being Class 120s - 50666 and 50712, ex-Laira set LA510, now CTN 606/1 and 606/2, and two Class 121s 55025 and 55026 being CTN 101 and 102.

120 DMU

The image shows the 09:40 Crewe to Cardiff service at Ludlow station in mid-1973. Andrew Cope.

The buffets were taken out of use from January 25th 1976.

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