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Class 120 Swindon 3-car DMUs


Operations - LMR

In the late '60s, 22 sets were transferred from the WR to Derby, to replace the less successful Cravens and BRCW units.

The Derby Etches Park sets covered a wide range of duties from the late '60s to 1986, including longer distance summer or relief work to the East Coast and Wales. They worked the Lincoln - Crewe line and associated services to Grantham, Leicester, Birmingham and Matlock, and certain services to Bradford, Cambridge, Skegness and Cleethorpes. On summer Saturdays they worked to Llandudno, and Birmingham - Norwich before the introduction of loco-hauled sets. Deputation for late running expresses saw trips to St Pancras, Bristol and York. Excursions took them to Whitby, Keighley, Appleby, Blackpool and Kings Cross. They were used extensively from the East Midlands on excursions, both BR sponsored and private to a variety of destinations, often over unfamiliar routes. Most weekends from spring to Christmas saw at least one Etches Park Class 120 on hire.

In 1977 seven sets were transferred from the Cardiff to Chester in exchange for Gloucester build Cross-Country sets, followed by a further four by 1980. All the Chester sets (ex-Central Wales 2-cars) and some at Derby had their trailers replaced by Met-Camm trailers, although other types were also used, such as BRCW 59206 and Class 107 59794.

In 1981 three ex-Inverness sets moved from Ayr (AY) to Derby, and NH received 2 sets from the WR. By 1983 there were 31 sets at Derby, 17 at NH and 14 at Chester.

On the 2nd March 1981 a set was used on the 05.54 Derby - Poole (normally loco hauled). It terminated at Basingstoke, the passengers transferring to Waterloo - Bournemouth /Poole services to complete their journeys.

The class made a rare visit to St Pancras on October 9th 1982 when two 3-car sets, including one ex-Inverness set, were used on a Chartex from Nottingham.

By Spring 1985 the LMR had a sizable allocation of the Class. Newton Heath had 25 3-car sets, of these six had Met-Camm trailers and 2 had BRCW trailers. 59256, despite being nominaly withdrawn, was working with 53428/53450 (both brakes). Chester had just eight sets left, many having moved to Newton Heath. All had Met-Camm trailers, transferred from the ER around 1983 when the Met-Camm triples and quads were shuffled around.

By Sep/Oct '85 there were just three sets left at Chester, all with 101 trailers, and along with the other Chester stock they worked a vast area including Manchester, Crewe, North Wales, Shrewsbury and the Cambrian Coast. Newton Heath now had 26 sets, mainly working Blackpool services. While not used for many years, the buffet counters were still intact, even the four small sideways seats opposite the buffet. A few still had 101/BRCW trailers. Derby Etches Park had 27 sets, some with 101 trailers, a few of the sets had been refurbished, the most notable being 53692 / 59301 / 53708 which had cream panelling, orange vestibules and brown seats in the former first class section.

At the start of 1986 Derby had 25 sets, NH 16, and Chester 4. The Class 150s took over the remaining Derby diagrams from the 20th January 1986. Seven Etches Park sets (14 power cars and 4 centre cars) then moved to Ayr to help with Class 107 problems. Also in January seven Etches Park sets (14 power cars and 10 centre cars) were withdrawn and others moved to Tyseley and Chester.

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