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Class 121 Pressed Steel Single / 2-car DMUs


Non-Passenger Use

Original New  Set No.  Type   Details   From   To
55020 ADB977722  960002  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner. Returned to passenger use.   1/92   8/99
55021 ADB977723  960021  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner   11/91   @2011
55022 DB977873  960014  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner   9/93   ?
55024 ADB977858  960010  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner   9/93   ?
55025 ADB977859  960011  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner till 2000. Video Survey Unit for Balfour Beatty till 2004, then Route Learner again. Nicknamed 'Pandora'   9/93   ?
55026 TDB977824  T005  DMBS   Sandite   10/92   2/94
55027 977975  960302  DMBS   Severn Tunnel Emergency Unit   12/02   4/08
55028 ADB977860  960012  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner   9/93   4/09
55029 977968    DMBS   Camera Unit (Eurailscout GB)   2/02   ?
55030 ADB977866  960013  DMBS   Sandite / Route Learner   9/93   ?
55031 977976  960303  DMBS   Severn Tunnel Emergency Unit   12/02   4/08
55032 ADB977842  T007  DMBS   Sandite, later preserved then returned to passenger use   12/92   2/94
55033 TDB977826  T003  DMBS   Sandite   10/92   2/94
55034 DB977828  T004  DMBS   Sandite   10/92   6/96
55035 ADB975659  L103 / L135  DMBS   Route Learner   7/78   4/92
56281 ADB977615    DTS   Sandite   3/88   11/89
56285 TDB977486  960006  DTS   Sandite   12/86   1996
56286 TDB977466    DTS   Sandite   10/86   1996

In 1993 two, nos. 55021, already in departmental use, and 55023, were transferred away from OOC to Bletchley for use on the Bletchley to Bedford line and the other diesel powered lines then under North London Railway's control. In due course four Class 121s were to be resident at Bletchley nos. 55023, 27, 29 & 31. 55023 was repainted in dark green in 3/93 and 27, 29 & 31 into NSE livery.

The units have also proved to be useful as route learning vehicles and/or Sandite units. The following were converted to that use :- nos. 55020, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 33 & 34. 55035 was in departmental use from 1978 as a route learning car until scrapping in 1992.

Vehicles used for route learning often had an extra full bodyside window or two half windows fitted in the guard's van area.

A grille fitted in place of a window in the centre of a vehicle was a sign that it was fitted with a generator.

There was quite an assortment of liveries carried by the non-passenger vehicles - Rail Blue, Blue / Grey, Network South East, Railtrack tan / white / grey, Railtrack Maroon, Railtrack Blue / Lime Green (Balfour Beatty markings), Railtrack Blue / Lime Green (no markings), South West Trains, Blue / Grey with Chiltern markings, Eurailscout GB yellow, Network Rail yellow.

Sandite 977858 (set 960010) was given a maroon livery. It is seen below passing through Amersham, returning to Aylesbury on the 4th Dec. 01. Colin Cooke.

Balfour Beatty 121

After sandite / route learning some went on to other work. The next images shows 960011 (977859), seen whilst at Skegness during the morning of Friday, February 23rd, 2001. It filmed the rail system for Balfour Beatty Rail.Peter, Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire Transport Review.

977860 (ex-55028) had it's sandite gear removed, a basic internal revamp, body repairs and a repaint at the Midland Railway Centre during Sep. - Dec. 2001. From there it went to Ashford for mechanical work before intending to be returned to the National Network as a second camera for Balfour Beatty Rail. The two vehicles were only leased by the firm, they are still owned by Railtrack who demanded they were painted into their livery. The decals on 977860 were to be applied at Ashford by the same firm that did the first one so that they matched. The image shows it leaving the C&W shed at Butterley in the fading light of the 20th Dec. 01.

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