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Valley Lines Day Ranger

Text and all photos by Phil Evans

Saturday 18th July 1987

This was a Day Rover fare available to everyone on the Cardiff Valleys Lines as a form of compensation for the disruption arising from the introduction of the new timetable in May of that year, and I decided to take advantage of it and to take some more photos of the old order DMUs before they were replaced with the dreaded Sprinters.

I caught the 09:13 Treherbert to Barry Island from Treorchy after buying my ticket from the staffed ticket office and travelled in Derby Class 116 DMS 53908 of set C315 as far as Pontypridd where I waited for the Merthyr train, the 08:57 Barry Island to Merthyr. The eleven minute wait soon passed and I sat in the rear car, DMS 51148 of set C333 in the back seat having a rear facing view through the empty drivers cab. There were a few people on the train so this offer had obviously brought people out for the day. It was an uneventful trip to the terminus at Merthyr Tydfil and as it was a six minute turnaround time I took three shots of 51148 as this was now leading back down the valley as the 10:32 to Cardiff Central.

I noted that this car had been “Valley Trained”, it had the Tren y Cwm Valley Train branding which had been applied to the network and the front had a red vee line and red dragon logo on the front as well as the set number C333 in red.

As quite a few people had got on I found a seat in the trailer car 59445 for a quieter ride down to Cardiff Central, duly arriving at 11:22, and the train steadily filled up with shoppers for Pontypridd and Cardiff Queen Street en-route.


At Central, platform 1 had the 11:32 to Birmingham New Street formed of Derby Class 116 T332 with plain yellow end and black set numbers each end and the TS332 set boards in the cab at each end clearly displayed. The Motor Cars were 53880 and 53071. It was a three car set with the WM logo on it as well and I took some photos as that left its exhaust fumes drifting down towards the platforms. I must apologise for not getting the centre car numbers now as it was a bit too much to remember having to take a photo of each end of a moving train, then write it down!

The first image shows M53071 of T322 (which has a 101 centre car) trailing out of Cardiff Central on the 11:32 to Birmingham New Street.

I have left out the diesel loco bits for this and I just moved around between platforms taking photos as and when I felt like a change, I've also not bothered about HSTs as they were still in that debate of loco hauled or super DMU.


A move to platform 3 allowed me to photograph Gloucester Class 119 DMSL 51087 shunt out of platform 2 on ECS, this was carrying set number C590 in black stickers and apart from a full yellow front had headlight at the bottom centre.


A stroll over the other side and I photographed Derby Class 116 C332 formed of 51147, TS and 51132 again both cars had the red vee line and dragon, with set number C332 in black, working the 11:27 Barry Island – Rhymney.


Moving to the other end and the 11:42 ex-Coryton arrived in the form of BRCW Class 118 three car set C470 the power cars, 51313 and 51328 having red vee line and dragon and black set number.


A nice surprise was a loco hauled set(s) of Class 117 Pressed Steel units with last car 51360 of set C422 having its rear bogie on a wheel skate. This set had a full yellow end and black set number stickers, the C looked as if it had been hastily applied over L or B – were these new transfers to Canton or just coming back for repairs?


The first two car set was seen and photographed, it was a Class 108 Derby power twin set C900 formed of 51919 which had the set number in black and had a red vee line and dragon and Valley Train logo. Its companion 52048 had black set number and full yellow front end and no logos on the nearside, it was working the 11:50 Penarth to Treherbert.


Next up was the 10:50 ex-Hereford, a six car formation, Class 117 Pressed Steel 51353 of L416 full yellow front and black set number one end of the PS unit, with Derby Class 116 53864 of C318 the other end on the Class 116 unit, which had the red vee line and dragon and black set number on the front and Valley Train logo on the side. I know which set I would have travelled in!


The 11:57 Barry Island to Merthyr had Derby Class 116 unit C331 and I photographed 51145 with red vee line, dragon and set number. Then, shock, horror! – a dreaded plastic in the form of 150119 arrived on the 10:02 ex-Birmingham New Street – a vision of the future and reminder why I was photographing DMU after DMU.


After I recovered, another two car Derby Class 108 appeared, 53625 with full yellow front and black set number C922 on the 12:20 Penarth – Treherbert, the rear car was obscured by the plastic and I missed it – Grr!.

Oh well that’s life, Derby 116 C317 DMBS was caught on the 12:27 Barry Island – Rhymney with a red vee line and dragon and black set number, closely followed by Class 118 C470 shuffling back as the 12:42 ex-Coryton.

The sight of the 150 must have disturbed me as the next series of shots were taken at Cathays, although I have not noted what service I travelled on to get there. Class 116 C331 DMS 51145 was photographed passing on the 13:32 Merthyr to Cardiff, red vee line, dragon and set number.

A short stroll from the station and there is a footbridge over the Rhymney lines about 200 yards north of Queen Street station so that was my next set up point. The 14:12 Coryton to Penarth duly appeared in the form of Derby Class 116 set C312, power cars 53843 and 53896 sporting the red vee line and dragon with black set numbers and Valley Train Tren y Cwm logo on side. Derby 116 set C331 on the 14:27 Cardiff Central to Ystrad Mynach was again noted, another six or seven minute turnaround time, 51132 had the red vee line and set number only on the front – no dragon, 51145 however had red vee line, dragon and set number as previously noted.


The 14:06 Ystrad Mynach to Barry Island formed of 116 set C315 had 53908 and 53855 both carrying red vee line and dragon with black set numbers and Valley Train Tren y Cwm logos on sides.


A few steps along the footbridge and I could get some reasonable shots of the Pontypridd line so that was next, Class 108 twin C922 obliged on the 13:43 Treherbert to Cardiff Central, 53625 had a full yellow end and black set number whilst its companion 52045 also had a full yellow end and black set numbers but was sporting white lamp irons – obviously fairly recently overhauled or spruced up for a special trip.

The 14:20 Penarth to Treherbert formed of 116 set C332 had both 51147 and 51134 with red vee lines and dragon and black set numbers and Valley Train Tren y Cwm logo on the side.


C922 was seen again, this time as the 14:49 Cardiff Central to Coryton – a seven minute turnaround if everything went to time – not bad.

C470 was noted passing on the 14:42 Coryton to Cardiff Central, details already noted earlier.

Enough had here and I walked back to Central in time to note Class 116 53856 of C316 with red vee line and dragon and black set number leave on the 16:12 Coryton to Penarth in the drizzle which had just started.


Another Class 118 BRCW set in the form of C465 was seen on the 1606 Ystrad Mynach to Barry Island, power cars 51307 and 51322 both having the red vee line and dragon with black set numbers and Valley Train logo on the sides.

Similarly Derby Class 116 set C334 with its power cars 51139 and 51152 had the same logos etc. and it was working the 15:57 Barry Island to Merthyr. A quick step across the platforms and Pressed Steel Class 117 DMS 51406 was at platform 2 on the 16:45 to Hereford, black set number and full yellow ends.


Another plastic, 150129 arrived on the 14:02 from Birmingham and shortly after, Tyseley class 116 set T321 with power cars 53907 and 53854 with black set numbers and TS321 set boards in the cabs and WM logo arrived on the 15:30 ex-Hereford.

The 16:27 Barry Island to Rhymney shuffled by with C465 which had been noted earlier and finally on the up relief line at the Canton end Swansea Metro Cammell set S801 drew to a halt on a reversing manoeuvre so I took a photo of 51446 which had the full yellow end with black set number and headlamp fairly close to the nearside tail lamp.


I'd had enough now especially as it was raining, so I caught the 17:34 back to Treorchy (the 17:20 Penarth to Treherbert) and sat in the trailer car 59035 for a quiet ride back.

I'd had a nice day, managed to photograph some more units and now some 18 years later had another pleasant afternoon reliving memories as I looked at the slides and my notes and tried to put the day in to words – all I need for Christmas now is a slide copier/scanner!

Just to confirm, all the Class 116 Valley sets ie C3xx, C4xx and the visiting LMR sets were operating as three car sets, the only specific two car sets were mentioned as such in the article. Set S801 I cannot confirm if it was a two or three, I cant read the second vehicle number to see if it is 51 or 59.

(Details of the sets operating in South Wales in 1987 can be found in the data section).

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