After production had ceased a vacuum pipe modification was made by the LMR during the mid '60s when its allocation of units received a modified vacuum release pipe mounted beneath the buffer beam, the train pipe remaining in the original position This led to a one up, one down look, which made Midland cans instantly recognisable from other region's units. This modification was also carried out on four ex-ER based power trailer units (50203/6/8/28 56055/8/60/80) which were acquired by the Midland in exchange for the four LMR Rolls Royce powered sets which moved to the ER at NevilIe Hill depot.
Later three more ex-ER vehicles were equipped with the LMR brake pipe mod; 53168, 53218 and 53164. The latter car was the DMBS in green set 101685, fitted in 1992 after it sustained accident damage to the cab front while allocated to CF as part of set C388, with cars 59387 and 53203, the latter also carrying a modified pipe fitted some 27 years earlier when transferred from the ER to the LMR as part of the exchange mentioned above.
Vehicles allocated to the north east were fitted with window bars across the passenger door drop lights to prevent accidents to passengers on some restricted clearance routes in that operating area. These were removed from most if not all vehicles by 1980.
In 1974 a class 101 3-car set was selected as the test bed for the first generation DMU refurbishment scheme, and them many more vehicles were refurbished. For full detail see the refurbishment page.
At the end of 1975 British Rail ordered 300 Leyland 680H diesel engines from Leyland Truck & Bus. The £1¼ million order was to replace the engine in vehicles from Classes 101/119/120. The engine replacement was not part of the refurbishment programme then underway. It was due to the poor availablilty of spares for the original AEC engines.
Delivery commenced in January 1976 at a rate of ten engines a week. They were supplied complete with Leyland fluid couplings and were to drive through the existing mechanical transmissions.
It was quoted that the 680H was the horizontal version of the 680 in use in the majority of London buses, and that for traction use, the engine was de-rated from over 200hp to 181hp, and that even in this de-rated form the new engines provided 20% more power than the previous AEC equipment.
In early 1982 quartz-halogen headlamps began appearing on the Class as they passed through works.
Units transferred to CF in mid-1982 had these fitted by early 1983 for working over the Central Wales line. These had the headlamp off-centre, normally under the cab centre / driver windscreen divider.
Ten Norwich based 3 Car sets were equipped for radio electronic token block signalling during the 1980s for East Suffolk line use. The vehicles fitted could be identified by the large vertically mounted antenna attached to the second man's side of the cab front just to the left of the destination box when viewed from the front.
The details above are from 1986. Norwich swapped vehicles and set numbers frequently.
The image shows one of these sets at Lowestoft, c1990 Peter, Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire Transport Review
After dispersal of these units some vehicles could be seen at depots such as Laira (LA) still sporting the antenna mounting bracket, which projected forward from the cab front.
In 1987 DTC 54356 was selected for use as an observation car to work trains from Inverness to Kyle Of Lochalsh. Repainted in Highland green and cream and numbered 6300 it was fitted with luxury random seating, ETH and new sealed window units.
In the late '80s 53155 became a unique Class 101 DMBC when first class was added to the front saloon when it was part of NSE set L211.
In 1992 the first Facelifted Regional Railways liveried Class 101s made their appearance, initially being allocated to Norwich Crown Point (NC), Cambridge (CA), Longsight (LO), Laira (LA), Tyseley (TS), Haymarket (HA) and Corkerhill (CK), the Corkerhill units being painted in Strathclyde PTE Orange and Black.
By 1994 all vehicles were concentrated on either LO or CK. The former three car sets originally allocated to HA were moved to CK minus their centre trailers which were stored at HA two later moving to LO.
All driving cars carried six digit set numbers below each drivers window at both ends of the set, in the 101 6xx series. Most DTS vehicles were re-seated in 2 + 3 configuration in the former first class areas of the cars, now seating 72 second.
Cab to shore radio telephones were fitted in the driving cabs with dish antennas fitted to the cab roof.
Latterly two further modifications were been made to Regional Railways 101s. The standard drivers windscreen was replaced with thicker laminated glazing and heavy retaining moulding.
The other feature was the fitting of 18" diameter Oleo long shanked buffers in place of the original style shorter and broader shanked Met Camm type and the removal of the buffer mounting stubbs which are no longer required for the longer buffers, only a few vehicles have received this modification.
This image shows the standardised front end changes which removed the 2-character route indicators or extra lamps. The refurbished set on the left was probably one of the first vehicles to originally have the 2-character route indicator fitted and delivered with the top lamp cut-out crudely plated over. Note that it also carries a tail lamp, meaning red bulbs have not yet been fitted to the marker lamps. Taken in Sheffield, 1st March 1980. Graham Turner www.railblue.com.
Here are details of one of the many other modifications made to the class, detailed in LMR Traction Bulletin Issue 38 (March 1984).
Description - Technical
Description - Interior
Description - Variations
Description - Modifications
Operations - Initial
Operations - Later
685 - Daisy
Details about preserved Class 101s can be found here.
Many thanks to Mac Winfield and Eddie Knorn for their assistance in the preparation of this section.