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Class 114 Derby 2-car DMUs

Parcel Cars

Twenty-five Class 114 vehicles saw use for the Parcels Sector between October 1986 and October 1990. They would be based at Lincoln, Cambridge and Tyseley depots. The majority were 'quick conversions' with seat removal and branding added to the existing blue/grey livery. Five sets (ten vehicles) received more substantial alterations with the fitting of roller shutter doors. The first three vehicles of these initially appeared in a plain blue livery, all five sets would receive the Royal Mail Red livery.


In October 1986 two vehicles that had been withdrawn the previous month were reinstated and transferred to the Parcels Sector. 53040 and 54041 remained allocated to Lincoln but worked diagrams from Cambridge. Alterations were limited to removing seats, the power car at least kept these in the front saloon. They retained blue and grey livery but gained Express Parcels wording on the side, a yellow stripe with a lower red edge at waist level, and red star logos on the van.

Late in November 1986 they were joined by another reinstated pair, 53010 and 54014. 53003 was also noted as transferred to the Parcels Sector this month, but is believed to be one of several vehicles that the Sector kept in store for potential use, but never used. Many of these vehicles still contained asbestos insulation, this was the time BR was trying to phase these vehicles out.


In early 1987 Ilford depot was authorised to do major modifications to 54034 which had been reinstated to the Parcels Sector in February. By the end of February 53040 was now working with 54014, they were noted coupled to a parcels 105 in Liverpool Street on the 26th of the month.

Express Parcels Class 114 DMU

In March 1987 53027 was added to the fleet, it had been 'stored unserviceable' since November 1986. It was noted working in the Leeds area with 54041 on the 16th March, and the pair remained together for some together after that. They are pictured in the first image with 54050 + 53231 leaving Ely with the 10.13 Cambridge to Peterborough on 12th August 1987. Surface Stock.

53010 was sent to Ilford on the 24th March, joining 54034 for the fitting of roller shutter doors. A total of four vehicles were now authorised to be tackled at Ilford. The 114s allowed some of the Parcels Sector 105s at Cambridge to be withdrawn in March.

In April 54033 came to the parcels sector, as did 53024 in May. The latter was noted working a Peterborough - York mail service with 54001 on the 19th, although the driver trailer wasn't officially re-instated till the following month (along with 53017). The pair were often noted working with 53739 tagged on at this time.

Class 114 parcels DMU with roller shutter doors

54034 emerged from Ilford in early June. Roller shutter doors were fitted at the locations of the two passenger doors. Inside the vestibule partitions were removed, three rows of fluorescent lights were fitted, as were collapsible tables down either side in the centre saloon. Inside of the roller shutter doors the floors was strengthened with checker plate, as was the rear of the vehicles, for loading of BRUTES. The toilets were retained. An image of the interior appears on page 125 of the Brian Morrison DMU book. The vehicle was painted in a plain blue livery with a yellow waist stripe with red lower edge, and just under the cantrail a white stripe. In the centre of the lower bodyside was 'Newspapers' lettering and on the ends of the bodyside next to the gangway was a red star logo. It had been renumbered into the parcels series, now identified as 55933, even though this was a power car series number. The image shows the vehicle at Cambridge on the 11th July 1987. Malcolm Clements.

In June 21st the Parcel Sector vehicles were transferred from Lincoln to Cambridge depot (CA). The vehicles were:
53003, 53010, 53017, 53024, 53027, 53040
54001, 54014, 54033, 54034, 54041

In July 53004 was added to the fleet at CA, it would initially run with 53040 as a power twin. The first roller shutter door trailer 55933 (in plain blue) was running with 53017 (in blue / grey). Noted in Cambridge depot on the 14th of the month were 54028 and 54033, out of use. The depot was responsible for some of the 'quick conversions' - i.e. seat removals. 54028 would be listed as reinstated to the Parcels Section at CA in August with 54036 that month. The latter, along with 53040, was noted as the next pair due to receive roller shutter doors, the work being underway at Ilford by September.

53010 emerging from Ilford after its conversion as 55930 by October; the second Class 114 vehicle with roller shutter doors, and the first power car. Power cars would receive just one roller shutter door in the centre of the vehicle in the place of one bodyside window, and retain seating in the front saloon. Express Parcels was carried on the centre bodysides of power cars. It is pictured running in December on page 125 of the Brian Morrison book; despite the caption stating that 55930 is leading 55931 (ex-53040) it is clearly leading a converted driver trailer; the only one converted on this date and the only one to be painted plain blue is 55933 (ex-54034) which had become its partner.

In October 53032 was transferred from store to the Engineering Development Unit at the Derby Railway Technical Centre. It would receive the roller shutter conversion, but it would also be fitted with Leyland TL11 engines, a turbo-charged version of the Leyland 4041 - the modern version of the Leyland 680 which the majority of DMU vehicles had at this time.

Class 114 Parcels DMU at Tyseley depot

Stratford was noted as authorised to tackle the 'quick conversion' of Cambridge's October arrivals, 53020 and 53046, yet these were later noted under conversion at Cambridge. October would also see 53038 and 54042 join the Parcels Sector, but these were re-instated from store to Tyseley rather than join the rest of the fleet at Cambridge. Tyseley's three Class 128s were going to be absent while they underwent asbestos stripping, the 114s would cover for them. 53038 would receive just a red star emblem on the bodyside to note its new usage, and is pictured at Tyseley on December 26th, 1987 as set T021. Andy Cole.

In December Cambridge set 53027 and 54041 also moved to Tyseley to help out.


At the start of the year 55933 was allocated a new number in the trailer car series: 54900. Judging by photos the number on the vehicle seems to have been changed sometime between mid-May and mid-July. The other number allocated to the two Illford trailer car conversions - 55932 is a source of confusion. As noted above, 54036 had been in Ilford since September, along with intended partner 53040. And it is perfectly logical that the four vehicles would be allocated four sequencial numbers 55930-3 (although not clear why the first completed trailer would be 55933 and not 55932). When the number series was altered the first trailer received the first number (54900) and the second would receive the second number (54901). On page 40 of the March 1988 Motive Power Monthly magazine it's stated that "54036 is now allotted 54901". But what seems to have then happened is that 54036 ended up being instead sent to be partnered with 53032 under conversion at Derby. Being matched with the third power car authorised it was given the third trailer number instead, 54902. It certainly seems that the number 55932 was never carried by a trailer vehicle.

Class 114 DMU parcels conversion

Withdrawn 54016 was moved from Cambridge to Leicester on January 12th, where it would undergo asbestos removal at Vic Berry's. It was then moved to Ilford in February for roller shutter door conversion. It would take place of 54036 to be the fourth Cambridge converted vehicle, to be paired with 53040. The reason behind the switch could be that there were no other asbestos free trailers available at the time, and that Tyseley needed it more urgently than Cambridge.

Early in 1988 the third converted vehicle, power car 55931 (ex-53040) came out of Ilford. It would initially run with seatless blue/grey 54028 until it's converted trailer was ready. The pair are pictured with 84436 on Ely West Curve on a Peterborough to Norwich parcels, March 25, 1988. Surface Stock. The two converted plain blue power cars could be told apart by the placement of the bodyside "Express Parcels", 55930 had this in front of the roller shutter door, 55931 had it behind.

Royal Mail Class 114 DMU

In late March the first Royal Mail Red set appeared. This was 53032 from the Derby EDU, now numbered as 55932, and paired with 54902 (ex-54036). Other than fitting the TL11s in place of the Albion engines it's not clear what other work the EDU did since 54036 seems to have had it's roller shutter doors fitted at Ilford. Was the trailer painted before leaving Ilford or at Derby? Did Ilford fit the roller shutter doors to 53032? The pair became Tyseley set 001 (the set number carried in the centre cab window). The pair were noted in St Pancras on April 1st, and were on display in Birmingham Moor Street on April 23rd during the second Midland Day. The image shows the pair stabled in Leeds station on the 14th February 1989. Mike Dean. This set could easily be identified from the later red sets as it's the only one that had blue squares on the cab ends.

When 55932 / 54902 were delivered it was expected that there would be a further programme to convert more non-asbestos units commencing in October with expected completion by May 1989 to allow withdrawal of asbestos Parcels Sector vehicles. The Provincial Sector believed they would have surplus available units by that time, but they would be several months late.

Parcels DMU in Leeds station

Work on 54016/54901, the final Ilford conversion, was well advanced at the end of April. It was still a bit of an anomoly. Despite the Royal Mail livery having already made an appearance, it was painted into regular blue / grey livery without any yellow parcels stripe. It is seen as 54901 at Leeds on August 10, 1988, seen after after conversion. Andy Cole.

The withdrawal of the parcel 127s on May 15 meant the parcels 114s were becoming regular performers in the North West. One regular working was the 05:43 Birmingham New Street - Lancaster parcels service.

54016 is dated as moving to the Parcels Sector in June coming from store at Lincoln, as did 53035 and 54026 the same month.

An EMU failure on September 6th saw Tyseley set 53038 + 54042 used on the 11:52 Crewe - Altrincham passenger service. Just the trailer was available for public use due to the missing seats in the power car.

In October Cambridge's parcel sets were noted as 53020 + 53046, 53035 + 54026, 55930 + 54900, and 55931 + 54901. 53004 and 55933 were also running with unidentified partners, and 53017 / 24, 54014 /33 were stored out of use at Coldham's Lane Junction. That month 55930 entered Doncaster works where it was the second of the class to be fitted with Leyland TL11s, emerging late January / early February 1989 with 54900 in Royal Mail Red.

November saw 53038 + 54042 transferred from LN to the Parcels Sector at Cambridge. CA had ten parcel diagrams, the formations noted on the 20th were: 53004 + 54028, 53020 + 53046, 53027 + 53041, 53035 + 55994 and 55930 + 54901 with 54026 spare. The three Tyseley sets (53027 + 54041, 53038 + 54042 and 55932 + 54902) were officially transferred there on November 27th. At the time it was hoped all non-modified units would be withdrawn by the end of the financial year (April 1989) as further modified sets were expected.


In January asbestos free 53018 and 54009 and 53015 + 54015 were released from their passenger duties with the Provincial Sector at Tyseley and were were transferred to the Parcels Sector at Cambridge. 53018 had been in BRML Doncaster since at least October 1988 for attention to collision damage, the other three vehicles joined it there for full conversions (rolling shutter doors and TL11s), emerging in Royal Mail Red as 55928 + 54903 (circa June) and 55929 + 54904 (circa July). The two power car numbers jumped to before the previous three conversions as 55934/5 had been allocated to Class 120 Parcels Sector vehicle in 1987.

Leeds Parcels DMU

By the end of January 55931 + 54901 were also in Doncaster Works for painting into Royal Mail Red and TL11s for the power car, leaving circa March. The image shows recently repainted 55931 sandwiched between 55991 and 54901 in Leeds station. Malcolm Clements.

In mid-April the "temporary" parcel vehicles at Cambridge were noted as 53004/54028, 53027/54041 53035/54026 and power twin 53020/53046. 54042 was spare. Not long after they were apparently issued Parcels Sector numbers, 53004/20/7/35/46 to become 55957-61 and 54026/8-41 to be 54905-7, but no renumbering was done.

The parcels vehicles worked over a large area, and photos show them in St Pancras, Leeds, Preston, Crewe, Potters Bar, Manchester Piccadilly, York, Ely, Stafford, Sheffield, Peterborough, Norwich, Reading, Oxford, Skipton, Morecambe and Newport. On July 31 55929 + 54904 reached Carlisle on a parcel working from Preston.

The Royal Mail Red sets / normal formations:
55928   (50018) S  with   54903 (56009) R Doncaster Royal Mail
55929 (50015) S with 54904 (56015) R Doncaster Royal Mail
55930 (50010) R with 54900 (55933/56034) R  Ilford Royal Mail Letters
55931 (50040) R with 54901 (56016) S Ilford Royal Mail
55932 (50032) S with 54902 (56036) S Derby RTC Royal Mail Letters, Blue Squares
Class 114 window

Identification aids: 55932 was the only red vehicle with oval buffers. 55932 / 54902 was the only pair to carry blue squares on the cab front. 55930 + 54900 and 55932 + 54902 had "Royal Mail Letters" on the sides, the other three sets had just "Royal Mail". On some vehicles the inner window framework remained unpainted, as shown in the image, these are shown as 'S' on the table. Those with 'R' had them painted red. All vehicles had any remaining top marker lights removed.

The next image shows 55930 and 54900 sitting at Cambridge, date unknown. 55930 has the window frames painted red. Robert Frise Collection.


The 'temporary' parcel vehicle began to be withdrawn as the Class 128s returned from BRML Doncaster with TL11s, including 53004/35 and 54026 in March, 53020 in May and 54028/41 in June.

Sometime during the year 55930 + 54900 were on display at Bury on the East Lancs Railway with a Class 128. On July 1st the same pair, 55930 + 54900 (noted as set L930), were on display at the Gloucester Rail Day, and on August 19 55929 + 54904 were on display at an open day in Barry Railfreight Coal depot.

Paddington Class 114 DMU

The entire Parcels Sector first generation DMU fleet was rendered redundant with the introduction of the Winter timetable on October 1st, services reverting to locos with vans. However the 114s and 128s were retained a couple of weeks longer to work a daily Chester - St Pancras parcels train as the afternoon Holyhead - Euston was not running duing the Willesden blockade. The image shows 55932 and 54902 in London Paddington. Stuart Mackay Collection.

The last parcels train worked was on October 12th when a six-car formation containing Class 128s 55993 and 55994 with 114s 55930 + 54900 and 55932 + 54902 arrived at Paddington. They then worked ECS to Derby departing at 20:40.

Class 114 parcel DMUs at Derby

Scheduled for withdrawal on October 15, the fleet moved to store at Derby Etches Park, with the initial plan to then move them to store at Carlisle Kingmoor. While at Derby the EDU selected a set (55929 + 54904) for conversion to an ATP test unit. The next image shows the vehicles at Etches Park, date unknown. Ian Francis.

Before the end of 1990 Regional Railways Midland sub-sector took ownership the converted parcel twins, as well as four Class 128s. They intended to use the vehicles as a source of spares, modifying the TL11 engines to use on Class 142 Pacers. Component recovery was initially planned to take place either there at Derby Etches Park or at Chester Wagon shops. The vehicles had an 'on paper' transfer to Chester.


It was eventually decided that component recovery would take place at Inverness. 55928/31 and 54901/03, now at Bletchley, were due to make the long journey north in early February, the eventually left on the 23rd. 31 209 took them via Leeds and Settle, but failed at Horton (Ribblesdale) and rescued was by 47 372. At Carlisle 37 088 took over departing by the G&SW route. The other two sets were already there.

This image on Flickr shows 54902 + 55932, 54900 + 55930, 55993 and 55994 at Inverness on 06/03/91.

Once at Inverness it was decided the TL11s were unsuitable for reuse in Pacers, and it was decided not to remove the roller shutter doors either, so it seems nothing was done at Inverness. All the vehicles (Class 128s 55991-5 and 54900-3 and 55928/30-2) were hauled south to MC Metals on April 2nd by 37 401. Disposal at MC Metals was swift, all eight Class 114 vehicles were cut up by April 16th.

On paper they remained allocated to Chester until a withdrawal date of May 24th.

All the vehicles:

VehicleFromToKnown liveries in parcels use
5301011/8610/90Blue/grey Plain blue Red
5304010/8610/90Blue/greyPlain blueRed
540342/8710/90Plain blueRed

53003 was been noted as reinstated to LN and reclassified as DMBP in November 1986 and transferred to CA in June 1987 but is believed to have remained in store.
53023 had been mentioned in stock changes as transferred to the parcels sector at Cambridge, this was later noted as incorrect information.

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