At the start of 1966 51157 + 59447 + 51150 (set BL309) had all the passenger seats removed except one back to back pair in each coach to allow them to carry newspapers. When noted in London Paddington on February 8th each coach was marked with the destination of its contents: Didcot, Bath and Bristol.
In October 1966 sets L341 (50862/50915) and L342 (50819/50872) had their trailers and seats removed and were in plain blue and lettered 'Parcels Service'. These ex-Cardiff allocated cars were moved to the London division where they worked as single units carrying individual set numbers and generally supporting the two Class 128 parcel units often with a BG or two in tow on Parcels duties out of Paddington. In 1977 50862 and 50872 (October) and 50915 and 50819 (November) were converted back to passenger use and allocated to TS.
When TOPS was introduced the parcels sets were generally classified as Class 130s.
Also in October 1966 two power cars (51137/50) were adopted for use as a 'Railair Express Parcels' train, working with GUV vehicles sandwiched between them. They were withdrawn in Oct.1972.
When the Class was being withdrawn in the '80s cars were again converted for parcels use, the only alterations to these cars were the removal of seats. Vehicles used were 53051/72 and 53083/820, the latter two were returned to NSE passenger use (L307 in June '88).
53072 is seen at Leeds, 27th June 1986. It is paired with Class 120 51785, and carries Red Star branding. Malcolm Clements.
53063/119 were claimed by Derby RTC for possible Civil Engineering use. The vehicle bodies were to have been cut of behind each driving cab to provide a self-powered flat-bed for moving sections of track. This did not happen, and they left Derby on the 12th Feb. '91 as part of 9X14 to Mayer Parry at Snailwell, accompanied by Class 103 and 104 cars.
In 1992 the call came for more sandite vehicles. Tyseley 116s were ready, though by this time worn out. Initially three sets were assembled using DMS cars 53093, 53881 and 53886, these were paired with class 121 single units 55026, 55033 and 55034 respectively, shortly after another was added T009 with car 51153, of the last delivered class 116 set, and 55032. These units ran for a short time as sandite cars over a wide operating area, often straying as far as East Anglia. These were the only four vehicles of the class to be renumbered as departmental stock:
51151/53818 were in use as a route learner in 1994.
Details about preserved Class 116s can be found here.
Thanks to Mac Winfield, Ian Fleming and John Thomlinson for much of the information on this Class.