REPUTED to be the longest surviving first-generation DMUs, the Class 121 has something of a following among enthusiasts which will make the brand-new ‘OO’ gauge model by Bachmann a popular choice for collectors and compact layout owners.
When unboxing the model, the first impression was that Bachmann has achieved the correct shape and character of the Class 121 ‘Bubble Car’. The roof is smooth, free of unsightly grooves that plagued earlier models of the Class 121 and the ‘Derby’ design cabs are as they should be with their three large windows. No motor intrudes into the passenger cabin or guards van area.
It’s an exciting representation of the 16 DMBS vehicles making up Class 121 (there appears to be no plans to produce the 10 matching unpowered DTS vehicles at this time) intended for strengthening Thames Valley services and Western Region branch train operation in Berkshire, Avon, Devon and Cornwall to mention a few. Built by the Pressed Steel Company in 1960 and 1961, they lasted both in revenue service and as departmental vehicles well into the Privatisation era including use of three relatively unmodified units (121027/029/031) by Silverlink on Marston Vale line services between Bletchley and Bedford until replaced by Class 150/1s in 2002.
As single car units, the Class 121s are equipped with a driving cab of the ‘Derby’ design at each end together with a guard’s van area and Standard Class seating for 65 passengers in two high-density saloons separated with a screen. Seating is in three-plus-two format accessed through slam-doors leading to each seating bay.
A four-character headcode box of the same type as Class 117s was fitted to the cab roofs, distinguishing them from the similar Class 122 Gloucester ‘Singles’ which bore destination boxes instead. The exhaust pipes fitted to the cab at the guard’s van end were excessively curved to clear them giving the Class 121 their unique character. Class 121s refitted for modern operations with Arriva Trains Wales and Chiltern Trains had the exhausts relocated alongside other modifications to bring them up to modern standards.
Two 150hp AEC or Leyland engines linked to a mechanical transmission, one for each bogie, provided power for the 38t units. They were rated for a maximum operating speed of 70mph, although acceleration was not particularly good, particularly when paired up with a DTS. The units could be operated in multiple with other DMUs with the same blue square multiple working equipment including Class 117s. Side buffers are fitted together with screw link couplings and vacuum brakes.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
LNER puts remaining ‘91s' into warm store
The ongoing pandemic restrictions and major engineering works have resulted in the complete withdrawal of the last remaining ‘Electras’ from passenger service, although the plan is to resurrect them in the summer.
Mk.1 Restaurant-Buffet (RBR) cars
A SURPRISING number of Mk.1catering cars have survived to see service on the privatised railway, in private operator and charter trains. They may turn up on anything from an enthusiast special to higher-end dining trains and have been formed in trains as prestigious as the locomotive-hauledBlue Pullman’ set, the ‘Great Britain’ tours operated by West Coast Railways and the ‘Northern Belle’ tour train.
Our authoritative class-by-class review of newsworthy locomotive workings.
End for Freightliner Class 86/6s
The company’s Class 86/6 fleet down to just two examples as seven locos are stored.
Service reductions as Covid cases increase
An increase in Covid-19 cases in early January saw the governments in Ireland and Northern Ireland impose stricter lockdown measures that impacted on public transport.
East West Rail funding go-ahead
Although it was expected, £760 million of funding has now been confirmed to build the Western Section of the East West Railway scheme.
Travellers-Fare with Hornby's Mk.1 Restaurant-Buffet car
Hornby expands its range of retooled ‘OO’ gauge Mk.1 coaches with a brand new tooling for the Diagram 24 Restaurant-Buffet car (RB) and the Diagram 33 refurbished version (RBR). It models the vehicles in both original form, finished in BR maroon and Southern Region green, together with the RBR refurbished coaches. They remained in frontline service well into the 1990s, including Cross-Country workings.
Class 92 revolution
Despite its complex shape and high detail ratio compared to other modern six-axle locomotives, Revolution Trains chose the Class 92 to be its first 'N' gauge locomotive model.
A dig into the Rail Express archive has revealed some rarely-seen photographs of the former rail-connected Express Dairy bottling plant in South West London, which today is the site of a large mosque.
1990s ‘N' gauge Class 950
Work on the ‘N’ gauge Class 950 Track Recording Unit project, a conversion based on a standard Graham Farish Class 150/1 model, is concluded by finishing the model in 1990s condition.
JACKS OF ALL TRADES: MASTERS OF ALL FUN
Middleweight naked bikes and good times
ELVA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING
NO WINDSHIELD? NO PROBLEM. MCLAREN’S 804-HP HYPERCAR WON’T MUSS YOUR HAIR. BUT AT $1.7 MILLION, IT WILL LIGHTEN YOUR WALLET.
Keep Pugging away
Peugeot’s SUVs have lots of great things in common, so how do you pick one? We pit the seven-seat 5008 against the smaller plug-in hybrid 3008
VW GOLF GTI
Staying relevant while not breaking with tradition is a tricky balance for car makers to strike, as we reveal in our final report
New small hatchback distils Skoda’s common-sense ethos into a handy package On sale Late 2021 Price from £15,000 (est)
The greatest of Es?
Both of these trendy small electric cars have as much wow factor now as when new, and you can save around £5000 by buying them at a year old
Pack up, go! Met Office issues ‘danger to life' alert as storm batters staycationers
TOURISTS trying to enjoy the great outdoors were dramatically told to flee for their lives as the might of Storm Evert roared in, bringing stair-rod rain and 70mph winds.
With all the lockdown nonsense, it’s time for Allen to get on with the motor build of his splendid Kawasaki Super Six.
Our friends' ELECTRIC
With MG’s ZS EV starting to hit the UK roads, we put one to the test to experience the reality of living with an electric MG.
Barry's Dayton Albatross Continental Twin
In my younger days, as well as motorcycles, I had a Vespa 90 and a Vespa 90SS, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I returned to scootering (after having several classic cars) with a 1965 Vespa VBB, but I had always hankered after a Dayton Albatross since I was about 12 or 13. Last year I decided to finally fulfil that dream…