56121 Class 105 Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory

Home Railway

East Lancashire Railway

Location History

West Somerset Railway 82-Mar 97

Current Location

East Lancashire Railway

 

East Lancashire Railway Mar 97-Present

Current Status

Operational

 

 

Current Livery

BR Green (Plain End)

 

 

TRA Designation

3

   

Partner Vehicle(s)

51485

 

 

Owner

Private

 

 

Website

facebook.com/Bury-Unit-Team

   

Record Last Updated

11 November 2017

   

Preservation Modifications
None

Preservation Information
West Somerset Railway bought 56121 from the Eastern Region of British Rail in spring 1982, the vehicle having been withdrawn in May 1981. Due to asbestos content and poor construction, 56121 became one of only three Class 105 vehicles to be preserved. The unit (51485 also preserved) made its journey to the line via Derby for tyre turning, Bristol and Bridgewater. The set entered service immediately, and was used to support the two Class 103 sets which had been operating services on the WSR since 1976.

Until the end of 1983 the set ran in BR blue, but was then painted green with yellow ends.

In the early 1990's, all of the first generation DMU’s on the WSR were taken out of service because of asbestos content. 56121 was viewed as one of the vehicles the railway did not wish to retain, and the railway decided to standardise on DMU types; choosing to replace the DMUs with a fleet of 115/117 suburban vehicles.

56121 last worked on the WSRin October 1996, paired with a Class 115 powercar, 51485 presumably having already been withdrawn. Whilst on the WSR, 56121 & 51485 ran over 200,000 miles in traffic.

Luckily, as 56121 & 51485 were the only complete Class 105 set in preservation, they were purchased by the East Lancashire Railway in 1997 and were moved and stripped of asbestos shortly after.

Sadly, asbestos stripping leaves vehicles as empty shells, and 56121 was no exception. A full rebuild to top standards was considered as the only way forward, appropriate given the set's historical significance.

By 2012, after over 10 years 56121's rebuild had been completed (except finishing touches). However the restoration was at a more advanced stage than partner 51485, so 56121 was kept undercover awaiting the completion of 51485's restoration.

In 2013, 56121 was put on display for the first time since the early 2000's at the line's March DMU day and drew much interest.

During 2017, with the restoration of 51485 well advanced, exciting finishing touches were applied to 56121 in readiness to the set's long awaited return to passenger service. The bodysides were flatted back one last time, top coat applied and all numbering, lettering, lining and varnishing completed. 56121 moved as a DMU vehicle for the first time in over 20 years during March when it sucessfully ran into the station and back with Class 122 55001 providing the power. During August the first class seating was fitted into position. During September 56121 was coupled to partner 51485 properly (i.e. with all connections) for the first time in two decades.

On 20th October 2017, it was the moment of truth for the Class 105 set restoration when the two cars made a successful test run from Bury down the "main line" to Heywood and back.

The set was relaunched into service following the conclusion of its 21 year major restoration on Saturday 4th November 2017.

56121/51485 now operate as part of the railway's flagship DMU set.

Future Plans
To maintain in service.

 

E56121 basks in the sun at Ramsbottom, 5/11/17. Chris Moxon

   

E56121 near Irwell Vale, 5/11/17. Chris Moxon

   

E56121 passes through the closed Ewood Bridge station, 5/11/17. Chris Moxon

   

E56121/Sc51485 glowing in the sunshine at Bury during shunting, 8/9/17. Kevin Dowd

   

Signwriting gives E56121 it's full original identity at last! 4/4/17. Kevin Dowd

   

56121 part way through lining inside Buckley Wells shed, 19/3/17. Bury Unit Team

   

56121 seen at Bury on public display for the first time in over 10 years. Its exterior restoration now complete, the vehicle will receive a fresh coat of paint just before entry into traffic, 16/3/13. Chris Moxon

   

Corridor view of 56121 seen at Bury on public display for the first time in over 10 years. Its exterior restoration now complete, the vehicle will receive a fresh coat of paint just before entry into traffic, 16/3/13. Chris Moxon

   

56121 being hauled into position on static display at Bury, 16/3/13. Martin Clark

   

56121 under restoration in Buckley Wells shed, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

56121 under restoration in Buckley Wells shed, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

56121 undergoing restoration after asbestos stripping at Bury Bolton Street, 1/9/97. Stuart Mackay

   

56121 at Bury. One of the first tasks there was the asbestos removal, 13/7/97 Robert Chilton

   

56121 & 51485 stabled at Minehead, 1/10/95. Andy Cole

   

56121 at Minehead, 18/8/91. Robert Chilton

   

56121 at Williton, 18/8/91. Robert Chilton

   

56121/51485 at Williton, 28/7/91. Mervyn Turvey

   

Arriving at the delightful Crowcombe station, West Somerset Railway on a Sunday, Cravens set (56121+51485) leads Gloucester (56099+50341) on the 6.10pm Minehead-Bishops Lydeard, 21/7/91. Mel Holley

   

56121 looking a bit smarter at Minehead, 1990. Robert Chilton Collection

   

At Minhead with 51485, July 1990. Ian Francis

   

Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway and 56121 & 51485 enter the platform, 8/6/86. David Underwood

   

56121 crosses 50414 at Blue Anchor, 8/6/86. David Underwood

   

56121/51485 stabled alongside a Class 103 set at Minehead. Nigel Gould

   

56121 & 51485 stand at Bishop's Lydeard during the 1980's. Brian King

   

56121 stabled at Minehead, West Somerset Railway. Simon Jones

 

 

Interior

 

The completed first class saloon, 18/8/17. Bury Unit Team

   

Project leader Graham Thornton fits first class seat frames, 9/8/17. Bury Unit Team

   

56121's first class saloon, seen at Bury on public display for the first time in over 10 years. This area is complete except the fitting of the seats, 16/3/13. Chris Moxon

   

56121's middle saloon, seen at Bury on public display for the first time in over 10 years. This area is now complete, 16/3/13. Chris Moxon

   

56121's drivers cab (driver's side), 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

56121's drivers cab (secondman's side), 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

56121's first class saloon under restoration, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

56121's middle saloon under restoration, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

Seating in 56121's middle saloon, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

Seating in 56121's middle saloon, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

56121's rear saloon under restoration, 7/2/09. Chris Moxon

   

View of 56121's cab at Bury. One of the first tasks there was the asbestos removal, 13/7/97 Robert Chilton