56169 Class 103 Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory

Home Railway

Helston Railway

Location History

West Somserset Railway Dec 75-May 06

Current Location

Helston Railway

 

Private Site: Gwinear Road May 06-Sep 07

Current Status

Static Display

 

Helston Railway Sep 07-Present

Current Livery

BR Green (Half Yellow Panel)

 

 

TRA Designation

2

   

Partner Vehicle(s)

50413

 

 

Owner

Helston Railway Diesel Group

 

 

Website

 

   

Record Last Updated

9 February 2019

   

Preservation Modifications
The interior has been heavily modified. The passenger saloons are covered in non-standard laminate flooring. The seats are non standard, having been reclaimed from a class 143 after the loss of the originals. The Rexine panels have been replaced with painted plywood. The guards van has been lost and converted into a kitchen. The seating modifications have reduced the capcity from 16 first/48 second to 9 first/28 second.

Preservation Information
56169 was withdrawn from BR service in 1972 after just 15 years service. It was puchased along with several other 103 vehicles by the embryonic West Somserset Railway and stored at Taunton. They moved on to the railway in December 1975 in readiness for the opening in March 1976.

Ten years of intensive service followed, as up to five DMU sets were in use on the railway as economical traction at that time.

In the mid 1980's 56169 and partner 50413was sold to the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group, remaining on the WSR. They continued to operate until Dec 1989 when all of the first generation DMU’s on the WSR were taken out of service because of asbestos.

Of the four 103 vehicles that found themselves stored, 56169 & 50413were stripped of asbestos with the intention of returning them to service. After asbestos removal by a firm with no previous experience of railway work, this vehicle was left as a bare shell. Also, a roof was leaking, the windows missing, no floor, damaged cab and many mechanical components were damaged or missing. Originally it was estimated that it would take five years to rebuild, but it took considerably longer.

By 1996 56169 had its remaining damaged interiors removed, metal work repaired and passenger communication equipment replaced. The exterior was fully repainted for protection in green. All roof panels wereremoved and re-riveted, a floor fabricated and installed.

Unfortunately progress slowed and 56169 & 50413 were purchased from the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group in part restored condition in 2006 by the Helston Railway Diesel Group.

56169 moved soon after to its new home the Helston Railway via a brief period at their private Gwinear Road site.

The restoration of 56169 continued at the Helston Railway. The vehicle requires extensive body work and new doors to be manufactured. Externally the vehicle has been repainted, and new gangways fitted. Internally, the vehicle has received new seats.

By 2013 the restoration had halted. The vehicle remained open to the public as a sort of waiting room, and for general interest.

In 2018 a survey was undertaken on the vehicle: 56169 was found to be in a heavily-corroded state, with evidence that much of the previous restoration had failed. The level of corrosion on the body was such that only a total rebuild would enable the vehicle to be returned to working condition. The original seating and much of the panelling was missing, and what seating is fitted was ex Class 143 Pacer. As far as could be seen wiring was perished and some damaged, although given its age it would need replacing if the vehicle was to be returned to working order. Luggage racks and cab fittings all remained, as did all the interior partitions. Underneath 56169 all components were present except for the heaters and both brake cylinders but there was heavy corrosion which was such that some parts may not be useable (particularly the air receivers).The rest of the brake gear appeared to be present.The main structural members which formed the major part of the underframe and associated structures appeared to be in good condition.

56169 remains open to the public in a static buffet format and has proved useful. Meanwhile its general condition continues to deteriorate and the railway have accepted that restoration is beyond their current resources and facilities.

Future Plans
56169 & 50413 is unique and is the last of a group of such sets which still exist. It is of the same historical importance as the Cravens, Gloucester, Wickham or Derby Lightweight but is likely to cost a similar amount of money to restore, with a budget of £200,000 plus not being an unreasonable estimate. Whilst not in any immediate danger its condition will continue to deteriorate if it stays where it is but that deterioration has not yet reached a critical level. It is almost inconceivable that the restoration could be carried out at the current site and within DMU preservation there are few groups experienced enough to tackle a project of this size. Both the Helston Railway and the owners recognise the importance of this set, and are willing to open discussions which may lead to a new future for it. There is, however, some disagreement as to whether the set has any value as it is, and if it has a value what that value is.

 

W56169/W50413 in the temporary platform at Prospidnick in static use as a buffet, 6/18.Evan Green-Hughes

   

W56169 under restoration at Trevarno, 28/9/11. Rabbi WP Thinrod

   

56169 sits in the sun having been 'tarted up' for the open day, 1/11/09. Helston Diesel Group

   

Looking in pristine condition, sitting at Trevarno, Sep 08. Perry McDonagh

   

Repaining work on 56169 viewed across what will be the bay platform at Trevarno, 17/4/08. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169 at Trevarno, 6/4/08. Helston Diesel Group

   

As the sun drops 56169 shows off its working front lights at Trevarno, 27/9/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

With the sun low in the sky 56169 is winched onto the lorry at Gwinear, 4/9/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169 now with a half yellow panel, 3/9/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169 losing its whiskers in favour of a half yellow panel, 25/8/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169 now carrying speed whiskers, 9/10/06. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169 shows off a shiny new coat of BR Green, 21/8/06. Helston Diesel Group

   

James and Steve sanding the front of 56169 during the start of a repaint into BR Green, 2/7/06. Helston Diesel Group

   

James and Steve painting the front of 56169 during the start of a repaint into BR Green, 2/7/06. Helston Diesel Group

   

The cab of 56169 noew repainted into BR Green, 2/7/06. Helston Diesel Group

   

Some of the team from the new owners, the Helston Diesel Group (left to right); Tim Naylor (and Max the Dog), Perry McDonagh (Chairman), Andrew Triggs, Peter Thomas, Steve Thomas, James Packman and Keith Lee, 23/5/06. Perry McDonagh

   

56169 and 50413 arrived at their new home at the former Gwinear Road Station, 22/5/06. Perry McDonagh

   

Shortly before departing the WSR, 19/5/06. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169 now with whiskers at Williton, 24/9/00. Alf Roberts

   

56169 at Williton, 2/10/99. Paul Moxon

   

At Williton. Robert Rise Collection

   

At Williton. Ian Frances

   

At Williton. Ian Frances

   

56169 after asbestos removal, May 92. Alf Roberts

   

56169 (with 50413) were found at Williton. They had been asbestos stripped and they were shells inside, no floors even! 18/8/91. Robert Chilton

   

56169 (with 50413) were found at Williton. They had been asbestos stripped and they were shells inside, no floors even! 18/8/91. Robert Chilton

   

56169/50413 stored at Williton, 8/86. Brian Battersby

   

Believed to be 56169 in house livery at Williton, 5/4/80. Phil Trotter

   

56169 departs Bishops Lydeard bound for minehead, 15/3/80. Stephen Edge

   

56169, 50414, 56168 & 50413 operating at Williton, 29/8/77. Roger Budd

 

Interior

 

The cab, 6/18. Evan Green-Hughes

   

The first class saloon, 6/18. Evan Green-Hughes

   

The middle saloon, 6/18. Evan Green-Hughes

   

The first class saloon, 17/4/17. Neil Jones

   

The middle saloon, 17/4/17. Neil Jones

   

(27th Sep 2007) Internal lights in 56169, lit for the first time in a long while, 27/9/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

The rear saloon, being being fitted, May 07. Helston Diesel Group

   

Seating in 56169, 6/5/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

First class seating in 56169, 20/1/07. Helston Diesel Group

   

The rear saloon, Feb 06. Helston Diesel Group

   

56169's cab, reconstruction now underway. Alf Roberts

   

56169's middle saloon, reconstruction now underway. Alf Roberts

   

56169's rear saloon, reconstruction now underway. Alf Roberts

   

View of 56169's middle saloon looking towards the rear of the vehicle, presumably during the work post-asbestos strip. Alf Roberts

   

View of 56169's middle saloon looking towards the cab, presumably during the work post-asbestos strip. Alf Roberts

   

View from 56169's first class saloon, presumably during the work post-asbestos strip. Alf Roberts

   

The interior of 56169, after the asbestos removal, note the missing floor! May 92. Alf Roberts