56171 Class 109 Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory

Home Railway

Llangollen Railway

Location History

Chasewater Railway Oct 81-94

Current Location

Llangollen Railway

 

Midland Railway Butterley 94-03

Current Status

Operational

 

Llangollen Railway 03-Present

Current Livery

BR Multiple Unit Green (Plain End)

 

 

TRA Designation

1

   

Partner Vehicle(s)

50416

 

 

Owner

Llangollen Railcars Limited

 

 

Website

www.llangollenrailcars.com

   

Record Last Updated

9 December 2015

   

Preservation Modifications
None

Preservation Information
In Summer 1981 the Chasewater Light Railway tendered for the former Eatern Region General Manager's Saloon, 50416/56171, which by this time was the only Class 109 set left surviving. The vehicles left Stourton in August for repairs at Lincoln. It then passed through Tinsley on its way to Wolverhampton steel terminal in the September, arriving at Chasewater a month later.

On arrival 56171 had no seats fitted, and was painted into the CLR DMU livery scheme of maroon. It was operative and planned to be in use in the summer of 1982. The Chasewater Railway modified the vehicle to provide some standard seating, a bar and a lounge area. The vehicle was used for several years on the line's steam hauled services, attached to Class 100 DTCL 56301.

The line bought a Class 116 trailer in the early 1990s to release 56171 for restoration. However the vehicle was stored instead and began to deteriorate. The vehicle was heavily conaminated with asbestos and was in line for scrapping.

In 1994 the Llangollen Railcar Group stepped in to save 50416 & 56171 for restoration as the Llangollen Railway's flagship DMU set. At great expense, the vehicle was stripped os asbestos and moved to the Midland Railway Centre for contract restoration.

This restoration was aided with a £129,000 award from the Heritage Lottery Fund and was to take ten years.

The set moved to the Llangollen Railway in late 2003, and were launched back into traffic in February 2004.

In 2012, 56171's drivers desk was replaced as it had suffered from water damage and the effects of eight years service.

Future Plans
To maintain in service.

 

E56171/E50416 stabled at Pentrefelin, 3/10/15. Peter Dickinson

   

E56171 & Class 108 M56223 pose at Pentrefelin during an evening photo shoot during the "Railcar 60" event, 3/10/14. Chris Moxon

   

E56171/E50416 lead Class 101 50164/50160 at Glyndyfrdwy during the railcar gala, 22/6/14. Richard Hargreaves

   

E56171 & M56223 share Petrefelin depot, 23/3/14. Peter Dickinson

   

E56171 receives a clean up at Pentrefelion as it will be re-enterinbg traffic soon after winter maintenance work, 29/4/13. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

E56171 & E50416 arrive at Glyndyfrdwy, 20/8/12.Llangollen Railcar Group

   

E56171 & E50416 stand at Glyndyfrdwy, 30/7/12.Llangollen Railcar Group

   

56171 is seen at Glyndyfrdwy from the cab of the class 26 during the 1960's Weekend. The Wickham set was in use for both days of the event, leaving the shed at 0815 each morning, 31/7/11. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

56171 & 50416 stand at Glyndyfrdwy during the 2010 Railcar Gala, 26/6/10. Chris Moxon

   

56171 & 50416 in the landscape near Glyndyfrdwy during the 2010 Railcar Gala, 26/6/10. Chris Moxon

   

E56171/E50416 cross the Dee Bridge near Llangollen, 16/5/09. Brian Battersby

   

E56171, E50416, 54490 & 51907 in service at Glyndyfrdwy, 12/4/08. David Beardmore

   

Job done, and the set sits in the cutting at Butterley awaiting shipping to Llangollen, 2003. Ian Francis

   

The trailer awaits removal of masking tape following its painting and lining out, Sep 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

It was at last possible to see what the trailer car is going to look like as it is almost complete externally. The car was exhibiting the destination "Mildenhall" as it formed the last train on that particular branch 40 years ago, in 1962. This photo was taken prior to the trailer being shunted out of the shed so that the mechanical units could be fitted to the power car, 2/2/03. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The first door covering has now been completed on the trailer car. The cab doors will be to this design but the rest will have a centre section of aluminium-covered Bondene. All the wooden pieces have been machined out of solid wood and stained by hand, Oct 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

56171 now has its window droplights fitted and work is progressing on the fitting out of the interior. The heating system is fitted and working and the route indicator and marker lamps have all been returned to their rightful place, May 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The cab area is now beginning to look more like the original vehicle. The door has been returned to its original design and new gutters to the original pattern, including the sweep down over the front windows are in place, Mar 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

For the first time since 1972 the unique Wickham trailer car E56171 has resumed its original appearance. It now has a full compliment of doors - reversing the modifications done to it when it was converted for departmental use. Five of the six doors have had to be hand-made as two were missing altogether and only one of the four which remained was good enough to salvage. The fitting of the doors marks the end of the major structural work to the exterior of the unit, Mar 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The first of the bogies from the trailer car has now been stripped, needle gunned, re-bushed and re-assembled. The brake cylinder has also been removed and rebuilt , Aug 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Wiring work is proceeding rapidly and fully refurbished jumper sockets have been made and fitted. The multi-pin plugs and their associated wiring have been made and all the old wiring and trunking removed, Aug 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Four months of work on the body of trailer car E56171 is coming to an end. The distinctive Wickham "eyebrows" have been hand beaten out and are here being fitted. The front of this coach has received extensive welding and repairs as it had been slightly accident damaged, Jun 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The roof of the coach has been completely stripped, sealed and repainted. Some work has also been done to reverse additional openings put in when the car was used as an inspection saloon. New gutters to the correct design have been fitted on the nearside of the coach, Jun 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The woodwork and aluminium work to the new door aperture is now almost complete. This area of the coach was completely plated over in the conversion to a General Manager's Saloon in 1972, Jun 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Wiring work is due to start shortly when the coach is lifted to allow the bogies to be refurbished. The crate at the front of the picture is completely full of brand new wire - half of which will go into each coach, Jun 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The right hand side of the coach has now had its roof repaired and new gutters have been installed to the original design. Some painting and fillinf work has also been done on the body, Feb 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Long standing damage to the front corner of the trailer had resulted in the shell being cracked and so it has been strengthened and repaired by a specialist welder. Two stress cracks are also being repaired around the front cab area, Feb 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Work has now started on the second car of the set - trailer E56171. The body has been completely shotblasted to reveal the original aluminium. All the doors have been removed but all but one will have to be replaced. In the centre of the car the two door ways which were plated over have been re-made and now await joinery. About three inches has been cut out of the roof edge for repairs. The gutters have been removed because they were non-original and were in the wrong place and to the wrong design. New gutters have been folded out of aluminium, Sep 2000. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

This is the door which had been plated over. The plates have been removed as have the additional strength bars behind. This is a similar operation to that which was carried out on power car E50416, Sep 2000. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

One of the major problems with the Wickham restoration has been with the doors. A total of six doors had been plated over when the set was converted for departmental use. New doors to the original design have been made from scratch by Chris Lings at the Midland Railway Centre. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

This photo shows the bodyside area of trailer E56171 where one window was removed whilst in departmental service. This car ran as the loco-hauled "Wickham Bar" whilst at the Chasewater Railway - as the lettering shows. Note the poor condition of the bodywork. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

56171 outside the carriage shed at Butterley, the power car 50416 is inside being worked on, 31/8/97. Stuart Mackay

   

56171 after asbestos stripping and moving to the Midland Railway Centre, it's "temporary" home for the next ten years for restoration. Ian Francis

   

56171 in use at the Chasewater Railway, coupled to a high density vehicle with motive power being provided by a small steam loco. Ian Francis

   

56171 in use at the Chasewater Railway, coupled to a high density vehicle with motive power being provided by a small steam loco. Ian Francis

   

975006 (E56171), with 59444 at Chasewater, 26/9/93. Kevin Dowd

 

 

Interior

 

The coated cab desk being installed into E56171, 22/4/13. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

A replacement desk top for the cab of Wickham trailer 56171 has been constructed and is seen here during a trail fit. It needs some minor adjustments before going off for its plastic coated top, 26/11/12. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Unfortunately 56171's desk was damaged during the 2011/2012 winter by damp and so all the electrical systems and controls have been removed from the cab so that the desk could be taken out for replacement. The extent of the previous restoration can be gauged by the clean appearance of the under-desk area, 5/11/12. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

E56171's second class saloon, 12/4/08. David Beardmore

   

56171's unusual cab layout, 10/6/06. Chris Moxon

   

This is the completed interior of the first class section of the trailer car. Here the seating materials is a deep blue and the aluminium wall covering is a dark walnut colour - leading to a feeling of luxury, 2004. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

This photograph shows well the replica art deco interior with its curious curved partitions and shaped windows. The seat material, a close copy of the original can be seen as can the troublesome luggage racks and curved seat tops, 2004. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The first class seats, a blue version of the fabric, are being assembled and bolted into place, Sep 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

In the trailer's main saloon are all the new seat cushions, covered in a faithful copy of the original Wickham fabric, Sep 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

At the back of the trailer car the tiny toilet compartment, freshly laid lino and seat frames can be seen, Sep 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The lighting galleries as delivered, Jun 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Superb joinery is exhibited in this vestabule area in the trailer car, Jun 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The new all alloy luggage racks consist of front and back members which are joined by round tube and are placed on specially cast brackets. Each tube has a plug in each end which allows a set screw to be screwed into it, Jun 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The trailer car cab is almost complete. Note the new woodwork on the doors and the new aluminium window surrounds which have been made to the original pattern, Apr 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

In side the first class saloon of the trailer - looking forward to the cab the new aluminium window surrounds are seen. This saloon is now completely glazed, Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Looking to the rear of the same saloon the smaller windows can be seen. These are this shape because the large first class seats are quite high and would otherwise obscure the glass. The windows' size has been confirmed by the discovery of original drawings of the doors and partitions, Apr 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

All new luggage racking is being fabricated from aluminium. This is the third attempt at a test section and has been adopted as the final pattern. The sections arrive in kit form and will be assembled in the vehicles, Apr 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The high quality of the new woodwork is seen in this photo. All doors are having new woodwork fitted, Apr 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Skilled fabricators have been used to make the odd-shapes window surrounds both inside and outside of the coaches. As can be seen the shapes vary widely and even include a completely circular section! Apr 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The first class section is now completely panelled and presents quite a different appearence to only a few months ago. Also now installed is the original sliding door between the driver's cab and the saloon. Note the good match between the original pattern on the door and the rest of the saloon, Jan 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The very first interior panel to be put in was this one which is in the rich Walnut finish used in the first class section of E56171. The panel is an almost exact copy of the original pattern and - like the original - is bonded onto aluminium sheeting. A considerable problem was making sure that the panel was small enough to slide behind the window frame, Jan 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

At last the art deco interior is starting to come together. This view is inside the trailer car, E 56171, and is taken from the rear of the coach looking forward. Although there is a lot of trim work to do a good idea of the finished coach can be gained. The panelling in second class is much lighter than in first, Jan 2003. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The ceiling panels are now being fitted in the saloons of E56171. This is the inside of the first class saloon. Wall panelling is soon to transform this area, Nov 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

What a difference! Just look at earlier photos of this cab - this is the driving position of trailer car E56171 just prior to fitting of the driver's seat, Oct 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The cab of trailer car E56171 had been fitted with its roof with the wiring virtually complete. The vehicle's new laminated windscreens have also been fitted and these are to modern standards to protect the unit's future drivers, Aug 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The cab of trailer car E56171 had been fitted with its roof with the wiring virtually complete, Aug 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Work is proceeding to manufacture the heater ducting, Aug 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

A new toilet header tank has been made and fitted, Aug 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Inside the car the first of the odd-shaped art deco partitions has been fitted. The area further away from that will become the first-class saloon and four first-class seats have been offered up to make sure that they will fit. The first class partition is a more solid affair with a door in the middle, May 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The drivers partition originally was hollow and so when the AWS equipment was installed it was strengthened in the cab with wood. The strengthening is now being moved to the inside so that the partition will look more original, May 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

A close up of one of the new partition windows. When the partition is covered with Bondene coated aluminium a piece of glass will be secured by two specially shaped pieces of aluminium trim, May 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Further partitions are being manufactured using a jig which has been constructed for the purpose. All the original partitions were lost when the unit was converted into an inspection saloon in 1972, May 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Inside the cab the original "biscuit" colour is beginning to appear where refurbished parts are being fitted. The fitting of the cab doors has made this area suddenly seem much more advanced, Mar 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Glazing work has also been carried out including to the area formerly occupied by the enlarged toilet. This has now been returned to its original condition. The original toilet occupied a very small space at the back of the vehicle and will be very cramped when in use! Mar 2002. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The new floor has been fitted to the trailer car and the whole of the interior and underside have been waxoiled. New stepboards have been made for both cars and are seen here awaiting fitting. They are stored in what will eventually be the toilet area, Aug 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

The seats are now known to have been very similar to those used on the Cravens cars and so some old Cravens seats have been used to work out the positions of certain items, such as partitions and partition windows, Aug 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Reassembly work has started in the cab with the reconditioned components of the vacuum system being placed in the desk area. The desk frame is now back in situ following corrosion repairs to the floor beneath it, Jun 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

With the asbestos safely out of the way the rest of the desk area was dismantled to reveal yet more corrosion. This area is the support for the vacuum pipes and is directly under the route indicator windows, Feb 2001. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Electricians who came in to work on rewiring the trailer car almost immediately discovered a large patch of blue asbestos below the control desk and behind a panel. Work had to stop on the project immediately and the coach was taken outside and sheeted up until specialist contractors could deal with removing the asbestos, Dec 2000. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

Corrosion problems at the rear of the vehicle have meant that the corridor connection and the aluminium bodywork have had to be removed. This will allow work to be done on the frame. On the bottom left of this picture can be seen the repaired toilet floor, Dec 2000. Llangollen Railcar Group

   

This is how the interiors of both cars looked when at their worst, after the asbestos had been stripped - this is E56171 looking towards where the toilet should be fitted. As can be seen the interior would have to be completely reconstructed to the original appearance. Llangollen Railcar Group