16th Annual Railcar Convention

Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, 30th September-2nd October 2011.

Report by Paul Moxon


This year, the Railcar Association’s Sixteenth National DMU convention ventured north to Yorkshire, namely the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. Our thanks go to Sam MacDougall & Shaun Whitehead supported by many of the railway’s enthusiastic operating staff. Coupled with two days of almost unbroken sunshine (hopefully) a good time was had by all the delegates.

This was the first time that the TRA has organised the convention remotely and I would like to thank Chris (Moxon) for deciding to persevere with the phone calls and emails that resulted in an excellent event.


Friday saw the usual TRA suspects sampling the driver experiences, which was run with the Class 108 and the W & M Railbus working from each end of the line.

Despite the 108 being overdue an overhaul, the mechanical systems were functioning well and gear changes up the
gradient out of Keighley had to be brisk otherwise delegates would lose too much momentum.

Driving the Waggon und Maschinenbau Railbus was an eye opener. With 6 forward gears, various “half” gears, foot mounted throttle & horn, and air brakes it was certainly different to drive!

Mention must be made of the railway allowing drivers to position their steeds for many impromptu photo calls, as long as we were within the timetable, it seemed almost any pose was possible. (Driver Bill Black referred to cameras as “festoonographs”)


The DMU alternated with the Railbus and a steam service in the morning and a few delegates that couldn’t get the Friday off work joined the trains in the morning.

Tour of Haworth Yard - The delegates were taken round the locomotive shed and works and given a very informative tour of the yard by an enthusiastic (and particularly pro-steam!) guide who outlined the railway’s overhaul programme and other facts and figures about the way the KWVR is managed from an engineering / overhaul point of view.

During the tour, the opportunity to take a “seminar” view of the attendees was organised in front of the railway’s Class 101 set which is getting ever closer to its operational debut.

The DMU group were hoping to have one car ready for demonstration on the head shunt but sadly a generator decided to throw a belt or two, so the group had to be content with showing the interior off to the TRA.

Formal Meeting

Meeting and greeting
Paul (Moxon) welcomed everyone to the official stage of the event and ran through the usual update of DMU activity in the UK over the last 12 months.

Summarised, eight DMU’s and a GWR railcar were returned to service, 11 further railcars had restorations started including the challenge of the Gloucester Class 100! Two cars (51852 & 59516) were dismantled for spares and then scrapped.

Early days of the KWVR - Bill Black
Bill gave an animated and amusing talk on the early days of the KWVR railway with particular reference to the operation and maintenance of the two German rail buses that the KWVR had bought when every other railway were trying to raise funds for steam locomotives that were then being phased out from British Railways.

Aided by Robert, head of DMU’s, Bill recounted a few of the many incidents that the team had had to cope with over the many years of ownership. There were a selection of photographs at the back of the room to illustrate Bill’s talk.

Website update – Chris Moxon
The original website address www.railcar.co.uk has been placed back on the Internet, and this means that the split is as follows:-

HISTORY is administered by Stuart MacKay and encompasses Features/Gallery/Numbering/Modelling/Books and Abroad.

PRESERVATION administered by Chris Moxon & includes The Railcar Association (descriptive)/Bulletin/Preserved Vehicles/Running Dates/Convention/Societies/Driving/Suppliers and Contact details.

The Railcar Association, Bulletin, Preserved Vehicles, Societies & Contact have already been re-launched.
Running Dates, Convention, Driving & Suppliers will follow in the next 12 months.
Preserved Vehicles in particular has grown considerably this year.

TECHNICAL section is unplaced at present.

The floor expressed their thanks to Chris (M) for his continuing efforts with the preservation side of the TRA’s web site.

Railbus Trust – Craig Owen
Craig gave a detailed presentation that covered the prototype second generation Railbuses (RB001 to 4) and 140-001.

He told us the story of the Swedish “Y7” rail bus and how it had survived from Swedish railways through play room to garden shed and now “proper” preservation.

He outlined the fundraising required to try and repatriate LEV2 from the USA.

Heritage Railway Competency – Evan Green Hughes
Evan detailed the current thinking of the Railway authorities and warned the TRA that these may be adopted and applied in the future.

He explained the following:- Who is required to be competent, What competence is, and how competence can be achieved. A fuller transcript has been uploaded to the website.

View Heritage Railway Competency Document

Awareness of the Pacer Preservation Group – Peter Dickinson
The Group’s aims are:- To preserve at least one representative of the Pacer family of rail buses (Classes 142-144) for future generations, establish and maintain a collection of Pacer-related documents and artefacts, as an historical archive for enthusiasts and preservationists and to improve public awareness of the Pacer-type rail buses.

The group is a new addition to the preservation scene, having been formed in January 2011, has a current membership of 20, hosts regular meetings at Crewe and a website at pacer-preservation.webs.com

The floor offered encouragement to the group, a recommendation to research the Pacers that still had various original features fitted & a warning to gather spare parts whilst they were still available and/or plentiful.

It was agreed that space could be made on the Railcar website to accommodate the new groups. (Action CIM)

A.O.B. & Discussion Topics
Asbestos – Evan commented that it cost the Llangollen Railcar group £16,500 to strip Class 105 DTCL M56456
Overhaul and Component Standards – No further progress had been reported. It was requested that we chase Brian Smith up to see where he had got to.

680 Engine Mounts – Chris Bull reported that a supplier had been
approached with a view to remaking these items. Costs and supply were ongoing. A guide to variety was to be produced and put on the TRA website.

Bio Fuel –Reported that it was tending to loosen dirt from the tanks (as predicted) and this was getting into (and clogging) the filter systems. Trevor Daw reported that the bio fuel in use on the Severn Valley Railway was not causing them any particular problem at present. The question of suitable fuel filters appeared to be quashed with two
suppliers being mentioned.

Wheel Profiles/Brake Testing – please refer to Overhaul and Component standards above.

There was a recommendation from the floor to have an earlier meeting (which was agreed to)

Various suggestions for the 2012/2013/2014 conventions were put forward. From Quainton Road, Great Central, Dean Forest, Gloucester & Warwickshire and Llangollen it was agreed in principal that the Great Central to be approached for 2012, Chris Bull approach the G/WR for 2013 and Evan requested that Llangollen host “Railcar 60” at Llangollen in 2014.

An impromptu collection from those remaining delegates was started by Trevor Daw. This resulted in £14 which will be used for stamps and phone calls for organising the 2012 event.

The floor also thanked Chris for his efforts in organising the event.

Actions Resulting From AOB/Discussion Topics
Contact Brian Smith for any progress on “Overhaul and Component standards” and “Wheel Profiles/Brake Testing”–Action: Paul Moxon

Accommodate 2nd Generation units on TRA (preservation) website—Action Chris Moxon

There was a recommendation from the floor to have an earlier
meeting—Action Chris Moxon

Fish & Chip Special

A few delegates sampled the on-train bar and the train stopped at Oakworth for Fish & Chips.