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Locomotive: Swindon DMUS Gauge: ‘OO’/’N’ Proposed by: Mel Harwood and Stuart Moore, by e-mail
What is it?
Swindon Works built four classes of diesel multiple units based on the 64ft Mk 1 coach, rather than the 57ft chassis that formed the foundation for the majority of first-generation DMUS. These four became Class 120, 123, 124 and 126 under TOPS. Where they were built does not necessarily dictate where they operated. Only the Class 123 was built for the Western Region. The similar Class 124, which shared its distinctive wraparound windscreens but not the end gangways, were built for trans-pennine services. The Class 120s were shared between the Western and Scottish Regions. They too had a distinctive nose, with two large windscreens, which was shared by the ‘126’ built for the Scottish Region. The ‘126s’, however, only had this nose at one end – the other had a flat front with two windscreens either side of a gangway. Whether powered by AEC, Leyland or British United Traction engines, Swindon called its
What would make it viable?
All four units share the same underframe and a good proportion of their body panels, which would have a positive effect on tooling costs. They were versatile, working across the West of England, Wales and the Midlands, Scotland, and between Liverpool/manchester and Tyneside. They lasted until the early 1980s so they received green (with speed whiskers or yellow panels) plus blue and blue/grey livery.
Can I see a real one?
One Class 120 car survives at the Great Central Railway, while a complete four-car Class 126 has been fully restored at the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway.
Below: Class 123 four-car DMU. COLOUR RAIL DMUS ‘inter-city’ long before those words formed the basis of BR’S premium long-distance brand.
Above: Class 120 three-car DMU. G. PARRY COLLECTION/COLOUR RAIL
Above: Class 124 three-car DMU. JOHN E. HENDERSON/COLOUR RAIL
Below: Class 126 four-car DMU. COLOUR RAIL