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West Somerset Railway PCV Testing 1996
By The03GodWest Somerset Railway PCV Testing 1996
This scenario requires: https://alanthomsonsim.com/downloads/propelling-control-vehicle/
RES Class 47/7 Pack https://backdatedtrainsim.weebly.com/locomotives.html
AP MK1 Pack https://www.armstrongpowerhouse.com/rolling_stock/coach/mk1_coach_pack_vol_1
SSS WSR https://www.steamsoundssupreme.com/routes-super-detail-range.html
During a four week period during August 1996 English Welsh and Scottish Railways carried out extensive testing on Southern Section of the West Somerset Railway using a Class 47 Diesel Locomotive and their recently converted 'Propelling Control Vehicles' (PCV's) for use with mail trains. EWS had recently bought Rail Express Systems bringing postal and charter trains under their operation. At the time EWS was also making further bids for the other three mainline freight companies operating in the UK.(Loadhaul, Transrail and Mainline Freight)
Wednesday 7th August 1996 saw 47733 ‘Eastern Star' arrive onto the West Somerset Railway to begin crew training using the newly converted PCV vehicles. The loco arrived with several other mail vans which would also be used as part of the trials. The consist was as follows: 47733 94193 94195 94218 and PCV 94315. The majority of the testing took place between Bishops Lydeard and Norton Fitzwarren however Saturday the 24th August posed a slight problem, due to the arrival of a visiting HST tour to Bishops Lydeard there would be a shortage of siding space. As a result 47733 worked through to Minehead to stable, thus becoming the first Class 47 to reach the seaside resort.
PCV coaches are a British design and were converted at Hunslet Berkley in Kilmarnoch from Class 307 driving trailers. A total of 43 were converted numbered 94302-94345. 94300 & 301 were the prototype vehicles and were of a non standard design, they were only really used for testing before being used on high speed mail services from Walsall – Inverness having had their ‘push pull' equipment removed. The coaches were designed to work with the Res/EWS Push Pull Class 47/7's which had recently undergone an extensive refurbishment program for use on long distance mail services in the UK .
The PCV (Tops Code NAA) allowed mail trains to be reversed from the rear coach at slow speed at postal hubs and yards giving the driver a clear view, and making shunting of trains much easier. The trials on the West Somerset Railway and on the mainline network were successful and the coaches provided a further 8 years of front line service for EWS. In 2004 the company sensationally lost the entire mail by rail contract. In 2007 none of the coaches are now in service, seven have been scrapped and the rest remain in storage pending sending to the scrap yard.
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