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Llangollen Railcars

Preserving Yesterday For Tomorrow


Class 141 - 55533

BR History

Class 141

Originally this unit was painted in West Yorkshire’s Metro green and cream livery but this was changed to red when it was rebuilt. 141113 (then numbered 141012) is seen when brand new at Leeds Station on 11th May 1984. Photo By Keith Long

This class 141 vehicle is identical to 55513 except that it is fitted with a toilet. They have run as a pair since new.

When the class 141 was originally built it was fitted with a Leyland TL11 engine - which was the uprated and turbocharged version of the engines fitted in units like the class 108 and 104. These engines were never satisfactory in service and neither were the gearboxes which were manufactured by SCG and again were an updated version of the traditional design. In this case the automatic gear change gave problems - in particular with the electronics and failures in lubrication led to gearboxes refusing to work. There were also issues with the brakes as cables had been used between the air cylinders and the brake blocks which tended to stretch and give reduced efficiency. The class 141 as built was also fitted with Tightlock couplers which were unique to the class.

A decision was taken to rework classes 141-144 and as an experiment 141113 (of which 55533 is part) was fitted with a Cummins L10 engines and Voith hydraulic transmission. At the same time the whole of the class was modified to have the Davies and Metcalfe air brake system with direct acting cylinders and the BSI couplers so that they could be coupled to the later classes 142-144.

The experiment was successful and all the 142/143 and 144 types were converted but yet 141113 remained the only member of the class to receive the uprated engines. The unit became a depot favourite at Neville Hill in Leeds and was popular with the drivers due to its outstanding performance.

When the Aire Valley lines were electrified some of the class 141s were placed in store and the rest followed as more new trains became available. 113 was one of the last two (119 being the other) but it was finally taken out of service on May 23rd 1998. It, too, went into store at Doncaster before passing into preservation in 2001. Along with its sister it was restored at the Midland Railway Butterley over a five year period, making its debut in service in 2007.