Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Goodbye to the Bubbles

121034 in Heritage BR Green departs Little Kimble with the 18:04 to Aylesbury on 10/05/2017.

121020 at Little Kimble 27/06/2006
Entering service from 1960 the sixteen class 121 'Bubble Car's' have enjoyed a long and successful career on Britain's railways. While most units ceased to perform passenger services in the 1990's Chiltern Railways overhauled two class 121's from 2004 to work peak hour shuttles between Princes Risbrough and Aylesbury. The first, 121020 was turned out in a blue variation of the Chiltern Railways livery while the second, 121034 was outshopped in 2011 in heritage British Railways Green. The trains were updated with modern safety systems, central door locking and customer information screens. 

Drivers eye view from inside 121034.
Due to increasing costs and difficulty in maintaining the units the decision was taken that they would be withdrawn from the May 2017 timetable change with a class 165 DMU to replace them. This would bring the end to the longest serving DMU design in the UK after 57 years of service. The two class 121's were also the final vehicles to be fitted with only vacuum brakes on the UK network.
The final day of 121 operation was Friday 26th May with additional shuttle services running to mark the occasion. The final runs uniquely saw both bubble cars operating in tandem.

Chiltern Railways has promised to find good homes in preservation for these two DMU's and they will undoubtedly be in high demand joining a large proportion of the fleet which has already entered preservation from mainline service, many via subsequent departmental roles.
The bubble cars will certainly be missed plying their humble route through the Chilterns.

121034 passes through the Chiltern Countryside near Little Kimble working the 17:26 Aylesbury - Princes Risbrough 10/05/2017

No comments:

Post a Comment