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Class 104 BRC&W 2, 3 & 4-car DMUs

Operations - Later Days

In service, the 104s worked over many routes on the BR network, covering most, if not all the DMU diagrams of their home depots. Throughout their lives being allocated to: Ayr, Bletchley, Buxton, Cambridge, Carlisle Kingmoor, Chester, Crewe North, Crewe South, Cricklewood, Darlington, Derby Etches Park, Eastfield, Hull Botanic Gardens, Hull Springfield, Leeds Neville Hill, Llandudno Junction, Longsight, Newton Heath, Norwich, Old Oak Common, Ryecroft, South Gosforth, Stoke, Stratford, Toton, Tyseley, York and Walsall Monument Lane. Of the routes worked by the class, the one they became synonymous with is the Buxton to Manchester Piccadilly 'Spa Line'.

Class 104s at Blackpool

Blackpool North was a frequent haunt for the class, as shown in the first image. Taken on the 3rd August 1979, with many vehicles carrying the Blackpool "White Stripe", the vehicles are 50524 + 59183 + 50475, 50504 + 59160 + 50452, 50477 + 59185 + 50529 and 50517 + 59173 + 50465. Robert Frise.

They were also known to work to Skegness, on summer Saturday services from Manchester Piccadilly, as well as the occasional excursion.

Saturday May 6, 1989 saw the last official booked run of a 104 on the 'Spa Line' when N669 M53454 + M59187 + M53528 worked the 'Buxton 104 Farewell', an express run from Manchester Piccadilly to Buxton and return. Even after 'Sprinterisation' of the line on May 15, 1989, 104s still managed to work to Buxton on odd occasions - deputising for non available 'Sprinters'. The last occasion was on May 4, 1990 when CH610 M53447 + M53531 worked the 16:07 Manchester Piccadilly - Buxton and the 17:08 return to Bolton.

There were ten NSE liveried vehicles (eight DMBSs 53429/437/455/470/477/479/539/540 and two trailers 59163/206) The DMBSs were paired into four sets (L701 to L704). They emerged in NSE livery following overhaul at Doncaster Works in late 1988 and early 1989 (the last of the class to be treated) to work Barking to Gospel Oak services, until displaced by Class 115 sets, when they moved to the Thames Line. The two trailers were allocated to Bletchley and worked in various DMU sets.

Class 104 at Gainsborough.

One of the most unusual workings was the 'Mexican Bean' (53424 + 53434), which although allocated to Eastfield, Glasgow was stabled at Oban. It worked summer services from there to Crainlarich giving connections with Fort William trains. About once a week (normally Friday afternoons?) would see the set attached to the back of a loco-hauled service train to Glasgow for refuelling.

The final image shows a set at Gainsborough Central. Peter, Lincolnshire & East Yorkshire Transport Review.

Ordering Details
Single Engine Conversion
3-car diagrams & Works Pics
2-car diagrams & Drivers Instructions
4-car diagrams & Works Pics
Early Operations
Later Operations
Non-Passenger Use

Details about preserved Class 104s can be found here.

Many thanks to Kevin Dowd for his assistance in the preparation of these pages, and to Eddie Knorn for further data.

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