Propelling Control Vehicle

A Propelling Control Vehicle (PCV) is a type of British railway carriage for carrying mail. They were converted from Class 307 driving trailers and have a cab at one end which allows slow-speed movement control. PCVs are unpowered but the controls allow mail trains to be reversed at low speed, using the power of the locomotive at the other end of the train. Similar BR Class 91 Driving Van Trailer (DVT) used on the ECML differ by being fully equipped for high-speed train control.

British Rail Propelling Control Vehicle
NAA 94335 at Plymouth.JPG
NAA 94335 at Plymouth on 29 August 2003. This vehicle is in Rail Express Systems red/grey livery with light blue flashes.
In service1994–2004
ManufacturerHunslet-Barclay (conversion)
Constructed1994–1996 (conversion from class 307)
Number built42
Number in serviceNone
Number preserved1
Number scrapped24
Fleet numbers94302–94327, 94331–94345, 95300–95301
Operator(s)Rail Express Systems,
EWS
Specifications
Maximum speedSee article text
Braking system(s)Air
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
NAA 94308 on a train being propelled into Plymouth station on 29 August 2003. This vehicle is in unbranded Rail Express Systems livery.

Forty-two PCVs were converted by Hunslet-Barclay in Kilmarnock from 1994 to 1996. The rebuilding work including removal of the windows and slam-doors, the fitting of roller shutter doors, and modernisation of the cab. The vehicles were given the TOPS code NAA and numbered 94300–94327 and 94331–94345. The first two vehicles converted were prototypes, and were extensively tested to iron out any problems. The subsequent 40 vehicles incorporated modifications as a result of this testing. At the same time these vehicles were converted, the Class 47/7 locomotives that hauled mail trains were modified to be able to work in push-pull mode with the PCVs.

When first converted the vehicles were used by the Rail Express Systems parcels sector of British Rail. They were painted in Rail Express Systems red/grey livery with light blue flashes. PCVs were marshalled at either end of mail trains that worked into London termini, which removed the need for the locomotive to run round the train at its destination. Trains were propelled only at low speed, not for long distances.

In 1996 Rail Express Systems was sold to EWS, who continued to operate mail trains on behalf of Royal Mail. PCVs were used on trains between London and Norwich, Plymouth, Bristol, Swansea, Newcastle and Glasgow. PCVs were also used on Travelling Post Office trains from London to Plymouth, Newcastle, Norwich, Carlisle and Glasgow.

The two prototype PCVs, nos. 94300/1, were non-standard. Consequently, they were used as standard mail coaches on a new high-speed mail train from Walsall to Inverness, painted in EWS maroon/gold livery and renumbered 95300/1.

In early 2004, EWS lost the contract to transport mail. As a result, all PCVs except initially 95300/1 were withdrawn from service, pending new traffic, sale or scrapping. After a limited amount of residual traffic, and trials for possible use for the movement of secure goods, 95300 and 95301 were also withdrawn. During September 2016 95301 moved into preservation.

Fleet detailsEdit

The table below shows details of the fleet, including numbering and disposition.

Key: Stored Preserved Renumbered Scrapped
PCV no. Former no. Former vehicle type Status
94300 75114 DTCOL Push-pull equipment removed. Renumbered to 95300
94301 75102 DTCOL Push-pull equipment removed. Renumbered to 95301
94302 75124 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored near Hellifield station (seen May 2015)
94303 75131 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored near Hellifield station (seen May 2015)
94304 75107 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored at Mossend
94305 75104 DTCOL Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94306 75112 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored near Hellifield station (seen May 2015)
94307 75127 DTCOL Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94308 75125 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored at Carnforth (Seen February 2016)
94309 75130 DTCOL Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94310 75119 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored at Willesden (Seen August 2016)
94311 75105 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored at Willesden (Seen August 2016)
94312 75126 DTCOL Scrapped
94313 75129 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored at Willesden (Seen August 2016)
94314 75109 DTCOL Scrapped
94315 75132 DTCOL Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham (08/2006)
94316 75108 DTCOL Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94317 75117 DTCOL Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94318 75115 DTCOL Withdrawn, Location Unknown
94319 75128 DTCOL Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94320 75120 DTCOL Preserved on Mid-Norfolk Railway
94321 75122 DTCOL Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94322 75111 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored at Carnforth (Seen February 2016)
94323 75110 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored near Hellifield station (Seen May 2015)
94324 75103 DTCOL Scrapped
94325 75113 DTCOL Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94326 75123 DTCOL Withdrawn, Stored near Hellifield station (Seen May 2015)
94327 75116 DTCOL Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94331 75022 DTBSO Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94332 75011 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored at Carnforth (Seen February 2016)
94333 75016 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored near Hellifield station (Seen May 2015)
94334 75017 DTBSO Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94335 75032 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored Burton-on-Trent (Seen April 2015)
94336 75031 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored Burton-on-Trent (Seen April 2015)
94337 75029 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored at Willesden (Seen August 2016)
94338 75008 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored at Willesden (Seen August 2016)
94339 75024 DTBSO Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94340 75012 DTBSO Scrapped by C F Booth, Rotherham
94341 75007 DTBSO Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94342 75005 DTBSO Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
94343 75027 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored at Mossend
94344 75014 DTBSO Withdrawn, Stored at Toton (Seen April 2013)
94345 75004 DTBSO Scrapped by TJ Thompson, Stockton
95300 94300 Prototype PCV Withdrawn, Stored at Mossend
95301 94301 Prototype PCV Preserved, Andrew Briddon Locomotives, Darley Dale

See alsoEdit