One of my occasional posts!
I can only speak of operations of DBT's in the North East of England,
were the answer would be, "most of the time".
Speaking to a number of railwaymen in the N.E. that had direct
operational experience with DBT's (for an oral history project)it
would seem that DBT's would be coupled to a loco on a semi permanent
basis for weeks at a time and never be shunted to be specifically at
the head of a train.
I have been collecting photographs of DBT's in operation for many a
year and the phots show DBT's being propelled approx 90% of the time.
I appreciate that this contadicts the "never be shunted statement
Some of the photographs indicate that it was a regular practice during
"light" engine movements between Consett and Tyne Yard for the loco to
propel both a DBT and brake van.
I have a couple of phots of type 37's hauling both square type DBT's &
consists passing Margam steelworks but can't say that this is
indicitive of South Wales working practice?
Look out over the coming months for a DBT article in the popular
railway press that should shed more light on operating practices,
reasons for development etc on the DBT's
The Three Rivers Rambler
The Modelling sort.
Here is a bit of a DBT bibliography.
Locospotters Annual Ian Allan 1964
BR Standard Freight Wagons(D Larkin) D.Bradford Barton 1975 ISBN 0
85153 240 3
British Railway Wagons Cattle & Brake Vans(G Gamble) Chenoa
Publications 1997 ISBN 1 900298 05 8
The Railway Magazine (article by Colin J Marsden) December 1995
Diesels in the North East(David Allen) O.P.C. 1984 ISBN 0 86093 262
British Railway Wagons"the first half million" (Don
Rowland) David&Charles 1985
Second edition Leopard 1996 ISBN0 7529 0378 0
Chris Leigh wrote a modelling article for a 1966 Model Railway
Constructor and BR's regional Freight train Loads Book give a
paragraph of rules relating to DBT's.
Some of the rules being:
60 mph speed limit when being drawn, 45mph when propelled. Never more
than two DBT's to be propelled.
DBTs's to be classed as part of the loco equipment.
When DBT's are in use special care must be exercised when undertaking
Under no circumstances must a DBT be loose shunted.
Hope the above is of help.
Bear with me on this point:
Euslin Bruce was an employee of Sultzer. He had an interest in
photography hence he was asked to take a number of official Sultzer
pix. After Ian Allan's Feb 1961 decision to allow advertising on the
front cover of Trains Illustrated, Mr Bruce's photographs were used to
illustrate Sulter's front cover advertising the magazine.
Ian Allan must have been suitably impressed with his pix as they
published a compilation book of Mr Bruces work.
Can't find the book at the moment but there is a colour photograph of
D6 entering Toton yard with a class 8 mineral train. D6 is sandwiched
between two DBT's.
The photograph is excellent for comparison purposes, as it illustrates
the distinctly different tumblehome profiles of Stanier/BR1B bogied
DBT's and the Gresley bogied variant.
TRR - the book you are thinking of is "Diesel Heyday - Sulzer Diesels
in the 1960s", Ian Allan, 1989. That photo is a favourite of mine. I
seem to remember reading somewhere that the Gresley bogied examples
were recycled coaches, it wasn't just the bogies but the rest of the
body including the elliptical roof was made by cutting up old coaches.
Presumably the LMR variants were built from LMS hence the different
The ruling on propelling that I quoted earlier is from the WTT General
lamps on the front. This was done for operational convenience. In later
years they were painted bauxite (they must have joined the fitted wagon
fleet) and were always the first vehicle next to the locomotive.
if you look in the phots on the previously mentioned web sites, you can
clearly see there are lamp brackets that will allow the standard four-disc
head-codes to be displayed... obviously intended to be propelled.
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