Hybrid Unit 51618 / 56456

A rather poor picture
of 51618

Above: 51618 at 'Bryn Derwen Halt'. (John Joyce)

This unit is somewhat unusual, in that it is a hybrid of two classes with completely different histories. The power car 51618 spent virtually all its life working the Bedford - St Pancras line, earning the class the nickname 'Bedpan' units. It was delivered new in September 1959, originally with vehicles 51617, 59602, and 59632 in its 4-car set, but formations were not maintained. All of the class was withdrawn from passenger service in the mid-1980s. More about this type of unit on the RAILCAR website.

On the Dee Bridge

Above: 51618 leading the 'hybrid' set at is heads off the Dee Bridge towards Berwyn. (Dave Southern)

The trailer car, 56456, was delivered new to Lincoln depot in January 1959, initially for use on the Midland and Great Northern Join line, originally paired with 51298. As lines for which they were intended closed, the majority were transferred to King's Cross outer suburban work, for which they were most unsuitable, as documented elsewhere. By 1977, 56456 had moved to Hull Botanic Gardens, and then in 1978 it was transferred, with several other vehicles of its class, to the London Midland Region, first to Newton Heath and then to Longsight. Withdrawal came in 1983. More details on the class 105 are available on the RAILCAR website.

56456 at Carrog
between trains

Above: Waiting to depart from Carrog on a gloomy October day. The unusual feature of the Cravens style front, two windows instead of three, is obvious when compared to the class 127, the latter with the standard Derby front. (John Joyce)

After arrival at Llangollen, a rudimentary conversion was done to 51618 to fit a gangway connection, as the class was never so fitted in service. A bar was also fitted next to the toilet so that refreshments could be dispensed. It ran the first train to operate over the Berwyn extension in 1985, as the platform at Berwyn was not ready for passenger use. A repaint into green came in the late 1980s, and it operated many off-peak days. Taken over by the fledgling diesel group in 1993, a number of long-standing faults were cleared up, and the decidedly non-original bar was removed. The bodywork was finally tackled in 1998 to smarten up the set.

Jazz train

Above: The interior of the Cravens trailer plays host to a jazz band during Llangollen's Jazz Festival in May 2000. (Dewi Davies)

General Info


BR Derby, 1959

Lot no.

30521, 30470


Two Rolls-Royce C8NFLH of 238hp at 1880rpm


Hydraulic - Rolls-Royce DFR10000 twin-disc torque converter and cardan shaft to RF28 final drive


40.6t + 23.5t

Max Speed


Train Brakes


Coupling Code

Blue Square (see note)

Note: although both cars are now classified as blue square vehicles, and work in multiple with the line's other blue square units, 51618 was reclassified (along with the rest of the class) as red triangle during its BR life.

Depot Allocations - 51618

[what I know of it]


September 1959







Depot Allocations - 56456

[what I know of it]



January 1959

Finsbury Park

34G / FP


Hull Botanic Gardens

50C / BG


Newton Heath










The unit is maintained by the Railcar Group.

Transferred 11th Sept 2007 by John Rutter - email webmaster