Fifty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

Still to be seen ferrying folks along the short stretch of track from Cardiff Queen Street station down to Cardiff Bay is this 1960 vintage, Class 121 diesel multiple unit, number 121032.

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

Nicknamed “bubble cars” for some unfathomable reason or another, sixteen Class 121 single-car driving motor vehicles were built from 1960, and these could rattle along at a top speed of 70 mph.

Sporting slam-doors, vacuum brakes and two large exhaust pipes on the one end, the diesel unit serving the Cardiff Bay line is one of the very last still in revenue-making service.

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

A look inside the ‘Bubblecar’ as it stands at Cardiff Bay station. Note the positively spacious seating arrangements compared to modern “pack ’em in” carriages.

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

The Class 121s came with distinctive twin exhaust pipes, which were curved at the top to fit around a large four-digit route headcode indicator box above the driver’s cab.

After the system was abandoned in the 1970s, the indicators were covered up by a black metal plate, which look a bit rubbish.

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

Class 121 stands at Queen Street, early evening, December 28th 2011.

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

Love the old-fashioned slam doors with pull down windows!

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

A view of the ‘non-exhaust’ end of the train as it stands at Cardiff Queen Street.

Sixty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line

More railways, locos and abandoned stations on my railway section.

[Wikipedia entry on Class 121s]

2 Comments on “Fifty year old train still in service as BR Class 121 rumbles along the Cardiff Bay line”

  1. Ah I remember catching one of those one weekend when our local line didn’t have any power for some reason (probably engineering work related) but they’re young whippersnappers compared to the Class 483s in service on the Isle of Wight which will be 74 next year!

    Still, in some respects they’re more modern as they have sliding doors 🙂

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