British Rail Class 139
|British Rail Class 139 PPM|
139 002 at Stourbridge Junction
The interior of a London Midland Class 139
|Manufacturer||Parry People Movers|
|Capacity||20-25 seated, 30-35 standing|
|Line(s) served||Stourbridge Town Branch Line|
|Car body construction||Stainless steel frame|
|Car length||8.7 m (28 ft 7 in) (139 000)
9.6 m (31 ft) (139 001-002)
|Width||2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)|
|Height||3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)|
|Wheel diameter||610 mm (24 in)|
|Maximum speed||65 km/h (40 mph)|
|Weight||12 t (11.8 long tons; 13.2 short tons) (PPM50|
|Traction system||1,000–2,600 rpm flywheel|
|Prime mover(s)||Ford DSG423 |
|Power output||86 hp (64 kW)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Standard gauge|
British Rail Class 139 is the TOPS classification for PPM60 model lightweight railcars built by Parry People Movers, for use on the British rail network. The class were originally built in 2008 for operation on the Stourbridge Town Branch Line following an extensive trial with a prototype registered as a Class 999 unit.
The first newly constructed Class 139 was shown on 28 June 2008 at the Tyseley Locomotive Works Open Day. The full fleet of two units eventually entered public service on the branchline in June 2009.
The Class 139 units are typical of the Parry People Mover concept, in that they utilise flywheel energy storage as means of smoothing energy demand, to start and propel the vehicle. The flywheel captures braking energy when the brakes are used, and re-uses the energy for acceleration. This eliminates the need for a large diesel engine. The small onboard engine is used to power up the vehicle initially, and to provide power for the onboard systems.
The concept of using the lightweight railcar came about in 2006, when a year-long pilot scheme began on the Stourbridge Town Branch Line on Sundays, using a PPM50 unit constructed in 2002 and numbered as 999 900 under TOPS. The success of this pilot meant that the provision of regular services using the technology was incorporated in the franchise plans for the new West Midlands Franchise. Following the award of the franchise to London Midland, they placed an order for two PPM60 units with Parry People Movers, through Porterbrook leasing.
These two units are 139 001 and 139 002, composed of vehicle numbers 39001 and 39002 in the British carriage and wagon numbering and classification system. The vehicles are mechanically similar to 999 900, but are approximately one metre longer. They were intended to start operating on the Stourbridge Town branch in 2008. In January 2009 it was confirmed that 139001 was still undergoing testing at Chasewater Railway and 139002 was still not completed.
Despite the difficulties in the commissioning of the two Class 139 units, London Midland consistently outlined its faith that they would be ready to enter service. In March 2009, it was announced that the first unit had received its passenger certification from Network Rail, allowing it to carry passengers. London Midland stated that they would begin a phased entry into service, starting with weekend operation in April, leading up to a full service by the timetable change in May 2009. Until then, London Midland temporarily returned a Class 153 to operating the branch service. 139002 officially entered service on 29 March 2009 as part of the type's phased entry. This unit had previously worked in full service, including all-day on Monday 11 May 2009 and previously had worked all morning services during February/March 2009. In May 2009 the first unit, 139 001 was finally delivered to Stourbridge, with 999 900 removed at the same time. The test unit 999 900 had been on the branch line between 2005–2009. At the point of introduction, they displaced a single Class 153 DMU that was previously allocated to the branch line. By December 2009, the 200,000th passenger had been carried by the railcars.
In 2010, a trial service was planned between the Mid-Hants Railway, a heritage line in Hampshire, and Go-Op, a planned open access operator, which would see the former 999900, restored to its original designation as Parry Car No. 12, operate peak time trains between Medstead and Four Marks and Alton, intended to connect with South West Trains services to London in the morning and from London in the evening. Problems with the vehicle during testing meant that this project was postponed. As a consequence, the vehicle, since purchased by Lightweight Community Transport, is undergoing a major rebuild to bring it up to Class 139 standard, and has been renumbered as 139000.
Parry People Movers are using London Midland's purchase of the Class 139 for the short Stourbridge line to promote the PPM concept for other lines that are short and essentially separate from the main railway network as a means of reintroducing rail travel to areas that have seen it curtailed. PPML indicated that they intended to use a variation of the PPM60 model, to be known as the PPM220, to bid for the contract to build a small fleet of experimental tram-trains for use on the Penistone Line, and for the new generation DMUs intended as part of the Government's rolling stock plan. This will entail an articulated unit, with a pair of PPM60 variants at either end of a fixed passenger unit—the whole unit will be capable of accommodating up to 220 passengers and travelling at up to 60 miles per hour (100 km/h) on railways or 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) on tramways. The Penistone trial however was cancelled before a bidder was selected and replaced in September 2009 with an electric Rotherham-Sheffield trial.
Unit 139000 is planned to be used as a technology demonstrator following its upgrade, with testing planned initially for the Chasewater Railway, a 2-mile (3.2 km) long heritage line in Staffordshire, before further tests on the much longer, double track Great Central Railway in Leicestershire. The intention then is to transport the vehicle to test a more frequent service on the Ellesmere Port to Warrington Line between Ellesmere Port and Helsby.
In cooperation with Lightweight Community Transport, Parry People Movers are developing a new, four axle bogie vehicle with a more powerful diesel engine and greater passenger capacity that it plans to market as the flagship product for use on branch lines, which it is classing as 139/1 (with the original, two axle units being 139/0). The success of the Stourbridge units has led to more interest in using such vehicles elsewhere by train operating companies, with at least one pre-qualified franchise bidder in the 2012 round including the procurement of Class 139s in its franchise bid.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Notes|
|Class 139/0||Lightweight Community Transport||1||2002
|London Midland||2||2008||139001 - 139002|
- "PPM 50/ PPM 60 Specification". Parry People Movers. Retrieved 2008-10-14. "Dimensions: Length [..] 9.6m [..] Width 2.4m [..] Height 3.2m (high floor) Maximum speed: 65km/h on suitable trackwork [..] Passenger accommodation: Typical capacity 20-25 seated plus 30-35 standing [..] Flywheel energy storage: Effective speed range 1,000-2,600rpm [..] Self-powered vehicles: Engine Ford DSG423 2.3L LPG fuel)"
- "Clean, Green & Quiet - Lightweight Railcar Operation Scores Success and Acclaim in Passenger Service". Parry People Movers. 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2010-06-29. "the 12-tonne PPM 50 vehicle"
- "Eco-friendly tram celebrates 200,000th passenger". Stourbridge News (Birmingham, United Kingdom). 2009-12-15. Retrieved 2010-06-29. "revolutionary gas powered tram ... Its official title might well be the Class 139 LPG powered light rail vehicle but to everyone local to this area it is the Parry People Mover"
- Today's Railways (74): 59.
- Tift, Duncan (2007-08-01). "Green light for PPM to pioneer new rail policy". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 2010-06-29. "Parry People Movers ... based in Cradley Heath, supplies lightweight rail and tram vehicles."
- "£700,000 oredr for two lightweight railcars". TransportXtra. 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "Class 153s temporarily return to the Stourbridge Branch as a description.". Railway Herald (170): 5. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2010-06-29. "However, problems introducing the new lightweight railcars,"
- "PPM Technology". Parry People Mover Limited. Retrieved 2010-06-30. "The rotating flywheel is a store of kinetic energy that is used to power the vehicle. ... flywheel allows the direct capture of brake energy ... A two-litre engine to transport fifty passengers. ... on board LPG-fuelled automotive engine is used."
- "Parry People Movers for Stourbridge branch line".
- Rail Express. January 2009.
- "Stourbridge railcar receives its passenger licence". London Midland. 2009-03-26.
- "Trains return to the Stourbridge Line - including Sundays". London Midland. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2009-03-29.[dead link]
- "Latest News". Parry People Movers. 2009-06-19. Retrieved 2009-06-24.
- GOCO Mid-Hants Link trial set for action - The Go! Co-op Newsletter, Jan 2011 page 4
- Lightweight Community Transport
- A brand new railcar is being built for Mid-Hants... - Lightweight Community Transport, 21st October 2011
- Stourbridge Railcars continue giving good performance - PPM Newsletter, March 2012, page 6
- "Parliamentary Light Rail Group hears case for reopenings". Parry News (50). Parry People Movers Limited. March 2008. p. 3. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "Worldwide Scope for Tram-Trains" (PDF). Parry News (52). Parry People Movers Limited. November 2008. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "City tram-trains trial unveiled". BBC News Online. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "139000 takes shape". Lightweight Community Transport Newsletter. September 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- Parry People Movers Newsletter No 63
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Rail Class 139.|
- Parry People Movers
- Stourbridge Line User Group
- London Midland
- Ford Power Products DSG423 engine details