British Rail Class 119

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British Rail Class 119
119 L575.jpg
119 L575 at Reading in 1992
In service1958–1992
ManufacturerGloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd
ReplacedSteam locomotives and carriages
Number built84 cars
Number preserved3 cars
Number scrapped81 cars (26 DMBC, 27 DMSL, 25 TSLRB)
  • DMBC: 18 first, 16 second
  • TSLRB: 60 second
  • DMSL: 68 second
Operator(s)British Rail
Line(s) servedWestern Region
Car body constructionSteel
Car length64 ft 6 in (19.66 m)
Width9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
Height12 ft 8+14 in (3.87 m)
Maximum speed70 mph (113 km/h)
  • DMBC: 37.0 long tons (37.6 t; 41.4 short tons)
  • TSLRB: 31.0 long tons (31.5 t; 34.7 short tons)
  • DMSL: 38.0 long tons (38.6 t; 42.6 short tons)
Prime mover(s)Two BUT (AEC), then BUT (Leyland 680-1595) of 150 hp (112 kW) per power car
Power output600 hp (447 kW) per 3-car set
HVACOil-burning air heater
  • DD10 mk3 and mk4 (DMBS, one of each)
  • DT9 mk4 and mk5 (DTS, one of each)
Braking system(s)Vacuum
Safety system(s)Automatic Warning System
Coupling systemScrew
Multiple working Blue Square
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)

The British Rail Class 119 DMUs were used throughout the Western Region and on services in the Midlands sourced by Tyseley Depot. Built by the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd, the body design was based on the Swindon Cross-Country sets, but with a Derby cab. Sets were normally formed of three cars.


Shortly after their introduction, some sets were transferred from Cardiff to serve the intermediate stations on outer suburban services from London Paddington to Oxford. These were as 7-car sets, with the addition of Hawksworth composites adapted to run as DMU trailers.

Sets worked over most of the Western Region, notable early use being the last passenger train over the Plympton branch. Minehead, Calne and Bridport branches that have since closed were also served by the sets, which also covered main line services in company with the Swindon Cross Country sets.

As with most asbestos-contaminated stock, there were heavy withdrawals, but a number were rebuilt internally after asbestos removal. The rebuilt sets were frequently used on express services from Reading to Gatwick Airport along the Reading-Gatwick link and on stopping services to Tonbridge. Units stabled at Redhill Station overnight would find themselves being fuelled at Selhust Depot, working parcels services to London Bridge and at Clapham Junction working the early morning service to Kensington Olympia.

The fleet was displaced by the 'Turbo' Class 165 and Class 166 fleets in 1992.


Lot No. Car Type Diagram Qty Fleet Numbers Notes
30421 Driving Motor Brake Composite (DMBC) 540 28 51052–51079
30422 Driving Motor Second with lavatory (DMSL) 541 28 51080–51107
30423 Trailer Second Buffet (TSLRB) 542 25 59413–59437

Accidents and incidents[edit]


2 vehicles are currently undergoing restoration on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway (updated 14/6/12), now in service (09/05/19).[2] 1 vehicle has recently been restored on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway (updated 25/08/13).


  1. ^ McCrickard, John P (6 October 2016). "January 1990 to December 1990". Network South East Railway Society. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Bot Verification".

Further reading[edit]

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