British Rail Class 129

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British Rail Class 129
In service1958–1973
Order no.30418[1]
Family nameFirst generation
ReplacedSteam locomotives and carriages
Entered service1958[2]
Number built3
Number scrappedAll
FormationSingle car:
Fleet numbers55997-55999[3]
CapacityLuggage space only[2]
Operator(s)British Rail
Car body constructionSteel
Car length57 ft 6 in (17.53 m) (over body ends)[1]
Width9 ft 3 in (2.82 m) (overall)[1]
Height12 ft 4 12 in (3.772 m) (over roof)[1]
  • 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m) (bogie centres)
  • 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) (bogies)[1]
Maximum speed70 mph (113 km/h)[2]
Weight30 long tons (30 t; 34 short tons)[1]
Prime mover(s)2 × BUT (AEC) 150 hp (110 kW)[2][1]
Power output300 hp (220 kW)[2]
Braking system(s)Vacuum[2]
Coupling systemScrew[2]
Multiple working Yellow Diamond
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 129 was a class of single-car Diesel Multiple Unit built in 1955 for British Rail. Only three were built by Cravens and were introduced in 1958. The class was built for parcels traffic like the Class 128. One unit (55997) survived into departmental service being named 'Hydra'. The driving ends of a Class 129 car bore a visible similarity to that of the British Rail Class 105, also built by Cravens.

Table of orders and numbers
Lot No. Type Diagram Qty Fleet numbers Notes
30418 Non-ganwayed Motor Parcel Van 531 3 M55997–55999

Departmental Usage[edit]

One unit, M55997, was converted as a test bed for hydrostatic drive in 1980, was renumbered RDB 975385, and named Laboratory 9 ‘Hydra’.[5]

It was fitted hydrostatic transmission having the normal Leyland 680 six cylinder engine driving two Rexroth Hydramatic axial piston pumps. Each pump supplied fluid to a Volvo fixed displacement compact axle-end motor which drove the axle directly. The maximum system pressure was in the order of 400 bar (40 MPa; 5,800 psi).

This arrangement was only fitted to one bogie, the other one retaining its normal drive but with the cardan shaft disconnected.

The unit was finally scrapped by Vic Berry at Leicester.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Diesel Multiple Unit Trains (Railcars) Diagram Book (PDF). BRB Residuary Ltd. BR531. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Class 129". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Class 129 Cravens Parcel DMU Cars: Numbering". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Class 129 Cravens Parcel DMU Cars: Summary". Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  5. ^ "975385". Retrieved 24 February 2016.