Still Nodding - A History of the Class 142, by Peter Dickinson
Booklet published by the Historical Model Railway Society in 2010, 30 pages. Large A4 size booklet (N5584)
The author, Peter Dickinson, firstly outlines the various trial and demonstrator vehicles that were the predecessors of the Class 142., before going on to chronicle the early lives of the 142. The book then covers their utilisation under privatisation, the class today and their operation, and concludes with details of a selection of accidents that 142s were involved in including at Winsford. The book also supplies other useful information such as general arrangement drawings, on train bell signal codes, Scottish route codes and technical date including current operator allocation.
From the foreword: It was British Rail's search for a low cost replacement for its first generation DMUs that brought about the birth of the Class 142. Numbered 142001-096, the units were designed simply as a stop-gap measure, pending the construction of more robust stock. That the units are still in operation today is due to this stock never materialising.
The Class was built around readily available Leyland bus components and began to enter service from 1985 onwards. The first batch of 14 units was set to work on services around Greater Manchester, carrying an eye-catching orange livery. The next batch was sent to the West Country in a chocolate and cream livery reminiscent of the mighty Great Western Railway. The final batch of units was outshopped in a more sedate two-tone blue livery for use in the North of England.
For a time it looked like the Class's days were numbered. Gearbox problems and the rough riding nature of the units soon became apparent; the latter earning the Class the nickname of 'Nodding Donkeys'. The cheap nature of the Class was begining to catch up with them. However, the units continued in service, receiving a number of refurbishments and modifications in the early 1990s. These transformed their reliability and did much to reduce the criticism being thrown at them.
However, questions have since started to be raised over the Class safety as a result of some high profile incidents that units have been involved in; the most notable being the Winsford crash of 1999. Measures have been taken to increase the crashworthiness of the Class 142 units and their safety record has been defended. Three operators currently use Class 142 units on regular services; these being Northern Rail, Arriva Trains Wales and First Great Western. Each unit has had a colourful and interesting history and throughout this book, I have tried to provide a detailed history of the Class so far.
However much criticism is thrown at the Class, it must be remembered that the units are still doing what they were designed to do; to operate on local and regional services until a more robust replacement arrives. As yet, no signs of this replacement are showing, so it appears the Class 142 will be operating on the national network for some years to come...
The condition of the booklet is generally excellent. The covers are clean and bright, the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound. There is a small price sticker on the rear side cover.