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The end is nigh for Chiltern’s ‘Bubble cars’

Chiltern Railways 121034 forms the 0918 from Princes Risborough-Aylesbury at Monks Risborough. KIM FULLBROOK.

Chiltern Railways will withdraw its two Class 121 ‘Bubble cars’ on May 19.

The single-car first-generation diesel multiple units were introduced in 1960, and are currently used by CR between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury. The first (121020) was bought from Network Rail in 2003, with a second (121034) joining it in 2011 from preservation.

They are the last trains in daily use with vacuum brakes, but CR says that because of the increase in ongoing maintenance needs they are to be withdrawn and sold. They will be replaced by Class 165s.

“We will be sad to see these trains go, as they are a part of railway history and some customers even make special journeys to travel on them,” said Chiltern Railways Engineering Director Matthew Prosser.

“However, the changes are necessary due to the age of the vehicles, and we will ultimately be providing a more comfortable service for our customers.”

CR said a small farewell will be held on their last day in traffic. 

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  • Will - 10/04/2017 11:11

    I hope they don't get scrapped...

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    • FrankH - 14/04/2017 21:59

      No chance of that, preservation guaranteed.

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  • AndrewG1989 - 10/04/2017 22:53

    So that means Chiltern Railways could use the some of the Class 165's "Networker Turbo" DMU's or Class 168's or Class 172's "Clubman/Turbostar" DMU's on the Princes Risborough-Aylesbury line as the Class 121's may end up getting scrapped or used as a heritage train to be used on the Epping-Ongar Railway or on other heritage railway.

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  • AndrewG1989 - 13/04/2017 22:20

    Chiltern Railways may be able to use the Class 168 and Class 172 on the Princes Risborough-Aylesbury line with Chiltern Railways to receive 8 Class 172's cascaded from London Overground that the Class 172's could be used on that line. And the Class 121 "Bubblecar" DMU locomotive could be transferred to Epping-Ongar Railway or North Norfolk Railway.

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    • FrankH - 18/04/2017 22:40

      The article says Chiltern are going to use class 165's on the route. The 165/0 sub class I would think which are limited to 75mph.

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