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Class 122 Diesel Multiple Unit ‘Bubble Car’ no. 55019

After 51 years of W55019 not carrying any passengers, we have the chance to bring 'Bubble 19' back to life again at our new railway.


The project needs your help to fund the work and we are seeking approximately £15,000 to allow us to complete the restoration of our 1958 built Class 122 Diesel multiple unit vehicle number 55019. This vehicle has not carried a passenger since 1969. 


We have named this appeal ‘Project Bubble 19’ for this reason! We have the majority of the materials available to bring this vehicle back to life, but we really need your help to make it happen by allowing us to fund the man power and expertise.

Will you help us to make this vintage vehicle run again?


The vehicle can seat 65 people at once and is highly versatile as it can be self-propelled or used as a hauled vehicle by our equally vintage diesel locomotive for the public to enjoy at our open days. The wide windows at both ends of the vehicle allow panoramic views of the journey as well. It will be used at Christmas, Easter and other events. It would massively help us to have this old unit working again.


The funding is required for the main concentrations of the restoration which will concern checking the internal electrical wiring for the lighting and heating systems, replacing the plywood boarding on the ceiling panels, replacing the side panelling and insulation, replacing the floor lino and fitting the seating frames. The vehicle will also require a full mechanical service and external repaint. 


This funding will allow us to improve our offering to the local community by increasing our train ride capacity using a vintage vehicle, as well as enhance the skills of our volunteer workforce to teach valuable skills that can be used now and in the future. We would give them the opportunity to learn the skills required for this kind of restoration by providing tutoring from experienced restorers as well as the materials to complete some of the outstanding tasks. The funding would also enable us to outsource work where required when more experience and knowledge is needed. 


The unit is one of just 8 still in existence and will be one of our principle passenger carrying vehicles once restored. The unit was heavily modified internally when in use as a departmental vehicle which in many ways assists us as it will allow us to create purpose built disabled access and bays within the guards compartment. Where possible it will be returned to an original state as well as modified according to modern requirements. 


Key Info:

  • We need to bring this unit back into service to give us room for 65 seated passengers to enjoy our running line.

  • We require funding (approx. £15,000) for labour and material costs.

  • We already have a large amount of materials to complete the restoration.

  • We are seeking anyone with experience of First Generation DMU restoration or coach building experience to get in touch about forming a restoration team.

  • This particular unit has not carried a passenger since 1969.

55019 in service at Cadoxton in 1967. 

(Picture courtesy of Robert Masterman)


Built in 1958, this unit spent the first part of her career as a Midland Region passenger unit, being based at Tyseley but she also had a brief spell on the Western Region at Cardiff Canton. 


Affectionately known as 'Bubble cars' these single units were ideal for branch line services. This particular unit though was to spend only 12 years in passenger service before becoming a departmental vehicle, gaining the number ADB975042 and became a route learning unit. 


The latter part of her career saw her become a Railtrack and then a Network Rail sandite unit, used to spray a sticky paste to rails to assist trains with rail adhesion during times of high leaf fall. It fell out of use with Network Rail in 2007 and was stored at the Chiltern Railways fleet base at Aylesbury in a stored serviceable state, during which time it passed into the ownership of Chiltern Railways. It remained here until September 2011 when it was moved to Tyseley Railway Museum pending developments. 


We took delivery of it at Cynheidre on 23rd July 2012. Since arriving the engines have been started and work has been concentrated on renovating the interior of the unit.


It is planned that the unit is to be completely renovated internally and externally and will be one of our principle passenger carrying vehicles. The unit was heavily modified internally during her time as a departmental vehicle. Where possible it will be 

returned to an original state. The external condition of the unit is excellent, with only a small amount of remedial bodywork required.


It has not yet been decided what livery the unit will be painted into, but BR Green with speed whiskers is the most likely.


Above and below - Current internal condition



Present & Future

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