Departmentals, Test Trains & Internal Users - QXA RDB 975386 - Laboratory 4 'Hastings'

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QXA RDB 975386 - Laboratory 4 'Hastings'


Current number:
Any other previous number(s):
BR DEMU 60750



Moved to Coventry Railway Centre 9/11. Moved to Battlefield Steam Railway 11/17.



The following comments have been left on photos of this vehicle. To reply, just visit one of the photos.

  • 975386

    4 June 2003 - Ian Butler

    Lab 4 was purchased on 8/4/03 by the Hastings 60750 Group and moved overnight to Walthamstow where repair will begin shortly. The vehicle is to be restored as a static buffet car with the side not shown here painted green with its original number S60750. I would like to thank Hastings Diesels Ltd for their considerable assistance.

  • 975386

    23 November 2004 - Ben Williams

    The narrow profile of this former Hasting line coach made it an ideal test-bed for experiments into the tilting suspension system, as a the vehicle body could be tilted whilst still remaining within the standard loading gauge.

    Thanks to info from

  • 975386

    9 July 2007 - Kit Spackman

    This view shows Hastings in its original colour scheme, BR Blue/Red. At that time it had instrumentation mounted in the far end as seen in the photo, a small ride evaluation compartment in the centre, as shown by the large windows and the Mk III tilt hydraulic pack mounted in the near end. Access for the latter was via the double doors that are just visible to the left of the guard's door.

    The doors also allowed the hydraulic oil to drip out of the vehicle when the tilt pack sprung a leak, as it did quite often during the testing!

    Unfortunatel I was usually the guy doing the testing........

  • 975386 interior #2

    9 July 2007 - Kit Spackman

    This view shows the interior of the ride compartment but during its later days after the tilt system had been removed. The instrumentation cabinet in the centre was not part of the original build and dates from the time of the active suspension tests, some components of which are just visible through the doorway.

  • 975386 detail

    9 July 2007 - Kit Spackman

    This shows the H4X bogie, only fitted to Hastings and POP II train at its outer ends. The H4X was a dynamic prototype for the APT-P Trailer bogies and had a similar tilt system fitted with almost horizontal tilt jacks fitted fore and aft of the secondary air spring, which is clearly visible. The tilt jack attachment points can just be made out above the upward crank in the bogie side frames. At the time this photo was taken the jacks had been replaced with solid struts however.

  • 975386

    9 July 2007 - Kit Spackman

    It's perhaps interesting to note that 'Hastings' was the left over buffet car after the Hither Green disaster in November 1967. So many of the Class 201 vehicles were destroyed in the crash that there was one spare buffet surplus. Derby RTC staff found her at Mickledever sidings being used as a paint store while searching for a 'narrow body' vehicle for use in the APT development programme.

  • 975386 interior #1

    9 July 2007 - Kit Spackman

    This is the original instrumentation end of Hastings, the angled rails on the floor show the position of the consoles. The turbine looking things on the floor are part of the active ride system that was fitted after Hastings had finished its APT work.

  • 975386 interior #3

    9 July 2007 - Kit Spackman

    This is compartment that housed the Mk III hydraulic tilt pack. Its position is marked by the chequer-plate panels on the floor. Later, after some disastrous leaks, there was a large and deep drip tray in the same position to catch any more leaks, and there was........

  • 975386

    18 August 2007 - Kit Spackman

    I've checked my records recently and found that I wasn't quite correct about the age of the colour scheme. The scheme shown above was actually the second version, with yellow coach ends, although this isn't all that apparent in a B&W photo. The other end incidentally has two windows for the brakeman to observe the track when propelling.

    Originally the red window panel area extended round both ends of the vehicle, even the white border went round the ends as well! The titling then read 'Laboratory 4 Hastings' with all the words located toward the ends of the vehicle, rather than with the 'Hastings' title centred as shown above.

    I'm not sure when the scheme was changed, but it must have been before April 1978 as I left BR then and I have photos showing the revised scheme.

  • 84003 & 975386

    28 November 2008 - Ben Williams

    Quite an interesting view here - I believe 84003 was perhaps a donor loco for the other class 84 that became the mobile load bank 968021? 84008 was also to become 968022 but the conversion was cancelled according to my notes so is it possible this is actually 84008?

    As well as 975386 Hastings on the left we have 975036 to the right and one of the APT development coaches behind the loco - 975634,5 or 636.

  • 975386

    26 May 2010 - Darren

    Poor old thing! It needs rescuing and reuniting with a 6B set :(

  • 975386

    7 June 2010 - Martin Barnsdall

    It used to be owned by Hastings Diesels Ltd, who did seriously look at restoring it to its original condition for use in 1001 - their preserved 6S/6L DEMU set. However, the interior was changed beyond recognisable original condition when it was taken into departmental service and HDL considered it a step too far. It was then sold to Hastings 60750 Group for use by them.

  • 975386

    4 November 2010 - Steve Rimell

    Cant it be restored to the Lab 4 ?. It would look good again. I was so used to passing it everytime i left Derby towards Spondon.

  • 975386

    22 April 2011 - Ben Williams

    I'm told ownership of this vehicle today passed to the APT-E Support and Conservation Group and will move to Coventry soon for restoration. Anyone interested in helping should get in touch with Kit via the Yahoogroup

  • 975386

    27 October 2013 - steve rimell

    Hi, Any latest news on the vehicle please ?.

  • 975386

    26 May 2016 - Kit Spackman

    Lab 4 has been at the Electric Railway Museum site in Coventry for a few years now. Shane Wilton has done sterling work on the roof and the east side of the coach, but it needs some welding and de-rusting on the non-re-painted side as it was stored at St Leonards with that side right against the sea wall with predictable results....

    When Hastings Diesels were considering converting Lab 4 back into a buffet car it wasn't just the interior changes that stopped them. The replacement of the standard bogies by the H4Xs meant we had to make lots of changes to the underframe and they were pretty well irrecoverable.

  • 975386

    25 June 2016 - Ben Williams

    Repaint back into its old colours underway...

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