E59303 at rest in wirksworth yard.
E59303's restored interior.
This vehicle was built at Saltley in Birmingham by Metropolitan-Cammell in 1957 as part of Lot 30273 diagram BR623, delivered to Darlington in November of the same year. It was initially classified as a Class 162 under the original TOPS system but when the system was modified to what it is today it became a Class 101 vehicle to match the power cars of the same type.
This vehicle was originally part of a three car set partnering vehicles 50746 and 50291 liveried in British Railways green. It carried many other liveries in its time untill the unit was unofficially retired in the summer of 1997 wearing Regional Railways livery. This unit was at one time based at Haymarket in Edinburgh c1985.
Whilst being widely accepted as one of the most successful classes
of First Generation diesel railcar built, the majority of Class 101 TSL vehicles were scrapped as British Rail converted sets from three cars to two cars so that they could run on lighter routes towards the end of their working life, but a decision was taken to keep 59303 along with just two other vehicles of the same type to be used in the summer months to re-strengthen sets if passenger loads were predicted to be heavy.
Two of the vehicles kept (including 59303) were stored at Blackpool whilst the other was sent elsewhere. In practice it became a hassle to add the centre cars into sets on busy days and in the end the vehicles were left unused and unloved. One of the vehicles from the original three car set 50746 was saved and is currently
based at the Wensleydale Railway but little is known what happened to the other, unfortunately, it was probably scrapped.
Since being rescued from storage it has been extensively restored into British Railways green. It needed significant body work due to being exposed to the sea air in Blackpool for such a length of time. The restoration was carried out at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley before transferring to its new home on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway for use as both a Diesel Multiple Unit centre car and as a hauled coach when required.
This vehicle has been designated a 1 by the Railcar Association meaning that the preservation and care of the vehicle is of paramount importance being the only surviving Metro-Cammell TSL vehicle (the other 2 surviving 101 centre cars at TCL).
Seats: 66 second (originally 71, but buggy area created in preservation)