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LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project - Press Release

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by WickhamofWare, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. WickhamofWare

    WickhamofWare New Member

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    This unique British-built railbus which is languishing in an American Museum may be brought back to the UK if sufficient funds can be raised.

    LEV2, which was built by D Wickham of Ware in Hertfordshire using a bus body supplied by Leyland Motors, is currently stored at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, Connecticut, where it is not seen as appropriate to their collection and has therefore been put up for sale.

    The Railbus was ordered by the USA’s Federal Railroad Administration as part of an energy efficiency programme instigated by President Jimmy Carter following the oil crisis of the 1970’s. At 15.6 metres long it was over 3 metres longer than the LEV1 ,the original prototype which worked both in the States and in the UK, and is now preserved at the North Norfolk Railway.

    Built to British Rail drawings on Wickham Order No. 15700 and given Wickham Works No. 11382 it was fitted with a Leyland 690 turbocharged engine (No. 7964290/E0690/3007) and has suspension based on the High Speed Freight Vehicle but with flexicoil springing.

    The body was built at Workington Works of Leyland Vehicles, Bus Division and the Railbus left Wickham’s Ware Works on 1 October 1980 and underwent some testing on the Old Dalby Test Track. The Railbus has had six different owners in the last thirty years in America and for the first time an opportunity has arisen for it to return to the UK.

    The Group behind the project has agreed a purchase price and has estimates for the shipping of the vehicle as well as interest from UK-based preservationists and railways which may provide a potential home. However it is now seeking expressions of interest from anyone who might like to be involved in the scheme, either practically or financially.

    If you are interested in seeing this Railbus repatriated to the UK and put back into regular use on preserved railways in the UK, then please make contact using the following email address:

    lev2project@btinternet.com
     
  2. buseng

    buseng Member

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  3. Eagle1711

    Eagle1711 New Member

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    Looks to be in a poor state but looks complete

    Should be back here :)
     
  4. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    Bodywork doesn't look too bad. I wonder if its Aluminium like the 140 (which does deserve a good home) and thats why it doesn't like its future is razor blades and cookers? Looking at the internals as well, it only appears to need to be attacked with a steam cleaner (it looks better than its road based cousins which shuffled local high school kids to the school).
     
  5. WickhamofWare

    WickhamofWare New Member

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    The LEV2 Project has evolved and expanded and is now part of a new Group, The Railbus Trust, which has recently been set up to protect the future of Single Car Railbuses and Second Generation DMU prototypes and of specific interest to the Group are the Leyland National based LEVs and RB demostrators.

    For more information or to get involved, please see - http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/railbustrust
     
  6. WickhamofWare

    WickhamofWare New Member

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    I have been informed by the current owners in the USA that they are considering two options:

    1 - Removing the body and scrapping the chassis etc.

    2 - Moving the entire unit to a different location on their site for use as a storage car. The seats will be removed and disposed of, and the car altered as required for use as a storage place. If this proves to be un-feasible, then it will be scrapped.

    They have no plans or interest in preserving LEV2 as is.

    They have advised that if they receive no formal offer within the next month then they will continue with one or other of these plans.

    Please advertise this news wherever you can, in case someone has the funds to save and repatriate this unique Wickham / Leyland Railbus.
     
  7. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    Back in 2010 WickhamofWare said "The Group behind the project has agreed a purchase price". How much was that? Is it still valid? If so can't it be made into a "formal offer"?
     
  8. WickhamofWare

    WickhamofWare New Member

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    The offer is still being discussed....
     
  9. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    The latest edition of the American Railpace Magazine has an article about the Connecticut Trolley Museum and one of the photos shows the railbus sitting on a siding amongst other freight stock. It has obviously been moved out of the covered area it was in when I last saw it in 2003.
    The photos in the article appear to have been taken towards the end of last year.
     
  10. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    LEV 2 now shown on the Connecticut Trolley Museums list of items that are being de-accessioned...........
    http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=42810
    Rather surprised at some of the other things on there that they appear to be getting rid of - though some of them aren't exactly local to CT.
     
    nanstallon and WickhamofWare like this.
  11. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the update. It is unfortunate that this piece of British railway history (and it was an interesting time when the Modernisation Plan dmu's were needing replacement in the early 80s and at this time a further cull of branch lines was by no means impossible) now languishes across the Atlantic, and repatriation would be costly. However, steam locos have been brought home so it would not be impossible. Sadly, this is only WIBN unless somebody with a lot more money than I have, comes up with a plan.
     
  12. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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    Don't forget, this one was actually built specifically for operation in the USA, rather than at home or in Europe.
    The fact it has taken a week for anyone to respond to my posting saying it is up for disposal, and that it doesn't even appear to have warrented a mention on the Railbus Trust Farcebook page seems to indicate no interest (or more importantly, money) for any repatriation scheme now.........
     
  13. WickhamofWare

    WickhamofWare New Member

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    The Wickham of Ware Group & The Railbus Trust are aware of the latest news on LEV2. Obviously, we are keen to see the Railbus preserved and see whether it can be secured for return to the UK. Obviously, transport costs (£70k + last time we looked) are going to be the driving factor.
     
  14. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Member

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  15. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    LEV2, theres a name I thought I hadn't heard for a while. Its time with South East Penn Transport Authority was marked by the fact SEPTA was just going down the pan. British Leyland (for reasons I've never fathomed) was approached by SEPTA to provide them with it for what must have been a very bouncy ride. All of which is covered on what has become one of my favourite podcast finds of this year:
     
  16. DismalChips

    DismalChips Member

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    Taking this slightly off-topic, but have you listened to the episode about the Pennsylvania railroad crash in Washington DC? The ten minutes or so where they describe the train approaching the station and the subsequent crash is one of the funniest bits of podcast I've heard all year.
     
  17. Paul Grant

    Paul Grant New Member

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    I need to add it to the queue. I've been going back to older episodes when I run out of episodes in the car but now I have to hear this.
     

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