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LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project
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Author:  WickhamofWare [ Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

PRESS RELEASE

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

Author:  Bob Davis [ Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

This fits right in with the "repatriation" theme mentioned in Points to Ponder. It brings to mind the Hill of Howth double-deck tram at Orange Empire; but this car will probably not be going back to the "ould sod". Visitors sometimes ask about its presence in a mostly Southern California collection; I'm not sure what the official reason for giving it a home far from the Emerald Isle was, but I do know that a trolley line near San Diego had at least one double-deck open-air-top streetcar, and it was probably scrapped nearly a hundred years ago. The Irish tram at least provides an example of the type.

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

This poor ugly duckling has been kicked around the northeast for so long. It really has a quite an incredible story when you consider the variety of places it ended up. The fact it has survived this long just adds to the incredulity.

Rob

Author:  M.J. Kershner [ Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

This was on the Pocono Northeast, yes?

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

M.J. Kershner wrote:
This was on the Pocono Northeast, yes?


And at one point on the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley........

Author:  Randy Gustafson [ Tue Oct 05, 2010 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

yes it was. And it should be taken under advisement that the same guy (John Smith) that can keep a Climax B running, and also kept an Edwards car running in revenue service, passed on this one and gave up. I think the original Climax deal with CT involved a swap. John probably got the better deal with the Climax.

I think the Fiat railcar at TVRM may have a better chance of running, so I vote for repatriation!

Author:  car57 [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

How about we send them the old Leyland National railbus and they send us the shockingly neglected 'Midland' american Pullman cars at Butterley ?
I will give them a home and the attention they need and deserve.

Mike Pannell

Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

Any pictures of this thing around? I'm thinking it may look something like the type of rail bus being used on the Harz Mountain Ry. ?

Author:  car57 [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

Here is a link to the poor Railbus
http://www.departmentals.com/photo/LEV2

Regards

Mike Pannell
Cheyenne

Author:  PaulWWoodring [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

car57 wrote:
Here is a link to the poor Railbus
http://www.departmentals.com/photo/LEV2

Regards

Mike Pannell
Cheyenne


Thanks, Mike. Not what I was thinking of, but I do remember seeing photos of it years ago. Much clunkier than the rail buses being used in other parts of Europe. With components having come from British Leyland, I can imagine it being about as reliable as an old MG - critters I love, but know better than to try to rely on. I guess the major reason that rail buses are not being considered for use here are FRA crash requirements? Doesn't seem to be a big issue on an operation like the Harz, also allows them to fill-in gaps in service when a full steam-powered train is not warranted.

Author:  sbhunterca [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

Quote:
With components having come from British Leyland, I can imagine it being about as reliable as an old MG - critters I love, but know better than to try to rely on.


Hey, I have a 1967 Nuffield 4/65 farm tractor and it's highly reliable, a great machine even if its builder is gone (the Leyland 384 is the successor to the 4/65, mechanically identical but reskinned).

But you're right about MG's... the farm machines and trucks were a bit more robust.

Rail preservation content: my Nuffield has moved heavy railway hardware around...

:-)

Steve Hunter

Cardinal, Ontario

Author:  car57 [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

We are talking here about British Leyland in the 70's !!!! Nothing good came out of it, surprising really that they had time to build this thing considering they were on strike every other day !
I built and cast models of Nuffield tractors, very nice, very Orange and all in 1/32 scale.

Mike Pannell

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

Just goes to show you that all the matters is they money and the motivation. This odd ball may be going back across the pond, while much more significant artifacts get torched.

It has always been that way. There are many freakish trains left with us, while so many common examples are things of the past.

Human nature...

Rob

Author:  G. W. Laepple [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

I have a distinct olfactory memory of the LEV2, dating to its arrival in Scranton. My employer at the time (about 1985 or 1986) was one of several potential operators inspecting the former D&H Scranton-Carbondale line. The car had recently (as in the day before) arrived from New Orleans by truck and was on a siding in South Scranton. It was a hot and steamy summer day, and when officials of the Lackawanna County Rail Authority opened the door and invited us to board the car, we were nearly knocked over by the overwhelming odor of rotten seafood! I held my breath and made a quick inspection of the car, finally coming up with a bag containing the remains of a crab dinner someone in New Orleans had apparently stuffed under a seat. I heaved the bag into the trackside brush, but the odor remained for some time afterward. It may still have the faint smell of decomposing crustacean inside, for all I know.....

Author:  Gary Gray [ Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LEV2 Wickham / Leyland Railbus Repatriation Project

car57 wrote:
We are talking here about British Leyland in the 70's !!!! Nothing good came out of it, surprising really that they had time to build this thing considering they were on strike every other day !
I built and cast models of Nuffield tractors, very nice, very Orange and all in 1/32 scale.

Mike Pannell


Mike,
I would partially disagree with you. The last of the chrome-bumpered Mk II MGB's weren't bad sports cars at all (I have owned several) when you learned their quirks, especially when you put them in context of the other crap that was being sold at the time (Pinto, Gremlin, Mustang II, Fix-it-again-Tony's, Chevy trucks with factory installed rust....). On the other hand, the Triumph TR7, the "Spitoon 1500", the Austin Marina................OK, you're 90% right.................

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