Brian Haworth





In 1933, Leyland Motors Ltd were asked to construct a diesel rail coach by the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company. Three four wheeled rail cars numbered 29950 , 29951 , 29952 were built to lot number 760. Their appearance gave away their bus heritage and the lightweight construction mirrored bus construction of the same era.


The rail coach had an overall length of 41 ft 1 in., a width of 9 ft, and a height of 10 ft 7 in. The tare weight was 10.5 tons with a fully laden weight of 13.1 tons. The two-axle coach had one axle power driven from a high speed Leyland diesel engine which developed 130 horse power operating through a torque converter.


The engine was mounted in the middle part of the underframe, and the torque converter was built integrally with the engine. The torque converter consisted of a centrifugal pump, mounted in a single casing, with a three stage hydraulic turbine.

This unit multiplied the engine torque and varied it automatically in accordance with the speed required by the operational conditions. The driver, therefore, was only concerned with regulating the speed of the unit. The torque converter replaced the convential gearbox, all speeds required being automatically given.

From the torque convertor the power was transmitted via a propeller shaft through a reversing gear, which was mounted in the casing of the drive axle, spiral bevel pinion wheels being used to take the drive from the propeller shaft to the axle.


The reversing gear mechanism was actuated through a double-acting vacuum cylinder, controlled by magnetic valves, which were operated from a switch on the driver's control panel.


The units were relatively smooth running with good acceleration, and could attain a speed of 20 m.p.h. from stationary in 11 seconds, reaching 50 m.p.h. in 49 seconds.

They had a top speed of 56 m.p.h.. and could operate for around 200 miles before refuelling.

Unit 29952 was modified to attain a top speed of 63 m.p.h.

Fuel consumption stood at 13 miles per gallon.


The units cost the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company £1850 each.

The Railbus seated 40 3rd Class passengers, all in pairs of seats, either side of the centre gangway, in two saloons, both sides of the centre-passenger entrance doors.


The driver sat in an enclosed compartment on the left hand side of the unit, which was very compact having a driver's control column, which was duplicated at each end of this unit.

This control column contained two small levers for controlling the engine throttle and power brake.

In the centre was the reversing gear and a change-over switches for the electro-pneumatic control of the torque converter to enable direct or neutral drive.

Also located on the control column were two press buttons to start and stop the engine with switches for the lights, windscreen wipers and horn.

The throttle and brake handle was detachable, and was carried by the driver from one control panel to the other when changing ends.


The units were finished in LMS maroon livery with a cream skirt and lining and with silver painted buffers. The LMS crest was situated in the middle of the centre doors. A single lamp bracket was provided in the centre of both ends of the unit just below the windscreen level.

In February 1934, 29950 had a successful trial-run from Preston to Carlisle and was subsequently displayed at London Euston Station on 21 February 1934.

In March 1934, 29951 had a trial spell working between Blackpool Central and Lytham St Annes.


All three units were taken into LMS stock on 30 June 1934, and allocated to Lower Darwen MPD.

Working from Lower Darwen sheds, the units were deployed around Accrington, Spring Vale, Padiham and Clitheroe.


A neighbour of mine, Mrs. Nancy Cambell, has fond memories of travelling to school from Langho to Blackburn and Clitheroe on these units. and recalls the scramble for the front seat to sit alongside the driver, and obtain the driver's eye view.

Mrs. Campbell also remembers the beautiful grey, flowered-patterned moquette seating, and, in particular, the quiet running of the units.


These units worked the Ribble Valley Line until 1941, and then subsequently were transferred to Scotland,

units 29950, 29951 working from Hamilton Shed. At this location, the units proved to be very unpopular and were allowed to become very run down.


All three units were officially withdrawn from St. Rollox Shed, Scotland, on 28 April 1951.



Brian Haworth




LMS Leyland Railbus, 29951, stands awaiting its next turn of duty from its home depot, Hamilton, on 11 May 1946.

Its original cream skirt and lining have disappeared under the day-to-day grime accumulated on its body sides, but the number, LMS crest and lettering are clearly visible.


Photo Stevenson (senior) B Haworth collection.

LMS Leyland Railbus stands looking very forlorn at St Rollox High Level on 24 September 1949.

With broken and missing windows, and some seating removed, its working days are clearly over and now awaits the scrap man.

The unit lingered on until its official withdrawal from traffic on 28 April 1951.


Photo Stevenson (senior) B Haworth collection.


An interesting view of the interior of the LMS Leyland Railbus.

The grey-flowered patterned moquette, so fondly remembered by my neighbour, Nancy Campbell, is particularly noticeable on the picture, as is the centre-door arrangement.


Photographer not known : B Haworth collection.

The crew of LMS Leyland Railbus, 29952, pose for the camera.

Location unknown but it could be Lower Darwen.


Photographer not known. B Haworth collection.


LMS Leyland Railbus sparkles on its handover to the LMS (February 1934)




Photo Leyland Motors / LMS : B Haworth collection.

A rather strange photograph (?), of one of the LMS Railbuses at a location, which would appear to be very close to the Leyland Factory on the West Coast main line.

On closer inspection, it appears that the railbus has been superimposed onto the track in what could be a Leyland publicity picture.


Photographer not known (possibly Leyland Motors) : B Haworth collection.




A rare picture of one of the railbuses in service, picking up at what could be Simonstone Station.


Photographer not known : B Haworth collection


1938 TIMETABLES of services involving the utilisation of these Railbuses

Spring Vale - Darwen - - Blackburn - Clitheroe - Gisburn

Blackpool Central - Burlington Road - Gillett's Crossing - St. Annes - Lytham

Padiham Loop



Technical details


95/110 HP 6-cylinder 10.47 litre engine, driving through a Lysholm-Smith torque converter.

Overall length 41 ft 1in

Wheelbase 21 ft

Weight 13 ton 2 cwt


Max speed 56 mph (63mph 29952)

Fuel consumption 13 mpg

Equipped with air brakes.


Return to the Top of Page

Return to Articles Menu

Return to the Trailer Gallery

Return to RVR Home Page