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British Rail Classes 251 and 261

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Blue Pullman
Blue Pullman at Swansea station in 1967
Interior of Blue Pullman
In service1960–1973
Family nameBlue Pullman
ReplacedSteam locomotives and carriages
Entered service12 September 1960
Number built5 sets (2 × 6-car; 3 × 8-car)
Number scrappedAll
SuccessorSeparate locomotives and Mark 2 coaches
Formation6 or 8 cars per set
Fleet numbers
  • DMBFL: M60090–3
  • DMBS: W60094–9
  • MSL: W60644–9
  • MFLRK: M60730–3
  • TFLRK: W60734–9
  • TFL: 60740–9
Capacity6-car sets: 132
8-car sets: 218
Operator(s)British Rail
Line(s) served6-car sets: London Midland Region (1960-1967) and Western Region (1967-1973)
8-car sets: Western Region
Car body constructionSteel
Train length395 ft (120.40 m) (MR)
545 ft 1 in (166.14 m) (WR)
Car length66 ft 5.5 in (20.26 m) (power cars)
65 ft 6 in (19.96 m) (intermediate vehicles)
Width9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Height12 ft 4.5 in (3.77 m)
DoorsHinged slam, centrally locked
Maximum speed90 mph (145 km/h)
Weight6-car sets: 299 long tons (335 short tons; 304 t)
8-car sets: 364 long tons (408 short tons; 370 t)
Prime mover(s)NBL/MAN V12 Supercharged 64L(×2)
Power output1,000 hp (750 kW) (×2)
Transmissiontraction motors: 199 hp (148 kW) (×8)
AuxiliariesRolls-Royce C8NFLH @ 190 bhp, under floor for air conditioning[1]
UIC classification6-car sets: 2′Bo′+Bo′2′+2′2′+2′2′+2′Bo′+Bo′2′
8-car sets: 2′Bo′+Bo′2′+2′2′+2′2′+2′2′+2′2′+2′Bo′+Bo′2′
BogiesMetro-Schlieran frictionless
Braking system(s)Westinghouse Electro-pneumatic brake featuring a high speed control
Multiple working2 sets (6-car units (1967-1973)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Blue Pullman was a class of luxury train used from 1960 to 1973 by British Railways in the United Kingdom. As opposed to the previous Pullman Car Company locomotive-hauled carriage trains, and the Brighton Belle electric multiple units, the Blue Pullmans were the first diesel-electric multiple units designed for high-speed Pullman train services incorporating several novel features. Named after their custom blue livery, the trains were conceived under the railway 1955 Modernisation Plan, to create new luxury first-class diesel express trains, to compete with the motor car and the emerging domestic air travel market. Although not entirely successful in their own right, the Blue Pullmans demonstrated the possibility of high-speed fixed-formation multiple-unit Inter City train services and inspired the later development of the InterCity 125. After their withdrawal, none of the units survived into preservation.

  1. BR 33003/81 (1960), p. 2.