Tour of Bombardier, Derby



On 14/2/12, I was lucky enough to have a tour of the Bombardier works at Litchurch Lane in Derby.
You can read about the day on my blog; but this page I have made to display some of the photos we took at the works.

We first met Kathryn Lancaster, who was our guide for the day, and then we went to meet Francis Paonessa (President of Bombardier UK) - who along with Kathryn had arranged my trip.

It was amazing to see how welcoming everyone at the works was - Francis gave me some brosures about the trains they make at Bombardier, and a Bombardier notebook and pen, which will be added to my collection.

We then next went down to the Design Office, to see where everything is designed.
The design office (at the time) had 4 people working on computers where they showed me how trains are designed on computers - and how customers are shown 'in virtual reality' how the insides (and outsides) of their trains will look.

After this, we had a walk across the yard to the Assembly shop - to see where the trains were built....

The yard was packed with new Tube stock, all ready for inspection by London Underground before they are taken to down (hauled by Class 20s) to London.
Also in the yard was a couple of Class 08 shunters - one bearing a pre-tops D3849 number, and another having a works number "004" - also known as 08682 and 08846. Francis told me that there were 3 Class 08s at Bombardier; sadly the third was used for spares to keep the other two running.

It was good to see that Bombardier had repainted D3849 in it's original British Railways colours too!

The assembly shop and production line was quite an eye opener - Kathryn explained to me how the trains were put together, bit by bit and in the order they do it.
I could see workers building a roof section of a tube train on a special jig, which had flipped the roof upside down, so the workers could put the wiring and insulation in, and then flip it back over to go onto the rest of the train.

I also saw the area where the frames for the train are put together, and then the jig where the roof, and frames are then built, before the bogies are added. .

We then went into another workshop, where units were lined up for inspection (the Inspector was on site too) and others were having final bits and pieces of work done.

I had a look at 21904 (which had just been inspected), where I had a look at the completed carriages, and then sit in the drivers seat - it's a bit different to your average Locomotive - and miles away from the footplate of "Tornado"!

Also in that same workshop was a familiar unit - 11040; which I had seen in the yard in November - and also took a picture of (it was after this I wrote to Bombardier about their trains!). It turned out that 11040 was in for some repairs.

The next trip - a bit of a suprise for me too, was to see the test track, where every train is tested.
There was a unit on there all ready for testing too - and the testers had just come back from their Dinner!
Francis and Kathryn had both arranged with the Test Engineers for me to have a ride on the new train - which was a big suprise for me!

The test tracks at Bombardier all run North to South, and the Transversers (which move the trains between workshops) all move East to West.

The test track is about 1mile long in a fenced off area, and is designed to run any kind of Electric Train (and Diesel too I would think) - it has overhead wires for trains with a Pantograph, and a 3rd Rail for trains that use electrified tracks.

When you are at a station, on a platform, you are quite far away from the tracks, and the cables overhead - at this test track, you are very very close to them- as if you were stood at the side of the track.
I now really realise why you should never go onto a Railway line.

Before we were allowed into the train, we had to be escorted into the test area by the engineers, as the track was live - 700v DC - which is very dangerous - and can jump great distances too.

We had 4 runs up and down the track, so we did about 4 miles - about the same as the distance from Rotherham Central to Meadowhall Station - and it was odd to hear announcements for Hammersmith when we were in Derby!
But everything on the train had to be checked.

The engineers also let me sit at the controls of the train, before we got off.

The day was brilliant, and a huge thank you to Francis Paonessa and Kathryn Lancaster for arranging the trip for me, and also to all of those staff I met at Bombardier (I can't remember names like I can train numbers!) who all made me feel very welcome.

21080 ready for inspection.
21091 ready for inspection.
Me with 08682.
Me with 08846.
Units lined up for testing.
Me inspecting 11040 after repairs.
Trying out the controls on 21094.
Trying out the seats for size too!