On the 14th of October 2017 I finally managed to get to Belfast to see the last Thumper in service which had been demoted to non passenger departmental use.
It is now a Sandite Unit, whats Sandite I hear you all say. Well its a sticky sandy material which is applied to the track during the autumn leaf fall period and the thumper is whats used to apply it.
Sadly 2017 was the last year for the Thumper so I had to make the trip to see it and I was lucky enough to get access to York Road Depot where it is kept to see it
The unit is made up of 4 vehicles so I'll cover them vehicle by vehicle.
Power Car 90
This is a recent addition to the formation, it replaced 94 in as it failed drastically so is the odd one out as it is still in the passenger livery
Sandite Car 97
This is the vehicle what does all the work in the unit, former Power car 97
It originally done its sandite work under its own power but had catastrophic engine failure back in 2009 and it was decided to keep it as a trailer rather than transplant the sandite equipment into another vehicle.
I aplogise for the poor photos but as there was another train parked alongside I couldn't get a wider shot
Belfasts Last Thumper
Even though the unit has run its last Sandite its looking like all the vehicles except 97 will be going to Downpatrick so hopefully my next article about it will be about its new home
Spare Vehicle 749
The only other vehicle which is left is Driving Trailer 749 which is still in its final passenger livery and is kept as a spare for 752
Driving Trailer 752
The last vehicle in the unit is driving trailer 752
This is only here to provide the correct coupling formation as the vehicles have to be coupled cab to cab with 97 in the middle it would cause connectivity issues and would also give more breaking force in slippery conditions
Power car 69
The original Power Car in the formation is the bright yellow number vehicle.
When repainted it was mistakenly numbered 8096 so a quick fix was needed so you ended up with 8069.