Arguably the most useful of first generation diesel multiple units (DMUs), the Class 121 ‘Bubble Car’ comes to Train Simulator in distinctive Network SouthEast livery.
The unusual single-car units were manufactured by Pressed Steel Company from 1960 onwards and introduced by British Rail for use mainly on the Western Region and around London on suburban and branch line duties. Their distinctive exhaust pipes designed to fit around a large four-digit headcode indicator box made these units fondly regarded by rail fans for their unpretentious appearance and old-fashioned interior and performance characteristics.
The ‘Bubble Cars’ became familiar for running Network SouthEast services and upon privatisation of British Rail, the fleet was operated by only one passenger company – Silverlink – with several more units in departmental duties with Railtrack. Today, two Class 121 models remain in revenue generating service with Chiltern Railways, representing the last chance to ride on 1960s slam-door stock on the main line in the UK and signifying a remarkably long life for these fans’ favourite. Five motor cars also remain in preservation across heritage railways in the UK.
The Class 121 for Train Simulator recreates the model as it operated for Network SouthEast between London and the western Home Counties in the 1980s. Features include the prominent exhaust pipes at the motor end, manual gear change and passenger view with a slightly weathered finish.
Class 121 ‘Bubble Car’ in Network SouthEast livery