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2-car units for semi-fast and stopping services (2Hap, 2Sap and 4Cap)

New BR-type 2 HAP unit 6087 at Eastleigh Works in August 1959
New BR-type 2 HAP unit 6087 at Eastleigh Works in August 1959
© A.J. Wills Collection, Southern Railway Photo Net

The Kent Coast electrification scheme created a need for EMUs to work alongside the Cep/Bep express fleet on local and semi-fast services. At the same time the 2 Hal fleet that had been operating services from London to Gillingham and Maidstone since 1939 would be replaced by EPB-compatible stock and would be cascaded to the Southern's Central and South Western Divisions, a move that would release 2 Nol units with life-expired LSWR bodies for rebuilding as "new" units.

141 2Hap (2-car HAlf Lavatory, electro-Pneumatic) units were built from 1957 to 1959 to replace the South Eastern fleet of 72 2Hal units and to expand the fleet in readiness for the launch of Phase 1 of the Kent Coast electrification. A further 41 2Haps were built in 1961-2 for Phase 2 of the Kent Coast scheme and 27 in 1964 for the Southern Region's Central and South Western Divisions; 209 units in all.

Units 5601-5636

In the 1920s and 1930s the Southern Railway had built a large fleet of electric multiple units (EMUs) with wooden bodies recovered from withdrawn steam-hauled stock mounted on new underframes. From 1946 onwards the company set about rebuilding these units with new all-steel bodies and set up a production line at Eastleigh Works for the purpose.

Rebuilding in this way was, of course, much more economical than building new units from scratch and the production line ran through the 1950s, continuing to build units of Southern Railway design for more than ten years after British Railways was formed.

During 1958 36 2Nol units were rebuilt as SR-type 2Hap units. The motor coaches had a driving compartment, accessed from the adjoining guard's van area, and two 4-bay saloons with a total of 84 Second-class seats arranged 3+2. They were equipped with two EE507 250hp motors driving the outer bogie, with field weakening and 1951-type electro-pneumatic contactor control.

The driving trailers had a driving compartment accessed from a vestibule, which backed on to a half compartment seating 6 on a bench seat. A door from this compartment gave access to a side corridor off which were four Second-class and three First-class compartments giving a total of 18 First and 38 Second-class seats. At the inner end of the car was a lavatory. Each compartment had a door on each side, those on the corridor side being separated by a large single pane window.

Interior fittings were wood panelling around doors and windows and, in the driving trailer, metal catches on the sliding doors and metal inner corridor window surrounds. The horizontal grab rails on the outer corridor windows were also metal.

Units 6001-6042

In parallel with the conversion of 2Nol units to the 5601-5636 batch of 2Haps, Eastleigh Works built 105 all-new 2Hap units for Phase 1 of the Kent Coast electrification. These units were based on BR standard designs produced by the Derby drawing office in the early 1950s.

The motor coaches of the first 42 units, built in 1957-58, were similar to the 57xx series of 2EPB units, seating 84 in two open saloons with 3+2 suburban-type seating. Like units 5601-5636 they had two EE507 250hp motors driving the outer bogie with field weakening and 1951-type electro-pneumatic contactor control.

The driving trailers consisted of a driver's cab and vestibule and three First-class compartments. One, adjacent to the driving cab, had a full width 4-seat bench and a 3-seat bench with a side door to a short corridor that connected it and two other 6-seat compartments to a lavatory, an arrangement that gave a total of 19 First-class seats. Second-class accommodation comprised a 50-seat saloon with 3+2 seating. A door at one end gave access to a central corridor and lavatory. The two lavatories were side by side towards the centre of the car but there was no access between First and Second-class accommodation. Interior side panels were varnished wood and end panels were cream-coloured Formica.

Units 6043-6146

6043-6105 were built in 1958-59 for Phase 1 of the Kent Coast electrification and 6106-6146 in 1961 for Phase 2.

These units were similar to 6001-6042 but had "1957 type" camshaft control.

Units 6147-6173

Built in 1964, these 27 units were initially delivered to the Central and South Western Divisions. Though generally similar to 6043-6106 there were detail differences, most notably the use of "Commonwealth" trailer bogies and wider use of plastic laminates for interior panelling.

In service

The South Eastern Division fleet of SR and BR-type 2Hap units were pooled and used interchangeably on routes into Kent. Both were fully compatible with the Cep/Bep fleets, with which they often worked in multiple at peak times. They could also work in multiple with suburban EPB stock provided at least 50% of the formation had field weakening - a typical peak "crowd-shifter" main-line semi-fast formation was 8Hap+4 EPB. At the other end of the spectrum, single 2-car units were often used on local services in Kent such as Sittingbourne-Sheerness and Tonbridge-Strood.

Because units 6147-6173 were not compatible with the Bil/Hal fleets that were the mainstay of local and semi-fast services on the Central and South Western Divisions their use was largely limited to peak-hour diagrams until new, compatible Cig and Vep units were delivered and the Bournemouth Line electrification extended their range.

In May 1969 fourteen SR-type units were downgraded to second class only and sent to the South Western Division for use on outer suburban work and to supplement main line stock. However a year later they had all had been converted back to their original status and had resumed their previous duties.

In May 1972 all SR-type units 5601-5636 were transferred to Brighton to displace 4Cor units on Coastway services. In this guise they worked singly and in multiple with Vep and Cig stock on both coastal and London services.

In 1974 BR-type units 6001-6021 and 6024-6043 were downgraded to second class only, re-classified 2Sap (Class 418) and deployed on suburban routes principally, though not exclusively, on the Waterloo-Windsor/Weybridge semi-fast services. (Units 6022 and 6023 were being used for "Tightlock" coupler trials at the time in preparation for the new Class 507/508 fleets.) Thirty-nine of these units were returned to 2Hap (Class 414) and regained their former numbers in 1980.

In 1976 most of the SR-type units were also reclassified as 2Sap and transferred back to London as replacements for withdrawn 4Sub units.

4CAP

In 1982 the 2Hap units working the Coastway routes from Brighton to Portsmouth and Hastings were semi-permanently formed into 4-car units, classified 4Cap (Coastway Hap - Class 413) and numbered 3201-3213.. Pairs of units with 1951-type contactor control gear were marshalled motor coach to motor coach so that the guard's vans would be in the middle of the train, making life easier for station staff with parcels and mail to load. The driving equipment in the redundant cabs was isolated and the controls removed as the units were not likely to return to their two-car status. As there was no need for two sets of guard's equipment one set was removed. In addition the adjoining DTC had its First-class compartments re-classified Second-class. They were transferred to Ramsgate in 1987 to work alongside 4Vep units on stopping and semi-fast services to London.

Another batch of 4Cap units, 3301-3311, 3321-3325 and 3333 were formed with motor coaches outermost. Unlike units 3201-3213 these units were not permanently formed and the control equipment in the DTCs was retained so that the units could quickly revert to two-car status if required.

Withdrawal

The SR-type fleet was progressively depleted in the late 1970s and early 1980s as many of their motor coaches were recycled into the EPB refurbishment programme, paired with converted saloon trailers from withdrawn 4Sub units and their trailers were scrapped. The last SR-type units were taken out of service in 1983.

The BR-type 2Hap fleet was also heavily culled during the early 1980s, with some units having had a life of only 20 years or so. Like most stock of their era they had blue asbestos insulation but their quirky layout, with lavatories only accessible to some passengers and the small group of isolated First-class compartments, did not stand comparison with more modern fleets and they were not selected as candidates for refurbishment.

Ten former BR 2Hap motor coaches were rebuilt to class 489 (Gatwick Luggage Vans) in 1984. Likewise several units and individual coaches passed to departmental use.

The final duties of the 4Cap fleet involved a move to Gillingham where the remaining First Class accommodation was declassified and the toilets locked out of use. In this guise they worked suburban services with until withdrawal in 1991-94.