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Pullman Units

5Bel units 2051-2053 were the world famous “Brighton Belle” electric train sets formed of Pullman cars only. All 15 cars from the three units were saved for preservation or for further use. However, no 5BEL unit initially made its way to a single owner, the sets were disbanded after withdrawal in April 1972, and individual cars going to various locations, some static. None are in use as electric multiple units with those remaining railworthy hauled by locomotives. Certain Bel cars are today part of the Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE) luxury charter fleet and operate regularly over Network Rail routes. Through various circumstances VSOE has purchased all the coaches from unit 2053 although not all are in traffic, however, coach 85 has since been obtained by the 5BEL Trust.

A campaign to return the Brighton Belle to mainline service was launched by the 5BEL Trust in 2008. With support from VSOE and the North Norfolk Railway, the trust assembled a five car set in early 2009, and has begun refurbishment of the cars to an exacting standard. The aim is to return the Brighton Belle to mainline service. In August 2012 the Trust acquired trailer first Hazel from the Black Bull Moulton, so taking their total to six.

The three 5BEL units were formed as follows:

Unit 2051
Coach Number Type Current Location or Operator
88 Motor Brake Pullman Third 5BEL Trust, currently at Ramparts, Barrow Hill

Hazel (79)
 
Trailer Pullman First 5BEL Trust, currently at Ramparts, Barrow Hill

Doris (82)
 
Trailer Pullman First 5BEL Trust, currently stored at the Bluebell Railway Horsted Keynes
86 Trailer Pullman Third
VSOE reserve fleet
 
89 Motor Brake Pullman Third
Little Mill Inn, Rowarth, Derbyshire  – Accommodation
 

Unit 2052
Coach Number Type Current Location or Operator
Vera (84) Trailer Pullman First
VSOE – normally operates on Network Rail as part of their train
 
Audrey (80) Trailer Pullman First
VSOE – normally operates on Network Rail as part of their train
 

87
 
Trailer Pullman Third 5BEL Trust, currently at Southall
91 Motor Brake Pullman Third 5BEL Trust, currently at Ramparts, Barrow Hill

Unit 2053
Coach Number Type Current Location or Operator

92
 
Motor Brake Pullman Third VSOE reserve fleet

Gwen (81)
 
Trailer Pullman First VSOE – normally operates on Network Rail as part of their train

Mona (83)
 
Trailer Pullman First VSOE reserve fleet

85
 
Trailer Pullman Third 5BEL Trust, currently in the Brighton Belle Shed, Barrow Hill, due to be moved to Ramparts, Derby, for its interior to be re-worked

93
 
Motor Brake Pullman Third VSOE reserve fleet (see note below)

 

All were built in 1932 by Metropolitan Cammell with BTH four 225hp traction and control equipment. In keeping with the Pullman traditions names were carried by the first class cars.

From 1st January 1937 the unit numbers were changed to 3051-3053. In 1955 the 3 units were given 3 digit numbers by adding ‘2’ in front of their number, e.g. Car 88 become Car 288.

In 1999 VSOE started restoration of Motor Car 93, it will be adapted to become the staff accommodation vehicle. Car 93 still had much of its electrical equipment, all of which is compatible with the Group’s ‘4Cor’. Through the generosity of VSOE, the Group was able to recover most of this electrical equipment and in time it will be used to return 3142 to running on the main line.

6Pul six car pre-war express units were formed with one Pullman car and 5 ordinary coaches. 2 of these Pullman coaches survive—cars 64 Ruth and 78 Bertha. Both were built 1932 by Metropolitan Cammell. ‘Ruth’ (later renumbered Car 264) was withdrawn by British Rail in September 1965 and is now part of the VSOE reserve fleet. ‘Bertha’ (later renumbered Car 278) was withdrawn by British Rail June 1966 and is currently located on the Swanage Railway.