This '0' Scale layout is based in the Dorset area at the time of the Bournemouth Electrification in 1966/67, and gives the opportunity of running locomotive-hauled 'Bulleid' type coaches, and the then newly introduced 4-REP 'Tractor' and 4-TC 'Trailer' units, as well as other types of BR Southern Region electric multiple units.

All the materials, parts and kits that I will be requiring have already been purchased, together with many ready-to-run models that will keep me provided with all the encouragement that I am going to need to complete this project.

I am expecting this project to take some three or four years to complete, but you will be able to keep up with how I am progressing as the empty spaces and links as the following pages gradually become active.

So, from time to time, please look in!

Ian Blackburn - March 2018

 

 

 

ABOUT THIS MODEL RAILWAY

 

Centred around a fictional junction on a fictional branch line off the newly electrified Bournemouth Mainline, the railway depicts a point where the newly electrified line is joined by a line from the Western Region of British Railways.

The junction station, which is 'key' to the layout is named 'CROMPTON JUNCTION', due to the proliferation of Class 33 'Crompton Parkinson' diesels that work through there. They are so prolific in the area, that the place regularly reverberates to the amazing 'throaty' sound of those classic In-Line 8 Cylinder power units that were provided by the SULZER BROS of Switzerland around the years of 1959/1960.

At the south end of Crompton Junction the line goes one of two ways.... Firstly, the newly electrified 'Southern' Line goes on down to the coastal town of WEST HALLOWES, before going out onto the pier, ready for the onward foot ferry connection to the western side of the Isle of Wight, whilst the second line comes in from the Western Region of British Railways. This line has become a single line since leaving the Low Level 'General' Station in the distant town of 'YEOMINSTER' (pronounced 'Yohmster' by the locals). It emerges from the single line bore of WILTON MATRAVERS tunnel before climbing up alongside the 'Southern' line to join it at the southern end of Crompton Junction Station.

Beyond the north end of Crompton Junction, the main 'Southern' line supposely joins the LSWR main line a little further on, before continuing on to the cities of Southampton and London (Waterloo).

The 'Southern' line brings the opportunity of running both 'Bulleid' loco-hauled coaches behind 'Southern' locos, and the then 'new' Electric Multiple Units that were being introduced at the time, whilst the 'Western' line brings the opportunity of running those magestic Western Region Diesel-Hydraulics and other large main line loco types on trains from further afield.

On the 'Western' line, although it is in Western Region territory, the Southern Region are responsible for providing the locos and rolling stock for the local service to Yeominster. So the sight of 'Southern' green coaches at a platform with brown Western Region totem signs is commonplace there.

Signalling in the area at the time has recently had some work done on it, with the recent abolishion of the two signal boxes at Crompton Junction, and the one at Yeominster (General). These areas are now supposedly controlled by a panel, which has been provided in addition to the few remaining levers in the box at West Hallowes.

The station on the pier at West Hallowes is a rather simple and spartan affair, there being no refreshment rooms or anything else there, but recent works have included a new ticket office and toilet facilities at the landward end of the structure. The Station at Crompton Junction on the other hand is a rather cramped Southern Railway pre-war rebuild with more facilities in the station building that sits over the north end of the solitary island platform - The two Southern Region stations however are a complete contrast to the Western Region one Yeominster. Situated here in a deep brick lined cutting, the decrepit old station has recently been demolished, only for it to be replaced with a very spartan structure from BR's Taunton Concrete Works. Indeed, the only passenger ammenity there now being a small tin shelter.

 

 

 

Plans of the layout, showing the upper 'SOUTHERN REGION' level on the left, and the lower 'WESTERN REGION' level on the right - Signals are not shown on these plans.....

 

 

n 1965, the Wilson Government authorised the electrification of the Southern Region’s former London & South Western main line from Pirbright Junction, west of Brookwood Station at milepost 29.5, to the site of the old Bournemouth West Station at milepost 111. This latter site is now part of the Bournemouth Train Care Depot.


The original plan was to electrify the main line right though to Weymouth, some thirty-three miles beyond from what was then the main line electrification limit at Branksome (milepost 110). However, at the time there was insufficient money available to complete the project, and this left BR with a rather large problem – ‘How to enable passengers to travel from Waterloo to Weymouth, without the need to change trains at Bournemouth’!

 

Introducing the 'Tractor & Trailer' method of working

Between 1964 and 1966, the management and engineers of the Southern Region of British Railways decided to perform some high-speed tests involving push-pull working. The idea of this, was to abolish the need for locomotives to be released or to run-round their trains after arrival at their termini, and, to enable the hauling or remote-controlled propelling of electric trains whilst in service beyond the region’s electrification limits during emergencies.

 

Unit '601'

The train involved in these tests comprised of two de-motored ‘Maunsell’ type driving vehicles, each respectively from disbanded 1938 ‘4BUF’ & ‘4RES’ Portsmouth electric multiple units, with three ‘Maunsell’ type Trailer Corridor Second vehicles (TSKs), and a ‘Maunsell’ type Trailer Corridor Composite vehicle (TCK), most of which came from disbanded 1932 ‘6PUL’ Brighton electric multiple units, sandwiched in between them - This formation became known as a ‘Six-coach Trailer Controlled’ unit or 6TC, and was numbered ‘601’.

To work this unit, Class 33 locomotive number D6580 was modified to enable it to be driven remotely from either cab of ’601’s driving vehicles. These modifications involved the fitting of a set of SR standard waist height 27-way jumper cables and air hoses, plus a special ‘1963 Type SR EMU-to-Blue Star Locomotive’ control unit. Each of ‘601’s driving vehicles was also fitted with a set of SR standard waist height 27-way jumper cables and air hoses, plus a set of Electric Train Heating (ETH) jumper cables and sockets, and it was all of this equipment which enabled the locomotive to either haul ‘601’ as a normal train, or to propel it whilst being driven remotely from either of ‘601’s cabs. The outer end gangway connections of ‘601’s driving vehicles were also removed and plated over, and standby batteries together with an under-floor mounted motor-generator set were provided on both of these coaches to supply power at 70volts DC for both the driving control circuits and lighting. The attached locomotive directly from its 750volt heating supply through the ETH jumper cables in turn powered these motor-generator sets.

Push-pull tests were carried out successfully on various SR main lines, before the combination settled into regular service on the lines between East Grinstead, Uckfield, and London in 1966.

In 1967, ‘601’ was repainted from Southern Region green into the rather unattractive British Rail overall blue livery that was then to be the new standard colour for all multiple unit trains, and it was transferred to the then unadvertised Clapham Junction to Kensington (Olympia) peak-hour service. It remained on this service until it was written off and scrapped after a collision with a milk tanker wagon in the south bay at Kensington in 1971!


The Solution for the New Scheme

In 1966, the fact that there was no money to electrify the line from Branksome to Weymouth was compounded by the fact that there was also not enough money for the large majority of the new rolling stock that would be required either. So, the management and engineers of what had now become the Southern Region of British Rail decided to make further use of the knowledge gained with the combination of D6580 and ‘601’, and to this end they acquired some redundant 1951 vintage Mk1 locomotive hauled coaches, each of which would need to be either rebuilt or modified to work on both the electrified and non-electrified portions of the line.

The first part of the acquisition of coaches was prepared for becoming part of the formation of eleven ‘new’ sets of high-powered four-coach ‘Tractor’ units. These units became known as ‘Four-coach Restaurant Electro-Pneumatic Braked’, or 4REP, and were numbered No’s 3001-3011. The remaining part of the acquisition was then used to form twenty-eight four-coach, and three three-coach sets of unpowered trailer coaches. These ‘Trailer’ units became known as ‘Four-coach Trailer Controlled’ and ‘Three-coach Trailer Controlled’, or 4TC and 3TC. They were numbered 401-428 (4TC), and 301-303 (3TC) respectively. The coaches forming the outer end of each set of both the ‘Tractor’ and ‘Trailer’ units, each had a 1963 SR standard driving cab together with waist-height electric 27-way jumper cables and air hoses, plus standard ETH cables for the driving and lighting circuit motor-generator supply and train heating.

The TC units were introduced from late 1966 onwards, and the 4REP units were introduced in mid 1967, and, as with ‘601’, they all carried the overall plain blue British Rail livery until they were repainted into the standard BR blue and grey livery in 1969. Incidentally, each of the 4REP units directly replaced one of the eleven six-coach locomotive-hauled ‘Bulleid’ type ‘Bournemouth Dining Sets’ that they displaced!

To power the TC units between Bournemouth and Weymouth, a further eighteen Class 33 (Type KA) locomotives were converted for push-pull working, as the then newly delivered and compatible Class 73 (Type JB) and Class 74 (Type HB) electro-diesels had insufficient power when in diesel mode to maintain the new timetable on this portion of the line. All new and converted locomotives, which were able to work in multiple with the TC units were provided with drop-head buckeye couplings and Pullman style buffing and rubbing plates, and the nineteen modified Class 33 locomotives (which had now been classified as Type KB), quickly earned themselves the nickname of ‘Bagpipes’ owing to plethora of jumper cables and air pipes that now adorned their ends.

 

The 4REP and TC units

The driving vehicles of both the 4REP and the TC units, were identical body-wise, the TCs’ driving vehicles being converted from former locomotive hauled Tourist Second Open (TSO) coaches. These coaches each had their toilets removed, and a 1963 standard ‘Eastleigh’ type cab fitted in its place. On the other hand, the driving vehicles for the 4REP units were all built brand new at York.
Each 4REP-driving vehicle was mounted onto two of the then new BR B6 bogies, each one of which was fitted with two 400bhp English Electric traction motors, one driving each axle. They were also fitted with two sets of under-floor electrical control equipment for traction purposes. They also had shoe-beams mounted on both sides of each bogie, and onto each one of these, two current collection shoes were fitted, as all traction circuits were duplicated. This gave each of these vehicles the equivalent power of an SR Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive operating in electric mode (1600bhp). Indeed, the traction motors, and other items of electrical equipment were actually inter-changeable between the 4REP units and the Class 73 locomotives!
In service, the 4REP units with their combined power of 3200bhp could draw a truly hefty current from the conductor rail, and this could result in some tremendous firework displays as they passed over the gaps in the conductor rail caused by point-work. It also made them prone to ‘chewing-up’ the conductor rail, and to this end only one 4REP unit was allowed in any one electrical section at one time. Right from the beginning, these units were prohibited from working in multiple with any other powered unit, that was unless a proportional number of traction motors were isolated within the consist, and, very rarely did the 4REPs work alone, but, when they did, as you can imagine, everyone on board would be in for an extremely ‘lively’ ride!
The current for the train heating on the 4REP units was supplied at between 660 and 850volts DC directly from the conductor rail, whilst power for the adjacent TC units that they were working with was supplied through the locomotive type ETH jumper cables and sockets at the end of each unit. As a matter of fact, all of these units, together with ‘601’, plus an earlier unit (which was really just a set of seven locomotive hauled coaches without any remote driving facilities, but was classified 7TC and initially numbered ‘900’ before being renumbered to ‘701’), were the only types of SR electric multiple units that were fitted with standard locomotive type ETH jumper cables and sockets, at this time!
The brake vehicles of the 4REP units were originally locomotive hauled Corridor-Composite (CK) coaches. These all had their original second-class accommodation replaced with a Guard’s office and luggage area during their conversion. On the other hand, the brake vehicles of the TC units were largely unaltered former locomotive hauled Brake Second Corridor (BSK) vehicles, the only difference being that the Guard’s office window was abolished.
The brake coaches of both the 4REP and TC units also carried some under-floor electrical equipment. A compressor was provided for the braking system, and stand-by batteries were carried for that particular unit. A motor-generator was also fitted to charge these batteries, and to provide a 70volt DC supply for the driving control equipment and lighting circuits. On the 4REP units, this last item was powered directly by the conductor rail supply, whilst on the TC units it was powered by the attached 4REP unit or locomotive through the ETH jumper cables.
All but the last three TC units initially had a converted and refurbished ex-locomotive hauled Corridor First (FK) coach, while each 4REP unit had a converted and refurbished ex locomotive-hauled Restaurant/Buffet (RB) coach. During conversion, each of the catering vehicles was fitted with electric cooking facilities that were supplied at 220volts DC by an independent under-floor mounted motor-generator. They were also all given the names of places en-route, the name being displayed internally behind the bar area.
Permanent dining tables and loose chairs were provided in all of the seating bays of the catering vehicles, and additional tables were also permanently fitted to each side of the inner four fixed seating bays of the adjacent DMSO vehicles. Further tables were also stored on board each unit for use as required.
All trailer coaches in both the 4REP and TC units were mounted on BR B5 bogies, and, whilst the riding quality was generally good in ‘pull’ mode, waves of rapid vertical oscillations were encountered particularly in the leading vehicles of the TC units when at speed in ‘push’ mode – There was one other not so favourable riding characteristic that was often encountered by the passengers who were riding in the leading coaches of TC units when in ‘push’ mode at low speed, and that was when the driver shut off power. Up to eight couplings would tend to ‘snatch’ as the lead units were pushed away from the propelling 4REP unit or locomotive - Many a cup of tea or coffee was lost on these trains as a result of this.

 

The method of working between Waterloo and Weymouth

The normal method of mainline working between Waterloo and Weymouth with the 4REP and TC units was as follows:
One or two sets of TC units would be propelled at speeds of up to 90mph from Waterloo to Bournemouth by one of the 4REP units, with the driver controlling the 4REP units remotely through the jumper cables from the leading cab of the TC unit at the Bournemouth end.
At Bournemouth, the 4REP unit would be uncoupled from rear of the TC units, and one of the nineteen specially modified Class 33 locomotives would be coupled and electrically connected to what on arrival was the front of the train. This locomotive would then haul the TC units on to Weymouth as a normal train.
At Weymouth, there was no need for the locomotive to run-round the train, as it would be ready to propel the TC units back to Bournemouth, with the driver controlling the locomotive remotely through the jumper cables from the leading cab of the TC unit at the London end.
After arrival back at Bournemouth, the locomotive would be detached from the rear of the TC units, and a 4REP unit would be coupled and electrically connected to what again was the front of the train on arrival. The 4REP would then haul the TC units as a normal train back to Waterloo.

 

Later Years, and, Yes – Rebirth

In 1973, an improved timetable increased the main line train interval from two-hourly to hourly, and this necessitated the requirement for extra stock. Four more 4REP units (Nos. 3012-3015) were built, and the motor coaches of these units were in fact the last true Mk1 coaches that were ever constructed from new! The only differences between these units and the earlier ones were that they were all fitted with double-glazing, and the catering vehicles were converted from ex locomotive hauled Restaurant Unclassified (RU) types. At the same time, the original three 3TC units were augmented to 4TC by the addition of further converted and refurbished Corridor First (FK) locomotive hauled coaches as before. They were renumbered 429-431 respectively. Finally three more 4TC sets were converted from locomotive hauled Mk1 coaches. These were numbered 432-434.
The units and the method of working continued virtually faultlessly until the mid 1980s, when at last the authorisation came for the electrification of the line onwards from Branksome to Weymouth. However, again the money was not available for building completely new rolling stock, and, with the TC coaches seriously showing their age, the management and engineers had to scratch their heads again. The solution this time was to salvage and re-use the highly reliable and non-life expired traction motors and electrical equipment from the 4REP units, and incorporate it all into the new coaches which were to be part of the new units that were to be based around a Mk3 body-shell. These new units were to become the handsome trains that are now classified as the Class 442 ‘Five-car WESsex’ units (5WES).
At the time when the 5WES units were under construction, it was impossible to release any full 4REP units from day-to-day traffic. The solution this time was to use a Class73 locomotive in lieu of one of the 4REP motor coaches, and it resulted in some very strange combinations of power and coaches on the line while the changes were made!
The 5WES units complete with their 4REP electrical equipment, continued working on the LSWR main lines until well after privatisation and the new millennium, when under the ‘South West Trains’ company, brand new Class 444 ‘Siemens’ units began to displace them. A short period of under-cover storage followed, after which the ‘Southern’ train company acquired them and refurbished them for further use on their Brighton and Eastbourne main lines.
As this article is being written in 2011, these units, complete with their reliable old 4REP traction motors and electrical equipment, are now working extensively on the LBSC ‘Brighton main line, and still have many years of life left in them.