East Sussex / Oxted Units

​Following the popularity of the Hampshire units, in 1962 a new batch were built for use in the Oxted / Uckfield / East grinstead / Tunbridge wells area of the network. These units were slightly narrower than the earlier Hampshire units ( measuring 8 foot 6 inches) so they could be used on the Tunbridge Wells - Tonbridge line where some of the tunnels had restricted clearances.The class 207's were the only DEMU to get industrial design advice from the BTC Design Panel as a result they appeared more modern than the class 201/202 (Hastings) and class 205 (Hampshire) units - looking not unlike a class 421 or 423 3rd rail EMU (CIG and VEP respectively). Unfortunately although the ends of the units were given a more modern appearance, the passenger environment was largely unchanged (save for moving first class in to the centre coach when compared to the 205), with no gangways between coaches, doors at every bay and limited access to the toilets.  

​Whilst the class 207's still lagged behind the Diesel Mechanical Units in  these aspects of the passenger environments along with their lack of panoramic views, they did have the advantage of better heating, better acceleration and quieter riding in the non powered carriages. They also didn't have the oily heat and vibration associated with the first generation of DMU's. The ride of the units is best described as "bouncy", although much the same as any other BR mark 1 stock. In keeping with the other DEMU's, the  engine was mounted above the frames and in the process sacrificed passenger space; but this arrangement gives the engine some protection against the elements and provides good access for servicing and maintainance.
​Because of the differences between these and the Hampshire units, they were numbered 1301-1319 and under the Tops scheme were reclassified as class 207 with unit 1319 for example, being renumbered as 207019

​The internal layouts differed with seats being only two each side of a central corridor, as opposed to the 3 one side- two on the other side arrangement that the wider Hampshire units adopted. They also had different cab ends which were rounded, steel reinforced fibreglass with recessed jumper cables. The First class compartment was within the centre TC (trailer composite) carriage.Mechanically they were very similar to the Hampshire/ Berks units except that the engine was set on a 4 point mounting to minimise the vibration ( the Hampshires were on a 3 point mounting), and the clutch fan was also rubber mounted for the same reason.

Their standard duties included:The Oxted and East Sussex linesVictoria, East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells and Brighton via Uckfield.Hastings - Ashford.They also operated on numerous lines now closed, including Three bridges to East  Grinstead. With some of their original routes now long closed they did now make forays over in the Hampshire and Berkshire area - appearing on Portsmouth - Reading and Reading - Salisbury routes.

​The first change to the units was the adoption of BR corporate Blue livery in the late 1960's and at this time some of their routes were becoming the victim of the network cuts.  The next livery change was at the start of the 1980's to blue and grey, although with the advent of the Network South East Business Sector at the start of 1982, they did eventually receive NSE livery.Along with line closures, increased electrification had limited the use of the DEMU's, with the East Grinstead line being electrified in the late 1980's and the Portsmouth to Southampton and Eastleigh lines in the early 1990's. Facelifted in the 1985-90 period by Eastleigh, some units were further refurbished with fluorescent lighting and gangway connections, and converted to two-car sets for use on the Ashford - Hastings 'Marsh Link' line services. Around half of the class 207 units were withdrawn in this period, notably the latter part of 1987.

​1995 saw a programme of major overhaul for the 205s and 207s at Selhurst and the creation of the 3-DEL units for use on the extended Marsh link service, initially to Brighton.  This modification involved the addition of a trailer car from a former 4-CEP 3rd rail EMU, leading to a distinctly unusual appearance of a wider centre coach in the middle of the formation. These units were numbered 207 201 to 207 203. Unit 207017 remained as a two car set in unrefurbished condition.All units were subsequently withdrawn in 2004.Preserved examples can be seen on the;unit 1317 at Spa valley railway ; unit 1305 at East Lancs railway and unit 1302 at Swindon and Cricklade railway. The example at the Spa Valley railway is a particularly nice example having been recently refurbished.


DMBSO of 1317