​Unit 1121/1401/204001


1121 – 2nd batch

1121 was one of the second batch of 4 units to be produced and were identical to the first batch. They again were  a diesel version of the electric 2hap unit that was already in production at Eastleigh. This batch was designated 2h units, and unlike the first batch, these were never intended to be anything other than two car units; primarily intended for the routes around Hastings and Bexhill. By 1959, with the introduction of further 3 car units, these second batch units were the only ones left as 2 car units. These DEMU (Diesel electric Multiple units), as batch 1,  were based on the BR designed 2 HAP units (Half lavatory with Electro Pneumatic Brakes, i.e. one lavatory to serve both carriages) as opposed to the Southern Railway design, that were produced from 1951 onwards; and the electric, BR designed, 2EPB (Electro Pneumatic Brakes) units that were produced from 1954-5 originally for use on the Tyneside 3rd rail system, but transferred to the Southern region in 1963 after the north eastern line was de-electrified.

These second batch units were built for services around Hastings and Bexhill, having been ordered on the 13/12/1956,,for the DMBSO and 16/05/1956 for the driving trailer composites.

British rail and Southern railway had a long working relationship with English Electric Company, so inevitably, The English Electric Company were tasked to produce a diesel engine for these new units, which sat on a three point mounting. The English electric 4srkt diesel engine (4 cylinder, supercharged, RK engine designed for Traction as opposed to marine use)was subsequently fitted which powered 2 English electric EE507 motors that provided the drive to the bogie at the inner end of the DMBSO (Driving Motor Braked standard open). It was fitted with a suburban gearbox. In early 1958 the engine was up-rated from 500hp to 600hp with the replacement of its Napier MS100 turbocharger with a Napier MS200 model.

Following problems with the noise on the earlierbatch 1 units, a "Burgess straight through " silencer was fitted from the outset and again following problems with the mk 3 bogies on batch 1 units, the more robust mk 4 bogie was fitted ; with its improved dampers and more resiliant sidespring hanger brackets. 

 The 2 car units consisted of a Driving Motor Braked standard open carriage, which carried the engine, a driving cab and guard compartment. The second carriage was a Driving Trailer Composite, which had a driving cab and some first and second class compartments. They were delivered  on the 14/06/1958. Together the 2 carriages were 133 feet, 3 and a half inches long; weighed 88 tons and seated 13 first class and 114 second class passengers. A breakdown of each carriage is now discussed.

The DMBSO – carriage no s60120 consisted of a full width drivers cab – and was fitted with 2 EE507 motors with suburban gear ratios- behind the engine was a guards compartment 8’2 and a half inches wide. There was access from the guard’s compartment to the engine room, but no access to the rest of the passenger compartment. The passenger compartment consisted of 52 seats, located within 5 bays consisting of 3 seats on one side and 2 on the other. Smoking was permitted. The carriage was 64 foot long – weighed 56 tons and was fitted with a buckeye coupler with rubbing plates. It also consisted of an external lighting conduit along the roof. Underneath and between the bogies were fuel tanks and battery boxes.

The Driving trailer composite (DTC), carriage 60820, had a large 2nd class compartment but, unlike the 2 hap units of the time, did not have 3 first class cabins; only two. The outer first class cabin, behind the cab, was converted to a 12 seat second class compartment and was not linked to the other first class accommodation. The first class compartments had access to a lavatory via a corridor. This carriage therefore consisted of 13 first class and 62 second class seats (50 in one compartment (non smoking) and 12 in the second compartment next to the driving compartment. It was 64 feet long and weighed 32 tons and was also fitted with a buckeye coupler with rubbing plates. It also consisted of an external lighting conduit along the roof.

In 1963, the 12 seat second class compartment in the DTC was converted to a luggage compartment. However, in 1975 it was re-converted to a first class compartment but this was only facilitated with the inclusion of a door to gain access to the 1st class toilet.  This ultimately reduced the available seating to 50 second class seats in the main cabin and 19 first class seats in the smaller front 3 cabins.

The unit was painted in all over green.

Although generally all the units performed well, the steep inclines on the route from Winchester to Alton proved problematic for the three coach combinations, and so this unit and 1122 were transferred from the Hastings routes to this route.

During 1960 all units began to have a large orange “V” painted on the cab ends. From 1965, this was replaced by a small yellow warning panel. The end with the guards compartment was supplemented with a black upside down triangle within it, to indicate to station staff at which end the guards compartment was located. By the end of 1966, this unit was repainted in blue with full yellow ends.

The closure of the Mid Hants line in February 1973 saw this unit rendered as spare and sent to Bristol for crew training.

Unit 1121 did have a trailer second fitted in 1974 and was subsequently re-classed as a 3T unit, being converted to a class 204 under the Tops system. The TS was donated by unit 1108.

This unit was fitted with TPWS (Train protection warning system) in late 2002 / early 2003.

The DMBSO was scrapped in Oct 1993 but the DTC was saved by HDL Ltd in 2004 when all the units were replaced with class 171 stock. This unit was then based at the Lavender line and has recently been beautifully restored to working condition. For the time being it is being used with the DMBSO of Berks unit 1133. 

This is the only batch 2 and 3T unit in preservation.


http://www.southernelectric.org.uk/features/stockdir.html (accessed 07/08/2012)

http://www.hsups.org/  Hampshire & Sussex Units Preservation Society (accessed 07/08/2012)

http://www.semgonline.com/proto/emudes.html  Southern Electric Group (accessed 07/08/2012)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_205   (accessed 07/08/2012)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Electric_diesel_engines  (accessed 07/08/2012)

Welch, Michael, 2005 “Southern DEMUs”,pp12-19,  Capital Transport Publishing ISBN 1854142879.

Welch, Michael, 2005 “Slam doors on the Southern” Capital Transport Publishing ISBN 1854142968

Other photos of the vehicles taken over the years by other photographers

It's only the driving trailer from 1121 which survives but what an interesting history it has.

When the class 204's were formed it was reformed with a former EPB driving trailer as a centre car and it ran for many years as 1401 later 204001.

When the 204's were withdrawn it was saved by the Hastings Diesels Group with the aim of being used with stock moves and getting the Motor cars turned and so on.

It made a few brief trips on the main line but was soon mothballed.

When the Lavender Line preserved 1133 as the Motor car was being restored to such a high standard it was placed on loan to them whilst the trailer is being done.

In 2015 it made history again as it moved along with 1133 to the Spa Valley Railway for the Double Thump appeal where it became part of the first train of 2 thumpers to run together in preservation.

All images are taken at the Spa Valleys Double thump appeal  by Amy Adams