Coach Set 900 (7TC 701)

When Oxted line services were dieselised in 1963 there was a chronic shortage of electrically heated stock for the diesel locomotives to haul on peak hour extras so a seven-coach, high-capacity, electrically- heated set was formed, numbered 900. It included five former 4SUB trailers and at each end was a coach from disbanded 2BIL unit 2006. The two 2BIL coaches were modified with shoegear and multiple unit control apparatus removed and the jumpers altered to enable heating to be supplied from the BRCW Type 3 diesel locomotive rostered to haul the set. The motors were removed from the motorcoach 10573 which reduced its weight from 43 tons to 35 tons. Internally the 2BIL seating layout remained unchanged, the MBS (now a TBS) seating 56 second and the DTC seating 24 first and 32 second.
Set 900 Set 900 is seen here in the sidings at Crowborough and Jarvis Brook.

photograph by Ray Soper

The 4SUB vehicles consisted of four wooden/canvas roofed 10 compartment 'augmentation' trailers 10346/49/51/53 which had all run in augmented units of the 4326 - 4354 batch, taken from units 4329/46/28/52 respectively, these units having been withdrawn in 1960/1. These withdrawals had their 'augmentation' trailers removed whilst the three old SUB vehicles were stripped and sent to the Newhaven bonfires. The withdrawn 'augmentation' trailers were all stored for possible future use, the four selected for use in Set 900 were some of the lucky few as nearly all the others were also eventually scrapped at Newhaven without seeing any further service. These four were initially stored together on the spur line from Winchester Junction to the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton line, later moving to Fullerton Goods Yard and then to Micheldever. They were all then taken to Eastleigh for overhaul where all four were fitted with fibreglass doors before being formed into Set 900.
The remaining ex SUB trailer used was an all-steel 9 compartment 'psuedo-composite' 11485 removed from unit 4115 from July 1963. This coach was fitted with a lighting generator and became the only 4SUB composite to actually run with first class accommodation, with the centremost six compartments fitted out as first class with four seats across. Three second class compartments remained, two at one end, one at the other. In this form the coach seated 48 first and 36 second. Overall therefore, Set 900 seated 72 first and 604 second and was 448' 10½" long and weighed 206 tons. The ex SUB Composite coach was the centre vehicle of the train with the single second class compartment marshalled towards the former DTC of the 2BIL. The unit was finished in multiple unit green of the later darker shade. Both coaches of the former 2BIL retained their lavatories and, apart from the jumper alterations, the cab ends remained unchanged.
The unit was released from Eastleigh Works 6 September 1963 and entered service the following day. Set 900 was reclassified as a '7TC' unit and numbered 701 from February 1966, though this was somewhat misleading as TC was meant to signify 'Trailer Control' and this set never had this capability, always being used as a conventional hauled train.
701 was overhauled at Eastleigh in mid-1967 and repainted into blue livery with full yellow ends. The cab appearance was also much changed as the former headcode frames were removed and plated over. However, the unit suffered two electrical fires in September 1967 affecting the heating and control equipment and it was not used again in passenger service after December 1967, being condemned 12 April 1969 and stored at Micheldever. The two BIL coaches were sent for scrap to A King Ltd of Wymondham in February 1970. All the ex-SUB coaches, however, were re-used in other units, 11485 being reconverted to second class and modified as an 'EPB' trailer and renumbered as 15084 for unit 5115 (crash damaged at Norwood Junction).
10346 went to 'new' 4SUB 4131 from June 1969.
10349 & 10351 both went to 'new' 4SUB 4132 from August 1969.
10353 went to all-steel SUB unit 4364 (crash damaged at Hampton Court).
Formation of 'Set 900' (7TC 701) was:-
Coach Type Origin SR code Diagram No.
10573 TBS (Ex 2Bil 2006) ? 2111
10351 TS (Ex 4Sub 4328) DN 2013
10353 TS (Ex 4Sub 4352) DN 2013
11485 TC (Ex 4Sub 4115) DP 2314
10349 TS (Ex 4Sub 4346) DN 2013
10346 TS (Ex 4Sub 4329) DN 2013
12107 TC (Ex 2Bil 2006) ? 2700
Text by John Atkinson.

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This page was created 19 December 2002

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