|When in 1964 the time came for the Southern Region to
replace steam hauled stock on the Reading to Tonbridge service the SR turned to
its tradition of recycling rolling stock. Three Hastings 6S (class 201) DEMU
units were disbanded releasing six motor brake second saloons and six trailer
open seconds which were then mated to adapted driving trailers from BR design
2EPB units to form six 3R (R for Reading/Redhill) class 206 DEMU units. The EPB
driving trailers had three compartments in their non driving end converted into
a luggage compartment.
Because of the visible difference between the narrow width of the ex-Hastings stock and the standard width of the ex-EPB trailer these units rapidly became nicknamed "Tadpoles", a name which stuck throughout their working life. The remaining passenger accommodation in the EPB trailer was usually locked out of use.
|The difference in body width between the ex Hastings DEMU and ex
2EPB vehicles can clearly be seen in this picture of unit 1204 taken south of
East Croydon station on 8th October 1972.
photograph by David Smith
|In 1979 four Tadpoles units were disbanded. One 6S unit was
reinstated and the EPB driving trailers were used to convert the remaining 2
car Hampshire DEMU units (2H) to 3 cars (3T/class 204) albeit with the
intermediate driving cab out of use in their formation.
"Heritage" DMUs from the Western region replaced the Tadpoles on Reading to Tonbridge services, and in turn they were eventually replaced by class 165/166 DMU units of Thames Trains.
|Class 206 Tadpole unit 1201 arriving at Betchworth......
photograph by Ray Soper
|......and leaving a few moments later. The difference in the
widths of the two leading coaches and the last coach is very apparent in this
photograph by Ray Soper
|Class 206 Tadpole Unit 206101, in BR blue and grey livery,
arrives at Three Oaks with a train from Ashford to Hastings in August 1987. The
original double track formation is clearly visible in this photograph, with the
second platform still in situ.
photograph by Keith Harwood
|A tadpole at Uckfield. Unit Nº1309 waits in the platform
during February 1986. The train is the 9:41 a.m. East Croydon to Eastbourne,
which was really a positioning run for stock from the East Grinstead/Uckfield
line on its way to St Leonards for servicing. It was discontinued with the East
Grinstead electrification in 1987.
photograph by Mark Westcott
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This page was last updated 28 December 2008