4 Cep/3 Cep/4 Bep (Class 411/2)

By the mid 1950s with the existing main line EMU stock originating from the 1930s and with the impending Kent Coast electrification the time had come for a new main line EMU design. In 1956 six prototype units to BR Mk1 design were introduced on the Central Division. Four of them were formed: motor brake second saloon (MBSO), trailer composite corridor (TCK), trailer second corridor (TSK) and motor brake second saloon. These were designated 4 Cep for "Corridor EPB". The remaining two were designated 4 Bep - "Buffet EPB" - having a trailer buffet car replacing the TSK. The Ceps were similar to the contemporary locomotive hauled stock and the cab ends were basically Mk1 coach ends with added cab windows, headcode box and control connections. The shade of green was the darker one which was used from 1957, but it was still glossy, hand-brushed varnish, not the sprayed egg-shell finish which was used from March 1965. The inner ends of the coaches were painted black.

Further batches were built between 1958 and 1963, the majority being for the Kent Coast electrification project but seven units were built for the South Western Division. These latter units were rapidly deployed to the South Eastern Division and some others were assigned to the Central Division. The riding quality of early units with Mk3 or Mk4 trailer bogies proved to be poor and latter batches were built with their non powered bogies being of the Commonwealth type.

4 Cep
An unusual photograph showing a 4 Cep being towed through Wimbledon station during autumn 1962. The loco is not identifiable but may be a Lord Nelson class, whilst there is a brake van attached at rear. It is likely the Cep has been to Eastleigh for repair and is now being returned to Stewarts Lane. Steam haulage, unfitted, with a brake van,  was the norm for everything to and from Eastleigh until 1967.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

From 1979 onwards, following an experimental prototype in 1975, the class underwent a mid-life refurbishment which involved a major rebuild. The guards/luggage compartment in each driving motor was replaced by second class saloon and the TSK converted to a second saloon.  The TCK was converted to a trailer brake composite (TBC) with a new guards compartment taking the position of two (out of three) previously second class compartments. Another obvious external difference on the production conversions was the substitution of hopper ventilators for the sliding type of the original Mk1 design. The opportunity was also taken to substitute Commonwealth bogies from withdrawn locomotive hauled coaches for the poor riding Mk3 and Mk4 trailer bogies on the earlier batches.

Introduction of new Networker class 465/466 and 365 EMUs on the Kent Coast lines resulted in surplus Cep units being placed into store, though following privatisation there has been a significant redeployment and reformation of Ceps and Beps. In 1997 South West Trains acquired 16 Ceps from store and also exchanged some Veps for Ceps with Connex SouthCentral in 1998. Withdrawn Cep trailers have found other uses, for instance in class 207 DEMU formations and Cep TSOs have also been used to convert SWT Bigs to Cigs by substituting them for the buffet car, largely as a result of the Big buffets having some traces of asbestos in their roof and a kitchen area that did not meet current food hygiene standards. This was not a problem affecting the Bep buffet cars as they had been upgraded and kitted out with stainless steel kitchens during their 1980s refurbishment. Connex, on the other hand, reduced the 4 car formation to 3 Cep on some units, a change that was accelerated in 1999 in order to improve the performance of the remaining Ceps so that they could keep pace when being diagrammed to work to a class 375 Electrostar schedule - a task they have proved to be very capable of despite their age. There has been no move by SWT to convert their Beps to Ceps, the Beps remain satisfactorily in traffic pending replacement by the forthcoming class 444 units. They have, in fact, had their buffet cars re-fitted with new microwaves and water heaters and have been re-upholstered with the latest red SWT seating covering to the bar and lounge areas.

4 Cep 4 Cep Nº7118, possibly at Tonbridge in 1958

photograph: Mike Morant collection

4 Bep Nº7009 seen running into Warblington Halt during summer 1965.

photograph by Ian Gunn

4 Cep
4 Cep In their original condition a Pair of 4 Ceps are seen on a down service at Sutton in 1971. Due to engineering diversions the Victoria - Bognor/Portsmouth trains were being routed via West Croydon instead of Mitcham junction.

photograph by Mike Morant

Another pair of 4 Ceps routed via West Croydon in 1971, this time with an up service.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

4 Cep
1529 After being refurbished, 4 Cep unit Nº1529 was seen in early London & South East passenger sector livery at Cannon Street on 23rd August 1986.

photograph by Colin Duff

A 4 Cep in the later form of LSE livery - note the black stripes above and below the orange band - seen at Waterloo on 22nd November 1986 during the Network SouthEast Network Day.

photograph by Colin Duff

4 Cep

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This page was last updated 2 August 2010

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