Pull and Push Coaches

Pull and Push (or motor) sets were used extensively by the Southern Railway and its antecedents, and on into BR(S) days ,as it saved on the need for a loco to have to run round at the end of each journey. When the engine was pulling the set operations were as for a normal steam hauled train but when it was propelling the driver would move to the driving end of the set and, through linkage, control the regulator on the engine and the brake. He could also communicate with the fireman, who was now in charge on the footplate, by means of a series of bell signals. Usually consisting of two coaches, such train could be just one or, if traffic required it, three or even four. When there were more than two the loco would be marshalled between the coaches so that it did't propell more than two.

Bandon Halt

photograph reproduced by kind permission of Southern Railway Net

A LBSCR motor train with an LBSCR ballon coach in tow, possibly powered by Terrier Nº661 at Bandon Halt. Every train that stopped at Bandon Halt was a Motor Train, either appearing in the London Bridge - Horsham section or the Victoria - Horsham section.
Set 381 2-car set 381 was a LSWR Ironclad setbuilt under Maunsell in 1925.

photograph by Stephen Hughes, courtesy of Terry Heeley

2-car set 482 being propelled by what appears to be a SECR H Class 0-6-0T with another coach attached at the far end.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

Set 482
Set 381 was, as stated above, built in 1925 (along with sets 382-5) and consisted of Third Brake 4052 and Composite Brake 6560 and, when built, was intended for working the London - Lymington route. During 1949 they were all converted for pull 'n' push working, and 381 was transferred to Seaton Junction to work the branch from there to Seaton. The coaches were altered for this new purpose with the Third Brakes losing some luggage space in order to provide an additional compartment and the lavatory altered to provide a six seat coupé, whilst the Composite Brakes just had their lavatory changed to a six seat coupé. Standard driving ends were fitted to the brake end of each coach with a droplight in each ducket and the gangways removed.
Twenty Push Pull sets were converted by BR(SR) from late 1959 to mid 1960 as replacements for earlier Push Pull sets of SR and pre-grouping design. They consisted of two Maunsell vehicles, an ex-diagram 2403 BCK and an ex diagram 2005 SO. The brake end of the BCK was modified by inserting two windows (observation lights in railway terminology) to form a driving compartment, with the corridor connection removed, and droplights replacing the familiar former guard's lookout duckets. Similarly the outer end of the SO had its corridor connection removed but the corridor connection between the two vehicles was retained. After conversion seating capacity remained the same, the BCK seating 12 1st and 32 second with the SO seating 56 second passengers. The lavatories in the SO were sealed up.

In accordance with the recognized system, three air pipes were fitted, to each vehicle, to allow the driver to control the locomotive's regulator from the leading cab and electrical wiring allowed a bell communication between the driver and fireman.

Set 602 Maunsell two coach Push Pull set Nº602, departing Hever behind H Class Nº31551. Note it has both a headsignal and a tail lamp on the rear!

photograph by Keith Harwood

Set 602 (above)
BCK S6681S
SO S1318S
Allocated to the Central Division from November 1959 until withdrawal in December 1963.
Based at Three Bridges in May 1960, these sets on the East Grinstead services interchanged with those on the Tunbridge Wells to Oxted services.
The outer end of the SO was also branded with the set number in the latter part of its existence, which was quite rare, and it was photographed, in this condition, by G.D. King on 26th July 1963 at Rowfant.

Set 605 (below)
BCK S6677S
SO S1349S
Allocated to the Central Division from November 1959 until withdrawal in December 1963.
Based at Horsham in May 1960. Following the cessation of PP working on the Horsham to Brighton services it was transferred to Eastbourne for the Hailsham service but also appeared on Tunbridge Wells to Oxted services from that time onwards. On 12 June 1961 it was noted as the leading two vehicles on the 1.08 p.m. Victoria to Tunbridge Wells West.

Both sets these were condemned when the last remaining Push Pull services on the Central were discontinued.

Text from Glen Woods.

Maunsell 2-car Push Pull Set Nº605 at Hever looking towards Oxted.

photograph by Keith Harwood

Set 605

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This page was last updated 28 November 2010

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