2 Bil

The 2 Bil (bi-lavatory) first appeared as a batch of 10 semi fast main line units to a contemporary design during 1935 for use on the Eastbourne line. Each unit consisted of a motor brake third and a driving trailer composite. In the motor car behind the driver's cab was a full width luggage/guard's van followed by seven third (later, under BR, second) class compartments off a side corridor and at the inner end a toilet compartment. In the driving trailer were four first and four third class compartments connected by a side corridor, a toilet at the inner end and the Guard's/luggage compartment the floor of which was partly raised to accommodate the electo-magnetic control gear. The bodies were steel panelling on a hardwood wooden frame on a steel undeframe.

2-Bil unit 2008 is at the head of this train as it arrives at Worplesdon.

photograph by Keith Harwood

A further batch of Bils was introduced in 1936 for use on the Waterloo to Portsmouth (slow) and Waterloo to Alton services. The final batch in 1938 was built for use on the Waterloo to Reading line. These two later batches had a different internal layout to the motor car with larger luggage area, six first class compartments and one four seat coupe. These units had flat floors to the Guard's/luggage compartment as they were fitted with under-floor-mounted electro-pneumatic control gear. Following an accident where a steam train had run into the back of a 2 Bil standing at Woking, it was decided to bring the end load strength for future construction up from 90 tons to 120 tons and all new 62ft underframes were fitted, increasing the weight of both the motor brake thirds and the driving trailers by one ton.
A six car train of three 2Bils emerges from the tunnel to the south of Guildford station with a Portsmouth & Southsea to Waterloo stopping service on 20 February 1966. The cramped site of Guildford mpd (70C) is evident from this photograph. Although steam passenger trains on the Reading to Redhill service had ceased some 14 months previously, Guildford remained as a steam shed until the end of Southern steam. Clearly visible is the regular shed pilot USA 0-6-0 30072, the last engine to leave the shed on 9th July 1967.

photograph by Ray Soper

2 Bils
2104 No blinds on me! The driver of unit 2104 leans out of the front cab window to retrieve the route indicator having just arrived in platform 4A at Reading.

photograph by Ray Soper

Nº2037 at Redhill with a London Bridge-Brighton stopping service.

photograph by Keith Harwood

2 Bils No date, nor location for this photograph which shows the jumpers either being connected or disconnected for a joining or splitting of a train. The tail lamp on the platform had either been removed, or was to be placed on the rear of the front unit, depending on what was happening.

Looks like a wet day though!

photograph: Mike Morant collection

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This page was last updated 14 February 2008

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