2 Hal


Southern Railway publicity photograph

photograph: Glen Woods collection

When building the stock for the Medway electrification of the lines from Gravesend to Gillingham, from Strood to Maidstone West and from Otford to Maidstone East the Southern produced the very basic, utilitarian 2 Hal which was in considerable contrast to the comfortable 2 Bil, 2 Nol and 4 Lav stock that preceeded them. In place of deep comfortable cushions the 2Hals had firm, thinly padded bench type seats in a dull brown and fawn pattern, many of them in six-a-side non-corridor motor brake thirds. In complete contrast, however, the first class had well-padded lift-out cushions trimmed in an oriental patterned tapestry! In place of the normal Victorian style teak and mahogany interior woodwork, wooden surfaces were painted cream or grey, with the panelling trimmed in a cotton fabric.

The body was, however, constructed differently in that it had a wooden frame, galvanised steel sheet sides and boarded, canvas-covered roof as previously, but with new plywood partitions and a welded steel cab. Some 76 were built for the Medway scheme, the largest batch of main line semi-fast stock that the Southern Railway ever built.

2 Hal 2634 leading three other 2 Hal sets hurries through Raynes Park on the main line tracks on a train from Waterloo to Alton.

photograph by Keith Harwood

The next 16 units, built during November and December 1939, were virtually the same as the Medway units but with more cheerful upholstery in the third class compartments. By June 1940 all these units were working Brighton to Ore and Seaford to Horsted Keynes services but then, from autumn 1941, they were moved to the Waterloo to Aldershot services enabling Reading/Aldershot trains to be strengthened to eight coaches to deal with the huge amount of military traffic to and from the Aldershot area.

No Hals were lost during WWII, but a number of other units were, so an order was placed for five Hals in the autumn of 1944 to replace these units. No sooner did that happen than another 2 Bil was lost (to a V2 rocket) so the order was amended to five main line and two suburban units, then amended to seven main line units. These were eventually completed towards the end of 1948 and went to work on the eastern section, later transferring to the Victoria-Littlehampton service, detaching one portion at Gatwick. These post-war Hals were of all steel construction, which earnt them the nick-name of "Tin Hals".

The last, and most weird, 2 Hal was 2700, which had a suburban saloon for its motor brake third, taken from 4 Sub 4590.

2700 The unique 2 Hal Nº2700 passing Tooting Common on 7th April 1962. The motor brake third has 8 bays instead of the usual 7 compartments for a 2 Hal.

photograph by Chris Knowles-Thomas

The Hals remained in service (with the odd loss through accident) until withdrawals started in 1969, their replacements being the new 4 Vep units. The last three Hal units went during July 1971.
2662 at Horsted Keynes, 1962, on a Seaford train.

photograph by John Edgington and reproduced from the book 'A Southern Electric Album', by Michael Welch, by kind permission of Capital Transport Publishing.

2681 On a wet winter Sunday 2 Hal Nº2681 passes Fishersgate Halt with a Brighton to Portsmouth Harbour semi-fast service.

photograph by Keith Harwood

2 Hal 2617 is the leading unit of this London Bridge to Brighton stopping service near Balcombe Tunnel.

photograph: Mike Morant collection

2 Hal 2 Hal unit 2666 at a snowy Ascot, with 2 Bil unit 2108 behind.

photograph by Chris Ralls

The Builds:
2601-76 built 1939 for the Medway electrification scheme
2677-92 built later in 1939 and eventually used for lengthening of Reading trains
2693-99 built 1948 as replacements for war losses, all steel "Tin Can" stock allocated to eastern section, then Gatwick/ Littlehampton services.
2700 formed February 1950 with a motor coach from 4 Sub 4590 and a driving trailer built as a war loss replacement (photo above).

Coach Numbers:
Motor Coaches (2601-2699) 10719 to 10817
Motor Coach (2700) 12664
Driving Trailers (2601-2646) 12186 to 12231 (note 12854 was built in 1950, on a BIL underframe and replaced 12807 in unit 2653)
Driving Trailers (2647-2699) 12801 to 12853
Driving Trailer (2700) 12855

Diagram Numbers:
Motor Coaches
2601 to 2692, diagram 2116
2693 to 2699, diagram 2127
2700, diagram 2126A

Driving Trailers:
2601 to 2692, diagram 2702
2693 to 2699, diagram 2705
2700, diagram 2705.

Once their life in passenger service was completed several of the motor coaches were converted for departmental use:
Stores Units:
022 comprised ADS70315 & ADS70318, cars originally 10731 (unit 2613) & 10787 (unit 2669)
023 comprised ADS70316 & ADS70317, cars originally 10742 (unit 2624) & 10760 (unit 2642)
001 contained DS70268, car originally 10726 (unit 2608) which was later ADB977365
002 contained DS70269, car originally 10764 (originally unit 2646, transferred to 4 Lav unit 2926 in 1948 to replace the motor coach lost at South Croydon).
2 Hal Unit Nº2653 photographed at Fratton Yard and ex-Eastleigh works c1968 was one of the all-steel (or 'Tin Hals') built after the war. This has obviously been the subject of renumbering as the original 2653 was a pre-war unit, as seen at the beginning of these pages. The photographer remembers well the strong smell of paint as it sat in the yard (non-electrified) prior to re-entering service.

photograph by Terry Bye

Life after death! On 6 April 1976. 2 Hal Stores unit 023 on its regular Saturday trip to Lovers Walk passes through the now closed Nº4 platform at Preston Park.

photograph by Glen Woods

2 Hal

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This page was last updated 15 December 2010

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