4 Rep (Class 432)

With the withdrawal of steam services and the electrification of the line to Bournemouth in 1967 there was insufficient financial justification to electrify between Bournemouth and Weymouth. This resulted in a quandary of how to maintain through services and the solution devised was novel. Tests in the mid 1960s had proved that high speed main line push pull operation was both feasible and safe. The result was to have a high powered EMU at the London end pushing trailer units to Bournemouth where the trailers would be detached and then pulled to Weymouth by a push-pull equipped diesel electric locomotive. The operation in the up direction was would be the reverse.

The high powered EMU tractor units were classified 4 Rep (Restaurant EPB), the trailer units 3/4TC (Trailer Control) and the push pull equipped diesel locomotives were converted from 19 of the Southern's native BRCW type 3 fleet (eventually to become designated class 33/1).

Rep A quintessential 1970s and 1980s scene as Rep 2010 storms through Clapham Junction on an up fast service.  The buffet is the second car and in this unit was named "The Vauxhall".

photograph by David Smith

Initially eleven 4 Rep units were built to propel the TC units to Bournemouth and pull them back to Waterloo. The 4 Reps were of the contemporary 1963 BR(S) EMU design and were formed of two motor second/standard saloons (MSO) sandwiching a trailer brake first corridor (TBFK) and a trailer buffet (TBuf). The MBSOs were new-builds but otherwise the TBFK was converted from a loco hauled Mk1 corridor composite and the TBuf from Mk1 loco hauled Restaurant Buffets. The 4 Reps were the most powerful EMUs on the Southern Region, with a total of 3,200 hp available, in order to be able to provide the traction for up to eight trailer cars. Each Rep had eight traction motors and because of this to avoid an overload a Rep could only work with another powered EMU (or EDL) if sufficient traction motors in the overall formation were first isolated. Each power bogie had a shoe beam with two pick up shoes since there were two power circuits. In 1974 an additional four units were introduced to increase the frequency of the service and to provide cover for extended maintenance of the fleet.

When first introduced the Reps appeared in overall rail blue livery with small yellow warning panels and small aluminium BR arrows affixed below their side cab windows. The yellow warning panels were subsequently enlarged to cover the whole cab front. They were repainted during the early 1970s into Blue and Grey, losing their aluminium arrows in the process, the 1974 builds emerging in blue and grey livery from new. The Reps never received Network SouthEast livery.

Rep unit 3004 entering Clapham Yard not only carries a destination board above the cab window but it is also numbered in the original numbering series. This unit contained the buffet "The Solent". Note the two pick up shoes.

photograph by David Smith

Come the mid 1980s the decision came to replace the Bournemouth line stock not only since finance had become available to electrify the line between Bournemouth and Weymouth using new low cost technology but also the unpowered Rep and TC cars were originally built in the 1950s. The new stock was to be the class 442 - at long last Mk3 main line stock was to become native to the Southern. However the long established Southern practice of reusing equipment took place for the traction motors and control gear - being not life expired - re-using them from the Reps. This required Rep units to be reformed and withdrawn to allow the equipment to be recovered before new 442s could become available. Temporary formations resulted including 6 Rep, replacement of a MBSO by an EDL (class 73) and 5 TCB (a 4 TC unit including a Rep restaurant car) powered by class 73s. Reconfigured Reps and TCs soldiered on the Bournemouth line to cover for unavailable 442 units from mid 1988 until 1991. The final use of a Rep was in the last week of September 1991, units 1901 and 1904 being the last. None of the Reps is preserved.
Rep Another familiar Clapham Junction scene sadly no longer with us. Rep 2014 containing the buffet "The New Forest" was one of the 1974 builds. Note the class 33 on a P.W. train!

photograph by David Smith

A 4 Rep passing Eastleigh works during April 1974 providing a good view of the side of the buffet car.

photograph by Michael Taylor


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This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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