GLV (Class 489)

489104 The GLVs normally form the London end of a Gatwick Express formation as seen here with 9104 on 12th May 2000. Note the then comparatively recently installed new style Gatwick Airport signs.

photograph by Colin Duff

During late 1983 and early 1984 Eastleigh works converted nine former BR design 2 Hap driving motor coaches to class 489 Guards Luggage Vans (GLV) to provide one driving end of the then new push-and-pull Gatwick Express units. The body sides were extensively rebuilt to provide three pairs of double doors equally spaced along the side. The sides were also extended below solebar level to match the Mk2 profile of the class 488 conversions. A guard's compartment and corridor connection were installed at the non driving end and the passenger interior removed to provide a large luggage space. The existing motor bogie was retained and it provides 500hp of traction to the unit. At the other (inner end) of the GLVs the existing un-powered Mk4 bogie (with external dampers) was swapped with a leading un-powered bogie off a scrapped 2 Hap driving trailer to provide a pick up at this end of the car and also the correct internal damping for a pick up bogie. New 1963 type control desks were fitted to the cabs in order to provide remote control over the electro-diesel's (EDL) engine starting and pick up raising mechanisms though the existing brake controller was retained. There is no connection of traction current between the GLV and EDL (other than via the third rail!) but the GLV does provide traction current to the class 488 trailers for conversion by a motor alternator to provide air conditioning and lighting, etc, supplies.

The first GLV to be delivered was 489101 (68500) and this was significantly behind the delivery of the early 488 trailer units. GLVs were delivered in the then current Intercity "Executive" livery with the yellow cab fronts being extended around the cab sides as far as the driver's door. A black BR emblem was carried on the yellow panel below the driver's side window.

From 1987 with the introduction of high intensity headlamps, HMRI relaxed the requirement for the whole of the outer ends of the MLVs to be yellow, and so it was decided to confine the yellow warning panel to the area below the driver's windows. Above upper cab ends were painted black with overhead line electrification flashes either side of the route code window. Above the windows there was a OHL orange warning line, and the unit numbers above this were now in white. The yellow colour was no longer wrapped round the sides of the unit and BR double arrows were absent. The horizontal handrails under the driver's cab windows were now white or polished, before they had been painted black. Conversely, the "Private" marking on the driver's door was now black, instead of white. The OHL warning line on the front extended along the gutter, but only as far as the driver's door. The sides of the MLVs matched the livery of the coaches but "INTERCITY" branding was not applied. Data panels now appeared on these units to the rear of the driver's door.  Note that this was only applied on one side of the unit, and not all units had one. (9105 and 9106, at least did not.) There were some further variations: 9106 had the inside of the warning horns painted yellow, and ran without the OHL warning flashes and see our picture of 9110 which carried a hybrid livery until its headlight was fitted.

GLV 9301 is here in the original Gatwick Express livery. It was on a trial train in 1983 before the service commenced. The location is East Croydon. The train is in reverse formation - in service the GLV and 82xx set were at the London end. Note the headcode - 54 - is not that of a Victoria - Quarry Line - Gatwick Airport working which is 20.

photograph by John Lewis

9110 An interesting livery variation seen in 1991. 9110 is without a head lamp and therefore the driving end remains all-yellow. However, the yellow does not wrap round the cab sides. A data panel has been applied to the cab front and here are no OHL flashes. Also the unit numbers appear to be smaller than usual.

photograph by John Lewis

9110 is seen again in January 1994 whilst passing through Clapham Junction. The cab front has gained a headlamp and black window surrounds plus OHL flashes and an orange OHL stripe. The data panel has moved to the side not seen in this picture. By April 9110 had gained the pennant motif to its front.

photograph by John Lewis

At the end of 1992 to mark the service's detachment from the Intercity sector to become a shadow franchise there was a further change of livery. The broad red/white stripe replaced by a broad white stripe. This contained a thinner (than the previous red stripe) burgundy line towards its lower edge with there being a thin white line below the burgundy. From this time the GLVs carried "Baggage Car" lettering to encourage their use for luggage by passengers. The cab fronts were given the Gatwick Express double pennant motif in light grey between the unit numbers on the end. For some reason "Private" was no longer applied to the driver's doors. The words "Senior Conductor" were applied to (what was) the guard's door in white on the beige area below the stripes where it could scarcely be seen.

Then from early 1994 in the run up to privatisation the beige and white/burgundy striped lower body sides were replaced by pearl white with a narrow burgundy stripe, pearl white also replacing the beige above the dark grey window band. In more recent times the double pennants motif was dropped from the cab front.

Operationally airline baggage checked in at Victoria Station airline check-in desks is carried in airline containers within the GLV and is transferred to the airport's terminals upon arrival. Movement of these containers outside of the GLV can be very low tech - they are trundled across a barrow crossing (across the up platform loop track) at Gatwick Airport by hand!

Most GLVs have been withdrawn and stored though until the new class 460 units have proved to be as reliable as their specification a small number have been retained by Gatwick Express for use in reserve trains. Further use of the this Gatwick Express stock is underway but nothing firm has yet been announced about recycling of the GLVs.

For an overview of the Gatwick Express Service 1984-2000 follow this Gatwick Express link.

910x This picture of an unidentified GLV at Victoria in December 1993 shows the data panel applied on the executive light grey (beige) lower side behind the cab vestibule door and the "Private" lettering on the door in black.

photograph by John Lewis

9102 at Victoria in December 1993 exhibits third generation livery and the new white and burgundy stripe arrangement is in contrast to the adjacent TFOH which still retains its original "Executive" livery stripes. Note the "Senior Conductor" lettering in white. This picture also illustrates well how the Mk1 lower bodyside profile was altered to match to match that of Mk2s.

photograph by John Lewis


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