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The unique 8 Vab unit 1968-1974
by Tanya Jackson

In March 1968 a unique 8 car unit - 8001 (class 480) - was put together from 4 Veps 7739, 7741 and 7742 to make up for a shortage in stock on the newly electrified Bournemouth line, partly resulting from teething troubles experienced with the motors of the new 4 Rep units. The Vep vehicles that went to form it were brand new and never saw service as Veps before they were formed into the Vab.

The unit was formed:

  • driving trailer composite (DTC)
  • non driving motor open brake second (MBSO)
  • driving trailer composite (DTC)

PLUS

  • driving trailer composite (DTC)
  • non driving motor open brake second (MBSO)
  • trailer buffet (TRB)
  • non driving motor open brake second (MBSO)
  • driving trailer composite (DTC)

and was basically two units, one of three cars and one of five, permanently coupled together. The buffet was a loco-hauled carriage specially converted to work within the unit. MBSO 62203, one of those formed adjacent to buffet car has its 3+2 seating converted to 2+1 with tables at the majority of seating bays. The unit was intended to power an additional 4 TC unit, hence the application for 6 motor bogies in the unit, but it also worked singly when it could be counted upon to provide lively running. It was disbanded in December 1974 when a second batch of 4 Reps were introduced.

See Alan Williams "Southern Electric Album", G. T. Moody "Southern Electrics 1909-1979", and Colin Marsden "Southern Electric Multiple Units 1948-1983" (all published by Ian Allan), amongst others.

This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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