1980s Southern electrification schemes - where did the stock come from?

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nickw1

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A thought occurred to me about the 1980s Southern electrification scheme (specifically, the Hastings line, the East Grinstead line and the Solent area electrification, which was 1990, not 1980s, but is very much of the same era).

Namely, where did the stock come from? In all three cases, existing Southern electric stock was used: CEPs for Hastings; CIGs, VEPs and peak-time EPBs for the East Grinstead; and CIGs and VEPs for Solent. Off-peak there wouldn't be a problem, as they could just utilise units which would otherwise be sitting in the sidings all day, but what about the peak?

Perhaps Thameslink would have freed up some stock for East Grinstead, as some CIG workings to London Bridge would have become through 319s to Bedford - but what of the short period between Oct 1987 and May 1988 when there was no Thameslink and there was still a full contingent of CIG-based peak services out of London Bridge?

Perhaps Thameslink also could have sourced the units for Solent, as some 'redundant' CIGs, no longer needed for the Central Division, could have headed west onto the South Western?

Or was it just general cuts to other services, e.g. shortening some peak services from 12 to 8?
 
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Essentially it was a case of using the assets more intensively - there was some leeway as the 1970s provision was by then over generous for the traffic on offer. And the 455/456s were in service by then, and not all the surplus stock was life expired, eg the BR-type HAPs.
 
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Dr Hoo

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I was fairly closely involved in freeing up the CEPs for the Hastings electrification. They came from various 'tactics'. IIRC six units came from disbanding a couple of 'boat train' standby sets that were less needed as 'classic' foot passenger traffic declined. The use of previously 'spare' main line units on the Sheerness Branch and Medway Valley was ended as these were replaced by some re-furbished and modified 2-EPB units (5 x CEPs released, I think). The ending of the re-furbishment programme meant another four sets returned to traffic. A few that had been transferred to other divisions were brought back and a few peak diagrams across Kent were cut back from 12-car to 8-car. And diagramming was tightened up. Some formerly CEP services were covered by VEPs.

I think that we managed to 'find' about 24 sets altogether, which was quite impressive.

Needless to say, there was much anguish from customers across the whole of Kent that 'their' services had been worsened to improve trains for 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'. I had to answer many of the letters of complaint as well as travel to and from my own work on trains that were now full-and-standing and/or significantly less comfortable.
 

nickw1

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I was fairly closely involved in freeing up the CEPs for the Hastings electrification. They came from various 'tactics'. IIRC six units came from disbanding a couple of 'boat train' standby sets that were less needed as 'classic' foot passenger traffic declined. The use of previously 'spare' main line units on the Sheerness Branch and Medway Valley was ended as these were replaced by some re-furbished and modified 2-EPB units (5 x CEPs released, I think). The ending of the re-furbishment programme meant another four sets returned to traffic. A few that had been transferred to other divisions were brought back and a few peak diagrams across Kent were cut back from 12-car to 8-car. And diagramming was tightened up. Some formerly CEP services were covered by VEPs.

I think that we managed to 'find' about 24 sets altogether, which was quite impressive.

Needless to say, there was much anguish from customers across the whole of Kent that 'their' services had been worsened to improve trains for 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'. I had to answer many of the letters of complaint as well as travel to and from my own work on trains that were now full-and-standing and/or significantly less comfortable.

Interesting; re. the CEPs being replaced by VEPs on some services, I do remember that my one experience of the 'Chatham' of that era (the Network Day of 13 September 1986) featured quite a few fast Dover via Canterbury East services formed partly or entirely of VEPs, which surprised me somewhat as I would have expected CEPs on those faster services.

However it's also possible that they just put VEPs on for Network Day as they were higher-density and the trains were _very_ well loaded that day.
 

swt_passenger

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Portsmouth - Southampton workings were and still are single units, it’s a fairly relaxed set of 3 diagrams including a 50 min layover at Ports & SS weekdays, but I think even the Portsmouth to Waterloo via Eastleigh was usually a single unit in the 80s? Was the latter an extension of an existing Waterloo - Eastleigh service that already had a relatively long layover, so it might have only needed a bit of a tweak and some interworking with Portsmouth direct diagrams.

So I’d be surprised if finding stock for the Solent project was that difficult.
 

JonathanH

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Perhaps Thameslink also could have sourced the units for Solent, as some 'redundant' CIGs, no longer needed for the Central Division, could have headed west onto the South Western?
They did form up some 6-REPs at the time of the Solent electrification but found they weren't needed in due course.

As swt_passenger notes, the number of units needed wasn't substantial for a Waterloo to Portsmouth via Eastleigh service and a Portsmouth to Southampton slow.

It wasn't long after Solent electrification that South Western division managed to eliminate the final 22 HAP units.
 

yorksrob

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I was fairly closely involved in freeing up the CEPs for the Hastings electrification. They came from various 'tactics'. IIRC six units came from disbanding a couple of 'boat train' standby sets that were less needed as 'classic' foot passenger traffic declined. The use of previously 'spare' main line units on the Sheerness Branch and Medway Valley was ended as these were replaced by some re-furbished and modified 2-EPB units (5 x CEPs released, I think). The ending of the re-furbishment programme meant another four sets returned to traffic. A few that had been transferred to other divisions were brought back and a few peak diagrams across Kent were cut back from 12-car to 8-car. And diagramming was tightened up. Some formerly CEP services were covered by VEPs.

I think that we managed to 'find' about 24 sets altogether, which was quite impressive.

Needless to say, there was much anguish from customers across the whole of Kent that 'their' services had been worsened to improve trains for 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'. I had to answer many of the letters of complaint as well as travel to and from my own work on trains that were now full-and-standing and/or significantly less comfortable.

That's very interesting detail.

I guess a few too many HAP's had been withdrawn by this stage to make up the shortfall !
 

nickw1

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Portsmouth - Southampton workings were and still are single units, it’s a fairly relaxed set of 3 diagrams including a 50 min layover at Ports & SS weekdays, but I think even the Portsmouth to Waterloo via Eastleigh was usually a single unit in the 80s? Was the latter an extension of an existing Waterloo - Eastleigh service that already had a relatively long layover, so it might have only needed a bit of a tweak and some interworking with Portsmouth direct diagrams.

So I’d be surprised if finding stock for the Solent project was that difficult.

True, though peak might have been difficult although as others have said it looks like the stock was used more intensively.

Also - not sure if anyone knows the answer to this as it is a minor detail - but - I seem to recall that for the first year of the Solent electrification, i.e. May 1990-May 1991, they interworked the Portsmouth via Eastleigh with the (as then was) Portsmouth to Poole stopper, with CIGs the dominant unit type but with a number of VEPs. This meant you got VEPs on some Waterloo-Portsmouth via Eastleigh services.

Then, in the second year (May 1991, a year with a significant timetable downgrade in the peaks though not on this route) the two services were diagrammed independently, with Greyhound CIGs on the Waterloo-Eastleigh-Portsmouth and CIGs and VEPs on the Portsmouth-Poole. This meant long layovers at Portsmouth for both services, but presumably they wanted to 'de-VEP' the Waterloo services and use express stock. There was one exception to this; the 1700 ex-Waterloo was a 4VEP presumably for capacity reasons. I do also recall that in 1991 there was a Clapham Junction stop which there was not in 1990; presumably the time penalty this incurred was compensated by the use of a 'Greyhound'.

I definitely remember the 1991 pattern, but can anyone confirm that my recollection of the 1990 pattern (interworking of the '80' and '87') was correct and I wasn't just dreaming it?
 

Dr Hoo

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Interesting; re. the CEPs being replaced by VEPs on some services, I do remember that my one experience of the 'Chatham' of that era (the Network Day of 13 September 1986) featured quite a few fast Dover via Canterbury East services formed partly or entirely of VEPs, which surprised me somewhat as I would have expected CEPs on those faster services.

However it's also possible that they just put VEPs on for Network Day as they were higher-density and the trains were _very_ well loaded that day.
(Apologies for slightly 'off-thread'.)
Ah, yes. Network Day. We ended up with Slade Green frantically sending 10-EPB non-corridor sets down to Ramsgate and Margate to bring back the hordes who had gone down there. The amount of abuse that I took on the packed platform for the 'disgusting shambles' and comments of "I'll never risk travelling by train again" stayed with me until I escaped to Scotland.
 
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nickw1

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(Apologies for slightly 'off-thread'.)
Ah, yes. Network Day. We ended up with Slade Green frantically sending 10-EPB non-corridor sets down to Ramsgate and Margate to bring back the hoards who had gone down there. The amount of abuse that I took on the packed platform for the 'disgusting shambles' and comments of "I'll never risk travelling by train again" stayed with me until I escaped to Scotland.

Apologies for the OT reply also...

I'd have thought most passengers would be happy that they could travel long distances over the network for a cheap fare ;)

I remember they put on a 10HAP crowd-buster from Woking to Bournemouth on the earlier network day (21 June 1986) as the regular REP/TC was packed, and I think most people, certainly us, were grateful that they'd taken such an action.

I think it was sourced from the Woking sidings but don't quote me on that.
 

Taunton

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One got the impression that after the big build of main line stock in the 1970s, more stock was built fairly consistently through the 1980s, the initial Waterloo 507s, the 455s, then the 319s, etc, ostensibly as replacements for older units, but these would only be withdrawn when not required, and could be given another cycle of overhaul (as happened to the EPBs), and everything switched around. I'll add to the mid-1980s list the Richmond-North Woolwich service, which ran for several years with 2-EPB units. Apart from this there was a general rundown in inner suburban patronage, which reached a nadir in the mid-1980s, after which it started climbing again.
 

nickw1

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One got the impression that after the big build of main line stock in the 1970s, more stock was built fairly consistently through the 1980s, the initial Waterloo 507s, the 455s, then the 319s, etc, ostensibly as replacements for older units, but these would only be withdrawn when not required, and could be given another cycle of overhaul (as happened to the EPBs), and everything switched around. I'll add to the mid-1980s list the Richmond-North Woolwich service, which ran for several years with 2-EPB units. Apart from this there was a general rundown in inner suburban patronage, which reached a nadir in the mid-1980s, after which it started climbing again.

Wonder why that was incidentally? It would accord with service patterns at the time, as the 1985 timetable was one of cuts particularly to suburban services (but also things like Amberley losing a regular service, though that might have been 1984). However it was some years after the early-80s recession so I'd expect the nadir to have been two or three years earlier.
 

Dr Hoo

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Wonder why that was incidentally? It would accord with service patterns at the time, as the 1985 timetable was one of cuts particularly to suburban services (but also things like Amberley losing a regular service, though that might have been 1984). However it was some years after the early-80s recession so I'd expect the nadir to have been two or three years earlier.
Things were just very different then. For example the population in some parts of London was actually falling in ways that we can't imagine now. Also BR had terrible difficulty in recruiting guards in particular and quite a few service cuts were simply because the alternative would have been endless cancellations. A lot of traffic had been lost to other modes during the numerous strikes in 1982 and didn't return for a long time.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Things were just very different then. For example the population in some parts of London was actually falling in ways that we can't imagine now. Also BR had terrible difficulty in recruiting guards in particular and quite a few service cuts were simply because the alternative would have been endless cancellations. A lot of traffic had been lost to other modes during the numerous strikes in 1982 and didn't return for a long time.

Inner London , for all sorts of reasons had the lowest population levels around 1980 - 1982 since the 1930's , - that and high unemployment etc. Both BR and LT had significant falls in patronage. A definite low point.
 

Beebman

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Apologies for the OT reply also...

I'd have thought most passengers would be happy that they could travel long distances over the network for a cheap fare ;)

I remember they put on a 10HAP crowd-buster from Woking to Bournemouth on the earlier network day (21 June 1986) as the regular REP/TC was packed, and I think most people, certainly us, were grateful that they'd taken such an action.

I think it was sourced from the Woking sidings but don't quote me on that.

On one of the Network Days I travelled on a 10 (or maybe 12?) HAP from Waterloo to Portsmouth forming an additional service. ISTR it was rather empty but my guess is that it was heading there to return as a crowd-buster.
 

big all

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Things were just very different then. For example the population in some parts of London was actually falling in ways that we can't imagine now. Also BR had terrible difficulty in recruiting guards in particular and quite a few service cuts were simply because the alternative would have been endless cancellations. A lot of traffic had been lost to other modes during the numerous strikes in 1982 and didn't return for a long time.
In the mid to late 80s I think it was London Bridge central was virtually shut on evenings and weekends as there was no service via Peckham Rye after about 7pm on weekdays and limited or no service Saturdays with even less Sundays?
 
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