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Alternative three-letter acronyms for SR EMUs

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AY1975

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Not sure if this belongs under Railway History & Nostalgia or Traction & Rolling Stock (or Speculative Ideas), but can anyone think of any alternative (and maybe in some cases more appropriate) three-letter acronyms for Southern Region EMUs to the ones that were actually used?

I'd say that 4-VEP (Vestibuled unit with Electro-Pneumatic brakes) was a bit of a misnomer as the VEPs were basically glorified suburban units with doors to every seating bay or compartment so they didn't have vestibules as such apart from the driver's access vestibule next to the cab. I'm guessing that VEP was only chosen because CEP (Corridor EPB) had already been used.

Maybe they should have been called 4-BOP (Bournemouth EPB) or 4-BOS (Bournemouth Stopper) as the first batch of VEPs was built for Bournemouth stopping services (in which case the units modified for Victoria-Gatwick services would have been 4-BOG (G for Gatwick)!). Or 4-GAP or 4-GEP (Gangwayed EPB) in which case the Gatwick units would have been 4-GAG(!), 4-GAT or 4-GEG.

Just as the 4-EPBs that were reformed in the late 1980s to have two compartment trailers were known as 4-COMs (COM for compartment), maybe the two 3-CIGs that were retained for the Lymington branch between 2005 and 2010 should have been called 3-LYMs (LYM for Lymington).

In some ways 4-LAV was also a bit of a misnomer, as it implied that the units had a lavatory, which they did but only in one of the four cars (and not accessible to the rest of the train as there were no gangways). Maybe 4-QUAL (quarter lavatory) would have been more appropriate (though that's four letters rather than three) as you had 2-HAL for Half Lavatory, 2-BIL for Bi-Lavatory and 2-NOL for No Lavatory (in which case the 2-NOLs could surely have been called 2-SUBs?).
 
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Grumbler

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Regardless of the appropriateness of particular alpha codes, they are at least easier to remember than numeric codes. IMO the alpha class codes should be reintroduced, though I am sure that people here will say that this is impossible because of the constraints of an ancient computer system.
 
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yorksrob

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Not sure if this belongs under Railway History & Nostalgia or Traction & Rolling Stock (or Speculative Ideas), but can anyone think of any alternative (and maybe in some cases more appropriate) three-letter acronyms for Southern Region EMUs to the ones that were actually used?

I'd say that 4-VEP (Vestibuled unit with Electro-Pneumatic brakes) was a bit of a misnomer as the VEPs were basically glorified suburban units with doors to every seating bay or compartment so they didn't have vestibules as such apart from the driver's access vestibule next to the cab. I'm guessing that VEP was only chosen because CEP (Corridor EPB) had already been used.

Maybe they should have been called 4-BOP (Bournemouth EPB) or 4-BOS (Bournemouth Stopper) as the first batch of VEPs was built for Bournemouth stopping services (in which case the units modified for Victoria-Gatwick services would have been 4-BOG (G for Gatwick)!). Or 4-GAP or 4-GEP (Gangwayed EPB) in which case the Gatwick units would have been 4-GAG(!), 4-GAT or 4-GEG.

Just as the 4-EPBs that were reformed in the late 1980s to have two compartment trailers were known as 4-COMs (COM for compartment), maybe the two 3-CIGs that were retained for the Lymington branch between 2005 and 2010 should have been called 3-LYMs (LYM for Lymington).

In some ways 4-LAV was also a bit of a misnomer, as it implied that the units had a lavatory, which they did but only in one of the four cars (and not accessible to the rest of the train as there were no gangways). Maybe 4-QUAL (quarter lavatory) would have been more appropriate (though that's four letters rather than three) as you had 2-HAL for Half Lavatory, 2-BIL for Bi-Lavatory and 2-NOL for No Lavatory (in which case the 2-NOLs could surely have been called 2-SUBs?).

For the VEP's, I would favour BAP (or Bournemouth HAP) over BOP as the 1st class compartments and toilets made them closer to a HAP than an EPB.
 

AY1975

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For the VEP's, I would favour BAP (or Bournemouth HAP) over BOP as the 1st class compartments and toilets made them closer to a HAP than an EPB.
True, although being gangwayed throughout made them in some ways closer to a CIG or CEP than a HAP or EPB. They were closer to a HAP than a CIG or CEP in terms of their seating and door/window layout, though.

If they had gone for 4-BAP, then the Gatwick units would have been 4-BAG (very appropriate as airport passengers tend to carry more bags!) or 4-BAL (L for luggage space).

Another possibility for the Gatwick VEPs would be 4-AIR (for Airport unit).

The REPs were called REPs to denote Restaurant EPB, as some Bournemouth line trains had a full restaurant car service until about the late 1970s or early '80s I believe. But if BR had decided to only have a buffet service right from the start of the Bournemouth electrification, then REP would have been a misnomer. In that case I suppose they could have been 4-BEX or 4-BOX for Bournemouth Express or 4-BOF for Bournemouth Fast. Or 4-BBC (Bournemouth unit with a Buffet Car)!
 

delt1c

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Remember these codes were for the operating departments not the public. Regarding VEP’s they were a semi express unit , gangwayed throughout with toilets. The HAP’s were just a 2EPB with 1st class and a Toilet in one coach
 

61653 HTAFC

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4-VEPs should've been 4-POO because they did serve Poole... and if one turned up instead of a CEP or CIG everyone on the platform would say "oh, s**t!" :lol:
 
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AY1975

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If the VEPs had been named BAPs, would the REPs have become BUNs?:D
Would BUN have stood for anything? BU could have stood for Buffet, and N for the N in Bournemouth, I suppose.

When the 442s (a.k.a. 5-WES) entered service, reliability problems with them in their early days led to a small fleet of REPs being retained albeit without buffet cars and, I think, formed of REP driving cars and ex-4TC centre cars. As REP meant Restaurant EPB, without buffet cars REP was a misnomer, so maybe they should have been called 4-RMBs (or 6-RMBs for the short-lived 6-REPs): REP Minus Buffet, or RWB: REP Without Buffet.

4TC stood for Trailer Control, but obviously that's only two letters. An appropriate three-letter acronym for them might be 4-BUP (Bournemouth Un-Powered unit) or 4-WUP (Wessex or Weymouth Un-Powered).

4-VEPs should've been 4-POO because they did serve Poole... and if one turned up instead of a REP or BIG everyone on the platform would say "oh, s**t!" :lol:
I presume they were "dragged" by a Class 33 (and usually coupled to a 4TC) between Bournemouth and Poole before the electrification was extended beyond Bournemouth.
 

Helvellyn

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Would BUN have stood for anything? BU could have stood for Buffet, and N for the N in Bournemouth, I suppose.

When the 442s (a.k.a. 5-WES) entered service, reliability problems with them in their early days led to a small fleet of REPs being retained albeit without buffet cars and, I think, formed of REP driving cars and ex-4TC centre cars. As REP meant Restaurant EPB, without buffet cars REP was a misnomer, so maybe they should have been called 4-RMBs (or 6-RMBs for the short-lived 6-REPs): REP Minus Buffet, or RWB: REP Without Buffet.
The Class 431 units (What the Class 432 4-REPs became once the buffets were removed and they were reformed with trailers from 4-TC units) were supposedly to be designated 6-SOL (later 4-SOL) as in SOLent because they were originally intended for use on the Waterloo-Portsmouth via Eastleigh services via the newly electrified Solent Link route. The recession in the early 1990s changed those plans with unit cascades to reflect the drop in demand across third rail land.

4TC stood for Trailer Control, but obviously that's only two letters. An appropriate three-letter acronym for them might be 4-BUP (Bournemouth Un-Powered unit) or 4-WUP (Wessex or Weymouth Un-Powered).
3-TEP/4-TEP might have been more appropriate given the 4-REP designation of the powered units - Trailer Electro-Pneumatic.



With regards the Class 442s I'm not sure how official the 5-WES (for WESsex Electric) designation was. Seems slightly odd they would have gained a designation yet the earlier Class 455 units did not. I've struggled to come up with anything catchy to designate the 455s as and the best I can think of is 4-NUB (New sUBurban) or 4-YOR (YORk suburban unit).


Another oddity was the Gatwick Express stock. The converted 2-HAP Class 414 DMBSOs became Class 489 DMLVs with a designation of GLV (Gatwick Luggage Van). Yet the Class 488 trailer units never got any sort of designation. Maybe they could have been 2-GET/3-GET (Gatwick Express Trailer).
 

61653 HTAFC

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I presume they were "dragged" by a Class 33 (and usually coupled to a 4TC) between Bournemouth and Poole before the electrification was extended beyond Bournemouth.
Not sure how I managed to mistype CEP as REP and CIG as BIG in the same post... :oops: my phone may have auto corrected them but I've now manually corrected. My time being local to the SW division was long after both REPs and BIGs had disappeared from the network!
 

AY1975

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3-TEP/4-TEP might have been more appropriate given the 4-REP designation of the powered units - Trailer Electro-Pneumatic.
Except that 4-TEP (T standing for temporary) was used for the four 4-BEPs that ran for a short time in the mid-1980s with their two driving cars and their Trailer Brake Composite refurbished but with their buffet cars remaining unrefurbished. These ran on the Central Division; I think it was to cover for 4-BIGs that had been withdrawn for removal of asbestos.

I suppose if the 4TCs had been called 4-TEPs, then the 4-TEPs that were formed of refurbished CEPs/BEPs with an unrefurbished buffet car could have been called 4-URBs (UnRefurbished Buffet), 4-CUBs (CEP or Central division unit with an Unrefurbished Buffet) or 4-COBs (CEP or Central division unit with an Original Buffet).

Another possibility for the 4TCs could be 4-WEY (Weymouth unit).

Was there ever a three-letter acronym for the Waterloo & City Line stock? If not, then the most obvious ones would be WAC (Waterloo And City), WAT (Waterloo), BAN (Bank) or DRA (Drain, the nickname for the W&C).
 

AY1975

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That's news to me; I had always thought it was Restaurant Express Passenger...
According to the Ian Allan BR Fleet Survey on third rail DC EMUs and according to Wikipedia it was Restaurant EPB. I suppose you could call it that or Restaurant Express Passenger, though.

Similarly, I suppose unofficially you could say VEP stood for Versatile EPB, as the VEPs were quite versatile units really. They were intended mainly for outer suburban and longer-distance stopping and semi-fast services but did also occasionally see use on suburban services, whether on their own or coupled to EPBs or HAPs (albeit that they weren't ideal for heavily loaded peak hour suburban services because of their lower seating capacity than the SUBs, EPBs, 508s, 455s, 319s and 465s), and on fast main line services, whether on their own or coupled to CEPs, CIGs and the like.
 
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delt1c

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The 4BIG & 4CIG got their clasifation as they were initially ordered for the Brighton line, the B for buffet and C for Corridor, the IG was the old LBSCR telegraph code for Brighton.
 

AY1975

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With regards the Class 442s I'm not sure how official the 5-WES (for WESsex Electric) designation was. Seems slightly odd they would have gained a designation yet the earlier Class 455 units did not. I've struggled to come up with anything catchy to designate the 455s as and the best I can think of is 4-NUB (New sUBurban) or 4-YOR (YORk suburban unit).
And AFAIK neither did the 508s, which I think were actually built for Merseyrail (which was where they were later transferred) but were diverted to the Southern as a stop-gap measure because a replacement was needed for the SUBs but the Class 455 design wasn't ready and couldn't be built in time.

On that basis I suppose the 508s could have been called 4-LIV (for Liverpool) or 4-MER (for Merseyside or Merseyrail). Or 4-WIN (Windsor line unit), 4-WIS (Windsor line Suburban unit), 4-KIN (Kingston line unit), 4-KIS (Kingston line Suburban unit), 4-WIP (Windsor line PEP, as they were based on the experimental PEP units), 4-KIP (Kingston line PEP), 4-TES (Temporary Southern or Temporary Suburban unit) or 4-PSP (Production Series PEP).
 

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Would BUN have stood for anything? BU could have stood for Buffet, and N for the N in Bournemouth, I suppose.

When the 442s (a.k.a. 5-WES) entered service, reliability problems with them in their early days led to a small fleet of REPs being retained albeit without buffet cars and, I think, formed of REP driving cars and ex-4TC centre cars. As REP meant Restaurant EPB, without buffet cars REP was a misnomer, so maybe they should have been called 4-RMBs (or 6-RMBs for the short-lived 6-REPs): REP Minus Buffet, or RWB: REP Without Buffet.

4TC stood for Trailer Control, but obviously that's only two letters. An appropriate three-letter acronym for them might be 4-BUP (Bournemouth Un-Powered unit) or 4-WUP (Wessex or Weymouth Un-Powered).


I presume they were "dragged" by a Class 33 (and usually coupled to a 4TC) between Bournemouth and Poole before the electrification was extended beyond Bournemouth.
VEP (and CIGs) did not run to Poole (or Wareham) until electrification to Weymouth was completed. Stations beyond Bournemouth had an hourly service, at one time alternately stopping and semi-fast although that changed over the years.
 

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And AFAIK neither did the 508s, which I think were actually built for Merseyrail (which was where they were later transferred) but were diverted to the Southern as a stop-gap measure because a replacement was needed for the SUBs but the Class 455 design wasn't ready and couldn't be built in time.

As I understand it 508s had the '4-PER' designation before they were shortened and sent to Merseyside. What that stood for I have no clue. Maybe 'PER-ambulating the buffer stops at Shepperton'?
 

CBlue

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The Class 431 units (What the Class 432 4-REPs became once the buffets were removed and they were reformed with trailers from 4-TC units) were supposedly to be designated 6-SOL (later 4-SOL) as in SOLent because they were originally intended for use on the Waterloo-Portsmouth via Eastleigh services via the newly electrified Solent Link route. The recession in the early 1990s changed those plans with unit cascades to reflect the drop in demand across third rail land.


3-TEP/4-TEP might have been more appropriate given the 4-REP designation of the powered units - Trailer Electro-Pneumatic.



With regards the Class 442s I'm not sure how official the 5-WES (for WESsex Electric) designation was. Seems slightly odd they would have gained a designation yet the earlier Class 455 units did not. I've struggled to come up with anything catchy to designate the 455s as and the best I can think of is 4-NUB (New sUBurban) or 4-YOR (YORk suburban unit).


Another oddity was the Gatwick Express stock. The converted 2-HAP Class 414 DMBSOs became Class 489 DMLVs with a designation of GLV (Gatwick Luggage Van). Yet the Class 488 trailer units never got any sort of designation. Maybe they could have been 2-GET/3-GET (Gatwick Express Trailer).
Regarding the 455's, Wikipedia quotes a source as saying the proposal was 4HIT (HIgh density, Tightlock coupling), but who knows how accurate that is?
 

Paul Jones 88

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3-SOD for the 508s that would turn up in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, everytime one would appear, I'd quietly say sod it as they were airless, overheated and generally unpleasant.
 

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As I understand it 508s had the '4-PER' designation before they were shortened and sent to Merseyside. What that stood for I have no clue. Maybe 'PER-ambulating the buffer stops at Shepperton'?
I think that as a derivative of the class 462 (i.e. 4-PEP), '4-PER' was considered appropriate.
 

61653 HTAFC

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And AFAIK neither did the 508s, which I think were actually built for Merseyrail (which was where they were later transferred) but were diverted to the Southern as a stop-gap measure because a replacement was needed for the SUBs but the Class 455 design wasn't ready and couldn't be built in time.

On that basis I suppose the 508s could have been called 4-LIV (for Liverpool) or 4-MER (for Merseyside or Merseyrail). Or 4-WIN (Windsor line unit), 4-WIS (Windsor line Suburban unit), 4-KIN (Kingston line unit), 4-KIS (Kingston line Suburban unit), 4-WIP (Windsor line PEP, as they were based on the experimental PEP units), 4-KIP (Kingston line PEP), 4-TES (Temporary Southern or Temporary Suburban unit) or 4-PSP (Production Series PEP).
Need to be careful with that one! :lol:

Also, once they went north they'd be 3-*** rather than 4-***.
 

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The 4BIG & 4CIG got their clasifation as they were initially ordered for the Brighton line, the B for buffet and C for Corridor, the IG was the old LBSCR telegraph code for Brighton.
The alternative (which I tend to believe) is that IG stands for Intermediate Guard and that the telegraph code is mere coincidence. The 1963 Brighton stock was a major departure from the established SR design in which four-car units had a motor bogie and guard's/luggage accommodation at each end, behind the cabs. The new arrangement comprised a single non-driving motor brake vehicle, a plain trailer and two driving trailers.

Therefore, 4 VEP should have been 4 VIG ?
 

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As I understand it 508s had the '4-PER' designation before they were shortened and sent to Merseyside. What that stood for I have no clue. Maybe 'PER-ambulating the buffer stops at Shepperton'?
I am pretty sure that the 'PER' designation for the PEP prototypes (not the 312, 508, 315, etc production units, which I'm also sure didn't have SR letter codes) was an error in a railway magazine around 1971 that has somehow gained a life of its own over the last 50 years, like the error of similar origin stating that the Bournemouth line west of Pirbright Junction was electrified in 1967 at 850v.
 

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I am pretty sure that the 'PER' designation for the PEP prototypes (not the 312, 508, 315, etc production units, which I'm also sure didn't have SR letter codes) was an error in a railway magazine around 1971 that has somehow gained a life of its own over the last 50 years, like the error of similar origin stating that the Bournemouth line west of Pirbright Junction was electrified in 1967 at 850v.
The reference I saw re. 4-PER for SR 508s came from Colin Marsden's 1982 book, Motive Power Recognition 2: EMUs: Electric Multiple Units. Have ordered myself a copy as I'm sure there will be other designations in there we may not have been aware of.
 

contrex

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The reference I saw re. 4-PER for SR 508s came from Colin Marsden's 1982 book, Motive Power Recognition 2: EMUs: Electric Multiple Units. Have ordered myself a copy as I'm sure there will be other designations in there we may not have been aware of.
I once bought an old Ian Allan ABC book of EMUs that someone had altered PEP to PER with a biro. I'm pretty sure they never were designated PERs. I'll do some digging around.
 

nlogax

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I once bought an old Ian Allan ABC book of EMUs that someone had altered PEP to PER with a biro. I'm pretty sure they never were designated PERs. I'll do some digging around.
All being well with the book arriving next week and if it's not against the forum rules I'll scan the relevant page into this thread :)
 

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The reference I saw re. 4-PER for SR 508s came from Colin Marsden's 1982 book, Motive Power Recognition 2: EMUs: Electric Multiple Units. Have ordered myself a copy as I'm sure there will be other designations in there we may not have been aware of.
Marsden has never been a reliable source, though.
 

nlogax

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Marsden has never been a reliable source, though.
See also, SR section of the June 1981 edition of the Pennine Railway Society magazine, archive edition at

https://web.archive.org/web/20160512181511/http://www.abrail.co.uk/MAG 36.htm

It has now been reported that SR will only be using the last 4 digits of the BR Standard Unit No. System. This affects Class 508 and refurbished Class 411 Units, which will now be numbered- 4PER (508001-508043) now 8001-8043,and 4-CEP (411501-411608) now 1501-1608.

Pre Marsden book, not sure who specifically noted this.
 
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