End of an Era

As reported by the BBC, South West trains have run the last Mk1 train out of Waterloo. The venerable 4-VEP and 4-CIG units have been a feature of south London commuter lines for something like 40 years. North of the Thames, and in the regions, slam door commuter stock has been history for a while, although the even more venerable class 101 DMUs lasted a good while on Manchester commuter services.

You haven’t missed your last chance to ride one; not only do Southern still have a few trains left in service out of Victoria, but SWT still retain a couple of units for the Brockenhurst to Lymington shuttle in Dorset.

These trains were a daily feature of my life for several years when I commuted to Virginia Water in Surrey, with the English Electric motors howling up the grade from Egham.

At least one unit really needs to be preserved, preferably in main line working order. These trains are every bit as iconic as any much-preserved class of locomotive.

Graham Eccles, SWT chairman and managing director wins the Donald Rumsfeld gobbledegook award with this quote:
“Although they have passed their sell-by date, they don’t owe anybody a living.”

Quite what that’s supposed to mean is an unknown unknown.

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5 Responses to End of an Era

  1. Er, isn’t it a known unknown?

  2. Rob says:

    I’ve seen one of these – not sure what class exactly, not being an expert in such matters, so let’s call it a 4-WTF – in and out of Waterloo in 70s-style BR all-blue. And very shiny and spick-and-span it looks too, unlike any of my earliest recollections of BR of the period. Anyone know what’s to become of it? It makes me almost miss the corporate blue…

  3. Tim Hall says:

    That would be 4VEP no 3417.

    Over the past few years there’s been a tradition that whenever a class of locomotive or multiple unit is phased out, one of the last survivors is repainted in the original livery dating from the time when the trains were first introduced.

  4. Martyn Read says:

    4-WTF’s of course built for Waterloo to Farnborough services. ;)

  5. Rob says:

    Er, yes. Yes, that’s what I meant ;-)