A bluebell bolthole for unwanted electrics

One of the motor coaches from the EPB Preservation Group’s unit No. 7105 under restoration at Eastleigh. BOB BAINES

It was with sadness that I read of the notice to leave given by the East Kent Railway to the EPB Group.

Electric units deserve their place on the preservation scene every bit as much as steam or diesel.

But I fully appreciate that it is extremely difficult to find homes for such things, simply because of the sheer amount of space required, when these units are often four-car and cannot be split for stabling.

Although we have several preserved railways in the south-east, none of them were ever electrified, and so this kind of stock, though desirable, may not be considered historically appropriate. But I do see the situation with the EPB Group as a potential opportunity for one line, that being the Bluebell Railway.

It remains an aim, as I understand it, to eventually reinstate the link from Horsted Keynes to Haywards Heath. In BR days, this was electrified, and had it remained open might well have seen use by the sort of units in the custody of the EPB Group.

Given that Health and Safety considerations would probably preclude that line from being electrified again in preservation, the ability to see electric trains running along it, albeit hauled by MLVs, would be an excellent thing.

I have no idea of the space available at the Bluebell, or even if they would wish to even consider such an idea, but in the midst of the unfortunate events taking place in Kent, could this be an opportunity for them to offer a home to the displaced stock with a view to the future?

There might even be a role for the units on shuttles from Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead between normal service trains to cater for the modern enthusiasts.

Surely something to think about. After all the hard work put in to preserve the units, it would be such a shame to see them destroyed, and I really hope a solution can be found to the dilemma in which the EPB Group currently finds itself.

Bernard Dobson,
Eastbourne, East Sussex

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