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4Vep/3Vep/4Vop (Class 423)

photograph by Colin Duff

Blue Vep 3417 (previous identities 7717 and 3017) approaches Fratton on 6th July 2004. The overall blue livery worked well, as it does here, when newly applied and on a bright day. It was not so attractive on a miserable grey day, especially when weathered and dirty. 3417 will be the 12:01pm departure from Fratton to Waterloo via Eastleigh, the diagram it was working throughout the day.

The last type of the 1963 design BR(S) EMUs to be introduced was the 4-Vep - vestibuled EPB. Electrically they are similar to the contemporary 4 Cigs/Bigs, also built to the later Mk1 body design, and with a single non driving motor brake coach with two power bogies. Being designed for stopping and outer suburban services they have a door to each seating bay, and with 3+2 high density seating in standard class. The first twenty units were delivered in 1967 for use on the newly electrified Bournemouth line, with later batches going to all three divisions. The early batches of Veps were delivered in overall blue, small yellow warning panels and with raised aluminium double arrows below their driving cab side windows.

In 1978 twelve units were adapted with some seats replaced by luggage racks to provide a dedicated Victoria to Gatwick Airport service. These units were reclassified class 427 4 Veg - the "G" standing for Gatwick, and were identified by a sage green cantrail stripe in second/standard class and with bodyside lettering "Rapid City Link Gatwick London" and an aeroplane symbol. However the level of comfort provided by this typical Southern expediency did not meet the standards expected by international air travellers and they were replaced by dedicated Mk2 push-and-pull stock (itself recycled) in 1984. The Veg units were converted back to Veps.

In March 1968 three brand new units originally numbered 7739/41/42 never made service in their Vep form. From their formations three motor brake second saloons, four driving trailer composites and a modified loco hauled buffet car were put together the unique 8 Vab (Vep+buffet) unit 8001 to make up for a shortage of 4 Rep units on the Bournemouth fast services. The 8 Vab was disbanded in December 1974 when more Reps became available. Veps 7741/42 were formed but 7739 could not since in the interim some cars had been used to replace accident damaged vehicles in other units.

Around 1995 the Veps were rebuilt to increase passenger accommodation by eliminating the very under utilised luggage cage in the guards van area and installing an additional two bay seating saloon. Although South West Trains Veps have remained largely unaltered since their conversion Connex South Central have continued to modify their fleet.  Some units have had their trailer second open removed and the driving trailer composite converted to a driving trailer second open - these becoming 3 Veps.  On the 29 May 1999 CSC introduced its first new sub-class 423/9 (4 Vop  "vestibule open plan") by converting the DTC to a DTSOL in a similar fashion to the conversion of Ceps to Cops, however unlike the 3 Vep conversion the Vops remain 4 car units.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • 7801
    4-Vep unit N°7801 is pictured here in its original overall blue livery complete with aluminium double-arrows and window frames, but with the later full yellow cab end.
    Photograph by David Smith.
  • 7875
    Unit N°7875 (which became N°3175 under TOPS numbering) is seen working a Victoria to Dover Priory (hopefully slow!) service past Snowdown Station in April 1974.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 7875
    St Leonards WM
    Unit N°7875 heads an 8 car formation past the closed St Lenoards West Marina station towards Hastings on a Sunday in early March 1985. The signalbox just visible in the distance soldiered on until the spring of 1997.
    Photograph by Mark Westcott.
  • 7790
    Unit N°7790 heading an East Coastway train at Polegate's former station in September 1985.
    Photograph by Mark Westcott.
  • 7839
    Unit N°7839 is photographed in Network South East livery at Sheerness-on-Sea in 1987. The train has just arrived with an off-peak shuttle service from Sittingbourne and the motorman is walking to the southern end of the unit ready for the return journey. Through services run from Sheerness to London during peak hours using a spur to the branch from the main North Kent line.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 3457
    Unit N°3457 at Alton on 6th April 1991 striking an interesting contrast between the "toothpaste stripe" Network SoutEast livery and the traditional Southern Railway colours on the LSWR design footbridge leading to the Mid-Hants Railway platform.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Rebuilt
    Illustrating the rebuilding of the area of the former cage area in the guard's van to form an additional two bay seating saloon. Above unit N°3077 pictured at Waterloo on 1st October 1988 shows the original configuration. Below can be seen the rebuilt area, left on unit N°3404 and right on an unidentified unit, both at Clapham Junction on 8th April 2000.  Note that one has a ventilator in its window and the other does not.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3560
    A South West Trains 4-Vep, unit N°3560, passing Vauxhall with a down Portsmouth service in January 1999.
    Photograph by Jonathan Hall.
  • 3489
    London Bridge
    Connex SouthCentral unit N°3489 at London Bridge low level in January 1999. Note the window bars fitted to the doors for working in tunnels of restricted width on the Hastings line.
    Photograph by Jonathan Hall.
  • 3519
    Clapham Jn
    SWT's unit N°3519 on the Windsor lines at Clapham Junction on 13th October 1999. The white semi circle in the extreme right above the unit is the "London Eye" wheel captured raised at its 60 degree position.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3517
    On 22nd April 2002 Connex SouthCentral unit N°3517 headed N°3488 to form the 1:38pm East Grinstead to Victoria service, pictured here approaching Oxted running some six minutes late.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3529
    Three Bridges
    Connex SouthCentral unit N°3529 departing platform three at Three Bridges with a down Horsham line working on the afternoon of 27th June 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Roof
    Roof detail on unit N°3501 whilst working a Victoria bound service at Clapham Junction on 4th October 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3420
    South West Trains unit N°3420 at Woking on 29th March 2003.
    Photograph by Richard A.
  • Further
    Roof (and underframe) detail on the grid side of MBSO 62140 at Winchfield on 9th July 2003.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3514
    Unit N°3514 at Lewes. At the end of 2003 it was the only Vep in South Central livery, and probably remained as the only one.
    Photograph by Edmund Copping.
  • 3417
    To mark the withdrawal of all Veps within the following year, during 2004 SWT Wimbledon Traincare depot repainted unit N°3417, named "Gordon Pettit", into a pseudo-original BR blue livery. The "aluminium" window frames are, in fact, aluminium paint as opposed to the bare metal of the original, and of course the unit has the cut-down Guard's compartment and the additional passenger seating. The double arrow motif is, as in the originals, of raised aluminium but the yellow warning panel, the orange cantrail stripe and the '4 VEP' stickers, and inside the seat moquette and carpets, are not as on the originals.
    Photograph by Stewart Watt.
  • 3417
    Portsmouth Hbr
    N°3417 was not fitted with the orange curtains of the original Veps, nor does it carry its original unit number. However this is not to detract from a magnificent effort and SWT is to be congratulated, unlike other former Southern Region TOCs, for celebrating their heritage. (It is also worth remarking that, as N°3017 at the time, this unit was one of the first 22 Veps to receive Network SoutheEast livery.) N°3417 is seen here basking in the sunshine in Platform one at Portsmouth Harbour on 6th July 2004.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Last run
    This shows the last slam-door EMUs to run on the Southern just north of Gatwick Airport station and is the stock from the 26th November 2005 final service workings of the 09:19 Brighton - Victoria and the 11:06 Victoria - Brighton comprising of 3490, 3505 and 3535. 3490 had earlier worked the 05:55 Brighton - Seaford and 06:30 Seaford - Brighton services. Photographed on 15th December 2005, this was the last movement of slam-door electric stock being ECS from Brighton to Stewarts Lane
    Photograph by Colin Watts.
  • Naming
    Unit NN°3417 was named at a ceremony at Waterloo.
    Photographs by Colin Duff (main) Malcolm Gurr (plaque).
  • 3582
    Interior of the trailer second 71130 of unit N°3582.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3582
    A three seat bench in the trailer second 71130 of unit N°3582. These seats were not at all well padded making a long journey in a Vep a none-too-comfortable occasion. Furthermore, if two people are sitting on one of these benches, woe betide them if someone even slightly overweight tried to sit in the middle!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 3582
    A view along the interior of vehicle 71130 of unit N°3582. 16th May 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Vop 3909
    The "op" (open plan) bit of a Vop, looking towards the original saloon and driving cab, seen here in car number 76706 of Vop unit N°3909, under the "raft" at Victoria on 12th February 2004.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Vop 3916
    The view of the interior of Vop unit N° 3916. Note the long seating bays where the first class compartments used to be.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.

This page was last updated 8 July 2003

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