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British Rail - EMU
4 Vep unit 3417 "Gordon Pettitt"

This page is an archive of 3417's history, covering the period from its transfer to Bluebell Railway ownership and its movement to the Ilford (Essex) workshops of Bombardier.

Handover of 3417 - 17 Jan 2009 - Tom Waghorn

Above: Tom Waghorn's photo shows the hand-over ceremony for the unit, presented to the Bluebell Railway by South West Trains. The speakers were Roy Watts (BPRS Chairman), Mac Macintosh (former Engineering Director SWT), Gordon Pettitt (former General Manager of the Southern Region of British Rail), Ginnie Waddingham (Mayor of East Grinstead), and Graham Flight (Chairman of Bluebell Railway PLC).

Report on the East Grinstead Open Day including links to many more photos and videos.

Departure: Although only on site for a few days, the Bluebell Railway needed to honour its commitment to ensure that the 4 Vep is looked after. Following the hugely successful Open Day, the East Grinstead site reverted to a construction site and therefore became inaccessible, thus isolating the unit.

With construction works due to start at East Grinstead and the unit in an exposed position, the Bluebell Railway accepted the offer of short term accommodation at Eastleigh railway works.

Knights Rail generously sponsored the move to the works where it is under cover and back on the 3rd Rail. Along with LSWR B4 No.96 "Normandy", it represented the Bluebell Railway at the Eastleigh 100 event in May 2009.

All this has happened very quickly (it left at 12.50 on 22nd January in a special move organised at remarkably short notice) and we are grateful to everybody who has made this move possible an excellent example of team work co-operation to ensure that the unit will be in a much safer store.

73s arrive to collect the Vep - 22 Jan 2009 - Gavin Bennett The Vep at Eastleigh - 22 Jan 2009 - Clive Emsley

Photos: Above left: The departure from East Grinstead, 22 January 2009 (Gavin Bennett)
            Above right: Later in the day Clive Emsley happened to be at Eastleigh Station and managed to take this photo of the set there.

Vep welcomes visitors at Eastleigh - 23 May 2009 - David Chappell

Right:Visitors boarding our 4 Vep at Eastleigh on 23rd May 2009 - the unit, along with LSWR loco "Normandy" represented the Bluebell Railway at the 100th anniversary celebrations of the works David Chappell

Return to the Bluebell Railway: The unit was able to attend the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala in May 2010, and then returned to the Bluebell Railway, arriving on 2nd September 2010 to play its part in the opening ceremony for the new platform a few days later, as seen in the photos further down this page.

3417 has now been used on several occasions at open days at East Grinstead, enabling visitors to have a short train ride over the northern part of the extension. It has usually gone off the Bluebell Railway afterwards for storage elsewhere. The last such occasion was in April 2012, prior to which it was given some TLC at Wimbledon Park depot. Having been stored under cover at Clapham Junction shed, due to maintenance work on that shed it is currently outside, but should move to another depot for the longer term. The unit remains in Bluebell Railway ownership, but as of May 2012 has been in the care of The Southern Electric Traction Group.

Vep and Corfe Castle - 8 May 2010 - Ian Dixon

Left: 3417 at Corfe Castle while visiting the Swanage Railway for their annual Diesel gala and beer festival, 8 May 2010 Ian Dixon

73208 breaks the opening banner at East Grinstead - Michael Hopps - 4 September 2010 Opening of platform at East Grinstead  - Richard Salmon - 4 September 2010

Train on the viaduct - Mike Hopps - 4 September 2010


Opening of East Grinstead Platform, 4 September 2010

Nearly 1500 tickets were sold over the Saturday and Sunday when we officially opened our new platform at East Grinstead. Passengers were able to travel a few hundred yards over the viaduct and down to Imberhorne North, within sight of the tip.

Above: 73208 hauling 3417 breaks the opening banner at East Grinstead (Michael Hopps).
           Passengers boarding the first timetabled train to leave the station southwards since 1958 (Richard Salmon).
Left: The 4 Vep travels over Hill Place viaduct (Michael Hopps).

Vep comes off the viaduct - Tony Sullivan - 21 April 2012 2012 - Wimbledon Park and East Grinstead

Over the weekend of 21-22 April 2012 we held our last East Grinstead open days before the opening throughout of the Extension the following year. Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows the Vep unit coming off the viaduct on the Saturday

We ran trips over the viaduct to the tip every 30 minutes over both days. The well filled trains contained both enthusiasts and local families. Our fundraisers (including the former Mayor of East Grinstead, Ginnie Waddingham, who had driven a digger as part of the launch of the removal of the rubbish tip back in November 2008) were busy (and successfully) raising money with "Fiver to the Finish" certificates.

The two photos below are from Mike Hopps and Nathan Gibson, again showing 73204 at the head of the Vep unit on the Saturday.

The final photo below, courtesy of the West London Line Group, shows the unit on the move a month earlier. The photo was taken from the passenger footbridge at West Brompton on Monday 12 March as the unit was moved from Clapham Yard to Wimbledon Park (taking a roundabout route to turn it). Whilst at Wimbledon the unit was prepared for use on the Bluebell, and was used, on the juice, to shunt "Tornado" which was also visiting the depot to make use of their wheel lathe!

73204 at East Grinstead with the Vep - Mike Hopps - 21 April 2012 73204 with the Vep - Nathan Gibson - 21 April 2012 Vep on the move - West London Line Group - 12 March 2012

In Clapham shed - Richard Salmon - 19 September 2011  

Storage at Clapham Shed and Yard - 2011-14

This photo shows the unit stored in the shed at Clapham, and was taken on 19 September 2011.

Due to work that was required to be undertaken on the shed, it was subsequently stored in the open at Clapham yard, as seen in the two photos below, pending a move under cover at another depot.

Vep at Clapham - Richard Salmon - 10 September 2013 Vep at Clapham - Keith Harcourt/HMRS - 27 March 2014

Richard Salmon's photo shows the unit on 10 September 2013, and that courtesy of the HMRS was taken on 27 March 2014.

The main webpage for 3417 includes details of its operational history on the national network.

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Valid HTML 4.0 Transitional! Page created 27 January 2009 by Richard Salmon, additional material by Martin Skrzetuszewski.
Last updated by Nick Beck, 30 December 2014 and Richard Salmon 25 July 2018.
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