|British Rail Class 205 (3H)|
|In service||September 1957 – |
|Number built||34 trainsets|
|Formation||2/3 cars per trainset|
|Capacity||114 2nd class, 13 1st class|
|Width||2.8 m (9 ft 2.24 in)|
|Maximum speed||75 mph (121 km/h)|
|Prime mover(s)||English Electric 4SRKT Mark II (4-cylinder diesel)|
|Power output||600 shp (450 kW) at 850 rpm|
|Coupling system||Drophead buckeye|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The British Rail Class 205 (3H) diesel-electric multiple units were built by BR at Eastleigh from 1957 to 1962, and in service for 47 years from BR Southern Region to Connex South Central and finally to the Southern franchise. They were eventually replaced by Class 171 Turbostar units.
This class of unit was built in four different batches for use on different lines.
The first batch of units, numbered 1101–1118, was built in 1957 as two-car units and classified as 2H. They were built for services in Hampshire on the non-electrified routes between Portsmouth Harbour, Salisbury and Andover and between Alton, Winchester and Southampton Terminus. The first units entered service in September 1957. However, owing to increasing passenger numbers, all eighteen units were strengthened to three cars in 1958 and 1969, with the addition of a centre trailer, and therefore were reclassified as 3H units. Upon the introduction of TOPS they were reclassified as Class 205. Some of these were later converted back to 2 car sets, but they retained their Class 205 designation.
The second batch of 2H units, numbered 1119–1122, was built as 2-car units in 1958. These units were built for services on the Marshlink Line from Hastings to Ashford, and associated branch lines. These units remained as two-car sets until 1979, and were reclassified as Class 204 upon the introduction of TOPS. In May 1979, following the disbandment of the four Class 206 units, they were strengthened to three cars and redesignated as Class 205s.
The third batch of units was built as three-car sets in 1959, and numbered 1123–1126. These units were built to supplement the first batch on services in Hampshire. Collectively, the first and third batches are often called Hampshire sets. The final batch of units, numbered 1127–1133, was built in 1962 as three car sets. These units have some detail differences from the earlier batches, such as a different internal layout, and smaller route indicators (compare the two photos). They were built for services from Reading to Salisbury, and other services in Berkshire. The final batch of units is sometimes referred to as Berkshire sets.
Power car (one per set)
- Introduced: 1957
- Weight: 56 t (55.1 long tons; 61.7 short tons)
- Engine: English Electric 4-cylinder type 4SRKT Mark II of 600 bhp (450 kW) at 850 rpm
- Transmission: Electric, two English Electric type EE507 traction motors rated at 250 hp (190 kW) each.
- Maximum tractive effort: 12,500 lbf (56 kN)
- Driving wheel diameter: 42 in (1,067 mm)
- Coupling code: Standard "Buckeye" compatible with contemporary Class 20x and 4xx units.
- Train heating: Electric
The first examples of the class entered service in September 1957 after a month of testing. They were initially used on services linking Portsmouth and Southampton to Salisbury, as well as those between Southampton and Portsmouth Harbour and from Southampton to Alton/Andover. Journey times were around two-thirds of those required by the steam locomotives which the units replaced. The new services proved so popular that the class was temporarily taken off the route to Alton and Andover to provide extra capacity on the other lines prior to the fitting of a third carriage to the first 18 units.
The delivery of the second batch of four units saw the class introduced to the Marshlink Line between Ashford and Hastings. These units also ran on the Bexhill West Branch Line and the short line to New Romney and Littlestone-on-Sea, and a Sunday-only service on the Fawley Branch Line. All of these routes except for the Marshlink Line had been closed by 1967, by which time the route between Reading and Salisbury was also operated by the class. The units also operated on the Wareham to Swanage route from 1966 until its closure in 1972. Other routes served included the Steyning Line between Brighton and Horsham, which closed in 1967; the Cuckoo Line, which closed in 1968; the Lymington Branch Line, which was served by the units for two months in 1967 prior to its electrification; and some journeys on the Oxted Line, which was also served by the newer Class 207 units. In 1973 some services from Portsmouth to Bristol Temple Meads and Weston-super-Mare were converted to Class 205 operation.
Soon after introduction, an orange "V" shape was painted on the motor-coach in order to provide an early visual indication to station staff that there was no brake van at the other end of the unit. With the introduction of yellow warning panels the orange V was replaced by an inverted black triangle; this being extended at this time to all Southern Region 2 & 3-car multiple units.
The electrification of the line to East Grinstead in 1987 saw the majority of the class withdrawn. Those which survived largely operated on services from Ashford to Hastings and from London to Uckfield. The privatisation of British Rail in 1995/6 saw the surviving Class 205s, most of which now carried Network SouthEast livery, pass to the new Connex South Central franchise.
In 1966, unit number 1102 was used in the film "The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery".
When Govia won the South Central franchise in 2001, a franchise commitment was to replace all Mark 1 rolling stock by 2005, as it did not meet modern health and safety requirements. Southern ordered Turbostar trains of Class 171 and Class 170 (later converted to Class 171) from 2003 onwards to replace the Class 205s. The final units, nos. 205001/009/033 were withdrawn in mid-December 2004.
Accidents and incidents
- At 0827hrs on Saturday the 15 October 1994, the Cowden rail crash occurred, involving a head-on collision between two trains in heavy fog. The branch line is from Hurst Green junction near Oxted, south to Uckfield and at this point is single track. The northbound train failed to wait at the Ashurst loop and entered the single line section at Blackham junction against the red signal at OD58. The southbound train driver, unaware of the train coming towards him on the same track, pulled away from Cowden and the two units collided around 269 m (294 yd) south of the station. Units involved were 205029 with 205032 and 205018 with 205001.
|Key:||In service||Withdrawn||Preserved||Rebuilt||Reformed||Departmental Use||Scrapped|
Unrefurbished Class 205/0
|Unit No.||Batch||Year Built||Final Livery||DMBSO||TSO||DTCsoL||Withdrawn||Status|
|205001||1101||Batch 1||1957||BR Blue||60154||-||60800||12/2004||Preserved, at The East Kent Railway|
|-||1103||Batch 1||1957||Blue/Grey||60102||60652||60802||1979||Converted to Class 204 no. 1403|
|-||1104||Batch 1||1957||Blue/Grey||60103||60653||60803||1979||Converted to Class 204 no. 1404|
|-||1108||Batch 1||1957||Blue/Grey||60107||60657||60807||1979||Converted to Class 204 no. 1401|
|205009||1109||Batch 1||1957||Chocolate & Cream||60108||60658||60808||12/2004||Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway|
|-||1111||Batch 1||1957||Blue/Grey||60110||60660||60810||1980||Rebuilt to become 205101|
|205012||1112||Batch 1||1957||Connex||60111||60661||60811||02/2004||Scrapped 2005|
|205018||1118||Batch 1||1957||BR Blue||60117||-||60828||08/2004||Preserved at Lavender Line.|
|205008||1121||Batch 2||1958||NSE||60120||60657||60820||10/1993||Preserved at Lavender Line|
|-||1122||Batch 2||1958||Blue/Grey||60121||-||60821||See Class 204 (never officially classified as a 205)|
|205023||1123||Batch 3||1959||BR Green||60122||60669||60822||01/1999||Preserved, unit split up. 60822 under restoration.|
|205025||1125||Batch 3||1959||BR Green||60124||-||60824||05/2004||Preserved at Mid-Hants Railway.|
|205027||1127||Batch 4||1962||-||60145||-||-||08/1994||Sandite unit 930301. 60145 at St Leonards.|
|205028||1128||Batch 4||1962||Faded Connex||60146||60673||60827||11/2004||Formerly preserved at Dartmoor Railway, sold to the Caledonian Railway in 2021.|
|205029||1129||Batch 4||1962||BR Green||60147||60667||60817||1994||Scrapped after Cowden rail crash|
|205031||1131||Batch 4||1962||Blue/Grey||60149||-||-||07/1993||Sandite unit 930301. 60149 at St Leonards.|
|205032||1132||Batch 4||1962||BR Green||60150||60677||60831||10/2004||Formerly preserved at Dartmoor Railway, sold to the Caledonian Railway in 2021. Operational|
|205033||1133||Batch 4||1962||BR Green||60151||-||60832||12/2004||Preserved, at The Lavender Line|
Refurbished Class 205/1
|205101||1111||Batch 1||1980||NSE||60110||60660||60810||1995||Converted to 205205|
Refurbished Class 205/2
(Connex before preservation)
|60110||-||60810||07/2004||Preserved at Epping Ongar Railway|
|-||Withdrawn from St Leonards TMD|
Due to a generous disposal policy by Porterbrook Leasing, nearly all of the final units in service were preserved. The only unit not preserved was no. 205012, which had poor bodywork and donated its engine to the only surviving unrefurbished Class 207 unit.
- 205001 - East Kent Railway (2-car unit)
- 205008 - (DTCsoL 60820) Preserved by the Hastings Diesels Group at St Leonards-on-Sea, on loan to the Lavender Line (Can operate with unit 205033)
- 205009 - Eden Valley Railway (3-car unit)
- 205018 - (DTCsoL 60828 from 205029) Lavender Line (2-car unit)
- 205023 - (DTCsoL 60822) and TSO 60669 (from 205024) at Swindon and Cricklade Railway. TSO 60669 will be stripped for spares to restore DTCsoL 60822 and then scrapped. DMBS 60122 at Lavender Line)
- 205025 - Mid-Hants Railway (2-car unit)
- 205027 - (DMBSO 60145) Stored at St Leonards Depot with DMBSO 60149 
- 205028 - Dartmoor Railway, later Caledonian Railway (Brechin) (3-car unit)
- 205031 - (DMBSO 60149) Stored at St Leonards Depot with DMBSO 60145 
- 205032 - Dartmoor Railway, later Caledonian Railway (Brechin) (3-car unit)
- 205033 - (TSO 60678 at Cold Norton, DMBS 60151 and DTCsoL 60832 at Lavender Line)(60151 can operate with DTCsoL 60820)
- 205205 - Epping Ongar Railway (2-car unit)
An OO gauge kit is available from DC Kits. Dapol announced (May 2008) that a limited edition OO RTR model (to be followed by an N gauge version) of the Class 205 would be produced in collaboration with Kernow Model Rail Centre. Manufacture was switched to Bachmann in March 2010 and the model was released in February 2013.
- Railway Magazine December 1957 p. 878
- System Data for Mechanical and Electrical Coupling of Rail Vehicles in support of GM/RT2190 (PDF). London: Rail Safety and Standards Board. 22 June 2011. p. 4. SD001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
- "Preserved Thumpers". Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
- "Epping Ongar Railway - Rolling Stock Department - Diesel-Electric Multiple Units". Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
- Welch, Michael (2004). Southern DEMUs. Capital Transport. pp. 12–19. ISBN 1-85414-287-9.
- McCrickard, John P (6 October 2016). "January 1989 to December 1989". Network South East Railway Society. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
- "The Cowden Collision". Preserved Thumpers. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
- Withdrawal dates from H. Longworth, British Railways First Generation DMUs, 2011 Oxford Publishing Company ISBN 978-0-86093-612-1
- "BR 60822 Class 205 DEMU: Driving Trailer Composite built 1959".
- White, Cameron (22 June 2021). "Caledonian Railway welcome Thumpers 1132 and 1128 from the Dartmoor Railway". RailAdvent. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
- "Pres 1121".
- "Replacement carriage arrives at Swindon and Cricklade Railway as arson investigation continues".
- "Pres 1123".
- "BR 60669 Class 205 DEMU: Trailer Standard built 1959".
- "Pres 1127".
- "Pres 1131".
- "Bachmann Europe Press Releases - BACHMANN TO PRODUCE OO SCALE CLASS 205 FOR KERNOW MODEL RAIL CENTRE". Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
- "Class 205 Thumper : Welcome to Kernow Model Rail Centre". Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
- Fox, Peter; Knight, Steven (1988). Multiple Unit Pocket Book. British Rail Pocket Book No.2 (Summer 1988 ed.). Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. p. 55-6. ISBN 0906579856. OCLC 655236737.
- Marsden, Colin J. (1982). DMUs. Motive Power Recognition. Vol. 3. Ian Allan. pp. 104–7. ISBN 0711012016. OCLC 16599282.
- Vehicle Diagram Book No. 230 for Diesel Electric Multiple Unit Trains (including H.S.T.) (PDF). British Railways Board. September 1987. DB203, DB204, DB207, DE204, DE301, DE302, DE303, DH203, DH206.