The Southern Railway was established in 1923, linking London with the Channel ports, South West England, South coast resorts and Kent. It was the smallest of the ‘Big Four’ railway companies with most of their revenue coming from passenger traffic rather than freight in the more densely populated region of Southern England.
Between 1923 and 1948 both Richard Maunsell and Oliver Bulleid served as Chief Mechanical Engineers to the Southern Railway and both designed new locomotives and rolling stock to replace those built prior to 1923.
The electrification of the region began in 1929 under the management of Sir Herbert Walker and when it was completed the Southern Railway was the World’s largest electrified railway system.
Designed for long distance, semi-fast services on the Southern area, the Class 2-HAL was a development of the earlier Class 2-BIL with some changes to the body construction. Although the wooden frame and canvas covered wooden roof was retained, the cab was welded steel. Galvanised steel sheeting sides replaced wooden panels with internal partitions being made of plywood. Powered by two 275 hp traction motors via a third rail, the 129’5″ long two car unit had a top speed of 75mph and weighed 76 long tons.
A total of 100 two car sets were built at the Southern Railway Eastleigh Works, using frames from the Lancing Works. The first batch of 76, numbers 2601 – 2676 were built in 1938 for service on the London to Maidstone and Gillingham routes in Kent. This was far more than actually required for the Medway service and was the largest single batch of main line semi fast stock ever built by the Southern Railway.
The finish was less luxurious than the 2-BIL, 2-NOL and 4-LAV Classes that preceded the 2-HAL, particularly in the Third Class where seating was thinly padded, drably upholstered with painted woodwork replacing the traditional polished mahogany. The 2-HAL had only one lavatory per two car set as opposed to two on the 2-BIL. The passenger capacity was originally 32 in First Class, later reduced to 24 and 102 in Third Class.
In 1939 a second batch numbered 2677 – 2692 was built for service on the London Waterloo to Aldershot and Reading routes, with the only improvement being more attractive upholstery in the Third Class coaches. Some of the 2-HALs allotted to Medway were subsequently moved to the Aldershot/Reading routes and were used for mass transportation of troops around Southern England at the start of World War 2 and also following the evacuation of Dunkirk.
After the Second World War a third batch numbered 2693 – 2699 was built as additional units in 1948. A final unit No. 2700 was built in 1950 as an accident replacement.
The Class as a whole passed to the newly formed British Railways in 1948 and was re-classified as TOPS Class 402 and remained in service until the mid-1960s. The last sets in passenger traffic were No. 2695, No. 2698 and No. 2699, which were withdrawn in July 1971.
The 2-HAL unit represented in this pack was made up of MBT (Motor Brake Third) No. 10652 and DTC (Driver Trailer Composite) No. 12119 and was first introduced in October 1937. On the 12 June 1971, Unit No. 2086 was withdrawn from service and was scrapped in November of the same year by A. King Ltd. Wymondham.
|DCC Type||DCC Ready|
|Detail||Chassis and bogie detail|
|Motor||5 Pole Skew Wound|