Published: 6th October 2015
You would not expect a seaside train to be based in the heart of the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire, but that is where a three-coach over half a century old electric train is now based.
The former Southern Region built 3-CEP Electric Multiple Unit, No. 1198 is now operating about as far away from the sea as you can get in England. The train used to operate on the five mile long branchline between Brockenhurst in the New Forest and Lymington Pier connecting with the Isle of Wight ferry.
The life-long railwayman, Andrew Munden who is Safety & Operations Director with Chiltern Railways has very kindly agreed to perform the naming ceremony at 12 noon on Sunday October 11th at Chinnor station.
The Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway, and 'Linda the Lymington Flyer' have extended an invitation to rail.co.uk readers to attend the naming ceremony.
These events are normally strictly for invited guests so this is a rare opportunity to witness a train naming. The name has been chosen to reprise the name given to the unit in its last year of service on the Lymington branch in Hampshire.
After the ceremony, the newly-named unit will take a trip up the line to and from Thame Junction with Class 08 locomotive no. 08825 providing the power – the Chinnor line is not electrified so the electric train will require some assistance!
Mr Munden is no stranger to the Chinnor Railway or other preserved lines as he owns a locomotive and volunteers in the railway preservation scene.
“We look forward to his performing the honours, then later joining us for a visit to Chinnor yard, to review restoration work on ex-Chiltern 'bubble car' unit no. W55024 and take a look around our new Restoration & Education Centre.”
The naming ceremony for No. 1198 celebrates the dedication and hard work of the unit's owners and the supporting 'EMU Preservation Society' (EMUPS) team. They are grateful to the Chinnor Railway for providing operating facilities while the Railway is delighted at having a ready-made train to operate.
Because of this collaboration, it remains possible to travel on a 1950s designed electric train which is a rarity in preservation.
Chinnor Railway added; “We are very pleased to have this unit take its place alongside and complementary to, our traditional steam and heritage diesel traction, thereby providing a unique heritage railway experience for our visitors and passengers.”
MLV 68002 has been undergoing extensive restoration at Southall in West London over the last year. The vehicle was used to convey luggage on boat trains to and from London and the Channel ports.
It travelled by rail to appear at South Eastern Trains Ramsgate depot staff open day on Saturday 29th August hauled by the steam locomotive "Tangmere". This is the first private preserved emu to appear at such an event since British Rail days.