About our train

This page was last modified on 1 May 2023

Our train may be known as Unit 1001 (and referred to by TOPS as 201 001), but actually it includes vehicles from several different units. This page describes our train, and our fleet of vehicles from which it is formed.

[PHOTO: Train in depot trainshed: 58kB]

Above: Motor coach 60118 Tunbridge Wells in the crane bay at St. Leonards depot (December 2002).

Our train is a Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) that worked on the London Charing Cross – Hastings route under British Rail between 1957 and 1986.

It was subsequently preserved by Hastings Diesels Limited (HDL); we restored it to its former glory and returned it to main-line operation ten years later, in 1996.

Our train is commonly referred to as Unit 1001, as the first “Hastings” DEMU (all six of whose vehicles we own) was so numbered. Although the train we use on our outings does include at least one vehicle from the original unit 1001 (actually, in April 2023 with trailer coach 60501 becoming ‘stopped’ with the introduction of 60528, for the first time this now ceases to be true), many of its vehicles are from other units—and indeed, other trains.

The current formation of Unit 1001 is displayed on the Unit 1001’s status section of the News page.

HDL’s vehicles

Fifteen “Hastings” vehicles were saved from scrap in the mid-to-late 1980s, by the pioneering members of what is now HDL:

Three other vehicles of comparable design have since been acquired:

Fleet list

Vehicle number Type From unit
number & type
Cond­ition Status / comments CDL

“Hastings” vehicles:

DMBS 1001 6S Restored Stopped. Was active in Unit 1001 (Standard Class) between 1996 and 2005. Undergoing re-wiring and the addition of CDL, OTMR & GSM-R. TPWS fitted.
60001 1001 6S As with­drawn Stored
1012 6L Restored Active in Unit 1001 (Standard Class) since 2003. Renumbered from 60016 upon main-line certification to avoid conflicting with Class 60 locomotive. TPWS, OTMR & GSM-R fitted. yes
Tun­bridge Wells
1013 6L Restored Active in Unit 1001 (Club/First Class) since 1996. Renumbered from 60018 upon main-line certification to avoid conflicting with Class 60 locomotive. TPWS, OTMR & GSM-R fitted. yes
60119 1013 6L Restored See Restoration of motor coach 60119. Re-certified for main-line use, April 2023, to become active in Unit 1001 soon. Re-numbered from 60019 to avoid conflicting with Class 60 locomotive. TPWS & OTMR fitted. yes
60500 TSO 1001 6S As with­drawn Stored
60501 1001 6S Restored Stopped for maintenance. Was active in Unit 1001 (Club/First Class) from 1996 to 2023; Controlled Emission Toilets retro­fitted. yes
60502 1001 6S Under restor­ation See Restoration of trailer coach 60502; Controlled Emission Toilets retro­fitted.
60527 1013 6L As with­drawn Stored
60528 1013 6L Restored Re-certified for main-line use, April 2023. See Restoration of trailer coach 60528. Controlled Emission Toilets retro­fitted. To become active in Unit 1001 (First Class) in May 2023. yes
60529 1013 6L Restored Active in Unit 1001 (Standard Class) since 1996; Controlled Emission Toilets retro­fitted. yes
60700 TFK 1001 6S As with­drawn Stored
60708 1012 6L As with­drawn Stored
60709 1013 6L As with­drawn Stored
60750 Buffet 1032 6B Heavily modified Lab 4—one of BR’s test vehicles for the APT project. It was sold in 2003, now preserved in Leicester­shire.

Non-“Hastings” vehicles:

60820 DTC 1108 3H Restored On loan to Lavender Line, Isfield. Original donor was 2H unit 1121.
69337 Buffet 2210 4-BIG Restored Active in Unit 1001 (Standard Class). Donor unit previously numbered 7058. yes
70262 TSO 1524 4-CEP Restored Active in Unit 1001 (Standard Class). Donor unit previously numbered 7113. Controlled Emission Toilets retro­fitted. yes
[PHOTO: Train compartment interior: 61kB]

Above: By way of demonstration, HDL restored a compartment from one of the three Trailer First Corridor vehicles which are otherwise in as-withdrawn condition. Note the BR logo on the mirror. (8 March 2014)

Driving cab

[PHOTO: Driving cab interior: 69kB]

Above: The driver’s desk in motor coach 60116 Mountfield (November 2004). The master controller, which controls the power being delivered to the traction motors, is on the right; to the left is the brake handle. The gauges are (left to right), main reservoir & train pipe pressures, brake cylinder pressure, speedometer, and driving-current (Amps). Visible at top right is the interface for the TPWS. Since this photo was taken, the controls for Central Door Locking have also been fitted and would now appear in this view.

[PHOTO: Driving cab interior: 66kB]

Above: The driving position in the cab of motor coach 60118 Tunbridge Wells (July 2003). The cab sports a “sunflower” indicator and reset-button for AWS, fitted prior to the unit’s return to main-line running; and, just above is the button for DRA. The mouthpiece-horn above both is the Loudaphone set which provides voice-communication with the guard. The switch in the white box on the desk was a temporary addition for controlling the laying of Sandite (when this vehicle was used in conjunction with Network Rail’s rail-adhesion train).


[PHOTO: Engine-room interior: 72kB]

Above: The Napier MS100 turbocharger looms large in this view inside the engine-room of one of our “Hastings” motor-coaches (November 2004). To its upper-left is the engine-governor, and the housing of the camshaft-bearing is lower on its left. The individual cylinder-heads for the four-cylinder engine are plainly visible. The pink pipes carry lubricating oil; blue is for coolant.

Our article, Refreshing the interior, provides a further view of the engine-room which illustrates the far (exhaust) side of the power unit.

Technical data

[PHOTO: Diesel engine: 87kB]

Above: The heart of the Southern’s DEMU fleet: The English Electric 4SRKT diesel engine, mated with the English Electric type 824/1B DC generator. This example at St. Leonards depot is actually from a Hampshire or Oxted (class 205 or 207) DEMU, having the larger MS200 turbo-charger (compare it—at eye level—with that in the “Hastings” engine-room photo above). The main generator beneath it, and the auxilliary generator at far right, are seen to advantage in this view.

Train formation & safety equipment

The “Hastings” DEMUs were built as six-car units, which could be coupled together to operate “in multiple” as 12-coach trains.

6-carriage units (as built): Two motor coaches (Driving Motor Brake Second) with four intermediate trailer coaches (1x Corridor First, plus 3 Trailer Seconds OR 2 Trailer Seconds and a Buffet Car)
Maximum permitted speed: 75mph (both as BR design and in the terms of HDL’s Mark I rolling-stock-ban exemption)
Design lifespan of the SR DEMUs: 10 years (in 1957!)
Couplings: Buckeye couplers at both ends of every carriage. Drop-head buckeye with emergency screw-coupling also available on outer ends of motor coaches.
Audible warning: Two-tone air-operated horn at each driving-position (as fitted early in the units’ lives);
Triple-chime air-whistle (retrofitted during restoration, similar to originally-provided equipment)
Signalling system safety equipment: AWS, DRA and TPWS fitted during preservation to HDL’s motor coaches
Door locks: Central Door Locking with selective availability retrofitted to active vehicles (see fleet-list) from 2007
Cab radio: GSM-R fitted to active motor coaches from 2014, superseding the Cab Secure Radio retrofitted during preservation
Data recorders: OTMR fitted to active motor coaches (see fleet-list) from 2007
Distance covered in preservation: 632,114 miles to 5 March 2016.
(This figure is for motor coach 60118 Tunbridge Wells which of our fleet has travelled the furthest since our return to main-line running in 1996.)

Dimensions and weights

The first seven “Hastings” DEMUs (numbers 1001 – 1007) were built on underframes already fabricated at Eastleigh for locomotive-hauled coaching-stock, which were of shorter than standard length; in these short-underframed, or “6S”, units, one saloon (or the engine & guard’s compartment) occupies the length of 4 window-bays/seating-bays, the other only three.

The remainder of the “Hastings” DEMUs were built on standard-length underframes, hence they were designated as long, or “6L” units (1011 – 1019); and likewise but containing a Buffet car, hence the designation “6B” (units 1031 – 1037).

Unit Lengths (as built): 6S units: 358 feet 9¼ inches (109.35 metres)
6L/6B units: 397 feet 9¼ inches (121.24 metres)
Vehicle lengths (overall): Short-underframed carriages: 60 feet 2¾ inches (18.36 metres)
Long-underframed carriages: 66 feet 8 inches (20.32 metres)
Vehicle widths (overall): 9 feet 0 inches (2.74 metres)
Vehicle widths (bodyside): 8 feet 0 inches (2.44 metres)
Vehicle weights (subtract 1 ton for short-underframe vehicles): Motor coaches: 55 tons
Trailer second coaches: 30 tons
Corridor first coaches: 31 tons

Power unit

Each Motor Coach has the portion nearest its cab set aside for the engine-room, which contains the floor-mounted engine/generator-set that provides motive power and electrical supply for a load equivalent to 3 carriages.

Engine: English Electric 4SRKT Mark II diesel engine
Cylinders: 4
Total displacement: 61.78 litres
Fuel delivery: Injection at 3,250 lbs per square inch (max)
Engine speeds: 450rpm (idle, notches 1, 2 and 3)
620rpm (idle with train heating, notches 4 and 5)
750rpm (notch 6)
850rpm (notch 7)
Controlled by oil-pressure governor
Turbocharger: Napier MS100 (5psi)
(Napier MS200 (8psi) on Hampshire/Oxted units)
Engine rating at 850rpm: 500 horsepower
(600 horsepower with Napier MS200 turbocharger)
Main Generator: English Electric type 824/1B (6-pole)
Main Generator rating: 330kW (600 Amps at 550 Volts DC)
Fuel capacity: 340 gallons (1,545 litres)
Range: 550 miles (conservative), or 800 miles (theoretical maximum)
Engine lubricant: Oil (45 gallons)
Engine cooling: Water (75 gallons), with radiator ventilated by roof-mounted crankshaft-driven extraction fan
Firefighting equipment: 2x 50-lb CO2 cylinders with automatic (temperature-based) discharge into the engine-room

Electrics and Control

Traction motors: English Electric type 507D or 507E
Traction motor arrangement: Two per motor coach, one on each axle of the trailing bogie. Nose-hung, axle-mounted.
Traction motor rating: 380 horsepower approx (at shaft), drawing 245 amps at 675 volts.
Traction motor gear ratio: 65:16
Master controller (power handle at driver’s desk): 7 notches plus Off
Power delivery to traction motors: Automatic load-regulation and 2-stage traction-motor field-weakening in notches 5, 6 and 7
Auxiliary generator: English Electric type 906/1B (6-pole)
Auxiliary generator rating: 13.2kW (147 Amps at 90 Volts DC)
Electrical control throughout train: 27-way jumper cable
Other electrical jumpers: Heating (4-way); Lighting (8-way)


Braking system: Two brake blocks operating on the tread of each wheel throughout the train, actuated via rigging from one central brake cylinder (with automatic slack-adjuster) per vehicle
Normal control of braking system: Self-lapping stepless Electro-Pneumatic (EP) brake
Fail-safe control of braking system: Westinghouse Automatic air brake, with graduated discharge available on Driver’s Brake Valve
Air compressor Westinghouse DH25 (one per motor coach)
Governed pressure of main air reservoirs: 90 – 100psi
Normal pressure of Train Pipe: 70psi

Passenger areas

Overall passenger capacity: 276 seats (HDL’s current 6-car formation including CEP trailer and 4-BIG buffet car), or 284 seats with the introduction of trailer 60528 in place of 60501.
General layout: Passenger saloons situated between transverse vestibules; guard’s van in each motor coach between engine-room and vestibule
Seating layout (motor coaches): 2+2 arrangement (2+1 against each saloon-end), facing to form bays (with tables in Club/First Class); 4 bays in the saloon (3 bays in the saloon of “short” vehicles)
Seating layout (open “Hastings” saloons): 2+2 arrangement (2+1 against each saloon-end), facing to form bays (with tables in Club/First Class); 4 bays per saloon (3 bays in one saloon of “short” vehicles); two saloons
Seating layout (4-CEP trailer coach): 2+2 arrangement, facing to form bays, 4 bays per saloon, 2 saloons
Seating layout (4-BIG buffet car): 2+2 arrangement, facing to form bays; 4 bays with tables, plus 1 bay without tables by the central set of doors within the saloon
Seating layout (corridor first): 8 compartments (7 compartments in “short” vehicles) each comprising a bay of six seats;
corridor has 4 external doors along its length
Toilets: 2 toilets off vestibule at one end of Trailer Second open vehicles;
2 toilets off vestibule at one end of the 4-CEP trailer coach.
All toilets in current train, plus those in 2 vehicles under restoration, were retrofitted with Controlled Emission Toilet equipment in autumn 2022.
Gangways between coaches: Yes, except through driving cabs
External doors: One on each side of every vestibule; one pair within saloon on 4-BIG buffet car
External door operation: Hinged doors, locked centrally (since 2007) by Pickersgill-Kaye locks;
exterior handle, interior lever to unlatch
Saloon heating: 500-Watt electric heating-elements, fed from main generator, located beneath seats and in skirtings
Public address: Fitted to all saloons since returning to main-line running with HDL in 1996
Emergency alarms: Pull the chain points in all saloons
[PHOTO: Equipment on underside of train: 49kB]

Above: Our three fully-restored motor coaches are fitted with TPWS, which forms part of the signalling system on many UK rail routes. This view of an underframe illustrates the TPWS antenna which picks up coded magnetic signals from transmitter loops mounted on the track between the running rails. This particular example had just been fitted at St. Leonards depot by HDL staff to Network Rail’s de-icer motor coach, number 977940, formerly car 60149 from Berkshire unit 1131 (October 2003).