Lab 4 leaves HDL for a new home

This article was closed on 8 June 2003
(updates added on 17 February 2012 and 12 August 2018)

Lab 4 has been found a new home. RDB 975386 Laboratory Coach 4, also given the name Hastings, began life in May 1958 as Trailer Buffet car 60750 of Hastings 6B unit number 1032. Following withdrawal as early as January 1964, it was converted ten years later into one of BR’s Advanced Passenger Train (APT) test-vehicles. Less well-known is its subsequent use in trials for several other projects.

In the last decade of the 20th century, Lab 4 returned home to St. Leonards depot with a view to possible restoration as a buffet car; however in view of the many heavy modifications to structure, running-gear, body and fabric of the vehicle, and the high costs that would be incurred in returning it to its original condition, these plans have been abandoned.

Instead of being cut up, Lab 4 was purchased by the Hastings 60750 Group (set up specially) and taken to The Lea Valley Experience (Pump House Steam & Transport Museum, Walthamstow) in north-east London, where it is to become a tea-room; in this way a unique piece of Hastings Diesels history will live on. Lab 4 left St. Leonards by road on Thursday 3 April 2003.

Update, February 2012:

On 22 April 2011, Lab 4 was passed to the APT-E Support and Conservation Group, and has since been moved to Coventry. Details can be found on the Electric Railway Museum website; further comment and a different photo appears on the YREA website.

HDL is pleased that this vehicle’s unique place in the history of British Rail is recognised in its own right, and wishes its latest owners well in preserving its story: especially as, had HDL kept it and got round to restoring it, our restoration would have been as a 6B buffet-car and thus would have necessitated removing all vestiges of its long after-life as Lab 4.

Update, August 2018:

The Electric Railway Museum site at Coventry closed in 2017. According to the Testing Times website, in November 2017 Lab 4 was moved to Shackerstone on the The Battlefield Line in west Leicestershire.