Following in the wake of their unannounced Class 47, Bachmann disclosed their intentions to produce an original 4 CEP at Barwell last weekend.
A hand painted prototype of a 4 CEP was on display- Bachmann apparently estimate that the 4 CEP should hit the shops in 18 months.
The 4 CEP is probably the most obvious choice for Bachmann to do, as, in its unrefurbished state, it only requires new motor bogies, DMBS underframe equipment and DMBS body. Bachmann say that refurbished versions will follow, however, this seems unlikely due to the fact that the DMBS vehicles were heavily rebuilt, as was the CK, into DMSO and TBCK vehicles respectively. Still, exciting times lie ahead, and, with Replica/Railwayania's MLV, 13-coach boat trains into Dover marine look to be a real possibility!
For the unenlightened, the 4 CEPs were built from 1956-1963 to provide express services for the Kent Coast electrification. They were the first units built to a BR design to feature corridors, and were largely based on standard Mark One stock.
The first four units (7101-7104) were prototype units, built at Eastleigh on frames laid at Ashford in 1956, and were used to "test the water" (two 4-BEPs, with the all-standard trailer replaced by a buffet car, were also built in 1956). The first production unit, 7105, emerged in 1958, and the first batch (7105-7153 for Kent Coast Phase One- London to Ramsgate and Dover via Chatham/Rochester and including the Sheerness branch- the old London, Chatham and Dover Railway lines, in effect) was completed by the end of the decade.
The units were not without problems, however, as the double glazing fitted to some units had faulty seals, leading to one aggrieved passenger suggesting BR buy some extra-slim fish to fit in the space, whilst the BR1 trailer bogies gave rough riding. The next batch, 7154-7211, (For London to Margate and Dover via Ashford and Canterbury West- the old SER, in effect) featured Commonwealth bogies (which were gradually fitted to the Phase Ones) and single-pane glazing, eliminating the leaks.
Interestingly, several units were, prior to commissioning, stored on the Ardingly branch in East Sussex (a spur that connected with what is now the Bluebell railway), giving SR modellers of non-electrified 1950s/1960s lines the perfect excuse to have a 4 CEP!
For the next twenty-odd years, the class could be seen hard at work across Kent (some units, it should be noted, were stationed on the Central Division for London-Brighton services), working across the elctrified network.
In 1975, unit 7153 was refurbished at Swindon works. New seats and lighting were installed, whilst the unit was heavily modified structurally (see above). Re-numbered 1500 (to conform with TOPS, being classified as a 411/5), the unit became the first of many, as all the 4 CEPs and BEPs were rebuilt in the late-1970s/1980s.
In the early 1990s, some units were transferred to SWT, where they eked out their days, the last CEPs on SWT being withdrawn in 2005. Southeastern trains continued to use 4 CEPs until September 2005, when unit 1698 was withdrawn, bringing the curtain down on 49 years (!) of usage.
Bachmann are to be congratulated for taking the plunge and modelling a 4 car Southern EMU, which I, for one, will be buying!
(The story came from the SEmG Yahoo e-group, whilst the image came from Wikipedia. The history of the 4 CEP came from my own brain. Certain post refurbishment bits of the 4 CEP's history have been omitted due to Bachmann's initial commitment to an original 4 CEP