Being the founder of the group I was a regular commuter on these trains travelling from the South Coast to London. Working at Selhurst 1972-1984 I was involved in the commissioning of the last 4 VEPs and 4 REPs, I decided long ago that some of this stock should be preserved. These units quietly and efficiently got on with their business of taking 1000s of commuters to and from work, and taking pleasure seekers to the coast or tourists to London. They did this for the best part of 40 years, with none of the glamour of trains like ‘The Flying Scotsman’,just did their job and did it well. I think they should be recognised for this.
I fondly remember the buffet cars in the mornings popular with their bacon sandwiches. I remember when the buffet stewards started buying their own bread and bacon to sell and keep the profits, management decided to stop selling the sandwiches because they thought none were being sold and there was public outcry making management realise what had been going on. The sandwiches were reintroduced!
I also remember the evening commuter trains in the buffets, there was a ‘pub’ atmosphere with all the office workers enjoying a drink, playing cards or chatting with colleagues. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Until now. A group of us have managed to secure ourselves a unit and buffet car with the sole intention of restoring the vehicles along with trying to recreate the atmosphere that was once on the Brighton line. This is something only we can do at present, with the last surviving Phase 1 Buffet in near original condition.
Finally; there are a few people who I would like to thank, as without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Dennis Hoy and Brian Humber have been very helpful both financially along with their wealth of knowledge. Dave Berry who has been with 73s since build, and is now a close friend of mine – he helps us on a regular basis and we can’t thank him enough. John Atkinson and Michael Welsh who have both contributed information to help with the history of the vehicles. I would like to finally thank my wife Caroline, for her supporting my hobby and helping create this website.
Richard Garbutt, Chairman