The Southern Electric Traction Group has announced that it has reached an agreement with Realtime Trains to sponsor the continuing restoration of the Bluebell Railway’s unique 4VEP Electric Multiple Unit No. 423 417.
3417 has been under restoration at Strawberry Hill since 2015. Attention is currently focused on making the unit fit to be hauled on the National Network, and refurbishing the passenger accommodation to allow the unit to be used either as push-pull stock with suitably equipped locomotives or as hauled stock on preserved railways.
Steve Upton, SETG spokesman, said “It’s astonishing and gratifying to receive such a huge vote of confidence from Realtime Trains. This sponsorship, along with the support we have already received from our regular contributors and the wider railway industry, brings 3417 an enormous step closer to carrying passengers once again.”
Tom Cairns, owner of Realtime Trains commented “I am delighted to be able to help contribute towards the SETG’s ongoing work to return 3417 to passenger service.
Roy Watts, for the Bluebell Railway, remarked “This is a fantastic gesture. In the midst of the disruption and uncertainty of the last twelve months of lockdowns and restrictions we applaud this hugely positive step in the restoration of No. 3417.”
The Southern Electric Traction Group was founded in 2009 by staff members of South West Trains, based at Wimbledon Park depot. In mid-2014, they agreed a long-term loan agreement with the Bluebell Railway to provide specialist operational and technical knowledge to protect the operational future of 4VEP No. 3417.
Realtimetrains was founded by Tom Cairns in 2012, this website is the premier provider of live realtime running information for the Great British railway network for the railway industry, passengers and the enthusiast community.
The Bluebell Railway took ownership of 4VEP unit No. 3417 Gordon Pettitt from South West Trains in January 2009. The unit was named by Gordon Pettitt, former BR Southern Region General Manager and now President of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society, at a ceremony in June 2004.