Railways Illustrated

Preserved ‘Happy Train’ set to cater for a new audience

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WITH THE number of surviving Class 365 EMUS rapidly reducing as the fleet is scrapped, three vehicles from two of the ‘Happy Trains’ have entered preservati­on on the East Kent Railway (EKR).

The vehicles were acquired by the EKR from Eversholt Rail, who owned the Class 365 fleet and who have been gradually disposing of the redundant fleet over the past few months.

Two of the vehicles – driving coach 65917 and TSOL 72287 – were part of 365524, while the other driving vehicle – 65974 – came from 365540. Due to space constraint­s in the bay platform at Eythorne station, where the unit is to be housed, the decision was taken to not preserve a Class 365 pantograph vehicle. The driving coach from 365540 will be renumbered 365524. The three vehicles moved to their new home in late January and were coupled up at Shepherdsw­ell following their arrival. They were preserved based on their condition and were considered to be the best of the remaining Class 365 coaches.

Following minor modificati­ons, it is intended for 365524 to open to the public as a café and restaurant. There will also be exhibition space, and it will be capable of staging functions in its new home.

EKR managing director Matthew Plews told Railways Illustrate­d that part of the driving coach at the Shepherdsw­ell end of the line has been stripped out to house a commercial kitchen, although the railway has done this carefully so as not to cause any damage that may prevent its future use. Extraction for the new café equipment will make use of existing flues contained in the vehicle.

The four-mile EKR runs from Shepherdsw­ell to Eythorne and is already home to a wide variety of DMU, DEMU and EMU vehicles. In terms of electric traction, the railway is home to two coaches from 4COR set 3142, VOP 3905 and a Class 457 driving vehicle. Mr Plews said that the newly delivered Class 365 unit continues to help the railway tell the story of Southern EMU history spanning almost 90 years.

 ?? East Kent Railway/ Matthew Plews East Kent Railway/matthew Plews ?? RIGHT: With the three preserved Class 365 vehicles safely delivered to their new home, they were coupled up at Shepherdsw­ell on January 28.
The set consists of vehicles from 365524 and 365540, but the driving car from 365540 will assume the identity of 365524.
ABOVE: The interior of the preserved Class 365 is in excellent condition, with the vehicles selected on their overall condition. The East Kent Railway is installing catering equipment into one of the vehicles to become a café for the railway, while the EMU will also include an exhibition space and be made available for functions.
East Kent Railway/ Matthew Plews East Kent Railway/matthew Plews RIGHT: With the three preserved Class 365 vehicles safely delivered to their new home, they were coupled up at Shepherdsw­ell on January 28. The set consists of vehicles from 365524 and 365540, but the driving car from 365540 will assume the identity of 365524. ABOVE: The interior of the preserved Class 365 is in excellent condition, with the vehicles selected on their overall condition. The East Kent Railway is installing catering equipment into one of the vehicles to become a café for the railway, while the EMU will also include an exhibition space and be made available for functions.

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