British Rail Class 419

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British Rail Class 419
In service1959 - 2004
ManufacturerBR Eastleigh
Number built10
FormationSingle car
Operator(s)British Rail
Maximum speed90 mph (140 km/h)
Weight45 long tons (46 t; 50 short tons)
Traction motorsTwo
Power output2 x 250 hp (190 kW) traction motors
total 500 hp (370 kW)
Braking system(s)Air (EP/Auto), also fitted with vacuum exhauster for hauling vacuum brake fitted van stock

The British Rail Class 419 Motor Luggage Vans (or MLV) were battery electric multiple unit cars built from 1951-61 by BR at Eastleigh Works.


Ten of these units were built for the boat trains from London Victoria to Dover and Folkestone. Units were originally numbered in the range 68001-68010, but were classified Class 419 under the TOPS system and were then renumbered 419001-419010, the numbers actually carried on the units in service reduced to 9001-9010, omitting the first two digits.

The units were also fitted with batteries to allow them to operate over the short-distance of non-electrified line at the quayside. The batteries allowed the units to be used at low-speed for 20–30 minutes, and could be recharged when the unit was taking power from 750 V DC third-rail.

They were withdrawn from traffic in 1991/92, with the closure of Dover Western Docks railway station and the end of the boat train services.


The design of these units was based on an earlier vehicle, numbered 68000, which was used as a parcels van on the Tyneside DC electrified network. When the South Tyneside network was de-electrified in 1967, the unit was initially transferred for use on the Southport - Liverpool electric line before being withdrawn.

Departmental service[edit]

After withdrawal from normal service, the entire fleet was transferred to departmental service as Class 931 tractor units. One unit, no. 9006, was damaged in an accident at Ramsgate in 1994, resulting in it being withdrawn and subsequently scrapped. Two other units, nos. 9003 and 9009, were specially repainted in old liveries (BR Blue and LSE "Jaffa Cake") by staff at Strawberry Hill depot, to commemorate its closure in 1995.

The majority of units were withdrawn for a second time in 1997, and were dumped at Bournemouth depot, pending disposal. However, two units, nos. 9001 and 9002, remained in use at the depot as shunters. The first was retired in 1998, and subsequently preserved. Unit 9002 was retained by South West Trains until 2004, when it was replaced by former 4Cep unit 1512.


All except two of these units have been preserved. One unit was scrapped after an accident whilst in service, and the other was scrapped in preservation.

The first unit to be preserved was first-built no. 9001, which was saved in 1998 after a campaign by the EPB Preservation Group. It was bought to power the group's preserved 2EPB unit, no. 5759. The units dumped at Bournemouth were put out to tender in 1999, and were bought mainly for use as storage vehicles. Their ability to move under battery-power has also allowed limited passenger use. The final unit to be saved was no. 9002, which has now been stored at Southall. After extensive overhaul at Southall 9002 ventured back onto the main line on 28 August 2015 when it was hauled by Battle Of Britain Class 34067 Tangmere to Ramsgate Depot for an open day, it returned a day later but has not been out since. The table below gives details of the current (as of 2016) locations and fates of the Class 419 units.

Fleet details[edit]

Key: Preserved Scrapped

Unit Number Final Livery DMLV Withdrawn Status
Original Departmental
9001 931091 BR Green 68001 1998 Stored at Southall
9002 931092 NSE 68002 2004 Stored at Southall
9003 - BR Green 68003 1997 Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway
9004 931094 BR Green 68004 1997 Preserved at the Mid-Norfolk Railway
9005 931095 LSE "Jaffa Cake" 68005 1997 Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway
9006 931096 - 68006 1991 Scrapped 1994 following a collision.[1]
9007 931097 - 68007 1997 Scrapped 2006 for spares.[2]
9008 931098 BR Green 68008 1997 Stored at Southall
9009 931099 BR Green 68009 1997 Stored at Southall
9010 931090 In house colours 68010 1997 Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway


Further reading[edit]

  • Cooper, Basil (October 1983). "The Southern's versatile MLVs". Rail Enthusiast. EMAP National Publications. pp. 56–57. ISSN 0262-561X. OCLC 49957965.

External links[edit]