Class 485 4-VEC [Updated]

In the 1960s, as with other railway lines across the country, the Isle of Wight's once extensive railway system was devastated by Dr Beeching. Indeed only one line was saved which ran from Ryde to Shanklin. BR decided to modernise and electrify this line (to the Southern Region 630V DC third rail system) in the late 1960s. The problem however was the question of which stock to run on it? Tunnels at Ryde have always precluded the use of standard gauge stock on the island due to the limited clearance. In the end there was a very British solution: use former London tube stock! [1]

Information
Number built: 24 cars (converted) to form 4 car sets
Built: 1923
Converted 1966-67
Builder: Metro Cammell / Union Construction Company / Cammell Laird
Converted at LT Acton / BR Stewarts Lane
Engine: 4 English Electric traction motors (630V DC third rail)
Power: 960 hp (716 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Brake Standard Open (DMBSO)+T
railer Standard Open (TSO)*+TSO+DMBSO

* Some TSOs had an isolated driving cab, officially DTSOs

The Class 485, and its 3-car sister the Class 486 (originally classified as Class 452 and 451 respectively), were converted from withdrawn London Underground Pre-1938 Standard Tube stock which had already been hammered daily on the underground for over 40 years. [2] After heavy refurbishment/conversion [3] which included changing from LT 4-rail to SR 3-rail (an earlier plan to convert the stock to DMUs was mooted but later abandoned [4]), the Class 485/486s ran for a further 25 years on the Island before being replaced by the Class 483, slightly less ancient tube stock, in 1992.

The Class 485/486 entered service in 1967, painted in BR blue with yellow ends and indeed were the first full units in BR's new corporate livery. In the 1970s they were repainted in the slightly more pleasing blue and grey livery for passenger stock and they ended their lives in Network South East colours. The Class 485 was given the SR Alpha code of 4-VEC and the 486 3-TIS. When they worked in multiple they were known as 7-VECTIS, Vectis being the Roman name for the Isle of Wight. Later in their lives they were reformed as 5 car sets (5-VEC) and the 486s 2 car 2-TIS sets.

During conversion BR considered also creating dedicated parcel traffic trailers but scrapped the idea because standard luggage cages would not fit in the cars because of their tube profile [5].

No Class 486s have survived withdrawal but 2 cars (a DTSO and a TSO) from the Class 485 have survived and have been reunited at the London Transport Museum with other Standard Tube Stock cars with the eventual aim of creating a working museum train.
Former TSO trailer from 485 044 at Acton Depot, still in NSE colours!

Standard Stock driving car

Former DTSO trailer from 485 043 at Acton Depot
Cab of LU Standard Stock car

[1] Brian Hardy, Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight (Capital Transport, 2003) p. 14
[2] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 92
[3] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 369
[4] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), "3-TIS, 4-VEC", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 220 August-September 2016 (BR Southern Region Electric Multiple Units), p. 48
[5] R.J. Maycock & R. Silsbury, The Isle of Wight Railways from 1923 Onwards (Oakwood Press, 2006) p. 250