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The Kenny Belle


roythebus
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I used to go to school in Battersea High Street and regularly saw the "famous" Kenny Belle- the Clapham Junction-Kensington Olympia train almost every day.

 

There seemed to be several sets of coaching stock used:

a set of 4 green 63' suburbans which included one with a white roof (S1000S);

a mixed set with 3 suburbans and a Bullied brake

a short set of maroon suburbans with S numbers;

 

Locos could be quite a variety with BR 2-6-4T, Ivatt 2-6-2T, Q1, Bullied Pacifics, and in the last days class 33 or 73. There was also a class 33 with the 6TC, the prototype TC unit made from a 6COR set! The push-pull apparatus rarely worked and the loco had to run round every trip.

 

The morning journeys seemed to work from platform 16 at Clapham, worked by a Stuarts Lane crew, while the afternoon runs were from platforms1 or 2 with a Nine Elms crew. somewhere around I've got some rather grainy 8mm cine of a standard tank at Kenny on the afternoon working, weeks before the end of steam.

 

On the few occasions I rode on the train, it was always a problem getting back as the guard would never let us go back on the train, which always ran empty in those days. The 49 bus was quite a useful replacement; it was operated by RTs at the time and ran from Shepherds Bush (and beyond) to Crystal Palace in those days.

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S1000S was the experimental coach with a plastic body, built on the underframe of a coach written off in an accident.  It survives at the East Somerset Railway.

 

The WR cleared out its non-corridor coaches in 1963-64 and some ended up on the Southern formed in sets used on Basingstoke commuter services as well as working the Kenny Belle.  Those embellished with a [an?] S prefix included 46005, 46008, 46022, 46023, 46031, 46035, 46039, 46059, 46273, 46274 and 46275..  All were on the long underframe.  This does beg the question of what happened to the green-liveried stock used on the Exmouth branch after it was displaced by dmus in 1963.  The mystery hardly ranks with that of the Marie Celeste and I'm sure someone knows!

 

For about 15 months in 1987-88 I worked at Charles House, the large brick building visible in south.facing photographs of Kensington Olympia station.  Sometimes I would use the Kenny Belle to escape to Clapham Junction on my way home and one would never know quite what one would ride in until it arrived - Class 205, Class 117 or 33+4TC were all quite common at the time.

 

Chris

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King Charles house, the government department where I had to go to get my PSV licence updated or national insurance...

 

The 33/TC would have been Waterloo men on the pm duty, thumpers were central division drivers! By that time the return journeys were made available to passengers.

 

I was aware that S1000S was the plastic coach and am glad it survives! Maybe we could have a Kenny Belle re-creation one day with S1000S, a Bullied brake, a couple of green suburbans and the Q1...

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When the 63ft. suburbans were in use, the brake vehicle was often one of the spare Maunsell BCKs from the disbanded 600 series push pull sets.

 

I believe that by the time the Exmouth branch was dieselised the route had passed to the WR, and the stock would have been disposed of by them.  Some green suburbans did stay on the SR however as one set had been moved to the Oxted line.  In 1967 the SR still listed 46292/3/5/7 on their books from the original SR batch, and presumably still in green.

 

Chris

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There was also a class 33 with the 6TC, the prototype TC unit made from a 6COR set! The push-pull apparatus rarely worked and the loco had to run round every trip.

 

that would probably be D6580, the first of what would become cl.33/1, although at that time it didn't have buckeyes/rubbing plates

 

photo of the 6TC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12a_kingmoor_klickr/6351961532/

info on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SR_Class_6Pul#6-TC

 

there was also a 7TC unit, number 701 which wasn't really a proper TC set - despite being ex-BIL/SUB vehicles, it could only be hauled, there being no p-p jumpers

i don't know if this was ever used on the belle after its use on the oxted line ended?

SEMG link: http://www.semgonline.com/coach/900.html

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701 was only passed for use on the Oxted lines and only as a temporary measure.  Whether it could truly be called an electric multiple unit is debatable; it was simply a set of carriages given a number just as the SR had done for years with its loco-hauled stock.  It's active life in that form was relatively short.  601 was so used however.

 

The Kenny Belle moved on from loco-hauled stock to push-pull operation with 33/1+4TC which IIRC used a set otherwise spare at Clapham Junction and with the trains occasionally cancelled if the set was required for a Bournemouth line trip.  At a later date WR stock in the form of class 117 sets appeared though I don't recall SR DEMU types in use.   It was probably inconvenient to say the least to provide a dedicated set for two trips (which for many years only conveyed passengers in one direction) in the middle of the peak hour.

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However, I'm sure there used to be a set of 4 short maroon suburban coaches used on the service, albeit only for a short period.

 

Photos of the elusive Kenny Belle are rather scarce!

 

Thumpers were used occasionally in the early 1980's after regular push-pull operation ceased. 33+TC were only normally used on the pm service as that was staffed by Waterloo men, the am service still being run by Central division men, probably from Norwood by that time. for a period in the late 1980's 455s were used following electrification for the E* empties!

Edited by roythebus
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For a while in the late 80s I went to school in Wimbledon, but lived in Kensington & Chelsea, and when the ILEA-provided travelcard expanded to include BR this was a nice "diversion" with some more interesting (than a 455) traction on the way home from school if the connections worked well.

 

At that time i'd corroborate most of Chris Foren's reccolection, either a 205 (usual) or a TC set (reserve) was common, the TC was usually with a 33/1, but I also recall a single example of 73/1s top and tailed!

 

Pretty sure the 117s came later, after the service was expanded to all day, and extended to Willesden, pretty sure it shared a pool of 2 car 117s with the Goblin.

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In late '66 or early '67 my morning commute from Fulham to Westminster via the District Line was often enlivened by the sight of the Kenny Belle flashing past while I was stuck at West Brompton. I have a clear memory that it usually had a 3MT tank at the sharp end and a slightly hazier recollection of three Maunsells behind. Later, in the late 70s I was working out of a studio just off Ken High Street and would sometimes catch a glimpse of the afternoon service which seemed to be a 33 with a 4-TC presumably in push-pull mode. Never got to ride it in those days...

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  • 7 years later...
11 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

 

What coaches would these have been, please? I'd love to model this train!

BCK and either SK or TSO, both S-prefixed. I might have the actual numbers from that photo in a tatty notebook somewhere...

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41 minutes ago, Lacathedrale said:

What coaches would these have been, please? I'd love to model this train!

Found my books. Friday 6 Aug 1982 on a SR rover for the week. 

Loco 73142 with BCK 21275 and TSO 4076 northbound at 0852.

We had previously travelled on it on the earlier run from Clapham Junction, depart 0812 arrive 0820, then gone round to look at Lillie Bridge and take a photo or two.

As a follow-up, we then made our way back to Waterloo for 73141 with mostly mk1s on the 0954 Weymouth Channel Islands boat train (as far as Basingstoke, recording a max 82mph at Weybridge)

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My (poor) pic of 82006 shunting coaches at Clapham Junction, a few weeks before Christmas 1965. Later that afternoon it took out the 'Kenny Belle', to pick up the weary workers.:sungum:

82006.jpg

Edited by bike2steam
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That's about the top end of the period I'm looking to model but all is well. Gatwick Express/Intercity 73's are lovely and who doesn't like an NSE 4TC?

 

Anything between '79 and '89 works well for me! It looks like it also ran with a single electro-diesel in '89

 

'The Kenny Belle'

 

Edited by Lacathedrale
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