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British Rail Class 419


British Rail Class 419

British Rail Class 419
In service 1959 - 2004
Manufacturer BR Eastleigh
Number built 10
Formation Single car
Operator(s) British Rail
Maximum speed 90 mph 145 km/h
Weight 45 ton
Prime mover(s) 2 x 250 hp traction motors
total 500 hp (373 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.


  • Description 1
  • Prototype 2
  • Departmental service 3
  • Preservation 4
  • Fleet details 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


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They were withdrawn from traffic in 1991/92, with the closure of Dover Western Docks railway station and the end of the boat train services.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in 1967, the unit was initially transferred for use on the Southport - Liverpool electric line before being withdrawn..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

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 One unit, no. 9006, was damaged in an accident at Ramsgate in 1994, resulting in it being withdrawn and subsequently scrapped.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The majority of units were withdrawn for a second time in 1997, and were dumped at Bournemouth depot, pending disposal.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 high-profile 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 joined its former Bournemouth shed mate at the East Kent Railway. After extensive overhaul at Southall 9002 ventured back onto the main line on August 28th 2015 when it was hauled by Battle Of Britain Class 34067 'Tangmere' to Ramsgate Depot for an open day, it returned a day later. The table below gives details of the current (as of 2007) locations and fates of the Class 419 units. The East Kent Railway has taken delivery of 68008 ex the Electric Railway Museum, Warwickshire.[1]

Fleet details

Key: Preserved

Unit Number Final Livery DMLV Withdrawn Status
Original Departmental
9001 931091 SR Green 68001 1998 Preserved at the East Kent Railway
9002 931092 NSE 68002 2004 Preserved at the East Kent Railway
9003 - BR Green 68003 1997 Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway
9004 931094 NSE 68004 1997 Preserved at the Mid-Norfolk Railway
9005 931095 LSE "Jaffa Cake" 68005 1997 Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway
9008 931098 SR Green 68008 1997 Preserved at the East Kent Railway
9009 931099 SR Green 68009 1997 Preserved at the East Kent Railway
9010 931090 NSE 68010 1997 Preserved at the Eden Valley Railway


  1. ^ EPB Preservation Group (Autumn 2007). "Preservation Report". Retrieved 25 February 2008. 

External links

  • The Southern E-Group page on the Class 419s or MLVs.
  • History of the MLVs on BloodandCustard
  • History of the TLVs on BloodandCustard
  • EPB Preservation Group - owners of preserved units 9001 and 9002.
  • Eden Valley Railway - owners of preserved units 9003 and 9005.
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