It is with great sadness that I read of the fire that has destroyed at least one vehicle making up one of the few remaining Oxted line units or Class 207. Preserved on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, unit No. 207203 (aka 1302 and 207103) is the unit affected by the fire in which it appears to have lost its DTSO driving trailer.
No. 207203 was one of a small fleet of three Class 207s which was reformed in later years as a ‘maggot’ unit by the insertion of a former 4-Cep trailer in the set to make it up to a 3-car formation for Sussex Coast services. It remained in service until total withdrawal of the remaining ‘Thumper’ fleet in 2004. It also ran as a two-car set after loosing its original centre car as No. 207103 for a while.
Replacing or repairing this trailer, assuming the DMBSO is repairable (there’s little information on its actual condition), is going to be pretty difficult to do. The set could be reformed with a spare EPB, CIG or VEP driving trailer to create a hybrid set. Converting a standard Mark 1 coach into an Oxted line car is not possible because of the differences in width over the body between the two types of vehicle. One option would be to borrow the DTC from the 2-Hap at the Coventry Railway Centre which is otherwise sitting in what is a field, decaying away. I trust the Swindon & Cricklade Railway will be looking at the options, including the future of DMBSO 60138, which has suddenly become quite important. I wish them the very best in returning this unit to traffic if they can – it’s one of the few remaining Class 207s in existence.