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Bombardier Sponsors Refurbishment of Unique Southern EMU

October 8, 2014 Berlin Transportation,  Press Release

  • Bombardier apprentice program helps renovate historic electric multiple unit (EMU) rail vehicle


Bombardier Transportation, in partnership with the Southern Electric Traction Group (SETG) and the Bluebell Railway, are delighted to announce their sponsorship of the refurbishment of the Bluebell Railway's unique 4VEP unit, No. 3417 Gordon Pettitt. Undertaken as part of Bombardier's extensive apprenticeship programme, the four-month refurbishment will include corrosion repair and a high-quality repaint.

A living piece of British Rail heritage, the No. 3417 Gordon Pettitt, was part of the British Rail Class 423 series of trains that served Southern London, Kent and Sussex starting in 1967. After being taken out of service in 2005, No. 3417 was handed over to Bluebell Railway Society in 2009 for preservation and then stored at Clapham Yard, London under the care of the Southern Electric Traction Group. On Saturday October 4, No. 3417 was transferred to a Bombardier rail depot in Ilford for renovation. 

Roy Watts, Chairman of the Bluebell Railway, said, “Moving No. 3417 from Clapham Yard to Bombardier’s Ilford depot marks the beginning of a new life for this unique unit and we are thrilled that Bombardier’s apprenticeship programme ensures that traditional railway skills will be passed on to the next generation of railway technical staff.  Now, after a year of storage, it is time to restore No. 3417 to its former glory so that, in time, her English Electric motors will be heard roaring once again!”

Steve Upton, SETG Spokesman, said, “This is fantastic news for No. 3417. The SETG, who are now legal guardians of the unit on behalf of the Bluebell Railway, have put in months of hard work to bring this sponsorship deal to fruition. No. 3417 is unique, being the last operational unit of its class and the only mainline registered 400-series slamdoor unit in the country. We look forward to working closely with the Bluebell Railway and Bombardier to ensure a long and productive preservation career for the unit.”

About Bluebell Railway

The Bluebell Railway, based at Sheffield Park in East Sussex, is the oldest standard-gauge, passenger carrying steam railway in the UK. The Bluebell Railway took ownership of 4VEP unit No. 3417 Gordon Pettitt from South West Trains in January 2009. Built in 1967, No. 3417 is the only 400-series unit able to move on the national network and the only preserved EMU of any type capable of moving under its own power. The unit was named by Gordon Pettitt, former BR Southern Region General Manager, at a ceremony in June 2004.

About SETG

The Southern Electric Traction Group was founded in 2009 by staff members of South West Trains, based at Wimbledon Park depot. In mid-2014, they agreed a long-term loan agreement with the Bluebell Railway to provide specialist operational and technical knowledge to ensure the long-term future of 4VEP No. 3417. The SETG's stated aim is to "Return 4VEP No. 3417 to Mainline Operation."

About Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier Transportation, a global leader in rail technology, offers the broadest portfolio in the rail industry and delivers innovative products and services that set new standards in sustainable mobility. BOMBARDIER* ECO4* technologies – built on the four cornerstones of energy, efficiency, economy and ecology – conserve energy, protect the environment and help to improve total train performance for operators and passengers. Bombardier Transportation is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and has a very diverse customer base with products or services in more than 60 countries. It has an installed base of over 100,000 vehicles worldwide.

About Bombardier

Bombardier is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.

Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indices. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, we posted revenues of $18.2 billion. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

Notes to Editors

Follow Bombardier Transportation on Twitter @BombardierRail.

BOMBARDIER and ECO4 are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.

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