[align=center]Bournemouth line modernisation.[/align] [align=center] [/align] [align=center](A possible alternative.)[/align] Many of us are familiar with the former Southern region’s class 33 and 4TC used on non-electrified lines. In particular the Weymouth extension. The electric trains would leave Waterloo making their way to Bournemouth where the train would be divided and a class 33 would attach to the front for its forward journey. This proved to be a moderate success as the engines could be used on other duties when not operating the push-pull trains. The downside to this was when not attached to a locomotive or in formation with a 4REP the coaches were of little use having no form of self-propulsion. However things could have taken quite a different turn had plans been carried forward for proposals of an alternative type of traction? A set of drawings and design drafts unearthed from the estate, of a former senior British Railways designer offer a unique perspective on the subject. . The family have asked to remain anonymous but have released proposals that could have seen use of dedicated diesel-electric multiple units (DEMUs) being utilised throughout the SR for main line operation similar but more powerful than in use on the Hastings route. By this time the SR had gained considerable experience with mainline DEMUs on the Hastings line and other types on branches and cross-country routes. The drawings point to a similar arrangement as the Hastings units but with a more powerful prime mover. English Electric had been approached on a preliminary basis with a view to supplying equipment that would be able to develop power to propel four coach sets at up to 90 mph. Due to the configuration of the trains there would be only one gangway on each unit. Early sketches suggest the country end of the train would have no gangway, as this would be the end of the coach where the engine-room and guards accommodation were located. The inner ends would have a standard multiple unit type gangways to allow Weymouth passengers to use the refreshment facilities on the rest of the train. The trains would have been built to the standard MK1 profile and a working classification was given as 4-DEP or 4-Diesel Electric Pneumatic. A numbering scheme of 19xx would have been used to denote the difference from their Sussex coast sisters! The thinking at the time of these plans proposed the use of more dedicated mainline units being used on the SR on non electrified lines including the West of England main and better services between Portsmouth, Bristol and Cardiff. Although these trains would not have a catering vehicle included the plans show it would have been possible to install a micro-buffet should it be decided there was the necessary uptake. They could also be used much as the 159s are now used being able to run longer trains to Salisbury and divide there. They would also prove useful when the electricity was turned off on other mainlines during engineering work. Although the project never reached fruition it is interesting to observe the idea of DEMUs on the mainline was not altogether forgotten with the demonstrator 210s used on the WR in the 80s. Friday, 1 April 2016.