British Rail Class 403

British Rail Class 403

Infobox DMU
name = British Rail Class 403

imagesize = 300px
caption = Former 5Bel carriage, 284 "Vera" at London Victoria on 15th August 2003. This car was previously in unit 3052, and is now owned and operated by VSOE
background = #D5005E
Manufacturer = Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company
Formation = Power car + 3 trailers + power car
Built = Unknown
InService = 1932-1972
Weight = Total - 249 tons
Capacity =
MaxSpeed = 75mph 121km/h
Brakes = Air
Engine = 8 x 225 hp traction motors
total 1,800 hp (1,343 kW)
Operator = Southern Railway and British Railways|

The Southern Railway (SR) gave the designation 5Bel to the 5-car all-Pullman electric multiple units built to work the prestigious Brighton Belle trains between London Victoria and Brighton. These units survived long enough in British Rail ownership to be allocated TOPS Class 403. Between 1933 and 1935, these units were designated 5Pul (the Pul code was then used for the 6Pul units).


The SR electrified the London Victoria to Brighton line in the early-1930s, and full electric services commenced over the route from 1 January 1933. For the high-profile "Brighton Belle" Pullman train, three five-car units, consisting entirely of Pullman cars, were built. All fifteen cars were built by Metropolitan Cammell.

As they were Pullman cars, owned by the independent Pullman Car Company, the individual carriages were numbered in its series, taking numbers 279 to 293, and named. The first class cars took ladies' names, while the third class cars had less-inspiring "Car No xx"-style names. However, the units together were allocated numbers in the SR series, originally taking 2051-2053, which was revised in January 1937 to 3051-3053.


Initial formations of these units were as follows:

Withdrawal and preservation

The last "Brighton Belle" train ran on 30 April 1972, and the three 5Bel units were withdrawn. However, all fifteen cars were sold into preservation, though none were kept together as a single unit. Instead they have been split up and are used as individual Pullman cars. A number have been returned to service on the mainline with the Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE), forming the British Pullman charter train. The table below sets out the current position:

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