Remembering the MLV Motor Luggage Vans

Remembering the MLV Motor Luggage Vans

If I were to call this item a review I fear I would not do justice to the excellent article in the Model Rail magazine.  This is perhaps more a chance to share with you yet another astounding model from Bachmann’s ever growing stable of MK1 based Southern Region EMU stock.  As well as permitting myself the indulgence of some unashamed nostalgia.

In the latish 70s my parents had the job of emptying the home of my grand mother as she moved to a retirement home.  The flat she lived in was full of priceless Crown Darby china in the most ridiculously fragile glass cabinets and stuffy antiques.

Not then an ideal place for an 11 year old visually impaired boy who’s mission was to fiddle with anything he could lay his hands on. As for the hand cranked record player with its delicate wax disks “no! no! no!”

All was not lost.  This was Ashford, home of everything Southern so without the cost of an expensive day out I was given some sandwiches and sent to spend the day on the station.

At the time I was fanatical and perhaps still am about anything in corporate livery.  It didn’t really matter what it was as long as there was plenty of it! Ashford’s busy station certainly had plenty to satisfy.  I had no idea about TOPS or what train spotting involved.  It was just the sheer pleasure of watching and listening to life at a busy station.

For one reason or another I was specially enthralled by the recorded train announcer as She intoned the immortal words Platform 2 for the Dover Priory and Ramsgate service.“  ”This train will be divided here, please stand clear whilst the division is being made.” Lots of two-tones and escaping air and as if by magic two trains where there had just been one. Passengers scurrying around attempting to work out what part of the train they should be in. The days of internal PA and on-board customer information had yet to arrive!

Motor Luggage Van Bachmann
The Bachmann MLV has excellent front detailing with directional destination blinds, detailed brake pipes and jumper cables, and sprung buffers.

To the 419s!

Something that stood out about Ashford where the centre lines and the clamber as the boat train would come storming through. I would diligently count the coaches, “1,2,3,4….” Sometimes if I was in luck a mysterious 13th coach would be seen at one end of the train, making its own particular sound.

Bachmann Motor Luggage Van
The Bachmann MLV is fitted with 3rd rail contact shoes. Detailing on the model is exquisite.

Much bemused with these odd motorised coaches I endlessly pestered the staff to tell me what there were, what they did? When could I ride on one? and When would one stop on a passenger train that called at Ashford?  “What, they’re just MLVs.”  I was none the wiser but just as fascinated.  It would not be for a couple of years had passed I would finally discover the purpose of those odd 13th coaches.

The last time I saw then in action was 1989 when I was invited to a church mission.  By this time they could be seen in the exotic LSE and NSE liveries still racing through with the boat trains.  But all this would come to and end as Ashford station was remodelled and another type of train would race through bound for the continent without the need for a Motor Luggage Van!”

Bachmann MLV side photo
A look at the cab side detailing of the Bachmann Motor Luggage Van, fitted with sprung buffers and NEM style couplers.

Once again, Bachmann have done an astounding job of producing a replica of the historic Motor Luggage Van. We definitely recommend this model, whether you are modelling this region/era or not!

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