Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Class 319 (BREL York Cross-Country "Thameslink" 4-car)

The Class 319 EMUs were built for "Thameslink" cross-London services in the late 1980s being dual voltage so they could operate North and South of the river [1]. The 319 is based on the Class 317 EMU though has a modified front end without a gangway connection, it retains a door for emergency evacuation in tunnels as they have to travel through such especially when crossing London.

Information
Number built: 344 (86 4-car sets)
Built: 1987-90
Builder: BREL York
Engine: 4 GEC G315BZ traction motors (750V DC third rail or 25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 1, 327 hp (990 kW)
Formation: 319/0: Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)+
Motor Standard Open (MSO)+Trailer Standard Open Lavatory
(TSOL)+DTSO
319/1: Driving Trailer Composite Open (DTCO)+MSO+TSOL+DTSO

The class was built in 2 batches, 319/0 and 319/1 which had some first class accommodation plus an improved pantograph. In the 1990s some 319/0s were converted to 319/2 standard with low-density seating and a disabled toilet for London Victoria services through to Brighton. Some 319/1s have also had their first class seating removed during refurbishment to become 319/3. Some 319/0s have also had first class seating added and a lower density seating arrangement for Bedford-Brighton services as 319/4.

One feature unique to 319s was an area behind one of the cabs was fitted with fold down seats and made securable a lockable door in order to carry mail [2]. This area was removed during refurbishment and the ceasing of transporting mail by train.


Class 319s remain on Thameslink services though they are in the process of being replaced by the Class 700 [3]. There is much life remaining in these units though and a number have already been cascaded to the North West (Northern) and South Midlands (London Midland). They could also have a new life as electro-diesel or bi-mode multiple units! A bi-mode version of the 319 called the 319 Flex (Class 769) is currently being developed by Brush. Diesel engines and alternators will be carried under the driving cars and these would feed the unit's traction motors with the electricity needed when away from third rail or overhead lines. It is hoped the Class 769 will enter passenger service with Northern and elsewhere in Spring 2018 [4][5].

One notable event in the life of the 319s came in 1994 when 319 008 and 319 009 became the first trains to carry passengers through the Channel Tunnel [6].
Northern 319 377 at Liverpool Lime Street

Northern 319 367 at St Helens Central

London Midland 319 457 at Milton Keynes Central

Northern 319 371 at Huyton

Northern 319 383 and 319 377 at Liverpool Lime Street

Thameslink 319 433 at Blackfriars

[1] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 85
[2] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 251
[3] "Class 700s Branch Out", Railways Illustrated No. 161 (July 2016)
[4] "B-Mode Class 319 Flex from Porterbrook", Railways Illustrated No. 169 (March 2017)
[5] "Northern to get bi-modes", Modern Railways (February 2017)
[6] Southern E-Group: Class 319 <http://www.semgonline.com/gallery/class319_01.html>