Sunday, 24 September 2017

Class 321 (BREL York ER/LMR Outer Suburban Services)

The Class 321 was built for Network South East for services out of Liverpool Street into Essex along the Great Eastern Main Line. A second batch was built for semi-fast services between Euston and Birmingham on the West Coast Main Line [1]. A third and final batch was built for West Yorkshire PTE services between Doncaster and York. Two sister classes were also built, the Class 320 for services in the Strathclyde area and the Class 322 for the Stansted Express [2]. The DC EMU Class 456 also has a similar appearance.

Following the negative reaction in some quarters to earlier EMUs built in the 1980s the Class 321 had a deal of attention paid to its external appearance with the aim to produce a train "eye catching" on the outside and comfortable on the inside [3].

Information
Number built: 468 (117 4-car units)
Built: 1988-90
Builder: BREL York
Engine: 4 Brush TM2141B traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 1, 438 hp (1, 072 kW)
Formation: (321/3) Driving Trailer Composite Open (DTCO)+Motor Standard
Open (MSO)+Trailer Standard Open Lavatory (TSOL)+
Driving Trailer Standard Open (DTSO)

The original NSE batch became known as the 321/3 with the London Midland batch the 321/4 (they have more first class seats than the 321/3s [4]) and the Yorkshire units 321/9. Unlike the other sub-classes these units did not have first class seating and so had 2 DTSOs instead of a DTCO and a DTSO.

321/3s still work on the Great Eastern route, thirty of the units are receiving a "Renatus" refurbishment and upgrade which includes new air conditioning, seating and wi-fi. Some 321/4s have been transferred to bolster the 321/3 fleet.

Class 321s are currently operated by Greater Anglia and Northern. Both fleets are due for replacement by new build EMUs at the end of the decade.
Greater Anglia (but in Great Northern livery) 321 408 at Romford

321 408 heads off Colchester bound

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 256
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 236
[3] Alec Swain, Overhead Line Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1990) p. 76
[4] John Glover, Eastern Electric (Ian Allan, 2001) p. 131