Class 323

The Class 323 is a fleet of high-density electric multiple units built in the early 1990s for British Rail. They were built to replace older EMUs coming to the ends of their lives and to supply the Birmingham Cross-City Line which was finally being electrified [1]. Forty three 3-car units were built by Hunslet Transportation Projects during 1992-3 for the Cross City Line and the North West for services to Manchester Airport.

Number built: 129 (43 3-car sets)
Built: 1992-93
Builder: Hunslet TPL
Engine: 4 Holec DMKT 52/24 traction motors (25kV AC OHLE)
Power: 1, 566 hp (1, 168 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+Pantograph Trailer
Standard Open Lavatory (PTSOL)+DMSO

The Class 323 proved unreliable when first delivered, the traction package causing a number of problems especially with cooling, and it was a couple of years after delivery before they became fully operational. Later on however Northern's fleet won awards for its reliability.

Twenty six sets currently serve with West Midlands Railway (previously London Midland) and seventeen with Northern Rail, operating on electrified commuter lines around Birmingham and Manchester. The EMUs have just completed a retractioning programme replacing the original Gate Turn-Off thyristor equipment with a more advanced Integrated Gate Bipolar Transistor set-up [2]. West Midlands Railway's 323s are due for replacement in a couple of years with a Bombardier Aventra family EMU.
Northern 323 239 at Crewe

LM 323 208 at Erdington

LM 323 243 at Smethwick Rolfe Street

WMR 323 210 at Alvechurch 
LM 323 212 at Duddeston

LM 323 214 at Redditch

[1] Colin J. Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 262
[2] Ian Walmsley, "A traction heart transplant", Modern Railways (March 2017) p. 43

North Eastern Railway 3-12 / Class EB1

The North Eastern Railway was pioneer of electric traction in Britain. Following on from the construction of a couple of electric shunting engines built in the early twentieth century (the Class ES1) the NER electrified an eighteen and a half mile long freight line between Shildon and Newport County Durham [2] (which included part of the original Stockton & Darlington Railway). The line was electrified to 1500v DC overhead and a fleet of ten Bo-Bo electric locomotives was built for it. These were the first mainline electric locomotives built for 1500v DC in Britain. They were built in-house at NER's Darlington works with electrical equipment supplied by the Siemens factory in Stafford [3]. The locomotives had a low top speed (45 mp/h) though usually ran at 25 mp/h and could haul a train of 1,400 tons [4].

Number built: 10
Built: 1914
Builder: NER Darlington
Engine: 4 Siemens traction motors (1500v DC OHLE)
Power: 1, 100 hp (820 kW)
(Class EB1) 1, 256 hp (937 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Unfortunately a decline in coal traffic throughout the 1920s made using electric locomotives on the line uneconomic. The catenary needed replacement by the mid-1930s, the decision was made to revert to steam traction in 1935 [5]. The locomotives were withdrawn though one did survive as a shunter used at the Ilford carriage sidings. For this role it's power output was raised. It survived into British Railway use and became known as the Class EB1. It was finally withdrawn in 1964 when the electrification was converted to AC [7].
Public domain image [1]

View of the catenary in a freight yard, public domain image [6]
[1] "Electrification of an English Freight Line", Electric Railway Journal Vol. XLVIII No. 1 (July 1916) p. 5
[2] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 7
[3] Electric Railway Journal p. 4
[4] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Trains and Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1986) p. 57
[5] Haresnape p. 9
[6] Electric Railway Journal p. 7
[7] Paul Smith & Shirley Smith, British Rail Departmental Locomotives 1948-1968 (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 26

Class 156 (Metro-Cammell Provincial Sector 2-Car)

The Class 156 was the largest class of "Super Sprinter" built for the Regional Railways arm of British Rail. The units replaced first generation DMUs and loco hauled trains. The Class 156 has a low-density layout [1] designed for outer suburban and regional routes, it is similar to the Class 153 and 155 DMUs with much of the same equipment [2].

Number built: 228 (114 2-car sets)
Built: 1987-89
Builder: Metro Cammell
Engine: Cummins NT855R5 diesel per car
Power: 520 hp (426 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL)+Driving Motor Standard (DMS)

They are currently operated by East Midlands Trains, ScotRail, Greater Anglia and Northern. They have also been operated by a number of earlier companies including Central Trains and originally British Rail of course. They are among the most reliable trains in service today.

British Rail considered converting some Class 156s to single-car DMUs as the Class 152 for branch lines but in the end Class 155s were converted instead to form the Class 153.
EMT 156 404 at Leicester

Northern 156 426 at Liverpool Lime Street

EMT 156 408 at Ambergate

Northern 156 455 (and 142 021) at Liverpool Lime Street

EMT 156 410 at Whatstandwell

EMT 156 470 at Derby
[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 138
[2] Brian Haresnape, Diesel Multiple Units: The Second Generation & DEMUs (Ian Allan, 1986) p. 79

Class 374 Eurostar e320

The Class 374 is the second-generation of unit used on Eurostar services. Eurostar began looking for new stock in the early 2000s as the existing Eurostar e300 Class 373 could be used on a wider range of European networks such as routes electrified using German 15kV AC and Dutch 1.5kV DC overhead wires [1]. The older Eurostar sets also could not be fitted with ERTMS signalling equipment. The Class 374 e320 (the 320 due to the fact it can travel at up to 320 kph) has supplemented around half of the 373 fleet.

Number built: 272 (17 16-car sets)
Built: 2012-18
Builder: Siemens
Engine: Siemens traction equipment (25/15 kV AC / 1.5/3 kV DC OHLE)
Power: 10, 782 hp (8, 000 kW) AC
5, 632 hp (4, 200 kw) DC
Formation: Driving Motor First Open (DMFO)+Trailer Brake First Open (TBFO)+
Motor First Open (MFO)+Trailer Standard Open (TSO)+TSO+MSO+
TSO+Motor Standard Open Restaurant Brake (MSORB) [x2]

The Class 374 consists of eight car half-sets which operate in pairs with the two driving cars at either end. The Class 374 is part of Siemens Velaro high speed train family though with the traction equipment distributed throughout the train for safety whilst travelling in the Channel Tunnel (this has also allowed the 374 to have a greater passenger carrying capacity than the 373). This safety requirement was key to Alstom when they challenged Eurostar awarding Siemens the contract saying the Velaro broke Channel Tunnel safety rules. However the European Commission rejected this argument and Alstom dropped their legal action.

The original order was for ten sets though an extra seven sets was ordered later on. The Class 374 entered service in 2015, the first of the new extended routes through to Amsterdam was launched in April 2018 [2].
Class 374 left and 373 right at St Pancras International

374 016 at St Pancras International

Two 374s at St Pancras International

[1] Colin J Marsden (ed.), "Siemens Class 374 (e320) Stock", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 227 October-November 2017 (Eurostar Stock) p. 72
[2] "Eurostar to Amsterdam in April", Modern Railways (March 2018) p. 12

Class 43 (High Speed Train)

The High Speed Train (HST), powered by a Class 43 powercar at either end of the train, is the most successful diesel powered high speed train in the world. It bought 125mp/h speeds to InterCity expresses in the late 1970s, helping to revitalise long-distance rail travel when it was at a low ebb. Indeed it is not an exaggeration to say the HST changed the face of rail travel in the UK once and for all and helped stem a seemingly unstoppable decline. The futuristic streamlined shape of the power cars (surely a British design classic) quickly became the face of BR publicity [1]. They were an instant hit with the public with passenger numbers on the HST services rising by fifteen percent within the first 2 months of operation. The HST still holds the official speed record for a diesel hauled passenger train of 148 mp/h.

The Intercity 125 High Speed Train was introduced in October 1976 [2] following trials earlier in the decade with the prototype HST Class 41/252. Originally the HST was designated a diesel electric multiple unit with units allocated to Western Region numbered Class 253 and those on Eastern Region Class 254.

However in the 1980s the power cars were allocated the TOPS number Class 43 (the original Class 43 was the "Warship" diesel-hydraulic locomotive), they are after all proper locomotives capable of independent operation, the Mark 3 coaches they haul/propel do differ from loco-hauled Mark 3s with different electric systems and a lack of buffers and can only work properly with Class 43s. The Class 43 only has a driving cab at the streamlined end, the prototype Class 41 also has auxiliary cab controls for shunting at the other end.

Number built: 197
Built: 1976-82
Builder: BREL Crewe
Refurbished by Brush Traction (2006-9)
Engine: (Original) Paxman Valenta 12RP200L diesel
(Refurbished) Paxman 12VP185 or MTU 16V4000 R41R diesels
Power: (Valenta) 2, 250 hp (1, 678 kW)
(12VP185) 2, 100 hp (1, 565 kW)
(MTU) 2, 250 hp (1, 676 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

Ironically the HST only came about because of a lack of funds for electrification of more main line routes after the completion of the WCML [3]. The HST was devised as a stop-gap... that has so far lasted forty years! Although they have been slowly replaced from some of their original routes they have been cascaded onto other routes and many should continue to serve well into the 2020s. In the mid to late 2000s the fleet was heavily refurbished with the original Paxman engines replaced mostly by MTU units [4] though some have also been fitted with Paxman VP185 diesels since the early 1990s. Despite forty years and millions of miles of travel only a handful of Class 43s have been withdrawn, and those due to collision damage.

The Class 43 has also been exported to Australia where power cars heavily based on the Class 43s powered the XPT which is still in service [5]. In the late 1980s a small number of Class 43s were taken out of service, fitted with buffers, and formed driving van trailers for the new Class 91 which replaced the HST on the newly electrified East Coast Main Line. Once purpose built DVTs had been built the modified Class 43s were returned to service [6].

The Class 43 currently serves with GWR, Cross Country, East Midland Trains, Virgin East Coast and Grand Central and has served with a number of other TOCs too in the privatised era. Some cars are also in service with Network Rail in the New Measurement Train. Replacements in the form of the new 8xx series IEPs are being built though the HST will remain a fixture on British rails well into the next decade. Refurbished shorter sets are being used to revitalise Scottish and South West England intercity routes.
Cross Country 43 384 at Derby

GWR 43 002 (repainted in original BR livery) at London Paddington

East Midlands Trains 43 055 at Nottingham 
Cab side view of 43 002

GWR 43 185 repainted in BR Intercity livery at London Paddington

The New Measurement Train at Sheffield

[1] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988) p. 99
[2] Brian Haresnape, High Speed Trains (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 51
[3] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), "The Production HSTs", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No. 208 August-September 2014 (The HST Part 1: The BR Days) p. 28 
[4] Colin J. Marsden, Traction Recognition (Second Edition) (Ian Allan, 2009) p. 34
[5] Marsden, MLI 208 p. 71
[6] Marsden, Traction p. 36

Waterloo & City Line Shunter 75S

As well as electrical equipment for the Waterloo & City Railway Siemens Brothers were also contracted by the LSWR to built a small electric shunter for use on the self-contained underground line [1]. 75S (as it was numbered by the Southern Railway, British Railways later renumbered it DS75) spent all of it's working life underground. The locomotive was used for the shunting of Waterloo & City Stock and also hauling wagonloads of coal which had been bought down the Armstrong Lift up the line for the power station.

Number built: 1
Built: 1898
Builder: Siemens
Engine: 2 Siemens traction motors (530-600v DC third rail)
Power: 120 hp (90 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 4w

75S had a driving cab at only one end and had two nose-suspended traction motors of the same type used on the passenger stock [2] with air brakes fed from a reservoir. It remained in service until 1969 and has been preserved by the National Railway Museum. A second electric locomotive (74S later DS74), a larger Bo-Bo type with a central steeple-cab was also built for the line though was moved to work on the surface at Wimbledon in 1915 [3].
75S as preserved at NRM Shildon in Southern Railways livery
Another view of 75S
[1] Colin J Marsden, Diesel & Electric Locomotive Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2011) p. 245
[2] John C. Gillham, The Waterloo & City Railway (Oakwood Press, 2001) p. 133
[3] R.L. Vickers, DC Electric Trains & Locomotives in the British Isles (David & Charles, 1986) p. 23

Class 03 (British Railways 204hp Diesel-Mechanical)

After purchasing a number of small and smallish fleets of privately built diesel mechanical shunters British Railways finally decided to build a "standard" type, the resulting Class 03 ended up being very similar to the Drewry built Class 04 [1]. The Class 03s served with British Rail for many years, outlasting all other shunters except for the standard diesel-electrics (Class 08/09). Although much of their work disappeared in the 1970s and 1980s as the nature of the freight sector changed they continued to have a role where their small size meant larger locomotives were unsuitable and the last was not withdrawn until 2008 [2].

Number built: 230
Built: 1957-61
Builder: BR Swindon and Doncaster
Engine: Gardner 8L3 diesel
Power: 204 hp (152 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 0-6-0

A good number have seen further use after British Rail with industrial users and no fewer than fifty-five have been preserved. Although primarily for shunting (and trip work) Class 03s did occasionally haul passenger trains though these tended to be special workings such as taking Channel Island boat trains up to Weymouth harbour where the line ran through the streets [3] and unadvertised special services for workers [4].
03 073 at Crewe Heritage Centre

D2059 at Havenstreet, Isle of Wight Steam Railway

03 180 at Rowsley South, Heritage Shunters Trust

D2090 at NRM Shildon

03 099 at Rowsley South, Heritage Shunters Trust

[1] Brian Haresnape, Diesel Shunters (Ian Allan, 1984) p. 56
[2] Colin J. Marsden (ed.), "BR Class 03 0-6-0 DMs", Modern Locomotives Illustrated No 217 February-March 2016 (SR, GW, LNER, LMS & Trial Shunters & Class 03s), p. 67
[3] Haresnape, Shunters p. 20
[4] Michael Welch, Diesels on the Western (Capital Transport, 2013) p. 18

Birmingham Corporation Tramways 301 Class

The Birmingham Corporation Tramways street car network was the fourth largest in Britain. Unlike most other tram networks it was to 3ft 6in narrow gauge (and was the largest narrow gauge tram network [1]). The 301 Class was built for an expansion of the network in 1911 for routes Birmingham Corporation Tramways had taken over to Handsworth, Selly Oak and Kings Norton [3]. However the 301 Class was also slightly lower than earlier trams (and a bit longer) to allow it to pass under a low bridge at Aston. This became the standard height for subsequent trams.

Number built: 100
Built: 1911
Builder: United Electric Car Company / Dick, Kerr & Company
Engine: 2 DK13A traction motors (550v DC OLHE [2])
Power: 80 hp (60 kW)

The 301 Class introduced a number of new features which later became standard across the fleet, the design taking advantage of operational experience gained from earlier types. The 301 Class had interpole electric motors (which were better for tram cars with electric braking and which were used on more challenging routes [4]). They also had notch regulator controllers, a new type of Westinghouse magnetic brake and some flexibility in the movement of the axles.

The original order for the 301 Class was for sixty cars with the car bodies built by the United Electric Car Company and equipment by Dick, Kerr. Another forty cars were ordered to replace cars inherited from the companies Birmingham Corporation Tramways had taken over which were found to be in a poor condition [5].

Some cars were converted into single deckers in the First World War though later converted back as the routes they were being used on saw passenger increases. Most of the fleet remained intact until the Second World War though post-war withdrawals began in earnest and the 301 Class ended service in 1950. Car 395 was saved from scrapping (one of only two Birmingham trams to survive) and since 1953 has been in Birmingham Science Museum / Thinktank.
395 preserved at Thinktank

View of 395's roof

Notice the staircase

Upper floor was open at both ends on this class of tram


Guards at the front and sides

[1] P.W. Lawson, Birmingham Corporation Tramway Rolling Stock (Birmingham Transport Historical Group, 1983) p. 13 
[2] “New power station at Birmingham, England”, Street Railway Journal December 1906 Vol. XXVIII No.22 p. 1043 [3]
[3] Lawson p. 43
[4] Lawson p. 192
[5] Lawson p. 45

London Underground 1992 Tube Stock (Central Line)

The 1992 Tube Stock (1992TS) was built for the Central Line in the early 1990s to replace ageing 1962 Tube Stock. As well as for the Central Line an order of stock was added for the Waterloo & City Line too, then still British Rail owned, as the Class 482. The 1992TS is based on the three 1986 Prototype Tube Stock trains which ran a series of trials in the late 1980s [1]. They were the first production tube stock fitted with solid state traction equipment [2].

Number built: 680 cars (8-car sets)
Built: 1991-94
Builder: BREL Derby / ABB Derby
Engine: 4 Brush LT130 traction motors per car (630v DC fourth rail)
Power: 1, 984 hp (1, 472 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor (DM)+Non Driving Motor (NDM)+NDM+NDM+NDM+NDM+NDM+DM

Eighty five eight-car sets were built for the Central Line making up six hundred and eighty cars in total, one hundred and seventy five being Driving Motors and the rest Non Driving Motors. Some NDMs are also fitted with de-icing equipment. The make-up of an eight-car formation can vary though DMs are always at the outer ends of course. The NDMs lack cabs but do have shunting controls accessible via an external cabinet.

The 1992TS has not been a trouble-free design for London Underground, despite the fact it was based on years of work with the prototype fleet there were a number of teething problems that delayed and hindered the entry into service. In 2003 a train of 1992TS derailed at Chancery Lane, after a traction motor became detached from one of the bogies following a sheered bolt, injuring thirty-two passengers [3][4]. The entire fleet was taken out of service (both Central and Waterloo & City fleets) for bolts to be checked and faulty ones replaced. In 2010-11 the bogies were replaced by a new design by Siemens [5]. However the 1992TS is the worst performing fleet on LU in terms of reliability and availability [6].

The 1992 Tube Stock fleet will be replaced as part of Deep Tube Upgrade in the next decade, under current plans the 92TS fleet will be replaced near the end of the 2020s or early in the 2030s [7]. To keep the fleet going until then the Central Line Improvement Programme (CLIP) will be carried out in the next few years by Bombardier. The upgrade includes replacing the DC traction system with a Mitrac AC system [8], on board computer, communication system and refreshing and updating the interior to make it RVAR compliant.
91325 at Ealing Broadway

91013 at Leytonstone

Aboard a DM

Departing Mile End heading West

91289 at White City

91101 arrives at East Acton
[1] John Glover, ABC London Underground (Ian Allan, 1997) p. 64
[2] Piers Connor, The London Underground Electric Train (Crowood Press, 2015)  p. 105
[3] "Thirty hurt after Tube crash" BBC News <>
[4] John Glover, London's Underground 12th Edition (Ian Allan, 2015) p. 76
[5] Connor p. 105
[6] Central Line Heavy Overhaul Programme Lift (TfL Paper) <>
[7] Kim Rennie, Underground and Overground Trains (Capital Transport, 2017) p. 19
[8] "Bombardier for Central Line retractioning", Modern Railways (October 2017) p. 83

Class 42 (BR Swindon Type 4 2,200hp Diesel-Hydraulic)

With electrification a distant dream (indeed still yet to be fully realised in 2018) British Rail's Western Region turned to continental style light weight diesel-hydraulic locomotives with fast-running engines in the 1950s to replace steam. The Class 42 was a licence-built version of German Federal Railway's V200 locomotive [1], modified to fit in the smaller British loading gauge. Two batches of locomotive were built, the Swindon built Maybach powered Class 42 and the North British Locomotives built MAN powered Class 43.

Number built: 38
Built: 1958-61
Builder: BR Swindon
Engine: 2 Bristol Siddeley Maybach MD650 diesels
Power: 2, 200 hp (1, 641 kW)
Wheel arrangement: B-B

The Class 42 was powered by two Maybach diesels built under licence by Bristol Siddeley. The first few locomotives were limited to 2,000hp due to limitations with the transmission though most of the class was rated at 2,200hp. One locomotive was fitted with a pair of Paxman 12YJXL diesels and was rated at 2,400hp. The Class 42 looked very similar to the V200 class though originally British Railways wanted it to look different, their designs were later used on the Class 52 [2].

The locomotives had a successful entry into service, Western Region found they could comfortably handle heavier trains than the Class 40. However there were problems with riding at high speeds which resulted in speed restrictions until bogie modifications could be carried out in 1960 [3]. Most of the class were named after Royal Navy ships and hence the nickname of the class became "Warships".

As with the other diesel-hydraulic designs the Class 42 was doomed once British Rail, in it's drive for standardisation and rationalisation, had sufficient diesel-electric motive power to take over their duties. Withdrawals began in 1968 and were completed by 1972 [4]. Two Class 42s have been preserved.
D832 Onslaught at Wirksworth

818 in BR blue (KD Collection)

D832 at Duffield

D832 brings a train into Wirksworth

[1] John Jennison & Tony Sheffield, Diesel Hydraulics of the 1960s and 1970s (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 4
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 107
[3] Brian Haresnape, Western Region Diesel-Hydraulics (Ian Allan, 1982) p. 28
[4] Pip Dunn, British Rail Main Line Locomotive Specification Guide (Crowood Press, 2013) p. 80

Class 172 Turbostar

The Class 172 is a member of the Turbostar family (such as the Classes 170 and 171). It is similar to the Class 170 but has diesel-mechanical transmission and a more austere interior to suit inner-suburban routes. They are also lighter due to a different bogie being used.

They were ordered for London Overground, Chiltern Railways and London Midland (now West Midlands Railway) [1] The London Overground sets are likely to be cascaded elsewhere once electrification of the Gospel Oak-Barking Line they operate on is completed. Chiltern 172s cannot be fitted with tripcocks (a safety system used by London Underground) unlike their other DMUs because of the bogies used which means they cannot operate on the Aylesbury via Amersham Line unless running with another so-equipped DMU.

Number built: 117 (39 2 or 3 car sets)
Built: 2010-11
Builder: Bombardier Derby
Engine: MTU 6H1800R83 diesel per vehicle
Power: 968hp (720kW) / 1, 449hp (1, 080kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Standard (DMS)+DMS or
DMS+Driving Motor Standard Lavatory (DMSL) or
DMSL+Motor Standard (MS)+DMS

It is in service with London Overground (Class 172/0), Chiltern Railways (Class 172/1) and West Midlands Railways (Class 172/2 and 172/3). The London Midland examples have end-gangways in the Electrostar style. The 172/3 are 3-car sets with the other sub-classes being 2-car.
Chiltern 172 104 at Princes Risborough

London Midland (as it was then) 172 331 at Worcester Shrub Hill

West Midlands Railway 172 339 at Birmingham Snow Hill 
LM 172 335 and 332 at Birmingham Moor Street

London Overground 172 008 at Gospel Oak

WMR 172 335 at Dorridge

[1] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 162