25kV AC EMUs

303048 Coppenhall Moss 12 October 1991

303048 passes Coppenhall Moss on 12 October 1991 with a Crewe to Liverpool Lime Street shuttle service, in connection with the Crewe Open Day. This particular unit had been repainted into the original 'Glasgow Blue Train' livery, and it certainly shows up well, even in these awful weather conditions. I will have to make do with this technically poor picture, as I never did see another Class 303 in operation on the mainline. 303048 was scrapped in 1996 due to asbestos contamination, but the class lingered on in their homeland of Scotland until 2002.

304009 Long Marston 29 March 1996

304009 is a long way from its former home and well away from any 25kV overhead wires, as it brings up the rear of a convoy of condemned stock arriving at Long Marston on 29 March 1996 behind 47766 Resolute. The other two units are 304017 & 304004, all destined for secure storage within the former Army Depot. March 1996 was the last month in traffic for these vintage units.

304012 Slade Heath 10 March 1984

If it wasn't for the yellow front end, you would almost think that this was a monochrome photograph, such is the drabness of the surroundings and the weather! 304012 heads north at Slade Heath on 10 March 1984 with the 09:35 Birmingham New Street to Stafford local service. Although I prefer to take pictures in full sunshine, I believe it is important to take a few in less than ideal conditions to give a sense of variety. In any case, I have very few pictures of Class 304s and as they were all withdrawn by 1996 and scrapped by 2000, I am not likely to get any more!

305519 Drem 4 October 2001

I only have a single picture of a Class 305 at work on the national network, and that was taken right at the very end of their career. In its last few weeks of revenue earning service, 305519 calls at Drem on 4 October 2001 with the 11:40 Edinburgh to North Berwick ScotRail service. Despite the filthy state of the unit, it is still possible to see the incorrect Edinburgh Waverley destination on the full resolution scan of the original 35mm Fujichrome transparency. The 305s were introduced in 1959 for suburban services on the Eastern Region, out of Liverpool Street. Some units moved to Manchester in the 1980s, and five units moved to Scotland in 1991. The final Class 305 working was in January 2002. They have all now been scrapped.

306017 Cressing 4 October 1998

306017 passes the fixed distant signal at Cressing on 4 October 1998, as it works the 12:06 Braintree to Witham service, in connection with the 150th anniversary of the line. Perhaps the vintage preserved unit doesn't have Witham as one of the locations on its destination blind, but 'Depot' hardly seems like an appropriate alternative!

306017 Witham 4 October 1998

The LNER designed Class 306 units were introduced in 1949 for London suburban services and originally used the 1500V DC system, being converted to 25kV AC operation in the early 1960s. The class was withdrawn in the 1980s, with one unit escaping the cutter's torch. In an approximation of the original green livery, preserved 306017 (with DMSO E65217 leading) rounds the sharp curve from Witham station on the Braintree branch with the 13:28 Witham to Braintree service on 4 October 1998. The use of this vintage train on this particular Sunday was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Braintree line which was constructed by the Eastern Counties Railway.

307109 Margaretting 8 May 1985

307109 leads the 10:38 Braintree to Liverpool Street service past Margaretting on 8 May 1985. Quite why the destination blind is showing Chelmsford, when it has just a few minutes ago passed through that town is unclear! Originally introduced in 1953, the Class 307s were the mainstay of East Anglian outer suburban services until the early 1990s. Ironically the last few units saw out their final days in West Yorkshire. Out of the original 32 four car sets, only two individual vehicles now survive.

308137 Skipton 13 July 1996

308137 stands in the bay platform at Skipton on 13 July 1996 prior to working the 19:31 Regional Railways North East service to Bradford Forster Square service. These units were built between 1959 and 1961 for commuter services in the Essex area. Only later in their career did the venture further afield. The last one was withdrawn in 2001.

309613 Slindon 15 May 1997

Catching the very last rays of the setting sun, 309613 passes Slindon on 15 May 1997 with the 19:06 Birmingham New Street to Manchester Airport Regional Railways North West service. It was only in their last years that the Class 309 'Clacton' units strayed away from their original Essex home. At least by 1997 the units working in the Manchester area had acquired an appropriate livery, rather than the out of place  Network SouthEast colour scheme that they were painted in when they were first transferred.

309624 Holmes Chapel 10 June 1994

The Class 309 'Clacton' units spent most of their life in Essex, hence their nickname, but at the end of the class's career some of the units moved north and ended their days working for Regional Railways North West. On 10 June 1994, shortly after their relocation, 309624 arrives at Holme Chapel with the 17:16 Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe service. The Network SouthEast livery is hardly appropriate for the Manchester area, and even though the units only had a limited life left, they were soon repainted into more fitting colours.

309626 & 309616 Broxbourne 2 September 1990

309626 & 309616 arrive at Broxbourne station on 2 September 1990 with the BR / Mencap sponsored Bishops Stortford to Clacton 'Essex Coast Express', taking children with learning difficulties to the seaside. The headboard is homemade, but its effect is slightly spoilt by being incased in wrinkled plastic sheeting, presumably to protect the paint from the weather.

309626 & 309616 Broxbourne 2 September 1990

309626 & 309616 pull away from Broxbourne station on 2 September 1990 with the BR / Mencap sponsored Bishops Stortford to Clacton 'Essex Coast Express', taking children with learning difficulties for a day at the seaside. Although the units don't appear to have seen the washer recently, someone has really gone to town on the front end of 309626, seemingly intent on using up their pot of white paint to decorate not just the buffers, but all pipework, windows frames, etc!

312705 Alresford 26 August 1991

Mention Alresford to most railway enthusiasts and they immediately think of the station on the Mid Hants Railway. However, there is another station with that name still open for business on the national network. It is situated in rural Essex, and is seen here on 26 August 1991. 312705 arrives with the 13:51 Walton-on-Naze to Colchester Network South East service.

312726 Great Bentley 26 August 1991

312726 approaches Great Bentley station on 26 August 1991 with the 12:00 Liverpool Street to Clacton Network SouthEast service. The level crossing gates in the foreground have now been replaced by lifting barriers, and Great Bentley Relay Room (a brick shed!) now occupies the waste ground on the left.

312786 Great Bentley 26 August 1991

312786 arrives at Great Bentley station on 26 August 1991 with the 13:21 Walton-on-Naze to Colchester Network SouthEast service. The station was opened by the Great Eastern Railway in 1866. Until 1877 it was known as Bentley Green.

312793 Wrabness 26 August 1991

312793 arrives at Wrabness with the 10:13 Manningtree to Harwich Town Network SouthEast service on 26 August 1991. This class of EMU was introduced in 1975 and was the last to be built with slam doors and consequently they were replaced by more modern units before their intended design life was up. The entire class (49 units) was withdrawn by 2003 and virtually all vehicles were scrapped the following year.

315833 Broxbourne 2 September 1990

315833 arrives at Broxbourne on 2 September 1990 with the 09:00 Hertford East to Liverpool Street Network SouthEast service. On the left can be seen the Speedlink Coal depot, which was one of the few such depots then still in operation. Once a feature of virtually every station, by the 1990s this kind of facility was in terminal decline.

317338 & 317345 Yaxley 6 September 2012

317338 & 317345 are just a few minutes into their journey here, as the pass Yaxley on 6 September 2012 with the 1P55 09:16 Peterborough to Kings Cross First Capital Connect service. This location is about as good as it gets on the East Coast Mainline, with views in both directions from a quit footbridge relatively unobstructed by the overhead wires.

317341 Ampthill (Millbrook) 8 June 1985

Prior to the introduction of the dual voltage Class 319 units, the newly electrified lower end of the Midland Mainline from London to Bedford was worked by Class 317s. On 8 June 1985, 317341 leads an unidentified sister unit past Ampthill (Millbrook) with the 08:50 Bedford to St Pancras service. Note the brickwork chimneys in the background.

317343 Abbots Ripton 16 August 1988

317343 leads the 07:22 Peterborough to Kings Cross service past Abbots Ripton on 16 August 1988. The Class 317s were the first class of 25kV units built using the Mk3 bodyshell, and were originally introduced onto the St Pancras to Bedford route, displacing the Class 127 diesel hydraulic units. However, the 317s didn't stay there long, and soon took up duties on the ECML.

317367 Roydon 2 September 1990

Plenty of evidence of the former Great Eastern Railway at Roydon on 2 September 1990. Signal box, station building and goods shed form an antique backdrop to 317367 as it arrives with the 09:32 Liverpool Street to Cambridge Network SouthEast service.

319030 Ampthill (Millbrook) 17 July 1996

Wearing the minimalist late 1990s 'graffiti' Thameslink livery, 319030 speeds past Ampthill (Millbrook) on 17 July 1996 with the 18:34 Moorgate to Bedford service. Clearly it would been of no use whatsoever to take any notice of the destination blind, as it has already passed through Luton!

319049 Ampthill 27 May 1989

Colourful Network SouthEast days at Ampthill on 27 May 1989. 319049 with another unidentified unit heads through the Buckinghamshire countryside with the 09:52 Bedford to Brighton service. This is the point where the two sets of tracks separate, prior to entering the twin parallel bores of Ampthill Tunnel. 

319429 Ledburn 19 April 2017

319429 passes Ledburn on 19 April 2017 with the 2B10 07:13 Bletchley to Euston London Midland service. A hint of white visible in in the far distance is the 1M16 20:44 Inverness to Euston 'Caledonian Sleeper', which would soon be overtaking this train.

321302 & 321332 Burnham-on-Crouch 22 July 1993

321302 & 321332 arrive at Burnham-on-Crouch station on 22 July 1993 with the late running 10:50 Southminster to Liverpool Street Network SouthEast service. Another one of those promising summer days that starts out sunny then gradually clouds up mid morning!

321312 Kelvedon 12 May 2001

321312 passes Kelvedon on 12 May 2001 with the 18:27 Colchester Town to Liverpool Street First Great Eastern service. Yet another variation of the multi-coloured sweeping lines liveries that Network SouthEast started all those years ago!

321317 Great Bentley 26 August 1991

321317 speeds through Great Bentley station on 26 August 1991 with the 13:27 Clacton to Liverpool Street Network SouthEast service. No such thing as the old style well maintained station garden here anymore, as now ragwort seems to be the dominant plant!

321401 Yaxley 6 September 2012

321401 passes Yaxley on 6 September 2012 with the 2P04 07:36 Kings Cross to Peterborough First Capital Connect local stopping service. How long will it be before the houses of Yaxley (visible in the background) spread out to meet the suburbs of Peterborough, swallowing up this small pocket of countryside?

321413 Kings Langley 28 October 1995

321413 and an unidentified classmate arrive at Kings Langley on 28 October 1995 with the 08:31 Milton Keynes Central to Euston service. This was in the very early privatisation era, after the end of Network SouthEast, but before the new franchises were fully in place. The external condition of the train seems to reflect this!

321424 Cheddington 28 April 1990

321424 speeds through Cheddington station with the 13:36 Birmingham New Street to Euston Network SouthEast service on 28 April 1990. As this is not a stopping service, and was traveling at its top speed of 100 mph, this was taken at 1/2000 sec on my battered old 1970s vintage totally mechanical Canon F1.

321425 Hemel Hempstead 2 September 1990

321425 arrives at Hemel Hempstead with the 12:49 Northampton to Euston Network SouthEast service on 2 September 1990. Then only a few months old, the 321s were introduced on these outer suburban services to replace the older Class 310 & 317 units. The P suffix to the number at this end of the unit indicates that this DTSO vehicle contains a small parcels area that can be locked off by an internal sliding door. The DTCO vehicle at the other end of the unit does not have this feature.

321435 Church Lawford 20 April 2009

With Church Lawford church visible in the background, 321435 heads east with the 08:33 Birmingham New Street to Northampton London Midland service on 20 April 2009. Church Lawford is quite a good photographic location, considering it is on an overhead electrified line. Various different viewpoints are possible for eastbound trains from a field close to the A428.

321436 Church Lawford 20 April 2009

Ironically consecutively numbered with the train running exactly an hour before, 321436 passes Church Lawford on 20 April 2009 with the 09:33 Birmingham New Street to Northampton London Midland service. Note that all branding has been removed from this former Silverlink unit. Such is the pace of change with some franchises that the liveries don't always reflect the current operator!

322483 Weeley 26 August 1991

322483 speeds through Weeley station on 26 August 1991 with the 13:00 Liverpool Street to Clacton Network SouthEast service. The Class 322 fleet consists of just five four car sets, built especially for the London to Stanstead Airport route. Although branded Network SouthEast, they were finished in the rather subdued livery seen here, featuring a broad green bodyside band.

323218 Berkswell 25 April 1996

323218 slows down for the stop at Berkswell, whilst working the 16:34 Coventry to Wolverhampton Regional Railways service on 25 April 1996. This used to be one of the more readily available vantage points on the electrified lines in the Midlands. Easily accessible, as it just involved looking over the station car park fence! The view is still possible, but with more vegetation in the way.

325003 Slindon 15 May 1997

325003 passes Slindon on 15 May 1997 with the 1S96 16:00 London to Glasgow mail. It had started out from the capital as a twelve coach formation, and has just dropped off the other two units at Stafford, one of which followed this (in dull conditions) with the 1F52 Stafford to Liverpool. The other unit travelled via Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester.

325008, 325014 & 325013 Barby Nortoft 21 April 2010

325008 Peter Howarth CBE leads classmates 325014 & 325013 past Barby Nortoft on 21 April 2010 with the 1S96 16:26 Willesden to Shieldmuir postal service. Thankfully after the demise of mail trains on the national network in 2004, the Class 325s only had to bide their time before another operator stepped in and reinstated a limited service, in this case First GBRf.

325012 Brock 6 May 2008

325012 leads two unidentified classmates past Brock on 6 May 2008 with the 1M44 15:34 Shieldmuir to Warrington Royal Mail service. The competing mode of transport, the M6 motorway, is just behind the trees on the right. Just a few years previously it seemed like all mail traffic had been completely lost from the railways.

350104 & 350114 Church Lawford 20 April 2009

350104 & 350114 pass Church Lawford on 20 April 2009 with the 09:53 Birmingham New Street to Euston London Midland service. These dual voltage units are gradually replacing Class 321s on services to the Midlands.

350109 Watford 21 September 2006

In its rather plain livery, devoid of all branding, 350109 passes Watford (on the Northampton loop line) on 21 September 2006 with the 14:48 Birmingham New Street to Northampton Central Trains service. Gradually with the acquisition of these units by London Midland the following year, a more distinctive livery was applied.

350126 Easenhall 20 April 2009

On a very nearly cloudless 20 April 2009, 350126 passes under the bridge that carries the footpath from Easenhall to Cathiron over the West Coast Mainline. It is working the 1U32 12:33 Crewe to Euston London Midland service. Lineside bushes make photography a little difficult here, so I don't know what the driver thought of someone standing on a stepladder in the middle of the field!

350129 Church Brampton 22 September 2010

Lovely soft evening lighting at Church Brampton on 22 September 2010 as 350129 passes by with the 1U41 15:46 Euston to Crewe London Midland service. Virtually all passenger services on the Northampton loop line are operated by these Siemens built units. Divided into two subclasses, the principal difference being that Class 350/1s were initially dual voltage, whilst the 350/2 variant is 25kV only. The 750v DC collector shoe arm can just been on the leading bogie of 350129, the actual pickup shoes having been removed.

350232 & 350237 Wootton Green 20 April 2009

350232 & 350237 pass Wootton Green on 20 April 2009 with the 14:54 Euston to Birmingham New Street London Midland service. I was standing on the stump of recently pollarded ash tree to take this picture, which added a bit of useful height. Otherwise at this location the field on the right is considerably lower than the track and therefore useless for photography.

350237 Ledburn 25 November 2016

350237 passes Ledburn on 25 November 2016 with the 2K30 13:47 Milton Keynes Central to Euston London Midland service. Just visible in the background is the concrete bridge carrying the recently constructed A4146 Leighton Buzzard bypass over the railway.

350240 Barby Nortoft 21 April 2010

350240 passes Barby Nortoft on 21 April 2010 with the 17:56 Northampton to Birmingham New Street London Midland service. This is a well known photographer's viewpoint, to the extent that there are two carefully crafted holes in the roadside hedge - one for each direction!

350247 & 350244 Milton Malsor 22 March 2012

350247 & 350244 speed past Milton Malsor on 22 March 2012 with the 1U32 12:33 Crewe to Euston London Midland service. Even though this is only mid afternoon, the sun is already getting very soft. Shortly afterwards the high cloud got so bad that it was time to go home!

350261, 350265 & 350255 Ledburn 19 April 2017

One twenty-ninth of the Class 350 fleet! 350261, 350265 & 350255 run along the up relief line at Ledburn on 19 April 2017 with the 2K08 06:48 Milton Keynes Central to Euston London Midland service. These units entered traffic in 2008, replacing Class 321 units.

365509 & 365520 Langford 12 May 2008

365509 & 365520 pass Langford with the 09:15 Peterborough to Kings Cross First Capital Connect service on 12 May 2008. next stop Stevenage. This seems to be a very strange variation of the First corporate livery, with small blurred coloured lines as part of the design. The 'smiley face' front end design originates from when the class was fitted with cab air conditioning.

365517 Offord Cluny 16 August 2007

365517 shows off its happy smiling face as it passes Offord Cluny on 16 August 2007 with the 11:44 Peterborough to Kings Cross First Capital Connect service. This picture is taken from a well used public footpath crossing, which admittedly gives a better view of northbound trains.

365530 Tempsford 5 April 2014

365530 passes the site of Tempsford station on 5 April 2014 with the 2P04 07:36 Kings Cross to Peterborough First Capital Connect service. The station (between Sandy and St Neots) closed in 1956, but the goods shed still survives. It can be seen here, along with other new buildings that now occupy the site, which is now in industrial use.

365537 Tempsford 5 April 2014

With its Daniel Edwards (1974-2010) Cambridge Driver vinyl nameplate clearly visible above the leading bogie, 365537 speeds past Tempsford on 5 April 2014 with the 1P09 08:09 Peterborough to Kings Cross First Capital Connect service

377206 & 377208 Ledburn 19 April 2017

377206 & 377208 pass Ledburn on 19 April 2017 with the 2O15 07:01 Milton Keynes Central to East Croydon Southern service. This train obviously has to use the unit's dual voltage capacity, switching from 25kV AC to 750V DC in the Shepherds Bush area.

377208 Chelmscote 27 March 2012

377208 speeds past Chelmscote on 27 March 2012 with the 2M41 14:10 East Croydon to Milton Keynes Southern service. The Class 377's dual voltage capability allows this Southern interloper to venture into 25kV territory. The nature of this dual voltage service has shifted to the north over the years, as it previously ran from Brighton to Watford Junction, using Class 319 units.

377703 Ledburn 25 November 2016

377703 passes Ledburn on Friday 25 November 2016 with the 2O47 14:13 Milton Keynes Central to East Croydon Southern service. The Met Office had been predicting a totally sunny day right from the start of the week, so for once their medium range forecast was completely accurate!

387305 & 387306 Soulbury 25 November 2016

Brand new and still unbranded 387305 & 387306 pass Soulbury on 25 November 2016 with the 10:30 Wembley to Crewe mileage accumulation test run. There was no chance of a conventional picture here, due both to the severe backlighting, and the obstructed view from the bridge, so this is the going away shot.

Class 390 Bodyshells Ashchurch Army Depot 22 July 2001

What is the most unusual location to see a Class 390 Pendolino? How about inside the Army Depot at Ashchurch! Three brand new bodyshells, including a DMRF driving car are propped up on stands inside the army camp on 22 July 2001. These bodyshells were constructed in Italy by Fiat Ferroviaria, and were en-route for final assembly at Alstom, Washwood Heath. Photo taken from the public road, with the lens poking through a convenient hole in the fence!

390004 Wootton Green 20 April 2009

390004 speeds past Wootton Green on 20 April 2009 with the 14:45 Wolverhampton to Euston Virgin West Coast service. Note the lorry in the background unloading its cargo at the woodchip factory situated adjacent to the a452 Leamington Spa to Birmingham road. This picture is taken from a very quiet farm occupation bridge.

390004 Chelmscote 27 March 2012

Wearing the special Alstom Pendolino livery, to mark the partnership between Virgin Trains and the unit's designers, 390004 races past Chelmscote on 27 March 2012 with the 1H69 14:40 Euston to Manchester Piccadilly Virgin Trains service.

390013 Wootton Green 20 April 2009

Catching the evening sun, 390013 passes Wootton Green (near Balsall Common) with the 15:23 Euston to Wolverhampton Virgin West Coast service. Not quite a substitute for the former Class 86 & 87 loco hauled trains, but more photogenic than the majority of units.

390013 Chelmscote 27 March 2012

Tilting into the curve at 125mph, 390013 passes Chelmscote on 27 March 2012 with the (presumably) 1A31 11:55 Manchester Piccadilly to Euston Virgin Trains service. Such is the frequency of Pendolinos on this section of track, that this identification is only accurate if they are running in the correct sequence!

390022 Lowgill 6 September 2004

390022 leans into the curve at Lowgill on 6 September 2004, as it speeds southwards with the 14:10 Glasgow Central to Birmingham New Street Virgin West Coast service. The Pendolinos had only just started operating Scottish services when this picture was taken.

390029 Watford 21 September 2006

In 2006, 390029 was 'decorated' with vinyls to mark the release of the film 'Superman Returns'. In this guise it is pictured passing Watford (near Northampton) with the 14:45 Manchester Piccadilly to Euston Virgin West Coast service on 21 September 2006. I'm not sure whether its an improvement or not, but from a distance it definitely looks like a graffiti attack by vandals!

390047 Banbury Lane 22 April 2009

390047 sweeps round the curve near the site of Banbury Lane level crossing with the 09:15 Manchester Piccadilly to Euston Virgin West Coast service on 22 April 2009. 390047 originally carried the name Virgin Atlantic but was renamed Heaven's Angels on 22 September 2006 as part of a non-stop Glasgow Central to London record speed attempt.

390103 Soulbury 25 November 2016

With poppy logos on the side and front, and with 'We Will Remember Them' written on the nose, 390103 speeds past Soulbury on 25 November 2016 with the 1A16 08:55 Manchester Piccadilly to Euston Virgin Trains service. The Network Rail compound in the foreground is not the only new addition since I was last here, many years ago. Just off to the left, and running parallel with the railway is the new A4146 dual carriageway.

390124 & 390114 Ledburn 25 November 2016

Passing Pendolinos at Ledburn on 25 November 2016. 390124 heads north with the 9G23 13:23 Euston to Birmingham New Street Virgin Trains service, passing 390114 heading in the opposite direction with the 1B46 12:50 Birmingham New Street to Euston. Just where the line disappears from view is the site of Sears Crossing, where a gang of robbers stopped the up TPO in the early hours of 8 August 1963, in what has become known as the Great Train Robbery.

390151 Ledburn 25 November 2016

'Business is Great' liveried 390151 passes Ledburn on 25 November 2016 with the 1B50 13:30 Birmingham New Street to Euston Virgin Trains service. The spire of All Saints church, Leighton Buzzard can just be seen in front of the train.