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Published by: Key Publishing
Author: Colin J. Marsden

Modern Locomotives Illustrated No 233 : 2nd Generation EMUs & Electrostar Update

This edition of Modern Locomotives Illustrated looks at some of the more modern electric multiple unit classes, mainly using AC power supply for propulsion.

It seems quite strange in some ways that a handful of these fleets are now facing withdrawal, having operated for around 30 years in frontline service, fleets which I saw being built and introduced in what felt like just yesterday; watching 312s, 313s and 315s pop off the production line at BREL York and riding the introductory trains. These fleets have been the backbone of local, commuter and main line services, operating millions of miles, often over the same routes year on year.

The Class 315s, now being replaced, were delivered for Great Eastern route modernisation and have never worked on any other route. This cannot be said for many fleets, most of which have changed route as they are cascaded after new stock is introduced. The same can also be said for special design stock, such as the Class 332 ‘Heathrow Express’ units, which were built for a specific role, but in 2019 face withdrawal as the busy Paddington to Heathrow Airport route is further developed and soon to use modified Class 387 ‘Electrostar’ sets.

This edition of MLI also provides an update to issue 194 covering the ‘Electrostar’ fleets. In recent years extra and longer ‘377s’ have been introduced and, recently, the highly successful Class 387 fleets now operate for Govia Thameslink, Great Western Railway and c2c. The Bombardier ‘Electrostar’ product has undoubtably been the most successful of the modern EMU fleets but has now been superseded by the ‘Aventra’ design.