British Rail Class 307

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British Rail Class 307
307-blue brute Liv-St-Stn.jpg
British Railways Class 307 train in plain blue livery and a BRUTE at London Liverpool Street station
In service 1953 - 2000
Manufacturer BR Eastleigh Works
Refurbishment 1983 - 1984
Number built 32 trainsets
Formation 4 cars per trainset
Operator British Rail
Specifications
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)
Weight Total - 153 long tons (155 t; 171 short tons)
Braking system(s) Air (Auto/EP)
British Railways Class 307 train in plain blue livery on a working to Southend Victoria awaits its correct departure time at London Liverpool Street station. The frosted windows show the location of the toilets. The second carriage includes some first class seating.

The British Rail Class 307 electric multiple units were built by BR at Eastleigh Works from 1954-1956. They were initially classified as AM7 before the introduction of TOPS.

Description[edit]

Thirty-two of these 4-car units were built for services on the Great Eastern Main Line. The units were constructed to a similar design to the third-rail Class 415 (4EPB) units introduced by the Southern Region a few years earlier. However there were several differences, most notably a slightly different front cab and a different seating arrangement.

All units were formed of four cars. When originally built, units were numbered in the range 01s-32s, and were composed of two outer driving trailers, an intermediate trailer composite (i.e. with some first-class seating), and an intermediate motor brake. The units were constructed to operate off the 1,500 V direct current (DC) overhead power system used on Eastern Region suburban lines. However, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, these lines were converted to the 6.25 kV/25 kV alternating current (AC) overhead system, which was adopted as standard, and coincided with the introduction of new Class 302 (AM2) units. Therefore, from 1960-1962 the entire AM7 fleet was extensively rebuilt at Eastleigh Works to allow units to operate from the new voltage system. The work including moving the guard's compartment from the motor coach to one of the driving trailers. At the same time, units were renumbered into the range 101-132.

From 1983-1984 the fleet was refurbished. Work involved replacing all compartments with open saloons, and the fitting of gangways between vehicles within a unit. The first-class seating was also moved from the trailer to the non-brake driving trailer. During this period, units were renumbered under the TOPS system to 307101-307132.

Details of the vehicle designations are shown below.

Vehicle Numbers As-built
(1954)
Rebuilt
(1960)
Refurbished
(1983)
75001-75032 DTSO DTBS DTBSO
61001-61032 MBS MS MSO
70001-70032 TCOL TCOL TSOL
75101-75132 DTSsoL DTSsoL DTCOL
Refurbished British Railways Class 307 train showing the special headboard carried at the launch of the first refurbished train.
The front of a refurbished British Railways Class 307 train without the headboard. Part of a Class 315 train can be seen behind.
Side view of a refurbished British Railways Class 307 train, showing that it has also been repainted in blue/grey livery and that the 1st class seating has been relocated and converted from compartment with side corridor to 'open' format
Interior of a refurbished British Railways Class 307 train showing the high capacity 2+3 standard/second class seating

Operations[edit]

When new, these trains were used on the newly electrified Great Eastern Main Line, running between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria on semi-fast services. In 1960 the electrification system on this route was change from 1,500 V DC to 25 kV AC overhead, necessitating the rebuild of the fleet.

Following refurbishment in 1983, the fleet saw continued use on both the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (LTS) and Great Eastern routes. From 1986, a few trains were repainted in Network SouthEast livery. By 1990, however, the class had been displaced from the LTS route by Class 310 trains, themselves cascaded from the West Coast Main Line following introduction of new Class 321/4 trains, supplemented temporarily by Class 317 trains. The Class 307 trains did not last much longer on the Great Eastern route, following the introduction of new Class 321/3 and cascaded Class 312 trains.

By 1991, all Class 307 trains had been withdrawn from Network SouthEast services. However, five trains (307105/111/120/122/130) were overhauled at Doncaster Works for use on the newly electrified Wakefield Line service between Leeds and Doncaster. They received the West Yorkshire Metro maroon livery. The use of these units was intended as a stop-gap until three new Class 321/9 trains entered service. The final Class 307 trains were withdrawn in early 1993.

Following withdrawal, large-scale scrapping of the class was delayed as it was intended to rebuild the units as Class 300 parcels units. This plan was dropped in favour of building new Class 325 units. However, many of the driving trailer vehicles were eventually rebuilt as Propelling Control Vehicles (see below). The redundant intermediate trailers and motor vehicles were eventually scrapped.

Further use[edit]

Departmental use[edit]

Following withdrawal from service, several units were converted for further use as departmental vehicles. These are listed below.

Crash tests[edit]

Units 307101, 307106 and 307121 were used a crash-test units at Old Dalby, for use in simulated crashes for safety purposes.

Class 316 testbed unit[edit]

Unit 307118 was converted into a test unit for the 'Holec' three-phase AC traction motors and associated electrical gear used in the Class 323 EMUs. As 316998, the BDTBSO coach had its seating removed and the electrical equipment mounted in the passenger cabin and cooling provided via a large grill fitted in place of the guard's doors on the left hand side. The pantograph well was also revised, bringing it closer towards the cab.

Later, the unit was altered for 750 V DC third rail operation, the pickup shoes being mounted on the former MSO and renumbered 316997. After testing, the unit was stored at the back of Eastleigh T&RSMD. Scrapping took place at Caerwent in July 2006.

Postal conversions[edit]

Propelling Control Vehicle, NAA 94308 propelling a train into Plymouth station on 29 August 2003. This vehicle is painted in unbranded Rail Express Systems livery.

In the early 1990s, the British Rail parcels sector Rail Express Systems identified the need for driving trailers to operate in push-pull mode with a locomotive. This would remove the time consuming process of changing the locomotive to other end of the train to allow it to leave a terminus. These new vehicles were called Propelling Control Vehicles (PCVs), since it was envisaged that they would only be used to propel a train into or out of a terminus, and not used at high-speed or over long distances.

It was decided to convert the vehicles from the many redundant Class 307 vehicles that were stored at various locations around the country. In 1994, two vehicles were rebuilt as prototype PCV vehicles, and underwent an extensive testing procedure. In the period 1994-1996, a further 40 redundant driving trailer vehicles were rebuilt by Hunslet-Barclay in Kilmarnock.

The rebuilding work included removal of the windows and slam-doors, the fitting of roller-shutter doors, and modernisation of the cab. The vehicles were given the TOPS code NAA and were numbered in the range 94300-327 (for former DTCOL vehicles) and 94331-345 (for former DTBSO vehicles).

Vehicle nos. 94300/301 were the prototype Propelling Control Vehicles. Due to their non-standard nature, they have since had their push-pull equipment isolated and are used as standard parcels vans. To reflect this change, the two vehicles have been renumbered to 95300/301.

Details of the vehicles converted to PCVs are shown below.

Original no. Former vehicle type New PCV no. Comments
75004 DTBSO 94345 -
75005 DTBSO 94342 -
75007 DTBSO 94341 -
75008 DTBSO 94338 -
75011 DTBSO 94332 -
75012 DTBSO 94340 -
75014 DTBSO 94344 -
75016 DTBSO 94333 -
75017 DTBSO 94334 -
75022 DTBSO 94331 -
75024 DTBSO 94339 -
75027 DTBSO 94343 -
75029 DTBSO 94337 -
75031 DTBSO 94336 -
75032 DTBSO 94335 -
75102 DTCOL 94301 Since renumbered to 95301
75103 DTCOL 94324 -
75104 DTCOL 94305 -
75105 DTCOL 94311 -
75107 DTCOL 94304 -
75108 DTCOL 94316 -
75109 DTCOL 94314 -
75110 DTCOL 94323 -
75111 DTCOL 94322 -
75112 DTCOL 94306 -
75113 DTCOL 94325 -
75114 DTCOL 94300 Since renumbered to 95300
75115 DTCOL 94318 -
75116 DTCOL 94327 -
75117 DTCOL 94317 -
75119 DTCOL 94310 -
75120 DTCOL 94320 Preserved, Mid-Norfolk Railway
75122 DTCOL 94321 -
75123 DTCOL 94326 -
75124 DTCOL 94302 -
75125 DTCOL 94308 -
75126 DTCOL 94312 -
75127 DTCOL 94307 -
75128 DTCOL 94319 -
75129 DTCOL 94313 -
75130 DTCOL 94309 -
75131 DTCOL 94303 -
75132 DTCOL 94315 -

Carriage nos. 94303/07/10/11/15/16/17/20/22/31/34/36/37/38/39/40/ have been sold for scrap to CF Booths, and carriage nos. 94305/09/19/21/25/41/42/45 to TJ Thompson.

Preservation[edit]

One driving Brake trailer from unit 307123 has been saved for preservation.

One PCV conversion has also been saved for preservation.

One vehicle, DTBSO no. 75018 (ex-977708) was bought by the AC Loco Group at Barrow Hill Engine Shed for spares recovery. It was scrapped at Caerwent MOD in 2006.