British Rail Class 321
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|British Rail Class 321|
The refurbished interior aboard a Northern Class 321/9 EMU
|Family name||BR Second Generation (Mark 3)|
|Number built||117 trainsets|
|Formation||4 cars per trainset
321/3 and 321/4: DTCO-TSO-MSO-DTSO
Abellio Greater Anglia
|Car length||19.95 m (65 ft 5 in)|
|Width||2.82 m (9 ft 3 in)|
|Height||3.78 m (12 ft 5 in)|
|Maximum speed||100 mph (161 km/h)|
|Weight||Total - 137.9 t (135.7 long tons)|
|Power output||1,438 hp (1,072 kW)|
|Electric system(s)||25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead|
|Coupling system||Tightlock coupling compatiable - classes 313-322 inclusive|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The British Rail Class 321 alternating current (AC) electric multiple units (EMU) were built by BREL York in three batches from 1988 to 1991. The design was successful and led to the development of the similar Class 320 and Class 322 units for use by Strathclyde PTE and Stansted Express (now used by Northern Rail) respectively. The British Rail Mark 3 bodyshell design was also used for construction of the Class 456 direct current (DC) units.
- 1 Description
- 2 Operations
- 3 Class 321 Demonstrator
- 4 Class 321/4 fleet Cascade
- 5 Future
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Fleet details
- 8 Trivia
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Three sub-classes of unit were built. The first two were built for the Network SouthEast sector, whilst the final batch was built for services around Leeds. These trains have been modified by different rail companies who use them such as Greater Anglia. The modifications include new seats, paintwork, lighting and in carriage announcement boards.
The first batch of 66 EMU trains, built between 1988 an 1990 were classified under TOPS as Class 321/3. Units were numbered in the range 321301-366 and have a maximum speed of 100 mph (161 km/h). Each EMU consisted of four carriages; two outer driving trailers, one of which contained first class seating; an intermediate motor coach with standard class seating only, roof mounted Brecknell Willis High Speed pantograph and four Brush TM2141C traction motors (two per bogie); and an intermediate trailer with standard class seating. The technical description of the formation is DTCO+PMSO+TSO+DTSO. These units were delivered in two groups, with individual vehicles numbered as follows:
|Units 321301-346||Units 321347-366|
These EMU trains were built for outer-suburban trains on the Great Eastern Main Line, primarily from London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria, Ipswich, Southminster, Clacton, Colchester and Braintree. They replaced the ageing slam-door Class 305, Class 308 and Class 309 units on trains to Clacton and Southend-on-Sea, and worked services on the newly electrified routes to Ipswich and Harwich. They also displaced many Class 312 slam-door units to the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. Some of the Class 309 "Clacton Express" units were retained until 1994, and 24 of the newer Class 312 units were retained long-term to work services to Walton-on-the-Naze and peak services to Clacton, Ipswich and Witham. Units carried the distinctive Network SouthEast livery from new. 321361 was named 'Phoenix' in March 2008 at Ilford depot after it was rebuilt at the disused Colchester shed to repair damage caused by an arson attack at Southend Victoria on 10 July 2007.
The second batch of 48 units, built between 1989–90, were classified as Class 321/4. Units were numbered in the range 321401-448 and again have a maximum speed of 100 mph (161 km/h). The formation of these units is identical to that of the first batch, each unit being formed DTCO+PMSO+TSO+DTSO. They were delivered in two groups, with individual vehicles numbered as follows:
|Units 321401-430||Units 321431-442||Units 321443-448|
All Units were delivered in Network SouthEast blue, red and white livery. They displaced the recently cascaded Class 317 units dating from 1981 that had themselves only just been introduced to the route to replace Class 310 units.
As built, 321/4 units had an enlarged First Class area comprising half of the DTC vehicle, instead of one third in the 321/3 units. An additional partition with folding double doors in the centre of the coach created this additional space. Units 321438 to 321 448 were transferred for Great Eastern Main Line services. Following this, their First Class area was reduced in size to standardise with the existing 321/3 units on that route. This involved removal of the centre partition and double doors and re-upholstering the First Class style 2+2 seats (that were retained at that time) in the de-classified area into the same fabric as the Standard Class seats. Later, the First Class 2+2 seats in this de-classified area were replaced with the standard style 2+3 seating. These 11 units were also fitted with a facility to lock out the power door operation within the unit (a basic kind of Selective Operation) to permit operation of 12-car trains on the Braintree and Southminster branch lines, where some platforms were only long enough for 8-car trains. In late 2010, First Capital Connect bought and refurbished some Class 321/4 units from London Midland ranging from 321401 to 321410 and 321418 to 321420.
The final batch of three Class 321 were classified as Class 321/9 and were constructed in 1991, as an add-on to the main batches. These units have a similar formation to the earlier units, except that there is no first class seating. Therefore, the formation is DTSO+PMSO+TSO+DTSO. Units are numbered in the range 321901-903, and individual vehicles are numbered as follows:
- 77990-77992 - DTSO
- 63153-63155 - PMSO
- 72128-72130 - TSO
- 77993-77995 - DTSO
Due to a quirk to the units entering traffic, five redundant Class 307 units were introduced on the route as a stop-gap measure in 1991. These elderly units continued in service until 1993, when the Class 321 units finally entered traffic. In 1994, they were joined by several Class 308 units, which were introduced on services around Leeds following electrication of the Airedale Line and Wharfedale Line routes from Leeds to Ilkley, Skipton and Bradford.
The Class 321/9 units were refurbished at Hunslet-Barclay, Kilmarnock from late 2006 to early 2007. The refurbishment included a new livery, refurbished interiors and reliability improvements, similar to the Class 322 EMUs, that were also refurbished at Hunslet-Barclay, Kilmarnock.
Arriva Trains Northern inherited the three Class 321/9 units 321901, 321902 and 321903. These units operate on the Leeds - Doncaster Wakefield Line service and occasionally on the Wharfedale and Airedale lines alongside Class 333 and Class 322 units.
First Great Eastern/National Express East Anglia/Abellio Greater Anglia
First Great Eastern inherited all 66 Class 321/3 units and 11 Class 321/4 units. The Great Eastern Main Line franchise was subsequently taken over by National Express East Anglia, previously branded 'one' and then subsequently by Abellio Greater Anglia. These 77 units were fitted with automatic dot matrix and audio passenger information systems during the 'one'/National Express East Anglia franchise.
These trains are primarily used for London Liverpool Street to Braintree, Southend Victoria, Southminster, Ipswich, Walton-on-the-Naze, Clacton-on-Sea and Colchester Town, but can be seen running on any electrified route if other trains fail. These are usually formed from 4, 8 or 12 carriages on any routes.
In September 2003, Silverlink's class 321 units were temporarily withdrawn following the discovery of loose bolts on brake discs in some units.
In September 2004, London Euston - Birmingham local services were divided into two separate services: Silverlink retained Northampton - London, with Central Trains taking over all local services between Birmingham and Northampton. Initially, Central Trains hired in several Class 321 units from Silverlink to work their new services, but the arrival of the new Class 350 "Desiro" units means that very few Class 321 units are now required.
To accommodate this sub-lease, 3 Class 321/3 units were transferred from 'one' (since rebranded National Express East Anglia) to Silverlink. These were not permitted north of Rugby due to lack of the National Radio Network system (Eastern Region units only had the Cab Secure Radio System used for Driver Only Operated Passenger services) and therefore could not be used on Central Trains services (although they occasionally appeared on services to Rugby at weekends due to the line being closed between Rugby and Birmingham New Street). This ceased in late 2005 with the introduction of Class 350 trains on the Birmingham - Liverpool route. One of these sub-leased units was involved in a low-speed derailment at Watford Yard.
In May 2007, Central Trains began using Class 321 units on some morning services from Birmingham New Street to Walsall.
In November 2007, London Midland took over operation of the Class 321 fleet previously used by Silverlink and Central Trains. An order was placed by London Midland with Siemens AG for 37 Class 350 'Desiro' EMUs; these were intended replace the Class 321 units.
In mid 2009, London Midland stood down most of the units and reduced their fleet to just 321411 - 321417. These units are to be repainted by London Midland and given a very basic and minor interior refresh, which resulted in the retention of the original NSE moquette, yellow handrails and yellow paint on the inside of the sliding doors. Only the carpets and general interior markings were replaced during the refresh. They are currently used for peak hour workings between Northampton/Milton Keynes Central/Tring - London Euston and all day on the 'Abbey Flyer' Watford Junction - St. Albans Abbey branch line.
First Capital Connect received thirteen units (321401-10/18-20) from London Midland following deliveries of the new Siemens Desiro Class 350/2. All 13 units have now received a new look, FCC indigo blue and 'city lights' branding, plus a full internal refresh. The units are working on the Great Northern services (London Kings Cross to Peterborough and London Kings Cross to Cambridge). At first, only 321401-6/10 saw regular use, the remainder required bogie overhauls before they could enter traffic. Since the start of the December 2010 timetable, all 13 units are now in use. They have since been transferred to Govia Thameslink Railway after the First Capital Connect franchise ended on 13th September 2014
Class 321 Demonstrator
Abellio Greater Anglia in conjunction with Eversholt Rail Group has refitted a 321/4 as a demonstrator to show what Abellio planned to do with their Class 321 fleet. The unit number is 321448, which features a new paint job, completely re-fitted interior including two examples of sitting arrangements including 2+2 and 2+3 and a new First Class area. The demonstrator also features air conditioning, previously unseen on Class 321 trains, fixed panel windows to replace opening windows and an overhauled traction system. The ultimate plan is to introduce other Class 321 trains in a similar configuration rather than replace them, to save money on purchasing brand new trains.
Class 321/4 fleet Cascade
It was announced on 30 January 2008 that as part of the Department for Transport's Rolling Stock Plan, the London Midland operated EMUs would be split between two other train operating companies (TOCs) after the arrival of the 37 additional Class 350/2 'Desiro' EMUs currently on order.
They were transferred as follows:
- 17 4-car units to National Express East Anglia sets 321421-321437
- 13 4-car units to Govia Thameslink Railway sets 321401-321410/321418-321420
First Capital Connect received their first Class 321, No. 321404, on 5 March 2009. All Units transferred to First Capital Connect have been internally refreshed at Hornsey TMD and re-painted into First Capital Connect livery. 321418 - 321420 have since also transferred to First Capital Connect.
321421 - 321437 were fitted with dot-matrix passenger information systems following their transfer to National Express East Anglia. They have also had their First Class area reduced and were fitted with the facility to lock-out Power Operated Doors within the unit, in the same way that 321438 - 321448 were treated many years before. These changes standardised them operationally with the rest of the 321/4 fleet that was already operating on that route (Note: these 17 Units retain the First Class style 2+2 seating in the de-classified First Class section however, rather than having been converted to 3+2). All have been progressively re-painted into National Express livery as they went through a C6 overhaul, in common with the rest of the Class 321 fleet at NXEA. In March 2012, Greater Anglia commenced an interior 'refresh' on these units and installation of internal CCTV (CCTV had already fitted to the rest of the Greater Anglia fleet at the start of the NXEA franchise). The refresh consists of new floor coverings and seat covers throughout, replacement and re-painting of interior panels and re-painted grab poles and door handles. Tables are also removed, to ensure consistency with the rest of the Class 321 fleet. The first unit treated was 321425 and by April 2013 all 17 units were refurbished.
In 2016, all Class 321/4s currently operated by Govia Thameslink Railway will be replaced as a result of the new operators move to introduce Class 377s cascaded from the Thameslink route on services to Cambridge. There are also plans to send 7 units to operate with ScotRail in Glasgow when electrification increases.
Silverlink train services liveried Class 321/4 No. 321425 at Watford Junction
Great Eastern liveried Class 321/3 No. 321359 at Norwich
The first Class 321 EMU in London Midland livery - No. 321411 is seen at Watford Junction with a sister 321/4 in Silverlink livery
Class 321/3 No. 321311, newly reliveried for National Express, at Liverpool Street
Class 321/4 no. 321440, in the new Greater Anglia livery, at Harwich Town
|Class||No. Built||Cars per set||Year Built||Operator||No. in Traffic||Unit nos.|
|Class 321/3||66||4||1988-90||Abellio Greater Anglia||66||321301 - 321366|
|Class 321/4||48||1989-90||Abellio Greater Anglia||28||321421 - 321448|
|London Midland||7||321411 - 321417|
|Great Northern||13||321401 - 321410
321418 - 321420
|Class 321/9||3||1991||Northern Rail||3||321901 - 321903|
- The Class 321s are nicknamed "Dusty Bins". This comes from the game show 3-2-1, which features the animated character "Dusty Bin".
- Fox, Peter; Hall, Peter; Pritchard, Robert (2007). British Railways Locomotives & Coaching Stock 2007. Platform 5, Sheffield. ISBN 978-1-902336-55-8.
- Class 321 Technical data - TheRailwayCentre.Com.
- "News Desk". Railway Herald (60). 2006-11-03. p. 6,7. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
- Elston, Laura (11 September 2003). "Entire fleet of commuter trains withdrawn". The Independent.
- Rail Accident Investigation Branch: Report022006
- End of the line for award-winning depot Railnews, 1 July 2008
- London Midland’s 321 trains get a fresh coat of paint - London Midland. 2009-01-11.
- London Midland to introduce more seats for London commuters - London Midland. 1 October 2009.
- Department for Transport - Rolling stock plan
- 321404 in Doncaster Yard - Flickr. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- Rail Magazine issue 754 "Govia to switch Class 377 Electrostars to Cambridge
- Ellis, Iain (2006). Ellis' British railway Engineering Encyclopedia. Lulu.com. ISBN 978-1-84728-643-7.
- Media related to British Rail Class 321 at Wikimedia Commons