British Rail Class 325
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|British Rail Class 325|
325016 at the back of three units heading north through Crewe in July 2006
|In service||1995 – Current|
|Family name||BR Second Generation (Mark 3)|
|Constructed||1995 - 1996|
|Number built||16 trainsets|
|Number in service||15 trainsets|
|Number scrapped||1 trainsets|
|Formation||4 cars per trainset
|Car length||DTPMV - 19.83 m (65 ft 1 in)
MPMV/TPMV - 19.92 m (65 ft 4 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 - 138.5 t (136.3 long tons) |
|Electric system(s)||25 kV AC Overhead lines
750 V DC 3rd rail
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The British Rail Class 325 is a 4-car dual-voltage 25 kV alternating current (AC) or 750 V direct current (DC) electric multiple unit (EMU) train used for postal train services. They are based on the Class 319. The Class 325 was British Rail's newest unit to take over parcels working on electrified lines.
In the early 1990s, the Parcels sector of British Rail were seeking a fleet of multiple units that would be more cost-effective to run than the locomotive hauled stock they were using. The initial proposal was to convert a number of redundant Class 307 units that were in the process of being withdrawn from passenger service into Class 300 parcels units. Owing to the age of these units however, it was subsequently decided to procure a fleet of new trains. These units, which were ordered in 1994, were initially given the TOPS classification Class 350, before being changed to Class 325.
The 16 units were built at ABB Derby between 1995 and 1996. They are very similar to Class 319 units, sharing the same traction equipment and body design, but are fitted with cabs of the same design as the ABB Networker family.
TOPS numbers are on the front of the cabs under the driver's window in a non-standard typeface, and the units were numbered 325001 - 325016. The units are fitted with large round oleo buffers, and have no gangways between carriages. They carry a livery of Post Office red, with two yellow stripes running along the lower bodyside before turning sharply backwards and pointing up towards the roof, black cab window surrounds and a full yellow warning panel. Each set is made up of four cars, with roller doors in place of sliding ones and no windows. Each car has two roller shutter sliding doors on each side and is designed to hold up to 12 tonnes. They have a pantograph to pick up power from the 25 kV AC overhead lines, and also a shoe to pick up power off the 750 V DC third rail. They cannot work in multiple with any other multiple unit stock, but are fitted with drop-head buck-eye coupling and can therefore be hauled by locomotives. The units were built in such a way that they could easily be converted for passenger use if no longer required for mail services.
After introduction, which was relatively trouble-free due largely to the fact that the Class 325 shares traction equipment with the Class 319, the units successfully settled into carrying parcels and mail from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh at 100 mph (160 km/h). They are based at Crewe Electric TMD.
Privatisation of British Rail placed the units under EWS control to operate the postal trains that they inherited. Such work continued alongside Class 86 locomotives up the West Coast Main Line and East Coast Main Line until 2003, when Royal Mail withdrew the postal contracts, resulting in decreasing use until the units entered storage following the end of work.
When GB Railfreight gained a new contract for mail transport over Christmas 2004, the Class 325s returned to limited work operating in multiple. Work with locomotive haulage also occurred again, powered by GBRF Class 87s. After a traction reshuffle the Class 325s resumed service with their power cars and without locomotive haulage.
GBRf's contract expired in 2010. A new contract for Royal Mail operations, and responsibility for managing the Class 325 fleet, was won by DB Schenker. As of June 2010 seven trains were to be run a day, between London, Warrington and Glasgow via the West Coast Main Line, with capacity to be flexible as required. The sets can be worked together to make up 4, 8 or 12-car trains.
In 2012, unit number 325010, which had been damaged and was stored as a source of spares for the rest of the fleet, was disposed of by scrapping.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Notes|
|Class 325||DB Schenker||16||1995 - 1996||4||325001 - 009
325011 - 016
- SNCF TGV La Poste, 270 km/h Postal version of the TGV Sud Est used in France.
- Class 325 Technical data - TheRailwayCentre.Com. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
- The All-time Guide to EMU Classifications, Modern Locomotivs Illustrated, 2011, p. 2, retrieved 19 February 2014
- Royal Mail awards rail contract to DB Schenker, DB Schenker, 1 June 2010
- Pritchard, Robert (2012). "325 sent for scrap". Today's Railways (Platform 5) (125): 69.
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