British Rail Class 456

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British Rail Class 456
Southern 456008 departs Clapham Junction.jpg
Southern Metro Class 456 at Clapham Junction.
456017 x Interior.JPG
The interior of a refreshed Southern Metro Class 456 EMU (Passenger Information System visual boards were fitted in 2009).
In service 1991 - present
Manufacturer BREL York
Family name BR Second Generation (Mark 3)
Constructed 1990 - 1991
Refurbishment 2005 - 2007
Number built 24 trainsets
Formation 2 cars per trainset
DMSO-DTSO
Fleet numbers 456001 - 456024
Capacity 152 seat
Operator South West Trains
Specifications
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)
Weight 72.5 tonnes (71.4 long tons; 79.9 short tons)
Power output 500 hp (373 kW)
Electric system(s) 750 V DC third rail
Braking system(s) Air (westcode)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 456 electric multiple-unit trains were built by BREL York Works from 1990-91.

Description[edit]

24 two-car units were built as direct replacements for the elderly Class 416 2EPB units which operated on the Central Division of the Southern Region of British Rail.[1] Units were delivered into traffic painted in Network SouthEast blue, red and white livery. Units were numbered in the range 456001-024. Each unit consisted of two carriages; a driving motor and a driving trailer.[1] The technical description (when new) of the unit formation is DMSO+DTSOL. Individual carriage numbers were as follows:

  • 64735-64758 - DMSO
  • 78250-78273 - DTSOL

When first introduced, the units suffered from many technical and reliability problems, which delayed the replacement of the 2EPB units. However, once they settled down the units were used on many services, including London Bridge to London Victoria via Crystal Palace, and via Denmark Hill and London Victoria to Horsham. Before the lines closed in 1997 to allow the building of Tramlink, Class 456 units worked services on the West Croydon to Wimbledon Line. Recently, more Class 456 EMU trains have recently been allocated to Victoria - Epsom via Sutton and West Croydon, especially at peak times, as well as services from Epsom Downs and Dorking.

Current operations[edit]

Since the privatisation of Britain's railways, the entire Class 456 fleet passed into the Southern (formerly known as South Central) franchise, which was originally won by Connex South Central. Only one unit, No. 456024, was repainted in white and yellow Connex livery, when it was named Sir Cosmo Bonsor after a chairman of the South Eastern Railway.[1][2] The rest of the fleet had remained in NSE livery, until summer 2006 when the fleet started to be repainted.

In 2000, Connex lost the South Central franchise to the Go-Ahead Group, who rebranded the company as Southern in 2004.

The units have ended their career with Southern, as their operations on its Metro routes have been replaced by Class 455 and 377/6 trains. Around half the units are currently with South West Trains for driver training, with the other half being refurbished and repainted into the South West Trains red Metro livery.

The units were introduced onto the South West Trains Guildford-Aldershot-Camberley-Ascot route in March 2014, replacing more modern Class 458 trains with toilets and air conditioning. Most have not been refurbished and are still running in their Southern livery [3][4]

The joint Southern/TfL CCTV advertising liveried Southern Metro Class 456 No. 456006 at London Bridge.
The Class 456s were delivered in Network South East livery

Refurbishment[edit]

In March 2005, No. 456006 was hauled away to Wolverton where it has been studied for corrosion assessment. This caused some doubt as to whether they would be refurbished.[5] However, in a statement in April 2006 Southern said the class would receive a 'refresh', which meant they would not receive a refurbishment as major as the 455s, since the 456s are 10 years newer and already have high-backed seats (although of a different design). Also, on the newly released sets, new CCTV cameras and flooring have been installed; this was not mentioned on the original refurbishment plan.

All units have now been 'refreshed' and have been painted into Southern green colours.[5] No. 456006 has been completed in a new, one-off promotional livery for rail safety on the Southern network. 456013 will now have an experimental cab-cooling system installed and 456022 will have some experimental air-conditioning fitted, in an effort to make drivers' jobs more comfortable.

Southern removed the toilets from the trains, to provide more capacity. Despite this the Class 456 EMU trains lost two seats from each pair, due to a space being cleared for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

A second refurbishment is underway in Wolverton where Class 456s received a new exterior livery and also a refreshed inteior

Criticism[edit]

Southern's refurbishment of the sets wasn't as extensive as with the British Rail Class 455 EMU trains, due to the 456s being newer. Previously, there were no electronic announcement boards on board, which meant that when they worked in multiple with the 455s (usually to form 6-car trains), none of their Passenger Information System visual boards worked and the automatic announcements could not be played. However this was rectified in 2009, when a Passenger Information System was fitted to the trains.

Future[edit]

On 8 May 2012 it was announced by the DfT that the entire fleet of 24 2-car Class 456s would transfer to South West Trains (SWT) in 2014, to be used in conjunction with SWT's Class 455 fleet on London inner-suburban lines.[6] SWT will be using the 456s to enhance peak-hour Metro services through Wimbledon from 8 to 10 coaches and to provide two additional morning peak services from Raynes Park to Waterloo. These changes will take place from December 2014. Class 456s will be repainted in the red "Metro" version of SWT livery to match the Class 455 with South West Trains and will be refurbished to have a similar interior to the Class 455 before entering service with SWT between March 2014 and December 2014. It was announced that the 456 fleet will retain its standard traction equipment when transferred to SWT. This will leave them as the only fleet on SWT to be powered by conventional DC traction gear.

The Southern services on the South London Line were withdrawn in 2012 and replaced by a new London Overground service operated using new air-conditioned 4-car Class 378 units.[7] Southern is also due to get 130 new carriages by December 2013, in place of 92 cascaded carriages promised for extra capacity.[8] This gives a total of 50 replacement carriages in addition to the 92 carriages for extra capacity, leaving the 48 Class 456 carriages surplus to requirements at Southern.

South West Trains[edit]

The first units entered service with South West Trains on 23 March 2014 between Ascot and Guildford.[9] They are currently running in pairs (i.e. 2 x 2 car) and are still in Southern's green livery, but without fleet names. 10 units are required to provide the half hourly service. The one train per day from Clapham Junction (07:45) to Guildford via Ascot is also operated by 2 x 456's, but the trains that run through to Waterloo during the rush hours, continue to use Class 458 trains. As a result of this change, 1st class travel on the route is no longer available.

South West Trains is to use the Class 456s on services from London Waterloo to Dorking, Guildford (via Epsom or via Oxshott), Chessington South, Hampton Court and Shepperton.

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 456 South West Trains 24 1990–1991 2 456001 - 456024
Class 456 Southern Diagram.PNG

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Class 456 - Southern E-Group. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  2. ^ 456024 Connex SouthCentral livery - Southern E-Group. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  3. ^ http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/uploads/ascot-guildfordposter.pdf
  4. ^ http://thecamberleyeye.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/let-the-train-take-the-strain-unless-its-sunny-or-you-have-a-full-bladder/
  5. ^ a b Southern's 456 Overhauls and Refreshing - Southern Electric Group. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  6. ^ Further boost for passengers as South West Trains secures additional carriages - South West Trains. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  7. ^ Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays - Transport for London. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  8. ^ Southern launches competition for 130 new carriages. - Southern. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  9. ^ Class 456 Enters Service - Southern Electric Group. Retrieved 16 April 2014.