British Rail Class 488

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British Rail Class 488
8313 at London Victoria.jpg
488313 at London Victoria on 18 March 2003. This was one of the last six sets in service with Gatwick Express until its withdrawal in 2004. It has since been exported to New Zealand, where it has been preserved.
In service 1973–
Manufacturer BREL Derby
Operator NI Railways
Specifications
Car length 66 ft 12 in (20.12 m)
Width 9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
Height 12 ft 9 14 in (3.89 m)
Maximum speed 90 mph (145 km/h)
Weight 105 tonnes

The British Rail Class 488 are unpowered trailer sets, converted from Mark 2F coaches for the Gatwick Express service from London Victoria railway station to Gatwick Airport.

The sets were converted from conventional locomotive-hauled coaching stock in 1983–1984, and were used in combination with Class 73 electro-diesel locomotives and Class 489 luggage vans. Two variations were converted: 2-car sets (containing first class accommodation) and 3-car sets (containing standard class accommodation only). They are officially formed of two subclasses. The two-car units are classified as Class 488/2 and are numbered in the range 488201–488210 and the three-car sets are Class 488/3 and are numbered 488301–19.

Operations[edit]

After privatisation, the entire Class 488 fleet passed to the Gatwick Express franchise. One unit, 488301, was withdrawn before privatisation, following an accident at Battersea Park railway station in 1985.

Gatwick Express[edit]

Immediately after privatisation the Class 488 fleet was used exclusively on Gatwick Express trains. They were painted in the Gatwick Express variation of InterCity livery. Some sets were later reliveried with Continental Airlines advertisements, including units 488203/04/07/08/10, 488304/05/10/14/19.

From 2000 onwards, new trains in the form of Class 460 units were introduced to replace the old stock. By 2004 just six sets, formed into three 5-car rakes, were still in use with Gatwick Express. By January 2005 this had decreased to four sets. The sets were used sporadically during early 2005 but their use declined as the Class 460 reliability improved. Their final scheduled use was on 28 July following a special trip involving the two remaining Class 73 locomotives. They were replaced by two Class 458 units hired from South West Trains. They were used a few times after this date for emergency cover, but have now been withdrawn.

Network Rail[edit]

After retirement from Gatwick Express several sets were purchased by Network Rail for use as test trains or simply as brake-force runners. These sets have been repainted into either the now obsolete Railtrack blue/lime green livery or the new Network Rail yellow livery. Two sets, 8307 and 8309, have been reclassified as Class 910 departmental units and renumbered 910002 and 910001 respectively. In addition two coaches have been converted for departmental use with Network Rail:

  • 72503 (ex 488204) - converted to hot-box detection coach no. 977983
  • 72715 (ex 488316) - converted to structure-gauging train coach no. 977985

Northern Ireland Railways[edit]

In 2001 eight carriages were sold to Northern Ireland Railways for further use as locomotive-hauled stock in combination with the 111 Class locomotive, and renumbered 8941 to 8948.

  • 72605 (ex 488305) - renumbered 8943
  • 72609 (ex 488305) - renumbered 8944
  • 72626 (ex 488314) - renumbered 8945
  • 72627 (ex 488314) - renumbered 8946
  • 72634 (ex 488318) - renumbered 8941
  • 72637 (ex 488318) - renumbered 8942
  • 72646 (ex 488319) - renumbered 8947
  • 72647 (ex 488319) - renumbered 8948

The NIR coaches were withdrawn on 19 January 2005, but were re-introduced to provide extra capacity on the Portadown to Belfast (Central) service, making one trip every morning. (Coaches 943+944 have not re-entered service and are being used for parts) In 2009 the locomotives and coaches will be converted to push-pull operation following the purchase by NIR of a DBSO from 'one' (later National Express East Anglia).

Ministry of Defence[edit]

Preservation[edit]

Several complete sets have been preserved. These are listed below.

In addition, Ian Welch of the Mainline Steam Trust in New Zealand has purchased a number of ex-BR MkII cars formerly used on this service. Three cars comprising set 488313 (TSOLH 72624 and 72625, TSOL 72172) and a further two from 488209 (TFOH 72508 and TSOH 72644) arrived in New Zealand in 2008, still bearing the Intercity livery with 'Gatwick Express' branding. Most of the cars are in interim storage at Hutt Workshops in Wellington, while others have been trucked to the MLST Wellington base at Plimmerton.

These cars at present have not been equipped with bogies, and are transferred from Hutt to MLST Wellington by road. They will be fitted with either x-28020 bogies ex-FM guard's vans, or x-27750 'Kinki' bogies ex-FS steam-heating vans as part of the overhaul to bring them up to code-compliance for operation in New Zealand. Unlike most MkII cars in New Zealand, they are receiving only minor modifications to allow them to run in New Zealand, and will receive new numbers. They will also receive new names as well as the new MLST MkII livery of Pearl Grey roof with Midnight Blue body and white window band.

Fleet status[edit]

Key: In service Withdrawn Preserved Departmental Use Further Use Scrapped


Class 488/2

Unit No. Vehicle Numbers Livery Operator Withdrawn Status
TFOH TSOH
488201 72500 ex 3413 72638 ex 6068 Gatwick Express Cotswold Rail 2002 Scrapped (2004)
488202 72501 ex 3382 72617 ex 6086 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2005 Preserved
488203 72502 ex 3321 72640 ex 6097 Gatwick Express (Advertising) Network Rail 2002 Stored
488204 72503 ex 3407 72641 ex 6079 Gatwick Express (Advertising) Network Rail 2002 Stored
488205 72504 ex 3406 72628 ex 6058 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2002 Scrapped (2003)
488206 72505 ex 3415 72629 ex 6048 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2005 Preserved
488207 72506 ex 3335 72642 ex 6076 Gatwick Express (Advertising) Cotswold Rail 2002 Scrapped (2004)
488208 72507 ex 3412 72643 ex 6040 Gatwick Express (Advertising) GB Railfreight 2002 Sent for Scrap 29/04/09
488209 72508 ex 3409 72644 ex 6039 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2004 Sold to New Zealand-based Mainline Steam Trust
488210 72509 ex 3398 72635 ex 6128 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2002 Sold to MoD Marchwood


Class 488/3

Unit No. Vehicle Numbers Livery Operator Withdrawn Status
TSOLH TSOL TSOLH
488301 72600 ex-6125 72700 ex-6131 72601 ex-6133 InterCity British Rail 1985 Scrapped (1987)
488302 72602 ex 6130 72701 ex 6088 72604 ex 6087 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2003 Scrapped (2003)
488303 72603 ex 6093 72702 ex 6099 72608 ex 6077 Gatwick Express Network Rail 2002 Stored
488304 72606 ex 6084 72703 ex 6075 72611 ex 6083 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2002 Preserved
488305 72605 ex 6082 72704 ex 6132 72609 ex 6080 Gatwick Express (Advertising) Gatwick Express 2002 Sold to Northern Ireland Railways
488306 72607 ex 6020 72705 ex 6032 72610 ex 6074 Gatwick Express Cotswold Rail 2002 Scrapped (2004)
488307 72612 ex 6156 72706 ex 6143 72613 ex 6126 Railtrack Blue/Green Network Rail 2004 Renumbered 910002
488308 72614 ex 6090 72707 ex 6127 72615 ex 5938 Railtrack Blue/Green Network Rail - In service
488309 72616 ex 6007 72708 ex 6095 72639 ex 6070 Railtrack Blue/Green Network Rail 2004 Renumbered 910001
488310 72618 ex 6044 72709 ex 5982 72619 ex 5909 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2002 Preserved
488311 72620 ex 6140 72710 ex 6003 72621 ex 6108 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2005 Preserved
488312 72622 ex 6004 72711 ex 6109 72623 ex 6118 Gatwick Express GB Railfreight 2002 Sent for scrap 29/04/09
488313 72624 ex 5972 72712 ex 6091 72625 ex 6085 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2004 Sold to New Zealand-based Mainline Steam Trust
488314 72626 ex 6017 72713 ex 6023 72627 ex 5974 Gatwick Express (Advertising) Gatwick Express 2002 Sold to Northern Ireland Railways
488315 72636 ex 6071 72714 ex 6092 72645 ex 5942 Gatwick Express GB Railfreight 2002 Sent for scrap 29/04/09
488316 72630 ex 6094 72715 ex 6019 72631 ex 6096 Railtrack Blue/Green Network Rail - In service
488317 72632 ex 6072 72716 ex 6114 72633 ex 6129 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2003 Sent for scrap
488318 72634 ex 6089 72717 ex 6069 72637 ex 6098 Gatwick Express Gatwick Express 2002 Sold to Northern Ireland Railways
488319 72646 ex 6078 72718 ex 5979 72647 ex 6081 Gatwick Express (Advertising) Gatwick Express 2002 Sold to Northern Ireland Railways