British Rail Classes 485 and 486

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British Rail Class 485
British Rail Class 486
Class 485 no. 485045 at Shanklin railway station, current terminus of the Island Line.
In service 1923 on London Underground
1967 - 1992 on Island Line
Manufacturer Metro Cammell, Union Construction Company, Cammell Laird
Family name Tube stock
Formation 4 cars per trainset (4Vec) and 3 cars per trainset (3Tis)
Capacity 132 seats (4Vec) and 106 seats (3Tis)
Operator Network SouthEast
Maximum speed 45 mph 72 km/h
Weight 94 t (4Vec) and 65 t (3Tis)
Electric system(s) 630 V DC 3rd rail
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 485 (or 4Vec) and British Rail Class 486 (or 3Tis) electrical multiple units were originally built for the London Electric Railway from 1923-31 as their 'Standard' tube stock. They were purchased by British Rail in 1967 and transported to the Isle of Wight to work 'mainline' services on the newly electrified Ryde to Shanklin line,[1][2] where they worked for an additional quarter century. At the time of their purchase the units had already worked for over forty years on the London Underground, but their introduction allowed the last steam locomotives on the line to be withdrawn.[2]


Six four-car sets and six three-car sets were refurbished by BR's Stewarts Lane depot in 1966-67. The four-car sets were initially classified Class 452 and numbered 041-046, later reclassified Class 485 and numbered 485041-046. Each unit was formed of a driving motor, two intermediate trailers, and a second driving motor. Thus, the formation was DMBSO+TSO+TSO+DMBSO. Some of the intermediate trailers were former driving trailers, with the cabs locked out of use.

The three-car sets were classified Class 451 and numbered 031-036, later reclassified Class 486 and numbered 486031-036. A spare driving motor car was also refurbished, given the unit number 486037. Each of these units were formed of a driving motor, an intermediate trailer, and a driving trailer. Thus, the formation was DMBSO+TSO+DTSO.

When introduced, the units carried all-over BR blue livery. This progressed to standard blue/grey livery in the 1970s, and finally some units received Network SouthEast's blue livery with red and white stripes, following its introduction in 1986.

Electric services on the Isle of Wight commenced on 20 March 1967. In service, the 4Vec units often worked alone, but sometimes in combination with a 3Tis unit, such that a train was formed of seven coaches known as a 7 Vectis.[2] ("Vectis" was the Roman name for the Isle of Wight.[3])

Due to the proximity to the sea, the units suffered badly from corrosion damage.[4] By the mid-1980s it was clear that they needed replacing. The replacements came from the 2-car Class 483, which were also rebuilt from former London Underground stock, namely 1938 tube stock.[5] These new units were introduced from 1989. The last 3Tis and 4Vec units were withdrawn from service in 1992.[1]

Upon retirement from Isle of Wight services, no 3Tis units were saved for preservation. However, several 4Vec vehicles were sold back to London Underground for eventual restoration as part of an operational 'Standard' stock museum unit.[6] These are listed below:

Type No. From set LT no.
DMBSO 2 485041 3706
DMBSO 7 485044 3209
DTSO 27 485043 5279
TSO 44 485044 7281
TSO 49 485044 7296

During November 2011 the two long stored DM vehicles 2 and 7 were despatched by LU to Eastleigh depot for component recovery and subsequent breaking up, this is believed to have happened in December '11 although this has not been confirmed. Trailers 27 and 49 are incorporated into the LT museum's Standard stock museum train 44 was scrapped in August 2012

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos. Notes
Class 485 Southern Region (Island Line)
Network SouthEast
6 1923
1966 (refurbishment)
4 485041–485046
Class 486 6 3 486031-486036

Details of the original 1967 formations are shown below. TSO vehicles marked with an asterisk (*) were originally DTSO vehicles with the cab locked out of use.

Unit no. Carriage nos.
031 1 ex-3703 47 ex-7279 26 ex-5294
032 3 ex-3251 92 ex-7285 28 ex-5304
033 5 ex-3185 93 ex-7282 30 ex-5312
034 7 ex-3209 94 ex-7287 32 ex-5290
035 9 ex-3223 95 ex-7292 34 ex-5302
036 11 ex-3705 96 ex-7290 36 ex-5350
Spare 10 ex-3696
Unit no. Carriage nos.
041 20 ex-3308 27* ex-5279 41 ex-7286 13 ex-3141
042 22 ex-3010 29* ex-5293 42 ex-7280 15 ex-3253
043 2 ex-3706 31* ex-5283 43 ex-7275 19 ex-3045
044 4 ex-3702 33* ex-5291 44 ex-7281 21 ex-3041
045 6 ex-3084 45 ex-7293 48 ex-7298 23 ex-3315
046 8 ex-3074 49 ex-7296 46 ex-7283 25 ex-3313

[b] The original car 15 ex 3253 was scrapped in 1971 and replaced by ex LT 3273, renumbered to 15 II [/b]

Rail Blue livery on Class 485
Rail Blue livery on Class 485


  1. ^ a b EMU_485_486
  2. ^ a b c Class 485 & 486
  3. ^ Isle of Wight Nostlgia Site: Island History
  4. ^ Southern Page 5
  5. ^ Hardy, Brian (2003). Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight. Harrow Weald, Middlesex: Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-276-3. 
  6. ^ CHTL - Preserved Underground Trains


  • Robert, Greenaway (1983), "Metropolitan and Underground Rolling Stock for the Isle of Wight", Underground (Hemel Hempstead, Hertsfordshire: London Underground Railway Society) (11): 48, ISSN 0306-8609 

External links[edit]