British Rail Class 180

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British Rail Class 180 Adelante
First Great Western Class 180 working a Great Malvern to London Paddington service (2012)
180108 A M DMSO Interior 1.JPG
Original interior
In service 2002–present
Manufacturer Alstom[1]
Built at Washwood Heath, Birmingham
Family name Coradia
Replaced InterCity 125
Class 222
Class 166
Constructed 2000–01
Number built 14 trainsets
Formation 5 cars per trainset[1]
Fleet numbers 180101–180114
Capacity 287 seats[2]
Operator(s) Great Western Railway
Grand Central
Hull Trains
Car body construction Steel[3]
Train length 116.52 metres (382 ft 3 in)
Car length 23.71 or 23.03 metres (77 ft 9 in or 75 ft 7 in)
Width 2.73 metres (8 ft 11 in)
Doors TEBL electric single-leaf swing plug, two per side at the ends of each carriage
Maximum speed 125 mph (201 km/h)
Weight 252.5 tonnes (248.5 long tons; 278.3 short tons) (5 car set)[4] Axle load weight 13.25 tonnes
Prime mover(s) Cummins QSK-19[1]
Power output 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm
Transmission Voith Hydraulic T312BRE to Voith final drive
2 axles driven per car
AAR wheel arrangement 2-B/B-2/B-2/B-2/B-2
Bogies Alstom MB2
Braking system(s) Air/Hydrodynamic (Retarders bypassed due to unreliability)
Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS - ATP
Coupling system Scharfenberg[5]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 180 is a British diesel multiple-unit train built by Alstom at Washwood Heath in Birmingham between 2000 and 2001 for then-new express services operated by First Great Western (FGW). They are part of the Coradia 1000 family, along with the Class 175. For commercial purposes the Class 180s were given the branding Adelante, a name devised by FirstGroup, which has continued to be used by Hull Trains. After recurring technical problems with the trains, FGW handed all the units back to Angel Trains (the leasing company) in March 2009. The units were subsequently assigned to other companies. However, in 2012, FGW announced that it would be refurbishing and relaunching five Class 180 units. From July 2012, these re-entered service on the Cotswold Line, running most services between London and Worcester in order to release Class 165 and Class 166 units for further use in the Thames Valley.


In the late 1990s, FGW was keen to increase to half-hourly the frequency of its express service from London Paddington to South Wales. This required extra high-speed rolling stock, but there was little available. FGW therefore ordered fourteen 125 mph diesel multiple units from Alstom, similar to the 26 Class 175s then under construction for sister company First North Western.[2] The order reportedly cost £74.5 million; financing was organised by Wiltshire Leasing, another subsidiary of FirstGroup.[2]

The first unit, 180101, was unveiled on 18 April 2000.[2] However, following a string of problems, full main line testing did not begin until December 2000, six months after it was intended to start.[6] Despite this, Alstom claimed that the trains could enter service in time for the May 2001 timetable change.[6] This date too was missed, and the trains did not go into squadron service until the next timetable change, in December 2001.[7]


There are 14 Class 180 sets, numbered 180101-180114. There are five cars per unit: two Standard Class Driving Motors, two Standard Class Intermediate Motors and a First Class Intermediate Motor. All coaches are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine, which develops 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm,[1] identical to those on Bombardier Voyager DEMUs and Siemens Class 185 DMUs used by First TransPennine Express.

The trains feature a hydraulic transmission,[4] supplied by Voith which is a three-speed type, with integral hydrodynamic braking (rated at 750 kW short term, 420 kW continuous). These trains are the only diesel-powered high-speed trains in the world with diesel-hydraulic transmission. One bogie per coach is powered, with both axles driven. Total vehicle weight is 278 tonnes.[1]

The units feature Scharfenberg couplers. This allows them to be joined with Class 175 units in an emergency—the Class 175s were introduced by First North Western, a sister company to First Great Western.[citation needed]


Current operators[edit]

First Hull Trains 180113 at London King's Cross

Hull Trains[edit]

Hull Trains acquired two Class 180 units to replace a damaged Class 222 Pioneer, which operated with the remaining Class 222s between London King's Cross and Hull. In 2008, the Department for Transport decided that Hull Trains' Class 222s should be cascaded to East Midlands Trains and replaced with Class 180s by the end of 2008.[8] The acquired units have undergone an internal refit including the installation of laptop sockets and new coffee machines. They first began operation in late January 2009. The refurbishment was completed in early 2011.[9] To ensure reliability, Hull Trains' Class 180s are maintained alongside the Great Western Railway sub-fleet, at Old Oak Common depot, in West London.

Grand Central[edit]

Grand Central 180112 at London King's Cross

Grand Central initially planned to operate a pair of Class 180s on its London to Sunderland route, having secured the rights to a fourth daily service in each direction.[10] The two 180s joined the company's three high-speed trains (HSTs).[11] The company had initially announced that the two units would run as a ten-car train but later said that they would run separately, for extra flexibility.

The Grand Central Class 180s were given the fleet name Zephyr by the company (Adelante being a FirstGroup brand name) and were painted into their black livery with a broad orange waistline stripe. Day-to-day maintenance is carried out at Heaton depot, in Newcastle.

Grand Central acquired three additional units for its new service to Bradford Interchange.[12] Originally the service was to be operated under the brand name Grand Northern, as part of parent company Grand Union, but is operating as Grand Central so that units can be interchanged between the two routes.

The units have been modified by Railcare and fitted with wi-fi and at-seat sockets.[13] The first unit to be refurbished was 180114. One of the initial two units, 180112, was named James Herriot at a ceremony at London King's Cross and is the first to carry Grand Central's new logo[13] and orange stripe livery. They entered service in September 2009, with the Bradford service starting on 23 May 2010.[14] A second unit, 180107, was named Hart of the North in October 2010 following a competition in the Hartlepool Mail.[15] and a third, 180105, was named The Yorkshire Artist, by the artist Ashley Jackson, in October 2011, also carrying his name in smaller characters below the main name.

Between July 2016 and December 2017 Northern will operate a peak morning working between Halifax and Leeds, via Bradford, using a class 180 set hired from Grand Central Railway. This is to release other DMUs to cover the reduction in the number of units available to hire from TransPennine Express.[16]

Upon completion of Great Western main line electrification Grand Central are due to receive the five 180s currently being operated by Great Western Railway, to allow for service expansion and to replace the former company's high-speed trains (HSTs).

Great Western Railway[edit]

A First Great Western Class 180 unit at Radley

The Class 180 fleet, given the brand name Adelante by FGW, was originally deployed on services linking London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads via Bath Spa and to Cardiff Central via Bristol Parkway.[7] The class suffered a number of technical problems, including problems with the doors closing and locking quickly.[17] This resulted in their replacement on most of the above services with HSTs displaced from Midland Mainline by Class 222 high-speed DEMUs. The Class 180s then operated express commuter services from London Paddington to Oxford, Worcester, Hereford (via the Cotswold Line), Exeter St Davids and Gloucester.

The reliability problems experienced by FGW, combined with increased passenger numbers, eventually led the operator to lose patience with the class and it acquired extra refurbished HST sets towards the end of 2007 as replacements on the express commuter services.[17] FGW returned most of the Class 180 fleet to the leasing company Angel Trains in early 2008.[18]

Although FGW had planned to return the entire fleet for storage, it decided to retain three units until it had received a cascaded HST from National Express East Coast.[18] A pair of the units operated in multiple on an early-morning Oxford-London commuter service, before being divided to work independently the rest of the day (after returning as empty stock to Oxford) on the Cotswold Line from Paddington to Worcester and Hereford.[19] The final FGW 180 ran on 30 March 2009.[20]

Five Class 180 units were planned for use by East Coast in 2009/10. After this proposal was abandoned, it was announced that the five units would be transferred back to FGW to increase capacity on Thames Valley services.[21] It was subsequently announced that the Adelantes would be working on the Cotswold Line, allowing Class 165 and 166 Turbo DMUs to be released for Thames Valley services.[22][23]

These units have Buffet Cars, but a trolley service is provided.

FGW confirmed via its Facebook page that all five sets will be in service by the end of July 2012.[24]

The first refurbished Class 180 entered passenger service on 28 May 2012 as the 11.21 Paddington-Great Malvern (180103).[25]

FGW Class 180s are maintained at Old Oak Common depot, in West London.

Former operators[edit]

Northern Rail[edit]

Northern Rail operated three Adelantes, in a more purple version of FirstGroup's "Barbie" livery.

Northern Rail added three Class 180 units to its fleet in October 2008 for crew training with the sets entering service in December 2008 to operate from Hazel Grove and Manchester Victoria to Preston and Blackpool North, until the end of 2012. These units were sub-leased by East Coast to Northern until it could obtain more long-term rolling stock.[26] The three units sub-leased to Northern Rail were to have transferred to East Coast after the 18-month contract finished in November 2010. However, East Coast changed its plans and no longer required them, so they remained with Northern until December 2011 after Northern took delivery of ex-London Midland Class 150 DMUs. The final service by a Northern Rail Class 180 was 180106 on the 21:22 Manchester Victoria-Blackpool North on 2 December 2011.[27]

Aborted proposals[edit]

East Coast[edit]

National Express East Coast requested additional services to a number of destinations in its application for access rights on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) in March 2008, stating that, in addition to its existing InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 sets, it would require as many as nine Class 180s.[28] The routes proposed were London to Lincoln (with one train per day extended to Cleethorpes) and London to Harrogate via York. Although NXEC no longer exists, its successor East Coast pressed ahead with the plans, and managed to secure five units, three of which were temporarily sub-leased to Northern (see above).[26] However, it recently announced that, due to government cuts, it would no longer be introducing a regular all-day service to and from Lincoln.[29][not in citation given]

Platinum Trains[edit]

Platinum Trains had aimed to use 180s on an Aberdeen to London service, if its track access application was approved.[30] However, the application was refused in January 2009.[31]

Virgin Trains[edit]

Virgin Trains leased two units from Angel Trains in 2008, intending to use them as standby units on the West Coast Main Line following the loss of a Class 390 Pendolino unit in the Grayrigg derailment.[32] The units, described as 'strategic standby' units by the company, were returned to Angel Trains without being used following a decision to use a Class 90 locomotive and Mark 3 coaching stock instead.[32]

Fleet details[edit]

First Hull Trains 180113 passes Cromwell Moor
Class Operator No. in service Year Built Cars per set Unit numbers
Class 180 Hull Trains 4[33] 2000–2001 5 180109, 180110, 180111, 180113
Grand Central 6[34] 180101, 180105, 180107, 180108, 180112, 180114[11]
Great Western Railway 4[35] 180102, 180103, 180104, 180106


Grand Central have announced that they will be taking the 5 units currently used on Great Western Railway to replace their HSTs and increase their fleet size in 2017. 180108 has now transferred to Grand Central from Great Western Railway on 1st May 2017. [36]

They are due to be replaced as part of the re-equipment of the Great Western network with Class 800 InterCity Express Project trains and the subsequent cascade of existing diesel stock, at which time they will join the Grand Central fleet. The Hull Trains fleet of four sets is also due for redeployment following its replacement by Class 802 Bi-mode trains.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e High-speed diesel multiple units Class 180 of First North Western with T312 bre turbo transmission + KB 190, KE-445 and SK-445 final drive and cardan shaft.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d "125mph sleek and stylish Coradias for Great Western". RAIL. Peterborough. 382: 12–13. 3 May 2000. 
  3. ^ Diesel Multiple Units 2010. Platform 5. 2010. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-902336-75-6. 
  4. ^ a b Class 180 Technical Data
  5. ^ "Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Alstom claims 'several' Class 180s will be in use by May". RAIL. Peterborough. 400: 10. 10 January 2001. 
  7. ^ a b "Unveiling of new Class 180 High Speed train" (Press release). FirstGroup. 4 September 2001. 
  8. ^ "East Coast Main Line: Route Utilisation Strategy (section 4.3.2)" (PDF). Network Rail. February 2008. p. 71. 
  9. ^ About First Hull Trains
  10. ^ New trains
  11. ^ a b "Two Adelantes on their way to Grand Central". Rail. Peterborough (613): 10. March 2009. 
  12. ^ "West Riding Update". Grand Central Railway. 
  13. ^ a b "Grand Central Railway names train after famous Yorkshire vet 'James Herriot'". Grand Central Railway. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  14. ^ "'West Riding' services starts in May". Rail. Peterborough (641): 13. 7 April 2010. 
  15. ^ "Grand Central name Class 180 DMU Hart of the North". Railway Herald. Scunthorpe (243). 25 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "THIRTY SEVENTH SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Murray, Dick (10 September 2007). "Rail firm goes back to 30-years to boost reliability". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. 
  18. ^ a b Marlow - Maidenhead Passengers' Association News.
  19. ^ "Trains to be withdrawn". Oxford Mail. 19 February 2008. 
  20. ^ "Final train rolls into town". Oxford Mail. 30 March 2009. 
  21. ^ "GW mulls Adelante use". Modern Railways. London. November 2010. p. 89. 
  22. ^ "Thames Valley and West Country Rail passengers in line for extra seat boost" (Press release). Department for Transport. 22 November 2011. 
  23. ^ "Return of Adelantes to First Great Western confirmed". Railnews. Stevenage. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "First Great Western facebook page". 7 May 2012. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "Class 180 on the First Great Western community forum". Oxford. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Today's Railways (86). Sheffield.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ Miles, Tony (July 2010). "East Coast Class 180s to be retained by Northern?". Modern Railways. London: Ian Allan. p. 46. 
  28. ^ East Coast- Track Access Rights on the East Coast Main Line, Office of Rail Regulation, 28 March 2008.
  29. ^ East Coast Class 180 changes, East Coast, 16 June 2010.[dead link]
  30. ^ Application to the Office of Rail Regulation for a passenger track access contract under section 17 of the Railways Act 1993. Office of Rail Regulation.
  31. ^ ORR Track Access Rights Application Decision for ECML - 28 January 2009. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  32. ^ a b "Virgin returns two unused Adelantes to Angel Trains". RAIL. Peterborough. 604: 14. 5 November 2008. 
  33. ^ RSTS Hitchin Branch - Railway services around Hitchin Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ Modern Railways. London: 42. October 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[title missing]
  35. ^ "Our Business - Great Western Railway". 
  36. ^ "£7.8m investments are just the ticket". We have signed a lease with Angel Trains for five Class 180 trains (from 2017). This will give Grand Central Rail a fleet of 10 Class 180 trains – an increase of two on the eight trains currently in the Fleet. This will increase capacity by 25% overall and gives the company the flexibility to double the capacity on busiest services by joining two trains together to run longer trains, subject to industry approvals. 

External links[edit]