British Rail Class 222

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British Rail Class 222 Meridian
East Midlands Railway 221104 at St Pancras.jpg
222008 Standard Class Interior.jpg
The refurbished interior of Standard Class aboard an East Midlands Trains Class 222 Meridian
In service2004–present
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation, Bruges
Family nameVoyager
Number built27 sets
Number in service27 sets
Formation4 & 9 car sets (as built)
4, 5 & 7 car sets (present)
Fleet numbers222001–222023
Operator(s)East Midlands Railway
Line(s) servedMidland Main Line
Oakham to Kettering Line
Car body constructionSteel
Car length23.85 m (78 ft 3 in) end cars
22.82 m (74 ft 10 in) other
Width2.73 m (8 ft 11 in)
Maximum speed125 mph (200 km/h)
Prime mover(s)One per car, Cummins QSK19 19-litre 6-cylinder turbo-Diesel
Power output750 hp (560 kW) per car
UIC classification1A'A1'+1A'A1'+...+1A'A1'
Braking system(s)Rheostatic
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS
Coupling systemDellner[1]
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The British Rail Class 222 is a diesel multiple unit high-speed train capable of 125 mph (200 km/h). Twenty-seven sets were built by Bombardier Transportation in Bruges, Belgium.

The Class 222 Meridian is similar to the Class 220 Voyager and Class 221 Super Voyager trains used by CrossCountry and Avanti West Coast, but it has a different interior. The Class 222 trains have more components fitted under the floors to free up space within the body. Built for Midland Mainline and Hull Trains, today all are operated by East Midlands Railway.


The refurbished interior of First Class aboard an East Midlands Trains Class 222

All are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine of 750 hp (560 kW) at 1800 rpm.[2] This powers a generator, which supplies current to motors driving two axles per coach. Approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km) can be travelled between each refuelling.

Class 222 have rheostatic braking using the motors in reverse to generate electricity which is dissipated as heat through resistors situated on the roof of each coach; this saves on brake pad wear.

In common with the Class 220s, B5000 lightweight bogies are used - these are easily recognisable since the entire outer surface of the wheel is visible, with inboard axle bearings.

The Class 222 are fitted with Dellner couplers,[3] as on Class 220 Voyager and Class 221 SuperVoyager trains,[3] though these units cannot work together in service because the Class 222 electrical connections are incompatible with the Class 220 and Class 221 trains.[3][clarification needed]

All Class 222 units are maintained at the dedicated Derby Etches Park depot, just south of Derby railway station.


Class 222 units are currently running in the following formations:

East Midlands Railway: seven cars with 236 standard seats and 106 first-class seats.

  • Coach A - Standard Class with driving cab and reservable space for two bikes
  • Coach B - Standard Class
  • Coach C - Standard Class
  • Coach D - Standard Class with Buffet counter
  • Coach F - First Class
  • Coach G - First Class
  • Coach H - First Class, kitchen and driving cab

East Midlands Railway: five cars with 192 standard seats and 50 first-class seats

  • Coach A - Standard Class with driving cab and reservable space for two bikes
  • Coach B - Standard Class
  • Coach C - Standard Class with Buffet counter
  • Coach D - Standard Class / First Class composite
  • Coach G - First Class, kitchen and driving cab

East Midlands Railway: four cars with 132 standard seats and 33 first-class seats

  • Coach A - Standard Class with driving cab and reservable space for two bikes
  • Coach B - Standard Class with Buffet counter
  • Coach D - Standard Class / First Class composite
  • Coach G - First Class, kitchen and driving cab

The four- and five-car units can be coupled to form nine or ten-car services at peak times. When coupled together, coaches A-G are found in the front unit and the rear coaches become labelled J, K, L, M, N, with the first-class seats in coaches J and K.

Initially, the 23 units ordered for Midland Mainline were four-car and nine-car. Over time these have been gradually modified to the current formations. The four-car units ordered by Hull Trains had an option when constructed to be extended to five cars if required.[4]


Midland region[edit]

Except for certain sections of route, no routes operated by East Midlands Railway are electrified north of Bedford, and all its trains are diesel-powered.

Midland Mainline introduced the first of 23 Class 222 units on 31 May 2004, branding them Meridian. These replaced all of the Class 170 Turbostars, and some of the High Speed Trains having better acceleration than both of them.

Seven of the sets were nine-car Class 222 Meridians intended for an enhanced London St Pancras to Leeds service, but after the trains had been ordered, the Strategic Rail Authority decided not to allow them to run the service.[5] The nine-car Meridians were used on London-Nottingham and some London-Sheffield services.

When the trains were ordered, Midland Mainline overestimated the number of first-class passengers, and the four-car Meridians had less standard-class seating than the three-car Turbostars they replaced. Coach D subsequently had a section of first-class seating declassified for use by standard-class passengers.

At the end of 2006 Midland Mainline removed a carriage from each of the nine-car sets and extended seven of the four-car sets, using the removed carriages.

Midland Mainline had named some of the units as follows:

Unit number Name Date named Named by
222 004 City of Sheffield 29 March 2007 Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Jackie Drayton
222 005 City of Nottingham 30 January 2007 Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Des Wilson
222 006 City of Leicester 7 March 2007 Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Paul Westley
222 007 City of Derby 17 May 2007 Mayor of Derby, Councillor John Ahern

The names were removed when the franchise passed to East Midlands Trains.

Following the formation of the new East Midlands rail franchise on November 2007, the entire fleet of Class 222 Meridians was inherited by East Midlands Trains, which operated the expanded East Midlands rail franchise, including all routes previously run by Midland Mainline.

East Midlands Trains had named the following Meridians:

Unit number Name Date named Named by Notes
222 001 The Entrepreneur Express 22 September 2011 Tim Shoveller, East Midlands Trains Managing Director Named to kick off the start of the 2011 entrepreneur festival MADE
222 002 The Cutlers' Company 18 October 2011 Pamela Liversidge, Master Cutler Named to mark the successful partnership between East Midlands Trains and Sheffield
222 003 Tornado 24 March 2009 Tim Shoveller, East Midlands Trains Managing Director Driving car 60163 named as it has the same number as Tornado
222 004 Children's Hospital Sheffield 26 February 2013 Michael Vaughan, Charity Paton To mark the successful partnership between East Midlands Trains and the Sheffield Children's Hospital
222 006 The Carbon Cutter 31 May 2011 Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary To mark the introduction of eco-mode to the fleet
222 008 Derby Etches Park 13 September 2014 David Horne, East Midlands Trains Managing Director Named as part of the open day at Derby Etches Park
222 011 Sheffield City Battalion 1914-1918 11 November 2014 Ron Wiltshire, Royal British Legion representative Named to honour Sheffield City Battalion who fought in the World War I
222 015 175 Years of Derby's Railways 1839 - 2014 18 July 2014 Paul Atterbury, Antiques Roadshow Expert and railway author To mark 175 years of railways in Derby
222 022 Invest In Nottingham 19 September 2011 Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council Named to launch the 2011 Invest in Nottingham day

In 2008 further rearrangements were made to the sets: another carriage was removed from the eight-car Meridians, except for 222 007, which has been reduced to five cars.[6] The surplus coaches were then added to the remaining four-car Meridians to make six seven-car sets (222 001-222 006) and 17 five-car sets (222 007-222 023). This took place from March to October 2008; as part of the process, two first-class coaches removed from 222 007 were converted to standard class and part first class.

The seven-car trains are almost exclusively used on the fast services between London St Pancras and Sheffield. These do not operate the London St Pancras-Leeds, although the service is via Sheffield. The five-car trains are mainly used between London St Pancras and Sheffield, Nottingham or Corby on semi-fast services. The four-car trains supplement the five-car trains on these services.

In December 2008 the Class 222 Meridians started work on the hourly London St Pancras to Sheffield services, because they have faster acceleration than the High Speed Trains and so were able to reduce the Sheffield to London journey time by 12 minutes. The hourly Nottingham service was then transferred to High Speed Train running to cover for the Meridians now working the hourly Sheffield fast service.[7]

In February 2009, 222 101 and 222 102 transferred from Hull Trains to East Midlands Trains, and were quickly repainted in the East Midlands Trains white livery. 222 104 followed from Hull Trains later in the year. 222 103 followed a few months after 222 104 after repairs had been completed (see below). 222 103 was reinstated after being out of service for two years for repairs after the unit fell from jacks at Bombardier's, Crofton works in early 2007.

In 2019, following the Department for Transport's awarding of the East Midlands franchise to Abellio, all of the 222 fleet transferred to new operator East Midlands Railway in August 2019.

Hull services[edit]

The interior of Standard Class aboard a Hull Trains Class 222/1

Hull Trains introduced Class 222 Pioneer units, to replace its Class 170 Turbostars in May 2005. The units reduced journey times between Hull and London King's Cross by up to 20 minutes. The Pioneers had a different interior colour scheme and less first-class seating than the Meridians.

First Hull Trains' fleet consisted of four four-car Pioneers, each named after a "modern-day pioneer" related to Hull.

222 101 Professor George Gray
222 102 Professor Stuart Palmer
222 103 Dr John Godber
222 104 Sir Terry Farrell

First Hull Trains decided to use only Class 180 units from 2009 onwards. The Class 222s were transferred to East Midlands Trains in 2008/09[8] and are now branded as Meridians.


East Midlands Trains refurbished its entire Class 222 fleet. The refurbishment included new seat covers and carpets in standard class. First class received new leather seat covers along with a new colour scheme and carpets. The refurbishment started in February 2011 and was complete by Spring 2012.[9][10]


  • On 10 June 2006, 222 009 working 1D17 10:30 London to Sheffield had to be taken out of service due to a door being discovered open at Desborough, Northamptonshire whilst at speed. The RAIB report determined that the incident was probably caused by a sequence of events which would not have been possible with a traditional manually-operated mechanical door: a combination of a piece of dirt incorporated in the door lock switch during manufacture and a software bug in the door control system allowed the door to remain unlocked after the train called at Luton, but prevented this condition being detected. Deflation and inflation of the pneumatic door seals, initiated automatically by detectors responding to the train stopping and starting at subsequent stations, then gradually prised the door out of its socket until at a point north of Kettering it became able to open. This condition was detected and an automatic brake application initiated, whereupon the inertial forces caused the door to slide open fully; however the indications presented in the driver's cab were ambiguous and were interpreted as caused by faulty systems, and he, therefore, cancelled the brake application. The train was finally halted at Desborough summit after a passenger reported that the door was open.[11]
  • On 20 February 2010, 222 005 working 1F45 14:55 London to Sheffield derailed near East Langton, Leicestershire. Two wheels on Coach E in the middle of the train came off the track; on approaching the site of the derailment the train was travelling at close to 100 mph. No other wheels derailed and the train remained upright. There were also reports that one or more road vehicles on an adjacent highway were struck and damaged by debris as the derailed train passed.[citation needed] 222 005 was moved from the site the next day after a replacement bogie was fitted and was for a few months formed of vehicles of 222 101 and 222 022 including a standard class cab end which was temporarily renumbered until the damaged vehicles were returned to the set in mid-June. The derailment caused damage to the Midland Main Line near Kibworth for a distance of two miles, the line underwent emergency repairs by Network Rail to get the stretch of line back open for start of service on 24 February 2010.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) investigated the incident and found that it was caused by a complete fracture of the axle, due to a bearing stiffening to the point where it would no longer rotate properly. The RAIB recommended that a review of gearbox and axle design be undertaken, and that the class 22X final drive oil sampling regime be improved.[12]
  • On 20 April 2012, at 08:44, an East Midlands Trains Class 222 unit pulled into Nottingham station where both the driver and station staff noticed smoke coming from underneath one of the carriages. The engine underneath the carriage had caught fire from overheating – which occurred due to day-to-day grime which had built up underneath the train and then been heated up by the movement of the wheels. Both the train and the station were evacuated, there were no injuries.[13]
  • On 14 February 2016, unit 222 005 was in collision with a conveyor boom left foul of the line at Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire. The lead vehicle suffered substantial damage and the driver was shaken but uninjured. No injuries were reported amongst the 85 passengers, although the boom operator was severely injured. The RAIB have opened an investigation into the accident.[14][15]


All are scheduled to be returned to Eversholt Rail Group by the end of 2022 as Class 810s replace them on EMR Intercity services,[16][17] although there is an option that CrossCountry will lease these units for extra capacity.[18].

Other prospective operators[edit]


In 2005 HSBC Rail took delivery of the seven nine-car trains planned for use by Midland Mainline on its London-Leeds service, but the trains were left idle when the Strategic Rail Authority prevented Midland Mainline from operating this service. HSBC Rail made contact with Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnród Éireann, with a view to their leasing these units for use by Enterprise.[19] Using these trains on the Belfast-Dublin line was one of a number of options, which also included the purchase of additional 22000 Class railcars or cascaded coaching stock. In the event, the trains entered service with MML providing the fast services from London to Nottingham, thus releasing High Speed Trains. The trains would have required significant modification to be used by Northern Ireland Railways, including reducing each train from nine to eight cars (the maximum length of stations on the Belfast-Dublin line), and converting them from standard gauge to Irish gauge (5 ft 3 inches).

Grand Central[edit]

Grand Central, on the announcement of its open-access operation to Sunderland in the summer of 2006, planned to run its services using five Class 222 units, with the intention of starting by the end of that year. However, this never happened, pushing back the planned start date while the company looked for alternatives. Grand Central finally started operating in December 2007 using three High Speed Trains.[20]

Current fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. in service Year Built[21] Cars per Set Unit numbers.
Class 222/0 East Midlands Railway 6 2003-2005[22] 7 222 001-222 006
17 5 222 007-222 023
Class 222/1 4 2005 4 222 101-222 104


  1. ^ "Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  2. ^ Class 222 data TheRailwayCentre.Com
  3. ^ a b c System Data for Mechanical and Electrical Coupling of Rail Vehicles Archived 5 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine - Rail Safety and Standards Board
  4. ^ "Hull Trains launches Class 222 Meridian fleet"[permanent dead link]. Railway Herald Issue 4, 11 March 2005. p. 2.
  5. ^ "High Speed Hidden Asset" (PDF). Railwatch. July 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Changes to our trains" (Press release). East Midlands Trains. 6 June 2008. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2008. In preparation of our December 2008 timetable where we plan to run additional services we will be moving carriages between trains. Our smaller Meridian trains will get an extra carriage and some larger Meridian trains will lose one. By carrying out this work we will be improving our capacity on our smaller, busy trains in the peak hours where it is needed. Overall, we will reduce overcrowding at peak times.
  7. ^ East Midlands Trains FAQ Page Archived 7 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Modern Railways Issue 772 (November 2008)
  9. ^ "The News in Pictures" (PDF). Railway Herald (257). 21 February 2011. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  10. ^ "News".
  11. ^ RAIB Report into incident
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Nottingham railway station disrupted after engine fire". BBC News. 20 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Passenger train left with gaping hole after crash". ITN News. 18 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Collision at Barrow-on-Soar". Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  16. ^ Abellio orders East Midlands inter-city fleet Railway Gazette International 31 July 2019
  17. ^ EMR Bi-Mode Specification Confirmed Modern Railways issue 856 January 2020 page 19
  18. ^ Government and CrossCountry work on train capacity plan
  19. ^ "NIR News 157".
  20. ^ "The train now arriving from Sunderland is approximately... one year late" Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Rail Professional. November 2007.
  21. ^ Marsden, Colin J (2010). Rail Guide 2010. Ian Allan. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-7110-3457-0. */
  22. ^ Mark Herriott's Railway Photographs Archived 9 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine Midland Mainline Meridian Class 222 on Test In Belgium

External links[edit]