British Rail Class 305

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British Rail Class 305
British Rail 305409 at Stratford
In service1959 - 2002
ManufacturerBR York (52 × 305/1)/
Doncaster (19 × 305/2)[1]
Order no.
  • 30566 (BDTSOL, 305/2, as built)
  • 30567 (MBSO, 305/2)
  • 30568 (TSOL, 305/2)
  • 30569 (DTSO, 305/2)
  • 30570 (BDTSO, 305/1)
  • 30571 (MBSO, 305/1)
  • 30572 (DTSO, 305/1)[2][3]
Family name1959 EMU
ReplacedSteam locomotives and carriages
Number built71 trainsets
Number scrappedAll
Formation3 or 4 cars per trainset:[4]
  • BDTSO+MBSO+DTSO (305/1)
  • BDTCOL+MBSO+DTSO (305/2)[2]
  • EF205 (BDTSO, 305/1)
  • ED204 (MBSO, 305/1)
  • EE209 (DTSO, 305/1)
  • EF206 (BDTSOL, 305/2, as built)
  • EF304 (BDTCOL, 305/2, refurbished)
  • ED216 (MBSO, 305/2)
  • EH223 (TSOL, 305/2)
  • EE220 (DTSO, 305/2)[2][3][5]
Fleet numbers
  • 305401-305452 (305/1, sets)
  • 75462-75513 (BDTS, 305/1)
  • 61429-61480 (MBS, 305/1)
  • 75514-75565 (DTS, 305/1)
  • 305501-305519 (305/2, sets)
  • 75424-75442 (BDTS, 305/2)
  • 61410-61428 (MBS, 305/2)
  • 70356-70374 (TS, 305/2)
  • 75443-75461 (DTS, 305/2)[6]
Capacity272 seats (305/1),
344 2nd + 19 1st (305/2)[1]
Car body constructionWelded steel and spayed asbestos
Train length199 ft 6 in (60.81 m) (305/1)
265 ft 8 12 in (80.99 m) (305/2)[1]
Car length63 ft 6 12 in (19.37 m)
Width9 ft (2.74 m)[1]
Height12 ft 7 in (3.835 m)[5]
Articulated sections3 or 4
  • 46 ft 6 in (14.173 m) (bogie centres)
  • 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) (bogies)[5]
Maximum speed75 mph (121 km/h)[6]
Traction motors4 × GEC WT380 of 153 kW (205 hp)[2]
Auxiliaries240 V from the tertiary winding of the main transformer for heating and for a Westinghouse charger feeding 110 V dc for lighting and battery charging[1]
Power supplyMercury-arc rectifiers[1] (later replaced with silicon diode)
Train heatingElectric[5]
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC Overhead
(and 6.25 kV until 1983)
Current collection methodPantograph
  • Gresley ED5 (MBS)
  • Gresley ET8 (DTS)
  • Gresley ET5 (BDTS, BTDC, TS)[5]
  • compound bolster[1]
Braking system(s)Westinghouse EP air[1]
Safety system(s)AWS[5]
Coupling systemDrophead[1]
Multiple workingWithin Class only[6]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 305 was an alternating current (AC) electric multiple unit (EMU). Under the pre-1973 British Rail numbering system, the class was known as AM5. When TOPS was introduced, the class became Class 305.

Sub classes[edit]

Class 305 had three sub classes:

  • 305/1 3-car units, standard class accommodation only, built in 1960
  • 305/2 4-car units, first and standard class accommodation, built in 1959
  • 305/9 3-car unit, non-passenger departmental conversion, converted 1984


305/1 units were generally deployed on inner suburban services on the Lea Valley Line out of London Liverpool Street to Chingford, Enfield Town and Hertford East. They mainly worked the Chingford and Enfield branches, where their average scheduled speed was 22 mph (35 km/h).[1] However, they were also used on the Great Eastern lines out of London Liverpool Street and occasionally worked out of their ‘normal’ operating area when coupled to a 305/2 unit or any of the compatible EMUs in use at the time. These units were distinguished by their lower backed seating. 305/1 units were replaced from 1980 onwards by British Rail Class 315 units. They were not generally used elsewhere, but a small number of units, are believed to have operated around Manchester for a brief period in the mid 1990s.[citation needed] All examples of the sub class were scrapped.

305/2 units were generally deployed on outer suburban services on the Lea Valley Line out of London Liverpool Street to Bishops Stortford (the extent of electrification until 1987), where their average scheduled speed was 34 mph (55 km/h).[1] Like the 305/1 units, they could occasionally be seen on other services out of Liverpool Street and were sometimes coupled to other compatible EMUs for multiple working.

Class 305 unit 305501 working with ScotRail at Edinburgh Waverley in September 2001

One unit was converted in 1984 for use as a mobile classroom in connection with the East Coast Main Line electrification project, becoming unit 305935, painted in InterCity livery. One of the driving vehicles contained blue asbestos and was subsequently replaced with a driving vehicle from a withdrawn Class 302 set, forming a hybrid set but retaining the same unit number (305935).[8] The unit was later used in East Anglia as part of the Great Eastern electrification and was deployed at Ipswich, Harwich and Cambridge.[9]

The 305/2s were refurbished in the mid-late 1980s. As with the 308s, this involved moving first class to a driving trailer, new interior panels, new seats and fluorescent lights.

The 305/2s were initially replaced on the Lea Valley Line by British Rail Class 310 units during the late 1980s/early 1990s. Most of the 305/2s were overhauled at Doncaster, painted in Regional Railways livery and shortened to 3-car sets, before moving to the Manchester area, taking over services previously diagrammed by Class 304 units.

A handful were further repainted into Greater Manchester PTE livery, some regaining their TSO trailer and receiving additional luggage racks dedicated to the new Manchester Airport services. Once class 323 units were in service, the 305s were gradually withdrawn, but a few retained on Hadfield services until track alignment was performed in 1997, allowing the longer bodied Class 323's to negotiate the sharp curves at Dinting station. The surviving units also occasionally turned up on other local services around Manchester, with the last 305 to work out of Stoke-on-Trent believed to be 305506 on 22 May 2000 on the 20:57 to Manchester.[citation needed]

5 (305501-502, 508, 517 and 519) moved to Glasgow Shields depot retaining their 4-car configuration, finishing their working lives running the route from Edinburgh Waverley to North Berwick. The last unit in service, 305517, ran its final service on 25 January 2002, operating the 17:15 North Berwick to Edinburgh Waverley, before going to scrap on 31 January 2002, along with 305501 and 305519.[10]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 14 February 1990, an empty stock train formed of a Class 305 and a Class 308 unit was derailed at East Ham.[11]

Preservation attempts[edit]

AC EMU Group aimed to save a Class 305 driving trailer, but by the time funding was found, they had all been scrapped, so a Class 308 driving trailer was saved instead.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Railway Magazine January 1961 pp. 11-13 Multiple-Unit Stock for New Great Eastern Electric Services
  2. ^ a b c d e Fox 1994, pp. 10–11
  3. ^ a b Longworth 2015, pp. 129–130, 134–135, 158, 178–180
  4. ^ Longworth 2015, pp. 70–71
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Vehicle Diagram Book No.210 for Electrical Multiple Units (including A.P.T.)" (PDF). Barrowmore MRG. BRB Residuary Ltd. ED204, ED216, EE209, EE220, EF205, EF206, EF304, EH223. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Class 305 recognition data". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007.
  7. ^ Fox 1987, pp. 51–52
  8. ^ SWAIN, A. (1990) British Rail Fleet Survey 11, Overhead Line Electric Multiple-Units. Surrey: Ian Allan Ltd.
  9. ^ Cowley 1987, p. 42
  10. ^ " » Class 305". Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  11. ^ McCrickard, John P (6 October 2016). "January 1990 to December 1990". Network South East Railway Society. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2018.


  • Fox, Peter (1987). Multiple Unit Pocket Book. British Railways Pocket Book No.2 (Summer/Autumn 1987 ed.). Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0906579740. OCLC 613347580.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Fox, Peter (1994). Electric Multiple Units. British Railways Pocket Book No.4 (7th ed.). Platform 5. p. 9. ISBN 9781872524603.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Longworth, Hugh (2015). British Railways Electric Multiple Units to 1975. Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 9780860936688. OCLC 923205678.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Cowley, Ian (1987). Anglia East. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8978-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]