British Rail Class 310

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British Rail Class 310
310090 at Coventry in April 1987.
Class 310 at Coventry in 1987
In service1965–2002
ManufacturerBritish Rail
Order no.
  • 30745 (BDTSOL)[1]
  • 30746 (MBSO)[2]
  • 30747 (TSO)[3]
  • 30748 (DTCOL)[4]
Built atDerby Carriage and Wagon Works
Number built50
SuccessorClass 323
Class 170
  • 4 cars per unit (310/0)
  • 3 cars per unit (310/1)
  • ED210 (MBS)
  • ED219 (MBS)
  • EE237 (DTS)
  • EE306 (DTC)
  • EF210 (BDTS)
  • EF211 (BDTS)
  • EF214 (BDTS)
  • EH208 (TS)
  • EH232 (TS)[6]
Design codeAM10[7]
Fleet numbers
  • 310046-310095 (units, 310/0)
  • 310101-310113 (units, 310/1)
  • 76130-76179, 76228, 76998 (BDTSOL)
  • 62071-62120 (MBSO)
  • 70731-70780 (TSO)
  • 76180-76229 (DTCOL)[8]
  • 293 2nd, 25 1st class[9]
  • 80S (BDTSOL)
  • 70S (MBSO)
  • 100S (TSO)
  • 25F, 43S (DTCOL)[5]
Line(s) servedWest Coast Main Line
Car body constructionSteel[6]
Train length265 ft 8+12 in (80.988 m)[7] (4-car)
Car length
  • 65 ft 1+34 in (19.856 m) (BDTSOL, DTCOL)
  • 65 ft 4+12 in (19.926 m) (MBSO, TSO)[7]
Width9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)[7]
Height13 ft 0+12 in (3.975 m)[7]
Maximum speed75 mph (121 km/h)[6]
  • 158 t (156 long tons; 174 short tons) (total, as built)
  • 160.6 t (158.1 long tons; 177.0 short tons) (total, 310/0 modified)
  • 128.9 t (126.9 long tons; 142.1 short tons) (total, 310/1 modified)
  • 37.3 t (36.7 long tons; 41.1 short tons) (BDTSOL, modified)
  • 57.2 t (56.3 long tons; 63.1 short tons) (MBSO, modified)
  • 31.7 t (31.2 long tons; 34.9 short tons) (TSO, modified)
  • 34.4 t (33.9 long tons; 37.9 short tons) (DTCOL, modified)[7]
Traction motors4 × EE 546[7] 270 hp (200 kW)[9]
Power output1,080 hp (810 kW)[7]
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE[6]
Current collector(s)Pantograph
Braking system(s)Air (auto/EP)[7]
Safety system(s)AWS[6]
Coupling system
  • Automatic drophead buckeye (outer)
  • Automatic solid shank buckeye (inner)[6]
Multiple workingClasses 302–312
Headlight typeTungsten[6]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 310 was a slam-door, alternating current (AC) electric multiple unit (EMU) introduced in 1965 as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification project. They were initially classified as Class AM10 units before the introduction of the TOPS classification system. Constructed at BR's Derby Carriage and Wagon Works. They consisted of four carriages - a second class driving trailer, a second class trailer, a second class motor car (with guard's/luggage compartment above which the Stone Faiveley AMBR pantograph was mounted) and a composite (1st and 2nd class) driving trailer. The maximum speed was 75 miles per hour (121 km/h). A glass partition behind the driver's cab enabled passengers in the leading and rear coaches to view the line ahead or behind.


They introduced some new features; the first standard multiple units with disc brakes (emergency stop from top speed in 33 seconds over 800 yd (730 m)); the first naturally air-cooled rectifiers (silicon diodes on cups of beryllium oxide), inductors and transformers. Noise was reduced by sprayed asbestos on the floor, body and roof.[9]

Original livery was overall Rail Blue, later amended to the standard BR blue and grey colour scheme.

Initially they were primarily used on local services from London Euston to Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Birmingham New Street, and within the West Midlands. They were also the first EMUs to be based on the British Rail Mark 2 bodyshell, which featured semi-integral construction.

During the mid-1980s they underwent their heavy C1 refurbishment at Wolverton which included new flat windscreens, a corridor connection between the Motor Vehicle (MBS) and trailer (TSO), and a PA system among other modifications.

The Class 310 has a nearly identical body shell to that of the Class 312, there are some minor detail differences in the equipment locations and the MBS has a separate guards van and storage area whereas on the 312 it is combined. The braking system is slightly different with ventilated brake discs on the axles of the B4 non-powered bogies attached to the axles whereas on the Class 312 they are mounted on the wheel discs (this permits easy replacement in the case of defects).[citation needed] As are the motor bogies axles on the Class 310.[clarification needed] When first arriving on the LT&S the Class 310 were modified with an additional plug being inserted in the dummy cylinder of each vehicle and a different size "choke" fitted in the Electro-pneumatic (EP)valve to improve the braking performance to that required on a more intensive service.[citation needed] Also the cast BR double arrows were removed from the cab sides on arrival, or soon after at East Ham Depot. The Class 310 stock also were used for a short while on the newly electrified route to Cambridge prior to replacement with more modern stock.

The motors differed from the class 312 in that the gear ratio is lower which accounts for the maximum speed of 75 mph (121 km/h) compared to 90 mph (140 km/h) on the Class 312.[citation needed] The B4 bogies on the Class 310 are fitted with friction primary dampers whereas on the 312 they are hydraulic.[citation needed]

The main fleet of Class 310/0 units was replaced on the Euston commuter routes with Class 317/1 units which began to enter service on the route in late 1987, however the Class 317 units were then superseded by the new build of Class 321/4 within about 2 years.

Most Class 310 units that survived into the 21st century were withdrawn between 2001 and 2002.


  • 310/0 - four-car units. All 310s were originally 310/0s.
  • 310/1 - Four-car units (reduced to three-cars in the mid-1990s) modified for use in the Midlands.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 18 April 1967, Unit 094 collided with a derailed mineral train between Northampton and Roade. Car 76178 was written off and the other cars were out of service as spares. 310 094 returned to service in April 1975 with two original cars and two from other units.[10]
  • 5 August 1967, Unit 081 0735 Stafford to Rugby rear-end collision by runaway Trentham to Lea Hall Colliery coal train hauled by D5090 at Rugeley. The unit was repaired.[11]
  • 8 April 1969, Unit 066 involved in head-on collision at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton.[12]
  • 4 July 1969, unit Nos 072 & 057,[13] 6 out of 8 carriages derailed at Willesden after colliding with infrastructure.[14]
  • 31 December 1969, Unit 071 collided with derailed freight train at Roade.[15]
  • 26 July 1971, a unit of the class departed from Macclesfield, Cheshire against signals and was derailed by trap points.[16]
  • 20 April 1980, 310 052 collided with track maintenance equipment at Bushey leading to a bogie derailment.[17]
  • 11 October 1984 - 310 067 & 310 086 collided with a freightliner train near Wembley Central after passing a signal at danger.[18]
  • 4 August 1990 - 310 102 running as empty coaching stock, involved in a rear-end collision with a stationary train at Stafford.[19]


All 310/0 units came under the control of LTS Rail (now c2c) which operated them on the London, Tilbury and Southend line. They were replaced by Class 357 units from 1999 to 2002.[citation needed]

The thirteen 310/1 units came under the control of Central Trains. All were withdrawn by 2002 and replaced by a mixture of Class 170 and Class 323 units.[citation needed]

Departmental usage[edit]

The V Train on the DC system pictured in the New Sidings at Ramsgate - the Class 423 (4-VEP) is the second vehicle.
The V Train on the AC system pictured near Shenfield railway station on 2 February 2004 - the train consists entirely of Class 310 vehicles

In 2002, vehicles from two Class 310/1 units, numbers 310109 and 310113, were used to create a single four-car departmental unit, 960201 which could operate on either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) lines for test purposes. The set consisted of two driving cars, a Class 310 power car with Hitachi equipment and either a standard Class 310 25 kV power car or a modified 650 V third rail vehicle from a Class 423 (4-VEP) unit. One of these two vehicles was included in the formation depending upon where the unit was operating (on 25 kV overhead lines or third rail). To facilitate third rail running, shoegear was fitted to each driving car. The unit was known as the 'Hitachi Verification Train' or 'V Train' and was used by Hitachi to test and prove its traction equipment in the UK. The subsequent order for the Class 395 Javelin trains which now run on the High Speed 1 line benefitted from this exercise. The V train was scrapped at MoD Pig's Bay in Shoeburyness in 2007. Details and more pictures of the V train on AC, DC and the High Speed 1 lines can be found at Train Testing - Hitachi's V train.


While there were efforts online to acquire a single unit, none of the Class 310 units were preserved.


  1. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 188
  2. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 138
  3. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 163
  4. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 189
  5. ^ a b c d Fox 1987, p. 55
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vehicle Diagram Book No. 210 for Electric Multiple Units (Including A.P.T.) (PDF). Barrowmore MRG. Derby: British Railways Board. 1981. pp. ED210, ED219, EE237, EE306, EF210, EF211, EF214, EH208, EH232. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Class 310". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Longworth 2015, pp. 72–73
  9. ^ a b c Modern Railways October 1965 pp. 543-546 New multiple-units for LMR 25 kV a.c. electric services
  10. ^ "Report on the Derailment and subsequent Collision that occurred on 18th April 1967 between Roade Junction and Northampton" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  11. ^ "The unfortunate wanderings of the Type 2's". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Report on the Collision that occurred on 8th April 1969 at Monmore Green near Wolverhampton" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Class 310 fleet list". Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Report on the Accident that occurred on 4th July 1969 at Willesden" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Report on the Derailment and subsequent Collision that occurred on 3 1st December 1969 near Roade Junction Two cars were written off and the other two were kept as spares later returning to service in other units" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  16. ^ Earnshaw, Alan (1990). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 6. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 45. ISBN 0-906899-37-0.
  17. ^ "Report on the Accident that occurred on 20th April 1980 at Bushey" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Report on the collision that occurred on 11th October 1984 near Wembley Central Station" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  19. ^ "Railway Accident at Stafford" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.


  • 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.
  • Longworth, Hugh (2015). British Railways Electric Multiple Units to 1975. Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 9780860936688. OCLC 923205678.

Further reading[edit]