British Rail Class 311

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British Rail Class 311
311104 at a station.jpg
Unit 311104 in blue/grey livery awaiting passengers at Partick
In service 1967 - 1990[1]
Manufacturer Cravens[1]
Order no.
  • 30767 (DTSO)
  • 30768 (MBSO)
  • 30769 (BDTSO)[1]
Built at Cravens Sheffield
Family name BR First Generation (Mark 1)
Constructed 1967[2]
Entered service 1967
Number built 19
Formation 3 cars per trainset:
  • ED211 (MBS)
  • EE214 (DTS)
  • EF212 (BDTS)[3]
Design code AM11
Fleet numbers
  • 311092-311110 (sets)
  • 76403-76421 (DTSO)
  • 62163-62181 (MBSO)
  • 76422-76440 (BDTSO)[1]
  • 236S (total)
  • 83S (DTSO)
  • 70S (MBSO)
  • 83S (BDTSO)[2][4]
Operator(s) British Rail
Depot(s) Glasgow Shields Road[2]
Car body construction Steel[3]
Train length 199 ft 6 in (60.81 m)[4]
Car length
  • 63 ft 6 18 in (19.358 m) (MBSO)
  • 64 ft 0 in (19.498 m) (BDTSO, DTSO)[3]
Width 9 ft 3 in (2.819 m)[3]
Height 12 ft 8 in (3.861 m)[3]
Doors Double sliding leaf, pneumatic
Wheelbase 46 ft 6 in (14.173 m)[3]
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)[3]
  • 129 tonnes (127 long tons; 142 short tons) (total)
  • 34.4 t (33.9 long tons; 37.9 short tons) (DTSO)
  • 56.4 t (55.5 long tons; 62.2 short tons) (MBSO)
  • 38.4 t (37.8 long tons; 42.3 short tons) (BDTSO)[2]
Traction motors 4 × AEI 221 hp (165 kW)[2]
Power output 890 hp (660 kW)
Train heating Electric[3]
Electric system(s) 25 kV 50 Hz AC OHLE
Current collection method Pantograph
UIC classification 2'2'+Bo'Bo'+2'2'
  • Gresley ED11 (MBSO)
  • Gresley ET11 (BDTSO, DTSO)[3]
Braking system(s) Air (Auto/EP)[4]
Safety system(s) AWS[3]
Coupling system Buckeye[4]
Multiple working Within Class and Class 303[4]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 311 alternating current (AC) electric multiple units (EMU) were built by Cravens at Sheffield in 1967. They were intended for use on the line from Glasgow Central to Gourock and Wemyss Bay, which was electrified in 1967.


Outwardly, the units were virtually identical to the earlier Class 303 units built in 1960. The interiors were also very similar, although the Class 311s had fluorescent lighting (unlike the Class 303s which were fitted with tungsten filament bulbs). The larger fleet of class 303 units had been built by Pressed Steel at their factory in Linwood, Paisley. By the time the Class 311 were required, Pressed Steel no longer built railway carriages, so Cravens of Sheffield worked to the same original drawings, updated at a few points, to build the trains.

Along with the Class 303s, the wrap-around driving cab windows were replaced with flat, toughened glass in the 1970s to give better protection to drivers in the event of attacks by stone-throwing vandals.


19 units were built, initially classified as AM11 units, and numbered 092-110. This was later changed to Class 311 under the TOPS system, and the units were renumbered 311092-110. Each unit was formed of three carriages; two outer driving trailers, an intermediate motor coach. The technical description of the formation was BDTCOL+MBSO+DTSO. Individual carriages were numbered as follows:

  • 76403-76421 - BDTCOL
  • 62163-62181 - MBSO
  • 76422-76440 - DTSO


The units were built to operate services on the newly electrified routes from Glasgow Central to Gourock and to Wemyss Bay; now known as the Gourock and Wemyss Bay branches of the Inverclyde Line.

In practice, the Class 311s operated almost interchangeably with the Class 303s. The units could be found in service across the Glasgow electrified suburban network (north and south of the Clyde, and as far south as Ayr).

Consideration was given to upgrading 11 of the units for the Ayr line electrification until it was found to be cheaper to buy 21 of the new Class 318 units and the plan was cancelled.


Being a much smaller and unrefurbished fleet, the Class 311s were replaced (in the 1990s) earlier than the Class 303s.

After being withdrawn from normal traffic, two units, nos. 311103/104 were transferred to departmental duties as Class 936 sandite units, nos. 936103/104. These lasted in service until 1999, when they were withdrawn. They were not scrapped immediately as Railtrack was anxious to ensure that one of the units was preserved.[citation needed] In 2002, Railtrack donated one of the units to the Summerlee Heritage Park museum in Coatbridge. The other unit was scrapped in 2003.

One of the driving coaches on the unit donated to Summerlee was subsequently scrapped as part of the refurbishment of the museum.


This unit was the former Class 936 sandite unit, no. 936103, formed of 977844+977845+977846.

In February 2017, work will start on restoring the Class 311 unit to its original condition.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Longworth 2015, pp. 73, 139, 191–192
  2. ^ a b c d e f Fox 1987, p. 56
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Vehicle Diagram Book No.210 for Electrical Multiple Units (including A.P.T.)" (PDF). Barrowmore MRG. BRB Residuary Ltd. ED211, EE214, EF212. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Class 311". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 


  • 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. 

External links[edit]

Media related to British Rail Class 311 at Wikimedia Commons