British Rail Class 350
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|British Rail Class 350 Desiro|
London Midland 350121 at Harrow & Wealdstone
The Standard Class interior of a Class 350/1
|In service||June 2005 – present|
|Number built||87 trainsets|
|Formation||4 cars per trainset|
|Capacity||19 first class and 210 standard class per trainset|
|Car length||20.4 m (66 ft 11 in)|
|Width||2.796 m (9 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||175.5 tonnes (172.7 long tons; 193.5 short tons)|
|Power output||1,500 kW (2,000 hp)|
|Current collection method|
|Braking system(s)||Air, regenerative|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
The British Rail Class 350 Desiro is a class of electrical multiple unit built by Siemens AG in 2004–05, 2008–09 and 2013–14. Thirty of these units, designated Class 350/1, were built for use by Central Trains and Silverlink on regional express services and services on the southern section of the West Coast Main Line. A further 37 Class 350/2 were ordered by London Midland in late 2007. All 37 units were delivered and in service by July 2009. A further 20 units are currently on order, which will be split equally between London Midland and First TransPennine Express. The London Midland units will be designated under the Class 350/3 subfleet, and the First TransPennine Express units designated 350/4.
The Class 350/1 units were originally part of an order for thirty-two 5-car Class 450 units for South West Trains. However, they were never built as such. Of the 160 carriages ordered, 40 were diverted as an additional ten 4-car Class 450 units, and the remaining 120 were modified as thirty 4-car Class 350/1 units. The top speed of the fleet was originally 100 mph (160 km/h), but all 350/1s were modified to allow 110 mph (180 km/h) running from December 2012, in order to make better use of paths on the busy West Coast Main Line.
A second batch of Class 350/2 units, intended to replace the Class 321 units, was delivered in late 2008 and during 2009. The first of the Class 350/2 was launched on 8 October 2008 and carried invited guests around the Wildenrath Test Track. The last of the Class 350/2 fleet (350267) was officially delivered to London Midland on 30 July 2009. Class 350/2 differ from the Class 350/1 units in two key aspects: they have 3+2 seating in standard class (because they work short-hop commuter services, the Class 350/1 are 2+2 throughout, work longer distance services) and lack the dual-voltage capability of the 350/1.
Class 350 trains are nearly identical to those of Class 450. The latter class is only fitted with traction equipment for Southern Region 750 V DC third rail, whilst the Class 350/1 units can operate from both 25 kV AC OLE, as is done in regular service, or alternatively third rail. This dual-voltage capability came in useful when several units were leased to Southern in 2008-09 in order to cover for similarly equipped Class 377/2 units temporarily sub-leased to First Capital Connect, themselves to cover for delays in the construction of the 377/5 fleet. All 350 units built since are not equipped for third-rail use but, like most modern British EMUs, can be retrofitted if necessary.
Every set of doors has its own set of guard-operated door controls behind a lockable panel. The cabs have three radio systems - Cab Secure Radio (CSR), National Radio Network (NRN) and the newest system, GSM-R. CCTV and Flip Dot destination screens are fitted throughout the train. The only visual difference externally between a 350/1 and 350/2 is the carriage end connector doors on a 350/2 are 1/2 yellow and black. This visual difference has been kept for the 350/3 and 350/4 units, ordered by London Midland and First TransPennine Express respectively.
The first Class 350s entered service in June 2005 with Central Trains. These operated on services between Birmingham and Northampton via Coventry, and all Birmingham - Liverpool services, replacing Class 170 units. Most recently Desiros have taken over some peak services between Birmingham and Walsall.
Silverlink began operating in July 2005 between London Euston - Milton Keynes Central and Northampton. The Class 350/1 were originally painted in an overall grey livery with blue doors and blue window surrounds with a mandatory yellow front-end warning panel required by safety rules. The original dual use of the units on Silverlink and Central Trains services mandated a non-operator specific livery.
The Central Trains and Silverlink franchises expired in 2007. At this point, the entire fleet transferred to the new West Midlands franchisee, London Midland. As part of the agreement, London Midland embarked on the acquisition of a significant number of new trains, the largest order of which was for 37 additional Class 350s. The first 10 350/2 units entered service in December 2008. In addition to the existing operations, these units took over the new Crewe - London Euston service running via Stoke-on-Trent and stopping at most of the Trent Valley Line stations.
The London Midland fleet is based at a new purpose-built depot at Northampton, which opened in June 2006 and can also service Class 321 and other Desiro units if required. It is located at Kings Heath, near Kingsthorpe. The First TransPennine Express units will be based at TPE's existing Ardwick depot with the government providing funding for the required electrification.
Four 350/1s were subleased to Southern from 2008 to 2009, to provide cover for Class 377 units subleased to First Capital Connect. After newer Class 377 "Electrostar" trains were built, these units were returned to London Midland.
First TransPennine Express
Ten additional four-car units were introduced in 2013 for the First TransPennine Express to coincide with the completion of the electrification of the eastern section of the Manchester to Liverpool via Newton-le-Willows line. These units are used on services between Manchester and Edinburgh / Glasgow, while the displaced Class 185s have remained with TransPennine to enhance capacity on other routes. The new trains have a revised specification allowing 110 mph (177 km/h) running with an intercity-style interior described as similar to the existing 185s.
The first TPE Class 350/4 services ran on 30 December 2013 between Manchester Piccadilly and Glasgow Central. The trains operate from Manchester Airport and Preston to Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. All ten trains have been delivered to TransPennine Express allowing most services on the Manchester to Scotland route to be operated using EMUs. However some services on Fridays and at weekends remain timetabled for the existing Class 185 DMUs as services run in six or eight car formations on Fridays and at weekends and the ten 350/4s do not cover all diagrams.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Top Speed||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Seating Layout||Notes|
|Class 350/1||London Midland||30||2004–2005||110 mph (177 km/h)||4||350101–350130||2+2||Dual Voltage
Uprated from 100 mph (161 km/h) top speed for December 2012.
|Class 350/2||37||2008–2009||100 mph (161 km/h)||350231–350267||3+2||AC only|
|Class 350/3||10||2014||110 mph (177 km/h)||350368–350377||2+2||AC only|
|Class 350/4||First TransPennine Express||10||2013–2014||110 mph (177 km/h)||350401–350410||2+2 and 2+1||AC only; InterCity-style layout|
Named units are as follows: 
- 350110 - Project 110
- 350232 - Chad Varah
Accidents and Incidents
On 11 April 2011 a fire broke out in a toilet cubicle on unit 350232, following an explosion, while working the 16:25 from Northampton to London Euston as it approached Leighton Buzzard, resulting in the death of the female occupant of the toilet, Rachel James. Her death turned out to be suicide, as she carried a can of petrol into the toilet and locked the door. All other passengers and the train crew escaped unharmed. Damage to the train was not serious and it was repaired at Wolverton.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Rail Class 350.|
- "Central Trains launches Class 350 EMU". Railway Herald. Issue 11. Page 3. 10 June 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Desiro UK Class 350/1 Multiple Unit - Siemens Mobility. Page 40. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- "Siemens hands over first 'Desiro' EMU". Railway Herald. Issue 151. Page 4. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- New Rolling Stock for London Midland and for First TransPennine Express - London Midland. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- Class 350 Technical data - Angel Trains. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- "London Midland completes £190m investment with final Siemens Desiro" (Press release). Siemens UK. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Desiros for Loan to Southern - Southern Electric Group. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Desiros for Loan to Southern - Southern Electric Group. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
- Extra trains and faster journey times will boost capacity
- Rail Passengers in the North of England and Scotland to benefit from new trains - First TransPennine Express. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
- "Electric trains boost". Wigan Today. 3 January 2014.
- - EMU Pocket Book 2013 from Platform 5.
- "EMU Formations". AbRail. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Woman dies in toilet cubicle fire on Leighton Buzzard train". Daily Mail (London). 13 April 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.