British Rail Class 378

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British Rail Class 378 Capitalstar
378135 at Wandsworth Road 21-09-18.jpg
A London Overground Class 378 at Wandsworth Road in September 2018
378201 MSO DMSO Interior.jpg
The interior of a London Overground Class 378
In service29 July 2009 – present
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation
Built atDerby Litchurch Lane Works
Family nameElectrostar
ReplacedClass 172
Class 313
Class 508
Class 456
London Underground A60 and A62 Stock
Number built57 units
Formation5 cars per unit
Operator(s)London Overground
Line(s) servedEast London line
North London line
South London line
West London line
Car length20.4 m (66 ft 11 18 in)
Width2.80 m (9 ft 2 14 in)
Height3.78 m (12 ft 4 78 in)
Maximum speed75 mph (121 km/h)
Weight212.8 t (209.4 long tons; 234.6 short tons)[1]
Power output600 kW (800 hp) per driving car (3 × 200 kW (270 hp) motors)
Electric system(s)Class 378/1: 750 V DC third rail only
Class 378/2: 750 V DC third rail / 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines
Current collection methodClass 378/1: Contact shoe only
Class 378/2: Contact shoe / Pantograph
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 378 Capitalstar[2] is an electric multiple unit passenger train, which was specifically designed for the London Overground network. It is part of Bombardier Transportation's Electrostar family. The design is similar to the Class 376 trains used by Southeastern, featuring the same wider metro-style sliding pocket doors for more efficient boarding and alighting. However, it also has significant differences from the Class 376, such as fully longitudinal seating similar to that used on London Underground rolling stock to give more standing and less seating capacity and reduce overcrowding, suitable for the high-volume metro-style services on London Overground.

A total of 57 trains were built, with the first entering service in July 2009.


The old meets the new: 313117 and 378017 in its original livery (now 5-car 378217) are seen side by side at Richmond

The deal between Bombardier and Transport for London was initially for a total of 152 individual cars costing some £223 million, with deliveries beginning in September 2008, when two trains underwent a 14-week test on the North London line. The initial contract also contained an option to purchase additional cars up to a total of 216. A newly constructed depot near New Cross Gate station would be responsible for maintaining the new fleet.[3]

In 2006, TfL announced the new vehicles, with livery designed by Real 451 and interior concept design by Design Triangle.[4][5]

In July 2007, TfL announced it had ordered a further 36 Capitalstar carriages for £36 million.[6] The order comprised three additional four-car units for the East London Line, and 24 additional carriages to extend the original 3-car units for the North London Line into 4-car units, to be delivered in 2011.[7]

On 16 September 2008, the first complete unit was unveiled and began testing on Bombardier's test track before being delivered for testing on the national network.[7] The Class 378 was originally planned to enter service in January 2009, but was delayed for seven months because of the economic recession causing several suppliers to become bankrupt, resulting in a shortage of parts. This also affected delivery of Class 377/5 units to First Capital Connect. The first Class 378 unit entered service on 29 July 2009. On the first public unveiling of the Class 378, TfL announced that it had reached an agreement to procure a further three dual-voltage units, taking the total number to 57.[8] These units were intended to enhance the fleet once the South London line was brought under London Overground's control.

In 2011, several 378s on the North London Line suffered shutdowns due to harmonic interference from Class 92s using the line for freight movement. The problem was fixed after Bombardier altered the interference tolerance settings.[9]

In July 2015, London Overground announced an order for 45 new Class 710 units, some of which would displace the Class 378s in use on the Watford DC line. These displaced units will then be cascaded to strengthen services on the other lines the units are used on.[10]

In 2018, London Overground began a programme to refresh the Class 378 fleet, giving them a livery and moquette similar to the Class 710.[11]

Features and fitted equipment[edit]

Innovations for the passenger are air-conditioning, real-time passenger information systems, wheelchair access, the ability for level access, and different seat moquette colours to highlight priority seating.[7]

External CCTV is displayed automatically on releasing the doors via an in-cab monitor, removing the need for Driver-Only Operation (DOO) equipment such as monitors/mirrors at platforms. This is similar to that already used on Southern's Electrostar units. If a passenger operates an emergency alarm, the internal CCTV is displayed to the driver on the in-cab monitor, so that they can view the affected area of the train (in addition to speaking to the person).


London Overground Class 378 No. 378010 stands at Richmond on a North London line service while still a 3-car 378/0. It has since been renumbered 378210 upon addition of a fourth and fifth car.

The Class 378 fleet is currently formed of two separate subclasses, DC-only 378/1 and dual-voltage (AC and DC) Class 378/2:

  • Class 378/1 - 20 four-car units were ordered. These units operate services on the extended East London Line, and are 750 V DC only. These trains, which are designated Class 378/1, replaced the A60/A62 Stock previously used on the line. They entered service on 27 April 2010, on the preview service between Dalston Junction and New Cross / New Cross Gate. The service was extended to Crystal Palace and West Croydon on 23 May 2010. In common with all trains in the Electrostar family, these DC-only 378/1 units have a recessed roof space for the fitting of a pantograph and other equipment for dual-voltage working in the future if necessary. The Southern services on the South London line were withdrawn in 2012 and replaced by a new London Overground service operated using new air-conditioned 4-car Class 378 units.[12]
  • Class 378/2 - 37 dual-voltage four-car units ordered for the North London, West London, East London lines. These units have dual-voltage capability, taking current at 25 kV AC from overhead wires or 750 V DC from third rail. These trains replaced the Class 313 and Class 508 units in 2010. The first 24 units were originally three-car units designated Class 378/0 (378 001-378 024), and were redesignated Class 378/2 (renumbered 378 201-378 224) as each unit received its additional carriage in late 2010. The remaining 13 units (378 225-378 234 and 378 255–378 257) were built as four-car Class 378/2s from the outset.
Class Operator Routes No. Built Year Built Cars per Unit Unit nos. Notes
Class 378/1 London Overground East London line
South London line
20 2009–2010 5[13] 378 135–378 154 Third-rail only.
Class 378/2 North London line
West London line
East London line
South London line
37 2008–2011 378 201–378 234
378 255–378 257
Dual-voltage units.
Originally built as 3-car Class 378/0 (378 001–378 024).
London Overground Class 378/1

In February 2013, approval was gained for the procurement of 57 additional vehicles to lengthen the Class 378 fleet from four to five cars.[14] TfL's Business Plan provides for the start of five-car services on the East London line from November 2014, and on the rest of the electrified Overground network by the end of 2015.[15][16] In January 2016, TfL announced that all 57 units were now running with five cars.[17] In December 2018, unit 378 232 was shortened back to four cars to run on the Gospel Oak to Barking line while delays to delivery of Class 710 are resolved. 378 206 and 378 209 were also shortened to 4 carriages, as temporary cover when the class 172s went off-lease.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whatdotheyknow: Class 378 datasheet
  2. ^ Pritchard, R. (November 2008). "TfL's first Class 378 ready to roll!". Today's Railways UK. Sheffield. p. 32.
  3. ^ "Bombardier Wins A £223 Million Order From Transport For London For 152 Electric Multiple Unit Cars For The United Kingdom" (Press release). Bombardier Transportation. 31 August 2006. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "£36m contract to bring extra rail carriages for London Overground". Transport for London (Press release). 4 July 2007. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "New London Overground Class 378s take shape at Derby" (PDF). Railway Herald. Scunthorpe. 22 September 2008. p. 4,5.
  8. ^ Morrison, Brian (August 2009). "Mayor rides Class 378 - TfL orders three more". Modern Railways. London. p. 8.
  9. ^ "Class 92 shuts down 378s - solution found". Modern Railways (750). London. March 2011. p. 9.
  10. ^ Sadler, Katie (3 July 2015). "Bombardier to supply and maintain 180 AVENTRA vehicles for London Overground". European Railway Review. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  11. ^ Christie, Tony (December 2018). "Stock Changes". Today's Railways. No. 204. p. 75.
  12. ^ "London Overground Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays". Transport for London. Projects and schemes. 2010. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Class 378 Augmentation to 5 Cars". Southern Electric Group. Archived from the original on 5 August 2016.
  14. ^ "London Overground train lengthening approved". Railway Gazette. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  15. ^ Turvill, Bill (March 2013). "London Overground goes for five cars". Modern Railways. p. 88.
  16. ^ "London Overground capacity". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Five-car '378s' boost LO capacity".
  18. ^ "Modified electric trains to be used temporarily on London Overground's Gospel Oak to Barking line". TfL. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.

External links[edit]