British Rail Class 416

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British Rail Class 416
416 at Dalton Kingsland2.jpg
Class 416/3 train in Network SouthEast livery calls at Dalston Kingsland Station, on a North London Line working. The NLL is both 25 kV overhead AC and 750 V third-rail DC electrified at this point.
In service 1955-1995
Manufacturer Ashford Works, Eastleigh works & Lancing works[1]
Number built 128
Formation DMBS-DTS or DMBS-DTC
Operator(s) British Rail
Car length 19.50 m (64.0 ft) [1]
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)
Weight DMBS 40 long tons (41 t)[2] DTS 30 long tons (30 t)[2] DTC 30 long tons (30 t)[3]
Power output 2 x 250 hp (190 kW) traction motors
total 500 hp (370 kW)
Electric system(s) 660-750 V dc third rail
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Class 416 train at Broad Street station in 1985.

British Rail Class 416 (2EPB) electric multiple units were built between 1953 and 1956. They were intended for inner suburban passenger services on London's Southern Electric network. There were two subclasses of class 416: class 416/1 to an SR design on salvaged 2Nol underframes, and class 416/2 to BR's Mark I coach design.

In the 1980s some units were used on the North London Line between Richmond and North Woolwich.

Tyneside units[edit]

Fifteen units built in 1954/5 to the BR Mark I coach design were built for the third rail electrified Tyneside Electric lines.

They were built at Eastleigh, and were the last Tyneside third rail EMUs built. They followed the new British Railways standard design for suburban rolling stock: similar units were built at the same time for use on South London suburban routes, but the Tyneside units had features in keeping with previous Tyneside EMUs, such as a large brake van to accommodate a large volume of fish boxes and prams; electric headcode lights on the cab front between the windows; and above those a roller destination blind. Unlike units of this style built for service in the south, the Tyneside units had a single first class compartment.

The units operated the South Tyneside services between Newcastle Central and South Shields, a route that had a busy commuter frequency and passenger numbers to match. British Rail decided to withdraw electric traction from these routes and the South Tyneside route was the first to be replaced by diesel units, being de-electrified in 1963. All 15 units were re-allocated to South London, Kent, Surrey and Berkshire, which entailed some rebuilding of the cabs and the declassification of the first class compartment. The units continued in passenger service until 1985 when they were all withdrawn.

A number of units survived for a few years longer on non-passenger duties as test or tractor units. One was used for testing the Tonbridge - Hastings line electrification before the route was opened for electric trains in the summer of 1986. This unit also carried out similar work on the East Grinstead electrification two years later and saw occasional use on other test and tractor duties until laid up in 1995, by which time it was the only South Tyneside unit left. It was purchased for preservation by SERA and was moved to Robertsbridge in Sussex for initial restoration work, and moved to the Electric Railway Museum, Warwickshire in 1999.

The work of the association in restoring the unit back to its 'as built' condition is both costly and time-consuming but is being progressed by a dedicated team of SERA volunteers. It is hoped to bring the unit on a return visit to the North East when the restoration is completed. This unique survivor is a treasured example of a bygone age of suburban rail travel in the North East.


The 416/1 subclass (5651-5684) was rebuilt at Eastleigh Works in 1959 using underframes from withdrawn SR Class 2NOL units. The rebuilt units were initially classified 2NOP but later absorbed into the 2EPB classification. They had SR-designed bodies, similar to those of the earlier SR-design 4SUB units and Bulleid locomotive-hauled coaching stock.

Electrical equipment[edit]

Each motor car had two 250 horsepower English Electric EE507 traction motors.

A Class 416 at Tattenham Corner in 1984.


Unit numbers[edit]

  • Class 416/1 Rebuilds, 5651-5684 (These units were refurbished from 1983 and were reclassified 416/3 with units numbered 6301 - 6334)
  • Class 416/2 Standard BR MK 1-TYPE stock, 5701-5779 (subsequently renumbered 6202 - 6279 from 1983), and the former Tyneside units, 5781 - 5795 (later 6281 - 6295; these units were withdrawn in 1985).
  • Class 416/4. Created from 1986 after some units were refurbished. These were numbered 6401 - 6426.

Car numbers[edit]

  • Tyneside stock:
    • Motor cars, E65311-E65325
    • Trailer cars, E77100-E77114


The final units were withdrawn in 1995. Three units have been preserved, including an ex-Tyneside unit.

Unit number
(current in bold)
DMBSO DTSso Built Livery Location
5667 6307 - 14573 16117 1959 Eastleigh BR(S) Malachite Green Electric Railway Museum, Warwickshire[2]
5759 6259 - 65373 77558 1956 Eastleigh BR Green E.P.B Preservation Group, East Kent Railway[4]
5791 6291 932053 65321 - 1955 Eastleigh Green primer / Blue grey Electric Railway Museum, Warwickshire[3]
5793 6293 - 77112
5705 - - 65302 65304 1955 Eastleigh BR Green Finmere railway station[5]
5768 - - 65382 65379 1955 Eastleigh BR Green Finmere railway station[6]


Bachmann has released an 00 gauge model of a BR-design 2-EPB (416/2) in late 2011, in several liveries.


  1. ^ a b Glasspool, David. "Class 415/416: 2/4 EPB". Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  2. ^ a b c SERA. "Suburban Electric Railway Association - 2-EPB Units". Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  3. ^ a b SERA. "Suburban Electric Railway Association - South Tyneside 2-EPB EMUs". Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  4. ^ East Kent Railway Trust. "EKR Stock List". Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  5. ^
  6. ^