British Rail Class 487

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British Rail Class 487
Class 487 DMBSO at LT Museum Depot.jpg
No. 61 at the LT Museum Depot
The interior of a Class 487 DMBSO, looking towards the driving cab at the Bank end, with the 'hump' over the powered bogie.
In service 1940-1993
Manufacturer English Electric
Built at Dick, Kerr works, Preston
Family name Tube stock
Number built 28 vehicles (12 DMBSO, 16 TSO)
Formation One DMBSO, or two DMBSO flanking up to 3 TSO
Fleet numbers DMBSO: 51–62
TSO: 71–86
Capacity DMBSO: 40 seats, 40 standing
TSO: 52 seats, 52 standing
Operator Southern Railway
British Rail Southern Region
Network SouthEast
Depot(s) Waterloo (Waterloo & City line)
Line(s) served Waterloo & City line
Car length 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
49 ft 1 34 in (14.98 m)
Width 8 ft 7 34 in (2.64 m)
Height 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
Maximum speed 35 mph (56 km/h)
Traction system Two EE 190 hp (140 kW) traction motors per DMBSO
Power output DMBSO: 380 hp (283 kW)
Electric system(s) 750 V DC
Current collection method Third rail
UIC classification DMBSO: Bo′2′
Track gauge Standard

The British Rail Class 487 electric multiple units were built by English Electric in 1940, for use on the Waterloo & City line.

Twelve motor carriages (DMBSO), numbered 51–62, and sixteen trailers (TSO), numbered 71–86, were built. Trains were formed of various formations, from a single motor carriage, to pairs of motor cars with up to three intermediate trailers.

They were originally classified Class 453 under TOPS but were later reclassified Class 487.

The Waterloo & City line was operated as part of the BR Southern Region. Stock was painted in British Railways green livery, which was replaced by BR Blue in the 1970s. In 1986, the line came under the ownership of Network SouthEast, and their blue, red and white livery was applied.

By the 1990s the units were urgently in need of replacing. This came in the form of new Class 482 two-car units, which were delivered to traffic in 1992/93. The final Class 487 vehicles were taken by road to Glasgow for scrap, which was their single longest journey above ground.

The Class 487 units were unique on the British Rail network in not requiring yellow ends because the route they operated was entirely in tunnel where the darkness would render yellow ends pointless. Further the line did not integrate at all with the rest of the network. Additionally, the units were only fitted with red lights at the ends, thus the front of the train displayed two red lights instead of the more usual white.

One vehicle, DMBSO no. 61, was initially stored at the National Railway Museum in York, before being subsequently transferred to the London Transport Museum's Acton Depot.


Fleet Details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos. BR Design Code Notes
Class 487 Southern Railway
Southern Region
Network SouthEast
12 1940 1 51-62 EB260 / SR842 DMBSO - could operate independently
16 71-86 EH260 / SR846 TSO - could only operate with DMBSO

External links[edit]


  • Marsden, Colin J. (1983). Southern Electric Multiple-Units 1898–1948. Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Limited. pp. 65–70. ISBN 0-7110-1253-9.