British Rail Class 489

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British Rail Class 489
9107 at Wirksworth.jpg
489107 at Wirksworth Station on 17 April 2003. This unit is one of two preserved on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire.
In service 1984-2005[1]
Manufacturer BR
Order no. 30452[2]
Built at Ashford/Eastleigh[2]
Replaced Class 427
  • 1959 (original build)
  • 1983-84 (conversion)[2]
Entered service 1984[1]
Refurbishment British Rail Engineering Limited Eastleigh (conversion)[3]
Number built 10
Formation Single car (DMLV)[1]
Diagram EX561[4]
Design code 1-GLV
Fleet numbers
  • (48)9101-(48)9110 (unit)
  • 68500-68509 (car)[1]
Capacity Luggage space only[5]
Depot(s) Stewarts Lane[2]
Line(s) served Brighton Main Line
Car body construction Steel[4]
Car length 19.495 m (63 ft 11 12 in) (over body)[4][1]
Width 2.826 m (9 ft 3 14 in)[1]
Height 3.861 m (12 ft 8 in)[4]
Doors Twin-leaf slam[5]
Articulated sections Single car
  • 14.173 m (46 ft 6 in) (bogie centres)
  • 2.667 m (8 ft 9 in) (cab-end bogie)
  • 2.591 m (8 ft 6 in) (trailing bogie)[4]
Maximum speed 90 mph (140 km/h)[5]
Weight 40.5 t (39.9 long tons; 44.6 short tons)[2]
Traction system Electric
Traction motors 2 × EE507 of 185 kW (248 hp)[2]
Power output 370 kW (500 hp)
Train heating Electric[4]
Electric system(s) 660-750 V DC third rail[1]
Current collection method Contact shoe
Bogies SR mk4 powered and unpowered (one of each)[4]
Braking system(s) EP[4]
Coupling system Automatic drophead buckeye[4]
Multiple working 1951, 1957, 1963 and Gatwick Express stock[5]
Headlight type Originally tungsten,[4] later halogen
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Units converted in 1983-84 from Class 414/3 DMBS vehicles, to operate with Class 488.[1][2]
489104 passing through Clapham Junction on 19 July 2003. This unit was used on Gatwick Express services from London Victoria-Gatwick Airport until withdrawal in 2005.
489108 at London Victoria on 18 March 2003. This unit carries the InterCity Gatwick Express livery.
489110 at London Victoria on 18 March 2003. This is one of the final two units in service with Gatwick Express.

The British Rail Class 489 (or GLV) is a type of electrical multiple unit, specially converted for use on Gatwick Express trains, from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport.

The units were converted from Class 414 driving motors cars, by Eastleigh works in 1983-84, for use on the new Gatwick Express service. They were used to allow push-pull operations, on the London-end of the rakes of Class 488 stock, with a Class 73 locomotive at the other end and both used for propulsion. The units were used as baggage cars.

Units were given unit numbers in the range 489101-489110, with individual carriages numbered 68500-68509. However, purely for aesthetic purposes, only the last four digits of the set numbers were shown, to fit with the traditional Southern style (maintained until privatisation by British Rail's Southern region) - older (pre-TOPS) units were originally assigned four-digit numbers. The units were originally painted in BR Blue/Grey livery, which was quickly replaced by InterCity livery. The final livery carried by these units is a variation of the InterCity livery, with a claret stripe and Gatwick Express lettering.


Upon privatisation of British Rail, the Gatwick Express franchise was won by National Express.

Gatwick Express[edit]

Immediately after privatisation, the Class 489 fleet was exclusively used by Gatwick Express on all their London Victoria-Gatwick Airport shuttles. However, new units, in the form of Class 460 'Juniper' units were built from 2000, with the aim of completely replacing the old stock. By 2002, sufficient new trains were in service to allow six Class 489 units to be removed from traffic, leaving four units retained as cover in case of failure of one of the new trains. Two of these subsequently withdrawn so that by the end of 2004, only two units (nos. 489104/110) were still in use, as reliability of the 'Juniper' units had not improved sufficiently to totally replace all the old trains. They were finally withdrawn in 2005, following improvements to the "Juniper" fleet reliability.

Other operators[edit]

Since finishing with Gatwick Express, several units have been sold to other operators.

Network Rail[edit]

Network Rail have purchased four units, 489102, 489105, 489106 and 489109. They were stored for several years, but were returned to use in early-2006 as deicing and load-bank vehicles.


Four units, have been preserved on heritage railways. Two of the units were donated by Porterbrook Leasing in 2003 to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire, who now use one as a buffet car and the other a museum. The final two units in use with Gatwick Express were preserved in early 2006.

Another unit, 489108 was bought by a private owner for preservation at Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre. It was sent for scrap in May 2009.

Fleet status[edit]

The final Gatwick Express units were withdrawn in 2005. Both of these units (nos. 489104/110) had been withdrawn in 2000 and 2001 respectively, but were overhauled and returned to use in 2002. They replaced units 489103/108, which were withdrawn from traffic as they were due overhaul.

Network Rail returned its two units to service in 2006, following a period in store.

The current status of the fleet is shown below.

Key: In service Withdrawn Preserved Scrapped

Unit no. Vehicle nos. Operator Withdrawn Status
489101 68500 61269 Gatwick Express 2002 Preserved
489102 68501 61281 Network Rail - In service as de-icing unit (stored 2000-06)
489103 68502 61274 Gatwick Express 2002 Scrapped (2003)
489104 68503 61277 Gatwick Express 2005 Preserved
489105 68504 61286 Network Rail - In service as de-icing unit
489106 68505 61299 Network Rail - In service as de-icing unit
489107 68506 61292 Gatwick Express 2002 Preserved
489108 68507 61267 Gatwick Express 2003 Scrapped (2009)[6]
489109 68508 61272 Network Rail - Scrapped at Eastleigh Works (August 2012)
489110 68509 61280 Gatwick Express 2005 Preserved


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Longworth 2015, pp. 87, 149-150
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Fox 1994, p. 77
  3. ^ "GLV (Class 489)". Southern E-Group. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  4. ^ 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. EX561. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Class 488, 489". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Preserved Coaching Stock of British Railways: Amendment sheet number 102" (PDF). RCTS. May 2009. Retrieved 21 February 2016. 


  • Fox, Peter (1994). Electric Multiple Units. British Railways Pocket Book No.4 (7th ed.). Platform 5. p. 9. ISBN 9781872524603. 
  • Longworth, Hugh (2015). British Railways Electric Multiple Units to 1975. Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 9780860936688. OCLC 923205678.