Networker (train)

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FGW at Guildford p8.JPG
A Class 165 at Guildford in new First Great Western Neon Dynamic Lines livery
In service 1990–present
Manufacturer BREL, ABB, GEC Alsthom
Number built 344 trainsets
Operator(s) Chiltern Railways
Great Northern
First Great Western
Maximum speed 75–100 mph (121–161 km/h)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Networker is a family of trains which operate on the UK railway system. They were built in the late 1980s and early 1990s by BREL (which became part of ABB in the 1990s). The trains were built for the Network SouthEast sector of British Rail, which is how they get their name. They are all multiple-unit trains.

The Networker design was to become effectively the third generation of British Rail multiple units, and was originally intended to become one of the largest families of trains, bigger even than the largely Mark 3-based Second Generation, and was supposed to cover all the requirements for all future NSE multiple units, but the poor state of the economy in the early 1990s prevented this from happening.

Subsequently Bombardier Transportation has used the Networker as the basis for its successful post-privatisation Turbostar and Electrostar units, having obtained the design through its acquisition of ADtranz which had absorbed ABB.


The Turbos were built as a result of electrification not being possible on the lines out of the London terminals, Marylebone and Paddington.[citation needed]

Since the privatisation of British Rail, many of the new train operating companies have purchased Turbostar trains from Bombardier Transportation (formerly ADtranz), which are derived from the Networker-turbo design.

Class 165[edit]

A 165 in Chiltern livery

The Class 165 is a 2 and 3 car Diesel multiple unit (DMU), built for outer suburban workings. Upon privatisation, Chiltern Railways and Thames Trains operated the class. Chiltern Trains still uses the class, whilst Thames Trains have been replaced by First Great Western Link, and in turn First Great Western. The Class 165/0 batch are one of the few units in Britain to have ATP installed. 76 units of the class were built between 1990 and 1992.

Class 166[edit]

A 166 in Network SouthEast livery

The Class 166 is a 3 car Diesel multiple unit (DMU), built for mainline workings. This class is also related to the Turbo family of trains. Used by Network SouthEast, upon privatisation Thames Trains (replaced by First Great Western Link, now First Great Western). 21 units of the class were built between 1992 and 1993.


Classes 316 and 457[edit]

These were actually a single four-car EMU that was used as a research prototype. Class 457 was assigned for the tests using third-rail DC traction, following which it was converted to test AC OHLE traction and renumbered as Class 316.

Class 365[edit]

A 365 in Great Northern livery

The Class 365, occasionally referred to as the "smiley train", is a 4-car Electric Multiple Unit (EMU). Although capable of dual-voltage operation, they have only ever been used in single-voltage mode. They were initially supplied with only pick-up shoes[1] for use with 750 V DC via third rail to Network SouthEast, which became Connex South Eastern upon privatisation, and then South Eastern Trains when the franchise changed. They were then transferred to WAGN (now Govia Thameslink) where the shoe gear was removed and a Brecknell Willis pantograph was fitted for use with 25kv AC overhead line equipment. 41 units of the class were built between 1994 and 1995.[2]

Class 465[edit]

A 465 in Southeastern livery

The Class 465 is a 4-car Electric Multiple Unit (EMU). It is powered from 750 V DC third rail. Built by both GEC Alsthom 465/2s and BREL, ABB 465/0 and 465/1s in slightly different versions and are known as Metro units. Later some of the GEC Alsthom units received an internal overhaul and a first-class section was added. They were numbered 465201-465234 and are now numbered 465901-465934 and are known as Weald units. Used by Network SouthEast, then Connex South Eastern upon privatisation, succeeded by South Eastern Trains and currently Southeastern.

Class 466[edit]

A 466 in Southeastern livery

The Class 466 is a 2-car Electric Multiple Unit (EMU). It is powered from 750 V DC third rail and used extensively in multiple with 4-car 465s to form 6-car and 10-car formations. They were built by GEC Alsthom (who built the 465/2s) and powered by GEC traction. The 466s are numbered 466001-466043. The arrival of new Electrostar (class 376/0) stock has seen some units move to rural lines to operate 2-car shuttles, displacing half the Class 508s. Used by Network SouthEast, then Connex South Eastern upon privatisation, succeeded by South Eastern Trains and currently Southeastern. 43 units of the class were built between 1993 and 1994.


Class 341 and 342[edit]

Class 341 and 342 were two EMU types that were proposed but never built. Class 341 was intended to be the rolling stock for Crossrail prior to its cancellation in the early 1990s. The specifications for Class 341 have been utilised in drawing up the rolling stock specifications for the current incarnation of Crossrail. Class 342 was intended for use in the provision of domestic services on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link when it opened in 1994. In the end these services were abandoned, and no trains were constructed.[3]

Class 371, 381 and 471[edit]

Class 371, 381 and 471 were three further EMU types intended as part of the Networker series. Classes 371 and 381 were proposed as the "Universal Networker", a dual voltage train type for a multitude of various services including Kent Coast, Great Northern, Thameslink and LTS routes. Class 471 was the proposed "main line Networker" intended for long distance services from London to Kent and Sussex.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Connex South Eastern: Train Operating Manual Classes 365,465,466. p.A.9 (Class 365 Unit Formation) January 1998. Retrieved 2011-02-14
  2. ^ Class 365 Electric Multiple Unit - Eversholt Rail Group. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  3. ^ "Part 4: Electric Multiple Units" (PDF). 2006-05-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2015-11-05.