‘AM’ AC Multiple Units

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Inversnecky

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Beside the initial AL designation for the AC electric locomotives, some AC EMUs came with an ‘AM’ designation.

Came across an interesting old photo identifying some of these.
 

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ac6000cw

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I think if you replace the 'AM' with '30' you get the TOPS class number e.g. the 'Clacton' unit (with the curved front and gangway connection) in the middle is an AM9, later class 309.
 

AM9

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That's a great picture of the 'new' shed at Ilford. I remember it being built at the time of the 1960 'ish conversion from 1500VDCto 25kV ac.
It shows virtually all of the GE EMU types there. I think that the class 302s (mainly LT&S in those days), are not represented.
 

tbwbear

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I have some fond memories of riding the old 306s (AM6) out of Liverpool Street in the late 70s. Something from another era !

Interesting that their sister 1500 DC units built for the Manchester-Glossop-Hadfield services (unlike the 306 never converted to AC) became 506 but never had any previous alphanumeric code.

On the DC system EM was used for the DC locomotives (E=Electric M=Mixed traffic) as in EM1 for 76 and EM2 for 77 but the units never had their own reference code.
 

Revaulx

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I have some fond memories of riding the old 306s (AM6) out of Liverpool Street in the late 70s. Something from another era !

Interesting that their sister 1500 DC units built for the Manchester-Glossop-Hadfield services (unlike the 306 never converted to AC) became 506 but never had any previous alphanumeric code.

On the DC system EM was used for the DC locomotives (E=Electric M=Mixed traffic) as in EM1 for 76 and EM2 for 77 but the units never had their own reference code.
I don’t think the Hadfields’ GE cousins, nor the later Bulleid-based Southend and Chelmsford DC units, had their own reference code until they were converted to AC and became AM6 and 7 respectively.
 

Snow1964

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Both AM6 and AM7 (later class 306, 307) were rebuilds of DC units

Originally they were 1500v DC units for Liverpool Street - Shenfield line, and then the extensions to Chelmsford and Southend.

I believe LNER ordered 100 units (delivered after Nationalisation), of which 8 were for Manchester, 92 for London. As previously mentioned the 8 stayed DC and became class 506

Sorry can’t remember what AM1 was (think it was a prototype or test unit)

AM2 were for Fenchurch St lines (but also used on Liverpool St lines just after AC conversion whilst the AM6 and AM7 were modified), there were 112 units, all slam door, and originally had 4 character headcodes (2 rows of 2). They had faulty traction motors and I think they all had to be rewound within couple of years

AM3 were 3 car Glasgow area units built by Pressed Steel (and which had poorly designed transformers which kept blowing up, so had to be replaced). Sliding doors. Like many EMU of the time, these had recovered bogies, having come from some Gresley designed coaches. Originally painted Caledonian blue so often called blue trains

AM4 were 4 car units (some later became 3 car), used on Manchester and Liverpool locals, these were originally green

AM5 were similar to AM4, mix of 3 and 4 car, initially used on Liverpool St - NE London lines

AM6 and AM7 were the DC conversions as above

AM8 were for GE main line locals (Colchester line), 4 car units (some later became 3 car), looked similar to AM4 and AM5

AM9 were the stylish Clacton and Walton units, 100mph with commonwealth bogies, fully gangwayed, originally 8 2 car units, remainder 4 car units (trains divided to 2 branches). Some had griddle cars, originally painted maroon. The 2 car units had same power so the 10 car peak trains had higher power/weight ratio

AM10 were 4 car units for West Midlands locals and Euston commuter services. Weren’t really mainline units as only 75mph

AM11 were for South Strathclyde built by Cravens in mid 1960s, similar to AM3, but had relatively short life

Class 312 looked similar to AM10, but rated at 90mph, and without curved windscreens. Built mid 1970s, 4 for West Midlands (to new Birmingham International), 19 for Liverpool Street (extra capacity), 26 for Kings Cross outer suburban. The 19 GE units were last to have 6.25kv capacity. Don’t think these were ever designated AM12 but as they were effectively an updated AM10 including in this list
 
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tbwbear

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I don’t think the Hadfields’ GE cousins, nor the later Bulleid-based Southend and Chelmsford DC units, had their own reference code until they were converted to AC and became AM6 and 7 respectively.
I think you are correct. Only the locomotives were referenced in DC = EM1 and EM2 (think there was a planned EB for banking too) - I think those codes may have come from the LNER too. The AL and AM thing was under BR, and although BR left the "EM" in place they never designated the Hadfield sets until they were 506. Just 8 units at Reddish Depot, I guess they knew what they were without a reference !
 

AM9

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... Sorry can’t remember what AM1 was (think it was a prototype or test unit)
Class AM1 was given to the ex-LNWR DC lines stock converted for ac OLE power. The Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham branch was electrified with 6.6kV 25Hz ac. When BR were evaluating moving from their original 1500VDC electrification 'future standard', the self-contained line was chosen as a test bed for the burgeoning practice of powering direct from the national grid 50Hz supply, (mainly by SNCF). So the line was converted to 6.6kV 50Hz (utilising most of the existing OLE and its clearances) and the trains converted with new transformers and then quite new, mercury arc rectifiers. The electrification was successful but the line wasn't (in passenger terms) so it was closed in 1966. Given that the rolling stock originally started life in 1914, it was scrapped.

... AM2 were for Fenchurch St lines (but also used on Liverpool St lines just after AC conversion whilst the AM6 and AM7 were modified), there were 112 units, all slam door, and originally had 4 character headcodes (2 rows of 2). They had faulty traction motors and I think they all had to be rewound within couple of years ...
They were distinguishable from the other 'flat fronted' units (the AM7s) by their bigger cab front windows.
Apart from their early deployment on the GEML to cover for the conversion of DC stock to AM6 & 7, some of them spent most of their time away from the LT&S on GE services.


... AM4 were 4 car units (some later became 3 car), used on Manchester and Liverpool locals, these were originally green ...
All of the GE units were originally green (except the AM9s).

... AM5 were similar to AM4, mix of 3 and 4 car, initially used on Liverpool St - NE London lines ...
The 3-car AM5/1s were intended for the Enfield and Chingford services and were easily recognisable by their low backed seating in open saloons with large windows between the doors. The 4-car AM4/2s were similar to the AM2/AM7/AM8 stock as they had a mix of 2+3 semi open cars and 6-a-side full compartments.

... AM9 were the stylish Clacton and Walton units, 100mph with commonwealth bogies, fully gangwayed, originally 8 2 car units, remainder 4 car units (trains divided to 2 branches). Some had griddle cars, originally painted maroon. The 2 car units had same power so the 10 car peak trains had higher power/weight ratio ...
In the '70s, the 1740 peak departure from Liverpool St to Clacton consist was even more powerful; from the country end: 309/1+309/1+309/2+309/3, a total of 3364kW (4512hp)!

As a little aside, 'AL' was AC locomotive, 'AM' was AC multiple unit. Were there ever DL and DM (DC equivalents)?
I think that the Southern Railway EMU naming scheme which was wholeheartedly adopted by BR made the limited number of DC Electric locos not worth changing. What became the classes 70*, 71(also known as class HA),73(also known as class JA) & 74 were originally numbered by BR with 'E' numbers. The EM1 and EM2 were probably inherited from the LNER when the line electrification was started.

* Not the current US built Diesel Electric freight locos which were introduced in 2009.
 

JonathanH

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AM2 were for Fenchurch St lines (but also used on Liverpool St lines just after AC conversion whilst the AM6 and AM7 were modified), there were 112 units
How were 112 units needed for Fenchurch Street services when it appears that 80 (74 357s and the 6 387s) was broadly enough in recent times. I get that some of the difference in utilisation and maintenance needed but 80 / 112 is 71%. Where was the extra siding space on the Fenchurch Street network that is no longer available?
 

AM9

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How were 112 units needed for Fenchurch Street services when it appears that 80 (74 357s and the 6 387s) was broadly enough in recent times. I get that some of the difference in utilisation and maintenance needed but 80 / 112 is 71%. Where was the extra siding space on the Fenchurch Street network that is no longer available?
It looks on Google Maps like at least 75x4-car strorage at Shoeburyness and about 18 at East Ham. There might have been space at Tilbury that was given up when passenger services virtually died there. There's also undercover tracks at East Ham depot, and there might have been some more on the approaches to Fenchurch Street before the DLR impinged on the original LT&S formation there. Then there is extra train storage at the likely terminating stations that might have been used more intensively then, e.g. Fenchurch St, Upminster, Grays, Tilbury Riverside (closed now), Leigh-on-Sea and Southen Central.
 

Revaulx

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They were distinguishable from the other 'flat fronted' units (the AM7s) by their bigger cab front windows.
Apart from their early deployment on the GEML to cover for the conversion of DC stock to AM6 & 7, some of them spent most of their time away from the LT&S on GE services.
The AM2s were also distinguishable by their Mark 1 profile. The AM7s had the ex-SR Bulleid profile.

All of the GE units were originally green (except the AM9s).
As far as I can remember (and I was only just out of single digits at the time) the AM4s were in a non-standard olive green which rather suited them; they looked shockingly dreary in all-over blue. Weren't the very similar-looking AM5s and 8s originally in standard "DMU" green?

EDIT: From photos, the AM9s looked absolutely gorgeous in maroon; largely thanks to their glossy finish. I'm not sure how long it lasted in day-to-day service; did they end up as dull and matt as the Mark 1s?
 
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AM9

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The AM2s were also distinguishable by their Mark 1 profile. The AM7s had the ex-SR Bulleid profile. ...
Standing in a crowd in the peak, the realtive size of the windows was much easier to spot as they drew in.

... As far as I can remember (and I was only just out of single digits at the time) the AM4s were in a non-standard olive green which rather suited them; they looked shockingly dreary in all-over blue. Weren't the very similar-looking AM5s and 8s originally in standard "DMU" green?
We didn't have DMUs in SE Essex where I lived before 'Rail Blue' was introduced. The Shenfields and Southends had a similar colour to the Britannias (when they were clean) so I suppose it was something like Brunswick Green with gold numbering - just the serial number -001 to 092 for the AM6s and 101 to 132 for the Southend units.

EDIT: From photos, the AM9s looked absolutely gorgeous in maroon; largely thanks to their glossy finish. I'm not sure how long it lasted in day-to-day service; did they end up as dull and matt as the Mark 1s?

I haven't seen any decent colour photos of the AM9s in maroon for years. I would be grateful if you could post them here (if there are no copyright issues) or link to them if they are on line somewhere else. I think they were regarded as something special on the GE so were kept looking good.
 

Helvellyn

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How were 112 units needed for Fenchurch Street services when it appears that 80 (74 357s and the 6 387s) was broadly enough in recent times. I get that some of the difference in utilisation and maintenance needed but 80 / 112 is 71%. Where was the extra siding space on the Fenchurch Street network that is no longer available?
It was 121 units actually - 9 x AM8/3s (later 308/3), numbered 313-321, were built for Tilbury Riverside Boat Trains. The MBS was replaced by an MLV giving three passenger coaches and one luggage coach per set. However, whether these units arriving displayed some AM2s to the GE I am unsure.
 

Revaulx

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Standing in a crowd in the peak, the realtive size of the windows was much easier to spot as they drew in.



I haven't seen any decent colour photos of the AM9s in maroon for years. I would be grateful if you could post them here (if there are no copyright issues) or link to them if they are on line somewhere else. I think they were regarded as something special on the GE so were kept looking good.
No luck online alas. They may have been in a book.

I will certainly keep a lookout as I'd also like to see them again!
 

Inversnecky

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Of course the book I took the ordinal photo from, had that pic of the prototype:
 

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AM9

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The bodywork of both was identical, and entirely of BR design.
I did think that but assumed that the poster had better knowledge. Eastleigh was a primary Southern Railway works, but by the mid '50s it was manufacturing Derby designed BR standard MKIs, just like Swindon, Wolverton, Doncaster and York. It mat be that aspects of the design were inherited from Bulleid etc., as the Southern Region had many routes with relatively restricted structure gauges, so meeting that need would result in a design for universal UK-wide availability.

Here's one I found on the Net. Date/location not given.
Not my photo!
View attachment 91728
I've tried placing the photo which to me looks like it could be the bay platform at Colchester (platform 5). It looks like an 8-car train with a 309/3 leading which would be correct for a split at Thorpe-le-Soken. As for when, by 1971-2, all the 309s had been painted in rail blue/grey so I guess it would be mid to late '60s.
It's nice to see that the old GE (and the LT&S) still generates interest here. I'm sure that many enthusiasts don't realise that Liverpool St and Fenchurch St served the UK's largest electric OLE network in terms of trains run for decades, with intensive service which really demanded EMUs of all types. Much as the 309s were by far the best express EMUs in those days, their performance is trounced by modern EMUs and the comfort they offered might be OK for an enthusiast or a visitor to a holiday heritage line, but would get frowns from a 21st century commuter, - especially when crush-loaded!
 
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Inversnecky

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Standing in a crowd in the peak, the realtive size of the windows was much easier to spot as they drew in.



I haven't seen any decent colour photos of the AM9s in maroon for years. I would be grateful if you could post them here (if there are no copyright issues) or link to them if they are on line somewhere else. I think they were regarded as something special on the GE so were kept looking good.

The only pic I have in a book is in mono:
 

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Bikeman78

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How were 112 units needed for Fenchurch Street services when it appears that 80 (74 357s and the 6 387s) was broadly enough in recent times. I get that some of the difference in utilisation and maintenance needed but 80 / 112 is 71%. Where was the extra siding space on the Fenchurch Street network that is no longer available?
In 1996 the combined fleet of 302, 310 and 312 was 89 units. The peak time service was about as intense as it could be (four departures every 12 minutes if I recall correctly) so the only way to use more units would be more 12 car trains. I've no idea what the 302 did in the 1960s and 1970s but in the 1980s they did go to Chingford and even to Cambridge.

Class 312 looked similar to AM10, but rated at 90mph, and without curved windscreens. Built mid 1970s, 4 for West Midlands (to new Birmingham International), 19 for Liverpool Street (extra capacity), 26 for Kings Cross outer suburban. The 19 GE units were last to have 6.25kv capacity. Don’t think these were ever designated AM12 but as they were effectively an updated AM10 including in this list
Interesting that the King's Cross fleet migrated to Liverpool Street and in turn the 19 units originally based there moved to the LTS.
 

hexagon789

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Standing in a crowd in the peak, the realtive size of the windows was much easier to spot as they drew in.



I haven't seen any decent colour photos of the AM9s in maroon for years. I would be grateful if you could post them here (if there are no copyright issues) or link to them if they are on line somewhere else. I think they were regarded as something special on the GE so were kept looking good.
There's a few on Flickr, Robert Carroll has a number in his excellent Flickr collection such as this:

(All copyright R W Carroll Collection)
 

Snow1964

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In 1996 the combined fleet of 302, 310 and 312 was 89 units. The peak time service was about as intense as it could be (four departures every 12 minutes if I recall correctly) so the only way to use more units would be more 12 car trains. I've no idea what the 302 did in the 1960s and 1970s but in the 1980s they did go to Chingford and even to Cambridge.


Interesting that the King's Cross fleet migrated to Liverpool Street and in turn the 19 units originally based there moved to the LTS.

The LTS lines were converted from mix of 6.25kv & 25kv to 100% 25kv later date, some 6.25kv sections existed until March 1989

From memory Liverpool St - Shenfield conversion was about 1980 or 1981, with Bethnal Green - Clapton area in 1983 or 1984 (which is why the 315s were never used on West Anglia services until conversion). After this GE lines didn’t need the dual voltage units, and could use 25kv only units

Once everything was 25kv, the voltage detection and switch gear was isolated or removed from units.
 
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Taunton

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How were 112 units needed for Fenchurch Street services when it appears that 80 (74 357s and the 6 387s) was broadly enough in recent times. I get that some of the difference in utilisation and maintenance needed but 80 / 112 is 71%. Where was the extra siding space on the Fenchurch Street network that is no longer available?
It's a good question about what happened to the demand - and as stated above it was actually 121 units, as another 9 with the luggage van were built for the LTS as well. Supposedly for boat trains, their arrival coincided with the substantial decline of these, and they spent their time on Tilbury Loop services.

The first 20 units, 201 to 220 were normally always kept on the GE lines, but that still left 100 LTS units. Furthermore, if you want to compare with current trains, the 302s had far more seats per unit than the present stock does. The current LTS train provision does leave much to be desired in peak hours, crushed 8-car sets and even 4-car in the shoulders. There are periodic switch-rounds of which trains are 12-car, the ones extended are publicised, the ones reduced to provide the stock are ... just not mentioned.
 

306024

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The OPs photograph is a well known publicity shot from Ilford Car Sheds. Wonder what the driver thought of having to move all those units a few yards.

Yes back in the day the LTS had a generous amount of stabling space, including Tilbury Riverside. There were more peak 12 car workings too.

The luggage van units were used on the 03.59 Liverpool St to Shoeburyness and 04.10 Liverpool St to Tilbury Riverside newspaper trains, but then had to be hidden on the lighter loaded peak trains.

The 309s were of course superb trains, but some drivers disliked driving from the cab under the pantograph on the original 2 car units on the main line, relatively less smooth than the other 309 variants. That’s one reason why it was rare (but not unknown) for them to be leading out of Liverpool St once they had been lengthened to 4 car units.
 
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