Class 307/308s in West Yorkshire

driverd

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Hi all,

Just a little bit of a trivia question - from my childhood I have distinct memories of these older EMUs, emblazoned in the rather smart WYPTE red livery. I was too young to have any distinct memory of them however, so I do have a couple of questions and would also welcome anyone who worked with them to share their experiences.

So, my questions:
1. How many of each type were transferred north? Often it is quoted as 31(or 33) 308s, but that seems very overkill given the diagrams only ever called on 15 (or less) units. If it was this many, why, and where were the many spare ones stored?
2. There's very little information about the West Yorkshire 307s - what was their reason for existence? How many, and how long were they in Yorkshire for?

I'm sure I'll think of other questions along the way, but any responses are very welcome!
 
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jamiearmley

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The 307's were a temporary stopgap for Leeds Doncaster stopping services until the 321/9 fleet was ready.
As for how many and how long I can't help I'm afraid...
 

JonathanH

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The 307's were a temporary stopgap for Leeds Doncaster stopping services until the 321/9 fleet was ready.
As for how many and how long I can't help I'm afraid...
Wikipedia has a section on 307s.
By 1991, all Class 307 trains had been withdrawn from Network SouthEast services. However, five trains (307105/111/120/122/130) were overhauled at Doncaster Works for use on the newly electrified Wakefield Line service between Leeds and Doncaster. They received the West Yorkshire Metro maroon livery. The use of these units was intended as a stop-gap until three new Class 321/9 trains entered service. The final Class 307 trains were withdrawn in early 1993.

308s didn't only go to West Yorkshire - some operated in the West Midlands for a while - so that may be where confusion about fleet size arises. Their use in the West Midlands was however only for a short period.
 
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43094

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21 class 308s were used in West Yorkshire:

308134/136/137/138/141/143/144/145/147/152/153/154/155/157/158/159/161/162/163/164/165
 

zn1

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the first 305s moved north from IL1 in late 90 if i recall rightly. they were given their c6 repaint in to the red at Ilford and then moved north
this occurred as the 2nd squadron of 321/3 came on to strength at IL and allowed cascading to occur
 

MatthewRead

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Weren't 305's used first on the Leeds-Doncaster in 1988 then 307's in 1989 and then 308/321's from early 1993, the 321/9's didn't enter service until July 1991.
 

clagmonster

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Wikipedia has a section on 307s.


308s didn't only go to West Yorkshire - some operated in the West Midlands for a while - so that may be where confusion about fleet size arises. Their use in the West Midlands was however only for a short period.
I believe the workings in the West Midlands were due to delays in construction of the 323s, providing initial electric traction on Redditch - Lichfield. I suspect they will have done other bits too. I have seen pictures of West Yorks red units working off Soho.
 

driverd

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I note in both cases, more elderly emu's moved north than the number of replacement units (5x 307 for 3x 321, 21x 308 for 16x333), was this simply to allow for failures etc?
 

61653 HTAFC

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Of the 307s, at least one retained Network SouthEast livery and ran in traffic in that guise. 308s only ran in service in the contemporary WYPTE colours, but there was a spares donor at Neville Hill still in "toothpaste". I've heard that on occasion units went out with replacement doors from the NSE donor, but can't verify it.
 

nickw1

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I'm sure one of these types worked Glossop services for a while; I have a distinct memory of coming down from Kinder Scout one very cold day in late December 1996 and using what was definitely a slam-door EMU back to Manchester, and noting that it wasn't a 304. Remember feeling warm but damp on the train after trudging through the snow..

Quick check of Wikipedia suggests it was likely to be a 305.
 

clagmonster

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I'm sure one of these types worked Glossop services for a while; I have a distinct memory of coming down from Kinder Scout one very cold day in late December 1996 and using what was definitely a slam-door EMU back to Manchester, and noting that it wasn't a 304. Remember feeling warm but damp on the train after trudging through the snow..

Quick check of Wikipedia suggests it was likely to be a 305.
There were quite a few 305s allocated to Longsight - they came north around about the time that the Airport branch opened. They were reasonably common on Glossop / Hadfield. The refurbished ones were repainted into GMPTE livery, there were some unrefurbished too I think but they didn't last long.
 

D6130

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I spent six years driving the class 308 units on the Skipton/Bradford FS/Ilkley/Leeds 'triangles' services between 1995 and 2001, when they were replaced by the 333s. Despite their age - and the amount of time that they had spent quietly rusting in the salty sea air at Pig's Bay Sidings, Shoeburyness - they were generally fairly efficient and reliable although, not surprisingly, suffered from quite severe bodywork corrosion.....which made some of the cabs rather draughty in Winter. When the 21 units already mentioned were resurrected and moved up to West Yorkshire in 1994-95, the trailer composites were removed and the resulting three cars units had a significantly improved power/weight ratio. In this form, they were capable of considerably more than their nominal 75 mph maximum and I have to confess to reaching 84 with 308 163 - easily the best unit - one night on the late Ilkley-Skipton ECS working. When things did go wrong, they were usually minor faults which you could just about stagger home with. I only failed completely - requiring assistance - twice in six years, with the same power fault and subsequently discovered that it could be rectified (unofficially) by the driver opening the relay cupboard in the Motor Brake Second and striking the plastic cover of two of the overload relays with a carriage key! Unfortunately, in the late 1990s, a much more serious fault which had afflicted the units a few years earlier on the London, Tilbury & Southend line re-emerged in Yorkshire. One morning, shortly after 308 155 had arrived in platform 2 at Leeds, there was a loud explosion in the motor coach, which blew off one of the brake van doors and catapulted the guard's seat out onto the platform. Luckily the guard had just vacated the van and was shocked, but unhurt. About a week later, the same thing happened with 308 138 in the same platform, thankfully again with no injuries. Both units were taken out of service and sent to Neville Hill immediately after the incidents and several diagrams were replaced by diesel units for a few weeks while the rest of the fleet were checked and it transpired that the problem was caused by overheating of the cooling oil bath surrounding the right-angled joint in the 25 Kv power cable leading from the pantograph main circuit breaker to the transformer. Apparently the same thing happened with 308 162 inside the maintenance shed at Neville Hill - this time causing a fire which damaged the passenger accommodation - and that unit never ran again. The then franchise holder, Northern Spirit, had planned a final gala weekend before the units' second withdrawal - with six car units running special 'express' services circulating on all four routes, interspersed between the 333 service trains and stopping only at Guiseley, Shipley and Keighley and doing the rare electrified track on the Up line to the Limit of Shunt at Skipton North Junction. IIRC, it was planned to sell a £5 'all day' ticket with the proceeds going to a railway charity. Unfortunately, however, Northern Spirit were rapidly descending into a critical driver shortage, with many service train cancellations, so the management reluctantly called off the whole event at very short notice.
 

driverd

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Thanks for sharing those memories! Can only imagine the response we might see if we had exploding units today. They sound like very characterful units to work anyway!
 

Revaulx

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@D6130 that’s really interesting.

A similar thing happened west of the Pennines. When they started out on the Altrincham line, the 4-car 304s’ performance was noticeably worse than that of the 40 year old DC units they replaced. Years later they were cut down to 3-car and became quite sprightly in their old age.
 

Taunton

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I was at the time visiting Ilkley on business periodically, and rode these trains, some time after having known them next to my previous office at Liverpool Street. Built around 1960, they had in the early 1980s one of the most substantial refurbishments ever, with completely new interiors, and a lot of regular passengers thought they were new trains. The interior felt more stylish than the genuinely brand-new at the same time, and somewhat spartan in comparison, 315s. They had orange-purple tartan seat covers.

Their performance even in 4-car days was still pretty sharp, they would accelerate significantly up the (1 in 70?) climb to Bethnal Green, crush loaded, even when it was just 6.25kV there. I do recall their climb performance out of the Aire valley to the Ilkley line on 25kV was quite nifty. One trip it was one of the 3-car Pacers instead, you can imagine the difference, and we were late into Ilkley.

I did think that after the early problems on NE London services they were fitted with some form of relief/safety valve on the transformer tank to prevent the oil vapourising and exploding.

Another trip was a first on a brand-new Class 333, with the usual CAF build quality, some of which should surely have been rejected by the UK engineers before/at delivery (if not by CAF themselves beforehand). I recall the window glass had notable surface ripples, which distorted the view out.
 

D6130

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Another trip was a first on a brand-new Class 333, with the usual CAF build quality, some of which should surely have been rejected by the UK engineers before/at delivery (if not by CAF themselves beforehand). I recall the window glass had notable surface ripples, which distorted the view out.
Slightly OT, but the ripple effect is an unfortunate aspect of the triple-pane armour plated glass used in the windows of both the 332s and 333s. If you look out of the window at anything between a right angle and about 15 degrees, you experience normal vision - but if you're in a window seat and try to look forward or backwards at a very acute angle, as rail enthusiasts often do, then you will experience the ripple effect. That was something that did not affect the 307s and 308s of course.
 

Dr Hoo

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I did think that after the early problems on NE London services they were fitted with some form of relief/safety valve on the transformer tank to prevent the oil vapourising and exploding.
You're thinking of Buchholz relays.
 

D6130

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You're thinking of Buchholz relays.
Yes, that's correct....but it wasn't the transformer oil tank which was exploding. It was the much smaller jointing box - almost under the guard's brake rear bulkhead - where the vertical high voltage cable from the pantograph air blast breaker rotates through 90 degrees to pass horizontally beneath the brake/luggage space to reach the transformer. This was not protected by the Buchholz device.
 

yorksrob

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Of the 307s, at least one retained Network SouthEast livery and ran in traffic in that guise. 308s only ran in service in the contemporary WYPTE colours, but there was a spares donor at Neville Hill still in "toothpaste". I've heard that on occasion units went out with replacement doors from the NSE donor, but can't verify it.

That's interesting. I'm surprised they didn't use one of the driiving trailers to replace the one that ran into the tree in the late 1990's.
 

Taunton

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Slightly OT, but the ripple effect is an unfortunate aspect of the triple-pane armour plated glass used in the windows of both the 332s and 333s. If you look out of the window at anything between a right angle and about 15 degrees, you experience normal vision - but if you're in a window seat and try to look forward or backwards at a very acute angle, as rail enthusiasts often do, then you will experience the ripple effect. That was something that did not affect the 307s and 308s of course.
Nor any other modern stock I'm familiar with ...
 

EveningStar

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Think 308155 followed me around for a while. Notes have me travelling on it between Liverpool Street and Stratford in late 1978 when I made an unscheduled visit to a certain depot. Next saw it in 1993 at Barnt Green on a Redditch working (photo) and then a few years later in Leeds. Tell you, if I ever see a ghost train at Alnmouth, it will be 308155 ...

1993A257lowres.jpg
 

d9009alycidon

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Two class 307s had a brief spell in Scotland, somewhere in my photo collection I have photos of them at Shields Road. They were considered for use on the North Berwick Branch before the 305s were selected
 

61653 HTAFC

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That's interesting. I'm surprised they didn't use one of the driiving trailers to replace the one that ran into the tree in the late 1990's.
Presumably by then, a lot of components would have already been removed for use on the active units.

With reference to NSE doors, I have a vague memory of seeing a unit with one door still in NSE colours (presumably having been donated from the unit at NL)... However the human memory is not as reliable as people think it is, so I can't rule out the possibility that I imagined it or am misremembering something similar but different!
 

Islineclear3_1

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I remember an open day at Ilford (?1991) and seeing 307.111 part painted in WYPTE prior to its move north.

I remember the then, brand new 321/9's coming on stream and compared to the Network SouthEast colours of their Ilford cousins, the WYPTE did not suit the front ends very well in my opinion with the then-still-mandatory full yellow cab end

As an aside, the 307's didn't 'alf move on the Billericay/Shenfield-Liverpool Street fasts...
 

driverd

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Maybe it's nostalgia speaking, but I do think the metro red scheme looked great on most units. Perhaps, as noted above, the only real exception is the 321, otherwise I think it suited most shapes.

Just another thought; we're both these units through gangwayed, or much like the 205s, was it not possible to move between vehicles within a unit (Ie: between the 3/4 coaches in a standard formation)?
 

yorksrob

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I'll second that....especially with the rectangular black panel surrounding both windscreens

Yes, that made them look a bit smarter for some reason.

Maybe it's nostalgia speaking, but I do think the metro red scheme looked great on most units. Perhaps, as noted above, the only real exception is the 321, otherwise I think it suited most shapes.

Just another thought; we're both these units through gangwayed, or much like the 205s, was it not possible to move between vehicles within a unit (Ie: between the 3/4 coaches in a standard formation)?

The 308's had vestibule connections between carriages at this stage.
 

nickw1

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Yes, that made them look a bit smarter for some reason.



The 308's had vestibule connections between carriages at this stage.

Going OT but that reminds me rather of services formed solely of HAPs on the Southern in the 80s (and presumably before). How did the guard manage to get through a 10HAP or 12HAP formation of the kind that ran on certain peak services on the South Western in the 80s? Did fare-dodgers target such trains?
 

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