Class 5xx DC EMUs

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Inversnecky

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As far as I can make out, the main difference between the hundreds in the class number was location: 3xx and 4xx were predominantly southern region AC / DC EMUs, and 5xx were northern English DC ones.

And from looking at them, many of the Class 5xx are basically the same as some 3xx stock - eg the 507 a reworked version of 313/314/315.

Why the difference hundred in the class demarkations? Why was a 507 not just called a 314, for example?
 
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Gloster

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Put at its simplest, 3xx were AC and multi-voltage, 4xx were Southern Region DC and 5xx were other DC units. The 508 were an oddity as they were originally sent to the SR, but they had always been intended for Merseyside (where they soon were transferred to), which is why they weren’t given a 4xx number.
 

Wolfie

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As far as I can make out, the main difference between the hundreds in the class number was location: 3xx and 4xx were predominantly southern region AC / DC EMUs, and 5xx were northern English DC ones.

And from looking at them, many of the Class 5xx are basically the same as some 3xx stock - eg the 507 a reworked version of 313/314/315.

Why the difference hundred in the class demarkations? Why was a 507 not just called a 314, for example?
In general 300 class are AC, 500 class are DC. For example 507/508s are third rail DC powered. 315s are 25kV overhead AC powered. 313s are actually dual voltage.
Nothing to do with location either, the 508s originally operated in the South.
 

Journeyman

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In general 300 class are AC, 500 class are DC. For example 507/508s are third rail DC powered. 315s are 25kV overhead AC powered. 313s are actually dual voltage.
Nothing to do with location either, the 508s originally operated in the South.
It's a lot to do with location - the 5xx series was specifically for London Midland Region DC units, and the 508s were originally intended for Merseyside anyway. It was originally planned that the 455s would be class 510, but that was changed to fit in with the SR's existing class range. (4x5 was used for 4-car suburban units - 405, 415, 455 and 485 on the Isle of Wight).
 

randyrippley

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.............The 508 were an oddity as they were originally sent to the SR, but they had always been intended for Merseyside (where they soon were transferred to), which is why they weren’t given a 4xx number.
If they were intended for Merseyrail why were they built as 4-car sets?
 

Journeyman

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If they were intended for Merseyrail why were they built as 4-car sets?
Once construction had started, it was decided to divert them to the Southern, so the extra vehicle was added. They were only intended to be used on the Southern temporarily, until the 455s came on stream. The need for new stock on the SR was quite urgent, as the 4-SUBs were decidedly grotty by then.
 
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It's a lot to do with location - the 5xx series was specifically for London Midland Region DC units....
I'd guess that, in general, 5xx meant "any DC EMU not on the Southern Region", but by the time systematic TOPS classes were being devised, the LMR was the only BR region except the Southern running any DC trains.
The LMR's Class 501s for Watford DC and Broad St/Richmond was another example.

Presumably if the 1937-build Tyneside EMUs had lasted another few years in service (withdrawn 1967), they would have been assigned a nominal 5xx Class code too. In the same way the 1500V DC Altrincham Electrics were given Class 505, although all withdrawn before it was time to get the TOPS number transfers out and re-number the units themselves.


...... the SR's existing class range. (4x5 was used for 4-car suburban units - 405, 415, 455 and 485 on the Isle of Wight).
Not forgetting Class 445 for the two prototype 4-PEP units, and 446 for the single 2-PEP prototype.

At first glance, it seems a bit ironic that the PEP prototypes spent their lives on the Southern Region (mostly Shepperton / Hampton Court / Chessington South routes IIRC), but apart from the temporary use of brand-new 4-car Class 508s, BR(S) never acquired any of the mass-production version of the PEP family for their inner-suburban work - these all being consigning to the Eastern Region, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Obviously the prototypes had been equipped for 3rd rail 750V DC only, but I wonder why a 4-PEP was never given a trial on the LMR's Watford DC, North London or Merseyrail Northern/Wirral lines? Presumably the need for traction knowledge for local crews and maintenance knowledge at the relevant depots.
 

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The Pack ‘Em Perpendiculars were hated and despised by the stout yeomen of South West London; so much so that once they went into production they were only considered suitable for the oiks of North London (313), Glasgow (314), the East End (315) and Merseyside (507/8). Oh and Manchester, though the 316 never happened as Picc-Vic got cancelled.
 

Wolfie

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It's a lot to do with location - the 5xx series was specifically for London Midland Region DC units, and the 508s were originally intended for Merseyside anyway. It was originally planned that the 455s would be class 510, but that was changed to fit in with the SR's existing class range. (4x5 was used for 4-car suburban units - 405, 415, 455 and 485 on the Isle of Wight).
Interesting. TY.
 

O L Leigh

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Why the difference hundred in the class demarkations?

Welcome to the madcap world of TOPS classifications.

The Pack ‘Em Perpendiculars were hated and despised by the stout yeomen of South West London; so much so that once they went into production they were only considered suitable for the oiks of North London (313), Glasgow (314), the East End (315) and Merseyside (507/8). Oh and Manchester, though the 316 never happened as Picc-Vic got cancelled.

...and very happy with them we were. Sprightly, fast loading, bright and airy inside. Lovely!! Because, of course, the Cl455s that the (ahem) "stout yeomen" had to wait for were a vast step in passenger experience, what with their near identical low-backed 3+2 seating and poles/grab rails for the multitude of standees.

The "Pack 'Em Perpendicular" moniker was an unfortunate one to be shackled with, but the nature of the loading was nothing to do with the stock. The high prevalence of standing was a feature of suburban rail travel almost since the dawn of the railways, but if anything more modern stock has made the issue worse in the drive to increase capacity to match current and forecast levels of demand.
 

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The "Pack 'Em Perpendicular" moniker was an unfortunate one to be shackled with, but the nature of the loading was nothing to do with the stock.
Except that the good commuters of Hampton Court et al were used to 4SUBs which "Squashed them onto Seats" to coin a phrase. It was culture shock.
 
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The Pack ‘Em Perpendiculars were hated and despised by the stout yeomen of South West London;
If this theory was correct, could an intending passenger on the lines out of Waterloo just look out for a 57xx unit number on the front of the approaching Class 455, then go to the ex-Class 508 trailer, where there would be not a stout yeoman to be seen and plenty of seats?

It was originally planned that the 455s would be class 510
Anyone know what was tentatively assigned the "missing" Class 509?
 
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Helvellyn

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Anyone know what was tentatively assigned the "missing" Class 509?
My working assumption has always been that someone thought 510 was a good number to use because the DEMU prototype built to to the Mark 3 profile was Class 210, so Class 510 matched up from that perspective. I also wonder if the original intention had been to use automatic couplers, so using the 5xx series was seen as a way of distinguishing the step change for the Southern Region before the switch back to high level pipes and cables and use of Class 455 designation.
 

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Except that the good commuters of Hampton Court et al were used to 4SUBs which "Squashed them onto Seats" to coin a phrase. It was culture shock.

Yes of course. My point was that, simply due to the loadings, the passenger experience would have been very little different whether the SUBs had been replaced by a PEP-derived class or the largely identical Cl455s that they ended up with. A culture shock they may have been, but the live freight was still being packed perpendicular. It’s just that the Cl455s didn’t have a handy hook on which the “steadfast yeomen” could hang their ire whereas the PEP acronym came readymade for abuse.
 

hexagon789

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Yes of course. My point was that, simply due to the loadings, the passenger experience would have been very little different whether the SUBs had been replaced by a PEP-derived class or the largely identical Cl455s that they ended up with. A culture shock they may have been, but the live freight was still being packed perpendicular. It’s just that the Cl455s didn’t have a handy hook on which the “steadfast yeomen” could hang their ire whereas the PEP acronym came readymade for abuse.
I think regardless of the class, they got what they would've been getting anyway in terms of comfort. They weren't going to make an extra comfortable suburban unit purely for the SR.
 

O L Leigh

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I think regardless of the class, they got what they would've been getting anyway in terms of comfort. They weren't going to make an extra comfortable suburban unit purely for the SR.
Quite. So why were the PEPs so "hated and despised by the stout yeomen of South West London" and "only considered suitable for the oiks of North London (313), Glasgow (314), the East End (315) and Merseyside (507/8)" when what they eventually got was no different in terms of passenger experience? Snobbery? A misplaced idea that they were somehow going to get something better?

I used to be a semi-regular user of Cl455s in their former unrefurbished state as well as having worked Cl315s and the Cl455's brethren, the Cl317. Of the three I rate the Cl315 best for peak commuter loadings followed by the Cl317s (slightly narrower door apetures and walkway between seats) and the Cl455 last (the same issues as the Cl317 but made worse by the grab handles in the doorways and the forest of poles down the inside of the saloon). If the PEPs were despised and represented a culture shock, I can't imagine that life in a Cl455 represented much of an improvement.
 

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A vague recollection, although our EPBs were replaced by VEPs, was that commuters liked full-height seats and luggage racks. Low seats and keeping your briefcase on your knees were not appreciated. Poles (metal, not human) are all very well, but some preferred to hang on to the luggage rack and display their underarm (but real men used Brut).
 

bramling

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Welcome to the madcap world of TOPS classifications.



...and very happy with them we were. Sprightly, fast loading, bright and airy inside. Lovely!! Because, of course, the Cl455s that the (ahem) "stout yeomen" had to wait for were a vast step in passenger experience, what with their near identical low-backed 3+2 seating and poles/grab rails for the multitude of standees.

The "Pack 'Em Perpendicular" moniker was an unfortunate one to be shackled with, but the nature of the loading was nothing to do with the stock. The high prevalence of standing was a feature of suburban rail travel almost since the dawn of the railways, but if anything more modern stock has made the issue worse in the drive to increase capacity to match current and forecast levels of demand.

Notwithstanding how they were received by commuters, ISTR the 508s were disliked operationally to, being different to pretty much anything else on the Southern Region at the time. The 455 was in many ways a step backwards mechanically.

The history of rolling stock provision south of the river is certainly interesting.
 

hexagon789

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Quite. So why were the PEPs so "hated and despised by the stout yeomen of South West London" and "only considered suitable for the oiks of North London (313), Glasgow (314), the East End (315) and Merseyside (507/8)" when what they eventually got was no different in terms of passenger experience? Snobbery? A misplaced idea that they were somehow going to get something better?
I would suppose there was more than likely some snobbery among certain travellers, perhaps a sense of entitlement to some degree. Definitely a sense of the latter, I think I great many expected better and were very put out when they found out they weren't getting such.


I used to be a semi-regular user of Cl455s in their former unrefurbished state as well as having worked Cl315s and the Cl455's brethren, the Cl317. Of the three I rate the Cl315 best for peak commuter loadings followed by the Cl317s (slightly narrower door apetures and walkway between seats) and the Cl455 last (the same issues as the Cl317 but made worse by the grab handles in the doorways and the forest of poles down the inside of the saloon). If the PEPs were despised and represented a culture shock, I can't imagine that life in a Cl455 represented much of an improvement.
I can't imagine it did either.

Notwithstanding how they were received by commuters, ISTR the 508s were disliked operationally to, being different to pretty much anything else on the Southern Region at the time. The 455 was in many ways a step backwards mechanically.

The history of rolling stock provision south of the river is certainly interesting.
I thought they were both camshaft control so very similar to what the SR already had.

The main update would be 3-step Westcode disc braking against EP/Auto air tread braking.
 

Revaulx

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Quite. So why were the PEPs so "hated and despised by the stout yeomen of South West London" and "only considered suitable for the oiks of North London (313), Glasgow (314), the East End (315) and Merseyside (507/8)" when what they eventually got was no different in terms of passenger experience? Snobbery? A misplaced idea that they were somehow going to get something better?

I used to be a semi-regular user of Cl455s in their former unrefurbished state as well as having worked Cl315s and the Cl455's brethren, the Cl317. Of the three I rate the Cl315 best for peak commuter loadings followed by the Cl317s (slightly narrower door apetures and walkway between seats) and the Cl455 last (the same issues as the Cl317 but made worse by the grab handles in the doorways and the forest of poles down the inside of the saloon). If the PEPs were despised and represented a culture shock, I can't imagine that life in a Cl455 represented much of an improvement.
Oh I absolutely agree. The PEPs and their derivatives were much nicer than the trains that actually ended up replacing the SUBs and EPBs. They looked and felt as though they’d had some thought and effort put into their design; their successors (317, 318, 455, not forgetting the various Sprinters) just seemed cheap and utilitarian. Prior to their arrival though, the Southern had always had a policy of providing as much seating as possible on even the most metro-like journeys, and the PEPs were a big move away from that. On the GE, the 315s were simply a like-for-like replacement for the 306s, only a lot more modern; likewise the Merseyrail and Glasgow ones.
 

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Notwithstanding how they were received by commuters, ISTR the 508s were disliked operationally to, being different to pretty much anything else on the Southern Region at the time. The 455 was in many ways a step backwards mechanically.
Another example of the Southern's "stuck in a time warp" mentality where auto-couplers were deemed too new fangled and dangerous. The same mentality meant they were still building Mark 1s with doors to every seating bay well into the 1970s.
 
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I would suppose there was more than likely some snobbery among certain travellers, perhaps a sense of entitlement to some degree. Definitely a sense of the latter, I think I great many expected better and were very put out when they found out they weren't getting such.
So not unlike the old attitude at London Transport re their buses.
"We can't possibly have any of the same buses that are used in all other cities. We need our own precise specifications. We're London and we're special."

(A bit OT for a Class 5xx EMU thread - sorry!)
 
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hexagon789

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So not unlike the old attitude at London Transport re their buses.
"We can't possibly have any of the same buses that are used in all other cities. We need our own precise specifications. We're London and we're special."

(A bit OT for a Class 5xx EMU thread - sorry!)
The reverse applied with tram cars! ;)

(I can think of an example where, aside from the current collection method, the actual car itself being from London put one prospective purchaser off.)
 
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Anyone know what was tentatively assigned the "missing" Class 509?

It was allocated for new Merseyrail EMUs for extensions such as Kirkby - Wigan Wallgate and replacements for 503s north of the river

My recollection is as follows.

The TOPS numbers in 3XX series were allocated to AC and dual voltage sets, 4XX to ex Southern Railway and Southern Region sets with numeric-alpha identification codes, and 5XX to all other DC sets; thus 507s and 508s were allocated to the DC sets built to the then new BR standard design of EMU with two power cars

507s were built for Merseyside to replace 502s, and on all internal BR documents I remember seeing the 508s were always intended for SW services out of Waterloo, hence their construction as 4-car sets

When the Northern Merseyrail line was extended to Kirkby, class 503s were transferred to work it from the Wirral; there were also plans to extend it beyond Kirkby to Wigan Wallgate, together with some other extensions, and after discussions between BR and Merseyside PTE (or whatever it was called at the time), the PTE agreed that they would underwrite an advance authority being given to GEC for more electric traction equipment; these would power the class 509s, which would replace the 503s north of the river and operate extensions such as to Wigan Wallgate. Then the PTE withdrew its underwriting of the advance authority

By this time, BR had already decided to change to its next generation of EMUs and 317s with there 20m long Mk III based steel shells and a single power car had already been ordered for the BedPan electrification scheme. BR got the necessary authority to build what were classed as 510s - basically 3rd rail DC versions of the 317s - and the advance authority given to GEC for 509s was converted into one for these 510s. This was for complete sets of traction equipment; using parts recovered from SUBs or EPBs (including EE507 traction motor armatures) came later.

Rather than have a mixture of 508s and 510s on the Southern and 507s plus something like 510s on Merseyside, it made sense to concentrate 507s/508s in the north, and build replacements for the 508s down south. However, only 3-car sets were required on Merseyside, and so some 455s (as they'd now become) were built as three new cars plus one ex class 508 trailer; to see what a combination of different rooflines would look like, a new 317 trailer (built at Derby) was marshalled in with three low roofline vehicles. I never did learn why it was done in reverse to the planned combination.

We are, of course, talking about events which happened 40 years ago, and so the above summary might be slightly incorrect, but it is how I remember it; and I'm writing this as someone who was involved.

Another example of the Southern's "stuck in a time warp" mentality where auto-couplers were deemed too new fangled and dangerous. The same mentality meant they were still building Mark 1s with doors to every seating bay well into the 1970s.
It wasn't as simple as this!

Go back to winter 1966/7 and Doncaster built a wooden body with sliding doors on an old 4-SUB frame; it was placed alongside a withdrawn 4-SUB trailer, and on a Saturday morning staff were encouraged to visit the works with the families (and I believe they were suitably rewarded with free food!) and there were trial loadings and unloadings of the two vehicles. The interior layout if the wooden mock-up was then changed, and the test was repeated the following Saturday; this continued over a number of weekends, and what was deemed to be the optimum interior layout was identified.

This wooden mock up was then converted into the PEP prototypes, and these had Scharfenburg automatic couplers; but there were so many curved platforms and sidings on the Southern that I was told that they proved to be worse than useless.

Buckeyes had been used for years on the Southern, and so BR decided to try the Tightlock form the same general family; to this was added what was sometimes called the "Preston Box" - the electrical connectors to assist with automatic coupling, The 508s had these, but there were still problems on the Southern, and so there was the change to the partially manual coupling arrangements found on the 455s/456s/442s,
 
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Snow1964

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Once construction had started, it was decided to divert them to the Southern, so the extra vehicle was added. They were only intended to be used on the Southern temporarily, until the 455s came on stream. The need for new stock on the SR was quite urgent, as the 4-SUBs were decidedly grotty by then.

I think all the pre-war 4SUBs had long gone by time the 508s entered service in 1980 or 1981. A small number had been built during the war but most of the all steel SUBs were built 1946-48 so were 32-35 years old.

The EPBs were built from 1951 but many of them lasted into early 1990s, so many ended up 40+years old

I think the 15 two car ex-Tyneside units (class 416) were also replaced by part the latter build of 455s

I have a vague recollection that some of the later 455s were built to replace trains with asbestos which were younger than some of the EPBs which explains the different ages
 
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Journeyman

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I think all the pre-war 4SUBs had long gone by time the 508s entered service in 1980 or 1981. A small number had been built during the war but most of the all steel SUBs were built 1946-48 so were 32-35 years old.

The EPBs were built from 1951 but many of them lasted into early 1990s, so many ended up 40+years old

I have a vague recollection that some of the later 455s were built to replace trains with asbestos which were younger than some of the EPBs which explains the different ages
Yeah, the later 455s ended up replacing BR design 4-EPBs, which were actually built in the early 60s, but absolutely riddled with asbestos.
 
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