Your memories of Class 442s

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WesternLancer

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View attachment 97398
(Image credit Colin Duff / Southern Electric Group)
Nice to see that - so everywhere else was the quiet zone..:lol:

The past that was the future.

I recall that those phonecard payphones on trains ate phone card units like no tomorrow on the one occasion I think I used one. Possibly on an HST, not a 442. I recall seeing them on 158s too, but by then I had learned my financial lesson.
 

StephenHunter

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View attachment 97398
(Image credit Colin Duff / Southern Electric Group)
In retrospect, keeping that as a cupboard for people to take calls in private would have been a good idea.

My main memories of them are on the Brighton Main Line and seeing them packed to the gunwales during the time I counted passengers for Southern - it was clear that they were woefully unsuited for GatEx duties.
 

Nym

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I did a lot of teaching of new engineers on this fleet. Got more value out of it as a teaching tool than as any kind of transport tbh.
 

yorksrob

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I was on the first trip on one of these on the BML. It was on an SEG railtour in 1991.
 

Snow1964

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I remember seeing one on test run at New Milton, when it still had
mini dot matrix destination above end gangway, double guards van, and a composite vehicle (think they were initally 6 compartments of 6 first class and 14 standard in open saloon at cab end) so first 2 windows didn’t have yellow stripe above them

From memory (somebody is bound to correct me) only 12 of 24 sets had double guards van

I also vaguely remember initially didn’t have any NSE markings when delivered early 1988 (but the 3 diamonds were added to end gangways before service in May 1988)
 
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DerekC

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I used to travel on them regularly on the SWML. Compared with Mk1 slam door stock they seemed like the last word in modern rolling stock! I did manage to get a ride on one of the refurbished ones on the Portsmouth Direct, pre-Covid. Despite the new paint and fabrics, compared with a 444 I am afraid it seemed out of date. Sloppy ride, untidy interior and lousy doors.
 

Bletchleyite

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I used to travel on them regularly on the SWML. Compared with Mk1 slam door stock they seemed like the last word in modern rolling stock! I did manage to get a ride on one of the refurbished ones on the Portsmouth Direct, pre-Covid. Despite the new paint and fabrics, compared with a 444 I am afraid it seemed out of date. Sloppy ride, untidy interior and lousy doors.

I agree they are quite dated now and the GatEx refurb was of extremely poor quality. However as built they were everything the loco hauled and HST Mk3s should have been - better lighting, power doors, better vestibule doors, better seats. Altogether the ultimate Mk3.

The 444 is however a load better.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Only rode on them a handful of times, all in NSE or SWT days. Even managed to get a run in a first class compartment from Surbiton to Weymouth (during the Hampton Court flower show). The return was standard of course, but I spent much of the journey nursing a drink in the "snug"!
 

nlogax

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Late 80s, bunking off school for the day and sitting on an early Bournemouth to Waterloo service amongst all the long-distance commuters buried in their newspapers. I was unnerved by just how quiet 442s were at speed compared to the rail noise dished out by the CIGs, VEPs and 73-propelled 4TCs I'd been used to. So unnerved that I let my Walkman and headphones provide the soundtrack for the rest of the trip.
 

Wychwood93

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The Open day at Bournemouth Depot in May 1988 - you could walk under a 442. I have some photos somewhere. Tens of thousands of miles of travel for work or pleasure. The speed excesses which were much more likely back in those days. I will miss them.
 

CW2

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My first memory of a 442 is a pain in the head. The over-engineered door-closing mechanism includes a large metallic arm which rotates into the carriage as the door closes. If you happen to be tll (like me) and standing by the door (as I often did) then as the door closes there is an "unanticipated door-frame / head interface incident"! Ouch.
 

Revaulx

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Loved them. They managed to combine state-of-the-art with true Southern tradition. Other Mark 3-derived MUs before them had a really cheap and nasty feel. Not the 442s.
 

aliceh

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Went on them many times for trips to London and, in later years, to and from Brock college. Earliest memory was coming back from holiday in Weymouth. The door failed to open as we were getting off at Southampton Central, and we were stuck on board. My mum found the guard who let us out at Southampton Airport and we rode in the guard's compartment of the 442 back to Central. Good times.

Also took up SWT's 'upgrade to First class for £5 at weekends' offer once, got a whole compartment to myself.

Never rode them since they went to Southern, but from what I've read here, it sounds like that's a good thing!
 

Dr_Paul

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... when it still had mini dot matrix destination above end gangway...
I first saw the display on a 442 when it came through Vauxhall. Even though the train was passing fairly close to me, it came through on the platform 6 line and I was standing on platform 7, it was almost impossible to read. It seemed to me to be a fairly pointless feature, and I wasn't surprised that it fell into disuse.

I recall that the 442s did not show the set number on the front but on the side of the cab, quite unlike any other Southern Region EMUs. I also have a feeling that the covers of the bays containing jumper cables on the front ends were quite soon removed; perhaps someone can confirm that.

I only travelled once on a Porker, a short run from Clapham Junction to Waterloo; I thought that it gave a comfortable ride compared to the Mark 1 stock and was nicely fitted-out inside.
 

Helvellyn

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I recall that the 442s did not show the set number on the front but on the side of the cab, quite unlike any other Southern Region EMUs. I also have a feeling that the covers of the bays containing jumper cables on the front ends were quite soon removed; perhaps someone can confirm that.
Correct. I think there were a few accidents with trapped fingers/hands due to the weight of the covers, which were originally metal. I'd imagine not the easiest thing to unhook and lower into position when between units.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Late 80s, bunking off school for the day and sitting on an early Bournemouth to Waterloo service amongst all the long-distance commuters buried in their newspapers. I was unnerved by just how quiet 442s were at speed compared to the rail noise dished out by the CIGs, VEPs and 73-propelled 4TCs I'd been used to. So unnerved that I let my Walkman and headphones provide the soundtrack for the rest of the trip.
I suppose that the buffet (motor) car probably wasn't the best choice if you were skiving off... I'd have been collared before Brockenhurst! :lol:
 

JB_B

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I used to commute London to Winchester in the early 1990's.

I remember several lovely evening journeys on 442s just relaxing on the extra-comfy steep-rake seats ( or, even better, in the snug).

I guess that the relatively low loadings on those journeys ( since I was travelling contra-peak ) might just contribute to my rose-tinted view of them.


It was a nice surprise when they followed me onto the Brighton Main Line ( only slightly marred by: no snug, wrong seats, sometimes iffy timekeeping.) Sad to see them go.
 

GusB

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I think my most abiding memory of the 442 is the sheer number of times people in this forum have tried to come up with ideas to extend their lives! :lol:

I've never travelled on them, nor seen one in the flesh, but I do remember seeing them in a magazine (possibly the RailRiders magazine) and thinking that they looked very futuristic at the time. I don't think any livery looked as good on them as Network SouthEast colours did.
 

Capybara

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Apart from the snug, one of my stand-out memories was a trip in the early noughties or late 90s to a football match at Farnborough. I was in the front coach and shortly after leaving Woking we caught a steam special that was travelling on the slow line. The driver of the 442 slowed down and we ran in parallel for several miles. Then the driver sped up again and we pulled in to Farnborough in time to see the special come through. I loved the 442s - they always seemed that bit different from anything else.
 

Wychwood93

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The guards who had the '442 Squadron' badges with the pigs snout image in the centre and the wording around the edge. Whatever happened to them?
 

Bishopstone

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2x442 losing 10-15 minutes every evening on my 18.23 London Bridge-Eastbourne commute. This train was booked to call at all stations from Haywards Heath to Eastbourne and the Wessies were unsuited to this stop-start work, and in due course relieved of the duty by 377s, whereupon timekeeping improved markedly.

Another memory was struggling to get out of Plumpton on the Up Eastbourne, one damp morning in leaf fall season. Much wheel spinning and the aroma of burning motors, but very little movement: again, not something I’ve ever experienced in a 377 at this location.

Finally, I remember far too regular cancellations due to defective 442s, and short formations.

The First Class armchairs resulting from the GatEx refurbishment were comfy, but overall these units were a failure on the GTR network and when SWR announced their plans for them, I assumed it was a wind-up.
 

Dave W

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Only got a couple of rides on them, in their GatEx lives. I was working down in Durrington a couple of days a week in late 2016, but the direct Southern services were off due to the strikes, so it was "take any train to Brighton and change". I'm almost certain that to keep things moving there were trains that didn't even stop at Gatwick at that time of the morning (probably to position them for the return chaos of getting workers into town) - I'm sure someone will correct me. Even if it did stop at Gatwick, it was a trouble-free run down to the seaside - and to boot, because of no direct Littlehampton services, they were using 377s on the West Coastway.

My memory, then, is brief, but it was very comfortable and quiet, and felt like a "proper train" (although I'm not sure why and couldn't tell you what features make up such a thing)
 

jfollows

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I moved to Portsmouth for my first job in 1984, but I continued to be a member of a London choir of which I'd been a member during my student years in London until then, so I made many trips to London.
In 1985 I moved to Portchester, then I bought my first house between Portchester and Fareham, so I usually walked from home to Fareham for the train to London, and often went via Southampton for the non-stop REP+TC service - I usually returned on the more direct service changing at Eastleigh.
I then remember the variety of stock in use when the REPs were withdrawn for their traction motors, combinations of 73+TC and other things. In due course the 442s were introduced.
I felt they were real main line units and fitting for a fast service, however the service pattern changed and more stops were introduced, such as at Southampton Airport first of all and then Winchester. Sometimes I'd drive to Southampton Airport (I had a car by then) for a fast service to London on a Saturday - free car parking at weekends on NSE didn't hinder this. Then I moved to Clanfield, but even then sometimes drove to Winchester for the London service - Petersfield was my obvious station but there was then only an hourly fast service anyway and it was "old hat" CIG+BEP+CIG anyway.
In 1989 I went to the USA for three years, and when I came back I'd given up my London commitments anyway, and then I moved to Bath in 1994, so I didn't use the 442s much more by then.
Last occasion was Gatwick Express to Gatwick in September 2015 on a Sunday prior to a Monday morning flight to Havana.
I'd have like to have travelled on the 442s again, I have a plan to visit a friend in Waterlooville, so Portsmouth Direct to Petersfield in all probability, but it doesn't seem unreasonable for them to have been withdrawn finally now. They were excellent and appropriate at the time they were introduced for the route and the service pattern they were deployed on, but they'd have been less well matched to the Portsmouth Direct (I'm aware that they used to operate over this line in the past) and to busier trains with more stops than used to be the case.

EDIT I also remember that I liked the layout of the DTC as delivered (on units 2401-2407 I believe), with a 14-seat second/standard class saloon behind the cab followed by first class compartments, in the up direction this saloon tended to be fairly empty of people - presumably because anyone walking through the train would stop when they saw the first class compartments and not realise they could continue through the corridor. 2408 onwards changed these seats to first class and the modification was retrofitted to earlier units so that the DTC became a DTF.

My last journey on the Winchester line was when I went on a 10-442 in the morning rush hour from Winchester for a day's work in London, I was staying in a hotel in Winchester for the week. I remember it being busy but least busy at the back of the train which was where I headed.
 
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AM9

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I remember them from quite a few trips up to London. In 1988, I lived in Fareham and it was worth the drive to Soton Airport. There I would catch a 442, non-stop to Waterloo. The service certainly was popular, - I remember the Airport station being extended more than once, the walk back to the car was beginning to feel like I would end up at Eastleigh Works! The 442s were smooth and quiet, so much that any children in the same car coulld become annoying if they were noisy. No such problem with the MKI CEPS VEPs and CIGs. You couldn't hear much at all when they were hitting 80. :)
 
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