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Class 375 "Electrostar"

photograph by John Lewis

This photograph of unit N°375330, one of the South Central 3-car units, was taken at Brighton on 15th February 2003 at 10:50:38, if the clock were right!

Class 375 units, part of the "Electrostar" range from Adtranz/Bombardier, were first ordered by Connex for South Eastern services. They are related to the class 357 25kV ac units in service with c2c on the former LT&S lines. By way of elements of common design, construction and equipment packages they are also related to the same manufacturer's Turbostar diesel hydraulic family of units (classes 168 & 170). This particular variant of the Electrostar has corridor connections at unit ends, air conditioning and a mixture of facing and uni-directional seating in a 2+2 (express) and 2+3 (outer suburban) configuration. Initially the only significant difference in first class accommodation is antimacassars fitted to otherwise standard class seats and generally the units are regarded as single class but "proper" first class accommodation is due to be retro-fitted. As with the class 365 Universal Networker units this class is capable of 750 V dc third rail and 25kV ac overhead operation, though the majority of units will be dc only.

An initial order was placed in July 1997 for 120 vehicles to replace the Connex South Eastern class 411 fleet followed by a further order for 90 vehicles to replace CSE's small fleet of class 421s. These were funded by HSBC Rail. A further order was then placed for both Connex's SE and South Central services. However, with the loss by Connex of the South Central franchise from May 2003 and the takeover of South Central services by Govia South Central from the 26th August 2001 the South Central portion of the order was adopted by Govia - these and subsequent South Central orders will be detailed later. Subsequently Connex was removed by the SRA from the SE franchise which is now being run by South Eastern Trains. The total 112 unit fleet for South Eastern services was as follows:

375/3 3 car express dc only units, formed DMSO-TSO-DMSO - 10 units
375/6 4 car express dual voltage units, formed DMSO-MSO-PTSO-DMSO - 30 units
375/7 4 car express dc only units, formed DMSO-MSO-TSO-DMSO - 15 units
375/8 4 car express dc only units with modified shoegear, formed DMSO-MSO-TSO-DMSO - 30 units
375/9 4 car outer suburban dc only units, formed DMSO-MSO-TSO-DMSO - 27 units

All dc only units are capable of becoming dual voltage with the installation of extra equipment, the rolling stock provision now being devised with the possibility of leasing units to other TOCs in the future in mind. The construction of the cars is aluminium with steel ends. Multiple operation up to twelve cars will eventually be possible. Tightlock couplers were originally fitted to /3, /6 and /7 batches and Dellners to /8 and /9 but it is believed that the Tightlock fitted units will be retro-fitted with Dellners. Unlike South Central units this will not result in a change to the unit class number. Four car sets have six axles motored, each axle with a 250kW traction motor controlled by an independent inverter drive. The units' regenerative braking will not be used except in its rheostatic mode until the power supply system is proven to be capable of accepting the additional intermittent power input. Bogies are of the Bombardier P3-25 (power) and T3-25 (unpowered) designs.

The first unit departed Adtranz's Derby works in April 1999 to Chart Leacon for testing and mileage accumulation as part of the lengthy Railtrack Safety Case procedure. Construction of the remainder of the order began in January 2000. The cars are supplied in overall white livery, Connex/South Eastern Trains colours and brandings being applied with vinyl overlays. Maintenance of the SET 375 fleet is at Chart Leacon as a SET/Bombardier joint venture. Introduction to service of the class has been slow whilst de-bugging takes place and the contractual reliability targets achieved, however full introduction to service which would allow major service improvements is impeded until the power supply systems are upgraded. There were initial difficulties with coupling and uncoupling en route which resulted in services being recast to avoid the need for this operation. A further problem occurred in January 2004 due to problems with the cab doors and this resulted in a temporary withdrawal of all SET Electrostar units.

A possible future configuration which was being considered was a five car variant by adding another MS to a four car formation. In August 2003 this was trialled with a temporary reformation of unit N°375604 containing additional car 74253 (from unit N°375603) marshalled next to motor coach 67804. 5 car unit testing was completed in September of that year. All SET Electrostars had selective door opening enabled in August 2003.

In 2004 375s were fitted with dedicated First Class sections in the twelve seats behind each driving cab. This meant that on a twelve car train formed from four car units there are six sections of First Class, four of which have to be open so people can move through the train.

The first SC Electrostar was delivered to Brighton in February 2002 for testing and by April of that year six sets were commissioned and available at Brighton for driver training. These early units were delivered in white primer whilst the remaining were delivered in the new green and white livery that was from the Summer 2004 timetable re-branded as "Southern Railway". The SC units will be maintained, again as a joint arrangement with Bombardier, at Selhurst. In terms of traction motors and brakes they are identical to SET units. One major difference between SET and SC units is that SC units have external TV cameras so the driver can monitor door operation without leaning out of the cab door window.

The early 3 car 375s were used on Coastway diagrams, in particular 313-322 were dedicated to this as they are standard class only. However the 2+2 seating is much appreciated by regular travellers on this route. From late March 2003 fast London-Brighton services went over to twelve car formations of 3 car 375s, particularly using 323-338 which have "First" accommodation. From the autumn of that year most Brighton main line services were being worked by 375s due to difficulty manoeuvring a catering trolley in3+2 pattern 377s. The Electrostars have not necessarily proved popular with South Central travellers who do not find them particularly comfortable. Their interiors are narrower than the Mk1 EMUs they replace and this is aggravated where there is 3+2 seating. The hunt for the relatively more comfortable wide 2+2 seating in parts of the 377/1 units has turned some regular travellers, who were not already so, into train spotters. The formula is follows:
On units 377101-119 there is 2+2 seating throughout.
On units 377120-140 the 2+2 seating is in the outer end portions of each car with 3+2 seating in the centre portions of each car.
On units 377141-164 the 2+2 seating is in the driving cars. There is also 2+2 seating in the outer ends of the intermediate cars, which are otherwise 3+2, however this uses seats as narrow as those in the 3+2 section (albeit with a slight spacer in between effectively increasing the width a fraction). Note that leg spacing is slightly more generous in the outer portions of each car than in the central sections. It appears this latter formula also follows for the dual voltage (377201-215) units.

Selective door opening tests on South Central commenced on 24th March 2003. Test trips using dual voltage units between Victoria, Kensington Olympia and North Pole Junction. commenced in November 2003 followed by some workings between Euston and Watford in February 2004.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • 375604
    Unit N°375604 a four-car unit member of class 375/6 showing Driving Motor Second N°67804 & Pantograph Trailer Second N°74204 while still in undercoat at Ramsgate depot on Thursday, 21st September 2000.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • Pantograph
    A closer view of Unit N°375604's Pantograph Trailer Second N°74204.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 375629
    On 22nd April 2002 unit N°375629 plus another unidentified class 375 unit worked the 10:05am Victoria to Ramsgate service, seen here at Victoria station's platform four shortly before departure. Both units are in the new Connex white & grey with yellow public doors colour scheme.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 375321
    South Central Electrostar unit N°375321 arriving at platform five at Portsmouth Harbour from Brighton on 24th January 2003.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375613
    Connex Electrostar unit N°375613 waits at Faversham with a Victoria to Dover service on 16th March 2003.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375619
    Unit N°375619 at Dover on 27th April 2003, with a train for Victoria.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375711
    Unit N°375711 stands in the sidings at Dover on Sunday, 27th April 2003.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375323
    Clapham Jn
    South Central Electrostar N°375323 pauses at Clapham Junction with a Brighton to Victoria express on 26th May 2003.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375329
    Unit N°375329 is pictured at Brighton soon after delivery, plus another unidentified and unliveried Electrostar in the distance.
    Photograph by R M Brume.
  • 375313
    On 9th July 2003 South Central unit N°375313 formed the 1:51pm departure from Chichester to Brighton.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 375316
    Unit N°375316 working the 2:30pm departure to Brighton from Havant on 9th July 2003.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 375630
    Waterloo East
    Unit N°375630 leaves Waterloo East for Charing Cross with a train from Hastings on 10th August 2003.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375310
    Unit N°375310 forms the fast service from Hastings to London while 4-Cig 1842 forms the stopping service to London Charing Cross on 15th November 2003.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375913
    Wandsworth Rd
    Two more new sets of Electrostars, with unit N°375913 leading, approaching Wandsworth Road under the evening sun on 2nd April 2004, with a service from Victoria.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • 375332
    East Croydon
    As mentioned in the text, Southern 375s require a designation change to Class 377 upon conversion of couplings from Tightlock Dellner. Here is unit N°375332 at East Croydon before it was given Tightlock couplings and renumbered as N°377332.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 375926
    New Electrostar unit N°375926 was on display at York Railfest on Sunday, 30th May 2004.
    Photograph by Adam Warr.
  • 375926
    The side view of unit N°375926 showing the new South Eastern Trains branding.
    Photograph by Adam Warr.
  • Head-on
    It is not usual for a rail enthusiast to be able to get a head on shot from the middle of the track, but Railfest 2004 provided a useful opportunity!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Interior
    Interior of a class 375 unit.
    Photograph by John Arkell.
  • Underframe
    Underframe and bogie detail on one DMSO of unit N°375316.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Light
    A close up of the offside light cluster.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Dellner
    375/8 and 375/9 units are delivered with Dellner couplers, as seen here, from new whilst SET 375/3 375/6 and 376/7 units were delivered with Tightlock types but are to be converted to Dellners. Such a conversion on South Central/Southern 375s requires a designation change to Class 377 yet curiously all SET Electrostar are to remain 375s!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Shoebox
    Straight "out of the box" - it is not often you see the gear this clean in everyday use - a shoebox fuse on unit N°375926.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Pickup
    A pristine pickup shoe - you can even make out the casting numbers clearly!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

This page was last updated 15 May 2004

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