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Class 444

photograph by Ian Morgan

Unit N°444013 photographed at Southampton Airport on 30th April 2004.

South West Trains' class 444 is the mainline 3rd rail dc member of the Siemens Desiro EMU family. There will be 45 units in this class. As slam door stock replacements they inherit the services formerly worked by C/Beps and Cigs. Each unit is formed with five 23m airconditioned cars DMCO-TSO-TSO-TSRMB-DMSO gangwayed throughout and befitting its mainline role has single plug doors towards the end of each car. Seating is in open saloons 2+1 facing and unidirectional in first class (35 passengers) and 2+2 facing and unidirectional in standard (299 passengers). These units carry SWT's mainline white and blue livery as worn by classes 159, 170, 442 and, inappropriately, class 458. There is space for two wheelchairs and also three bicycles in two separate "multi-purpose" areas. Each unit has four toilets, one being wheelchair accessible, and a mini buffet serving beverages and cold food. For security, closed circuit television cameras are fitted in each passenger saloon and are monitored in the Train Manager's office. An audio visual Passenger Information System (PIS) is installed.

Full information about the procurement and maintenance of these trains can be found in our Class 450 Desiro pages.

Self-supporting aluminium extrusions are utilised in the welded construction. Each five car unit has four 1TB2016-0GB02 asynchronous traction motors. The starting tractive effort is 200kN and the continuous rating is 150kW. The bogies are of the steel mainframe SGP SF5000 type with the primary suspension being of coiled springs, secondary being supplied by air bags. Dellner couplers are fitted at unit ends. Traction equipment is mounted in resilient boxes between bogies to reduce the amount of vibration in the passenger saloons. Disc and rheostatic brake systems are fitted and top speed is 100 mph. They can work in multiple with class 450 units

These trains were built at Siemens' plant in Vienna, the first, 444001, being unveiled on 12th November 2002. They are tested at the Wildenwrath facility (see our class 450 pages for further details). Delivery to the UK is via the Channel Tunnel. The first unit to be delivered was 444011 which arrived at Eastleigh on 6th November 2003 and was delivered to Northam two days later. To gain type approval slow speed testing was undertaken between Bournemouth and Weymouth for which a possession was required. This testing was completed during February 2004. As a result Siemens made a submission for a certificate to run at a maximum of 85mph. In turn this allowed mileage accumulation with two ten-car trains running empty towards the end of March. Services, limited to 85mph (with a 40 mph restriction through Buriton tunnel), started on the Portsmouth direct line on 21st April. Units N°444018 and N°444019 worked the 8:18am Havant-Waterloo service follwed by 10:08am, 2:08pm and 6:15pm Waterloo-Portsmouth Harbour diagrams. This policy of restricting to 85mph running permitted the units to be introduced more quickly than waiting for full 100mph approval.

High speed testing started between Woking and Winchfield over the weekend of 21st/22nd February 2004. Once testing was complete and the 100mph certificate was received SWT was able to start introducing Class 444s onto Waterloo - Portsmouth via Eastleigh services with plans to run Class 444s Waterloo - Portsmouth via Guildford, Waterloo - Portsmouth via Eastleigh, Waterloo - Haslemere, Waterloo - Southampton, Wareham - Brockenhurst and Brighton - Basingstoke (diagrams not covered by Class 170s). Depending upon diagram considerations it was believed Class 444s might run Portsmouth-Southampton services. Class 442s will remain the prime stock on Waterloo-Bournemouth, Waterloo-Poole and Waterloo-Weymouth services.<

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • 444025
    Unit N°444025 leads N°444013 on a down Portsmouth Direct line working through Surbiton on 13th May 2004.
    Photograph by quot;Penguin".
  • 444026
    Clapham Jn
    Unit N°444026 at Clapham Junction on 14th May 2004.
    Photograph by "Penguin".
  • 444018
    Unit N°444018 arriving at Surbiton on 10th July 2004 to make an additional stop for the Hampton Court Flower show.
    Photograph by James Stearn.
  • 444019
    Unit N°444019 seen at Waterloo, on 10th July 2004.
    Photograph by James Stearn.
  • 444030
    Clapham Jn
    Unit N°444030 seen stabled at Clapham Junction on 19th April 2005, with Desiro cousin N°450102 on an up working to Waterloo in the background.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 444030

    A higher view 444030 showing the roof layout.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • First
    The first class seating in unit N°444019.
    Photograph by James Stearn.
  • Interior
    Interior view of the DMCO of unit N°444018.
    Photograph by James Stearn.
  • Vestibule
    A vestibule and the disabled toilet area of unit N°444018.
    Photograph by James Stearn.

This page was last updated 8 August 2005

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