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Classes 465 and 466

photograph by Michael Taylor

ABB built Class 465 N°465043 is seen approaching London Bridge, from Waterloo East, during June 1999

Today we associate the term Networker only with Classes 465, 466 and 365, however the Networker was conceived by Network SouthEast as a family of new electrical multiple units to cover all applications within their sector - inner suburban, outer suburban and long distance, 750v DC, 25kV overhead and dual voltage/pickup. This family would have provided all replacements for life expired EMU stock, and stock for the Thameslink 2000 and CrossRail projects. Network SouthEast management took the bold and imaginative decision to apply (the then) new advanced technology of welded aluminium construction and GTO thyristor controlled three phase ac drive traction motors. It was hoped that the economies of scale and the adaptability of the traction package (dual voltage capability can be achieved much more simply compared to the previous cumbersome engineering required) would provide large new fleets economically. However the prevailing financial strictures of the time, internal politics within BR, relationships with the government and rolling stock contractors, resulted in the promising Networker project failing to take off and the final death blow was the hiatus in new rolling stock orders caused by the privatisation process.

The Class 465 was the first member of the Networker family to provide replacements for the ageing inner suburban mk1 EMUs on the Kent Link routes. Associated with this overall £800 million project was 25% of the total expenditure on infrastructure renewal - a high ratio for such work. This thorough infrastructure renewal consisted of upgrading track, lengthening of platforms, renewal of signalling and immunisation of signalling circuits from ac currents, increasing clearances, upgrading of power supplies, and provision of depot and berthing facilities.

In April 1988 NSE invited tenders for 710 Class 465 vehicles. At this point internal politics within BR came into play. NSE preferred the BREL (who became part of ABB) design but Metro-Cammel (who became part of GEC- Alsthom) offered better project management. Thus because a contractor could not build another contractor's design a typically British fudge was reached. A very detailed specification for the Networker unit based on the ABB design was devised (including mock-ups of interior and external styling) and both contractors were selected to build batches. This manoeuvring and delays in approval led to contracts not being signed until August 1989 with deliveries scheduled for two years later. Such was the tightness of the specification that units from both manufacturers look almost identical - the differences largely being in minor finishing details (such as air vents) and operating systems (such as the door operating mechanisms). Ultimately such dual sourcing has not proved beneficial since parts from each maker are not interchangeable so two distinct sets of spare parts have to be stocked. Nor are cars from one manufacturer compatible within a unit built by the other. The contracts were originally placed for a reduced number of vehicles with options for further batches. However financial constraints would delay orders for the quantity of units required to permit the introduction of twelve car services so as an interim measure an option was converted to build a small sub fleet of two car units (designated Class 466) to make up ten car services.

Class 465 units are formed DMS (driving motor standard) - TS(A) (trailer standard) - TS(B) - DMS and class 466 units DMS - DTS (driving trailer standard). Sub-class 465/0 of fifty units was built by ABB with Brush traction motors at their York works between 1992 and 1993.  Sub-class 465/1 of forty six units was also built by ABB. Sub-class 465/2 of fifty units was built by GEC-Alsthom with GEC-Alsthom traction motors at Birmingham between 1992 and 1993. Forty three class 466 units were built by GEC-Alsthom between 1993 and 1994. Class 465 units of all sub classes and 466 units can work in multiple with each other, and also all can work in multiple with class 365 units.

Individual cars are a nominal twenty one metres long and of welded aluminium construction. Gangways are provided within a unit, and passenger entry is by power operated sliding plug twin leaf doors. Seating in a suburban 3+2 format is a mixture of unidirectional and facing providing 348 seats per four car unit. Passenger comfort in hot weather is provided by hopper windows supplemented by pressure ventilation. Retention toilets are fitted. There are four 280kW traction motors per power car. Maximum speed is 75mph. Disc brakes are fitted to non powered wheels and rheostatic regenerative braking is used on powered axles. If the third rail cannot accept regenerated power it is dissipated through resistor grids.

The first Class465 unit was formally handed over to the outgoing NSE Director Chris Green on 19th December 1991. Introduction into service was slow with only a few public trains operating the stock in advance of advertised services on 26th October 1993. By January 1994 six eight car diagrams were being operated. The early years in service for the class were not without incident. On 25th August 1993 all Class 465/0s were taken out of service due to traction motor defects. Then on 13th January 1996 whilst shunting in Slade Green depot N°465020 parted company with itself when an inter-car coupling fractured. Thereafter all Class 465/0 and Class 465/1 units with over 80,000 miles were left running in service but with their connecting doors locked. However ASLEF drivers declared them unsafe to operate in passenger service and the units were withdrawn for ultrasonic testing and returned to service if safe. A nine percent failure rate was found.

Long term experience has demonstrated that Classes 465 and 466 are more suited to outer suburban work than inner suburban services. With the introduction of the inner suburban Electrostar class 376 units and the transfer, in early 2004, of the preferred outer suburban class 365 units to Great Northern the opportunity is being taken to cascade some 465/6 units to outer suburban services. This is expected to involve a minor refurbishment, possibly involving installation of some first class accommodation.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • 465190
    London Bridge
    An example of the later ABB batch Class 465/1 N°465190 brings up the rearof a train to Charing Cross on 10th December 1997. It is standing in platform six at London Bridge.
    Photograph by David Overall.
  • 466026
    New +
    GEC-Alsthom built Class 466 two car unit N° 466022 at New Cross on 14th June 1999.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 465019
    Waterloo East
    Connex liveried Class 465/0 N°465019 awaiting departure from Waterloo East station for Charing Cross on 17th May 2000 .
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 465019
    London Bridge
    The cab end doors and windows arrangement on ABB built Class 465/0 unit N°465019 at London Bridge on 17th May 2000.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 465005
    & 466037
    Class 466 unit N°466037 and Class 465/0 unit N°465005 await their next duties at Blackfriars station. One problem the railways have had is with people "surfing" on these units. This photograph shows the modification that should discourage this somewhat dangerous habit! The handrail has been removed and the slope of the new cowling on N°466037 (compare with the unit in the adjacent road) should make it very difficult for anyone to stand there
    Photograph by Adam Warr.
  • 465197
    Charing +
    Class 465/1 unit N°465197 at Charing Cross with a service for Gravesend Via Sidcup.
    Photograph by James Kent.
  • 465171
    Class 465/1 unit N°465171 picured at Strood with a service for Rainham.
    Photograph by James Kent.
  • Class 465/0
    The interior of a Class 465/0 unit, taken at London Bridge, 14th December 1993.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Class 465/1
    The interior of DSO car 65826 of Class 465/1 unit N°465177. August 1994.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Class 465/2
    The interior of 465/2 unit N°465215 September 1993.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Accident
    So far we have pictured Networkers in good condition. This is one undergoing accident damage repair at Crewe Works.
    Photograph by Jonathan Hall.
  • Crossrail
    We mentioned briefly the Crossrail project in the introductory paragraph on this page. This drawing of a proposed Class 341 Crossrail unit isn't going to happen as it was for the now defunct earlier incarnation of Crossrail that failed to get funding in 1994. As can be seen, the unit carries both Network SouthEast and London Transport logos, and appears to have small, underground-style wheels.
    Visit the Crossrail website for further information on the present construction and see on the maps which Southern lines are involved.

This page was last updated 13 January 2021

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