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Gatwick Express service 1984-2001

photograph by Colin Duff

Class 73 N°73210 propels a Gatwick Express service just north of Clapham Junction towards Victoria on the afternoon of 22nd February 2001. GLV 489107 is leading the formation

This page is to celebrate the push-and-pull stock used during 1984 to 2001 on the Gatwick Express service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. All of the eight new class 460 (8-Gat) EMUs are now in service with the push-and-pull stock which had served the route for 17 years being redeployed, although Gatwick Express has retained some stock to cover for non availability of class 460 EMUs.

This stock commenced full service on the route on 14th May 1984 replacing 4-Veg EMUs (4 Veps modified with some seats removed to accommodate luggage racks) which, being basically suburban units, did not provide the level of comfort expected by passengers accustomed to air services.

In the true Southern make-do tradition new stock was not procured and existing handed-down BR stock was modified. Surplus class 73 EDLs were assigned to provide the majority of the traction power. Passenger accommodation was provided by refurbished and modified (revised seating plan, increased luggage rack space, plus handbrakes added to some coaches) MkII air-conditioned coaches available after the introduction of HST 125s on the Midland main line. Baggage/guards accommodation was provided by "Gatwick Luggage Vans" (GLVs) converted from 2 Hap driving motor coaches, re-designated class 489.

With each train consisting of trailer coaches sandwiched between an EDL normally at the south end and a GLV at normally the north end it was originally conceived that the trailer coaches would be formed into 4 car sets each consisting of 1 first class open and 3 standard class opens. However they were introduced into service in 2 and 3 car sets, class 488/2 formed TFOH - TSOH (H = handbrake) and class 488/3 formed TSOH - TSO - TSOH. In the summer they ran as 8 car formations with the 488/2 set in the middle so that the first class accommodation would stop adjacent to the escalators at Gatwick Airport station. In winter they ran as 5 car formations with one 488/2 and one 488/3. Towards the end of their service on the route 5 car formations became the norm with the 1st class coach - by now termed "Club" - situated next to the GLV.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • Gatwick
    Station
    Platforms one and two at Gatwick Airport station are those regularly used by the Gatwick Express service (although sometimes platform six is also used) whilst other services use these platforms when they are empty. This is obviously not possible at the time of this picture taken during September 2000 with GLV 489101 occupying platform two and a fellow GLV platform one.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 73209
    & 73235
    N°73235 (left) and N°73209 seen at the south end of Gatwick Airport station on 9th June 1999.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 73235 & 9104
    Clapham Jn
    "Classic" Gatwick Express stock still in service in autumn 2002! Here N°73235 heads a down working trailed by GLV 9104 through Clapham Junction on 4th October 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Second
    Livery
    Here the photograph of TFOH N°8208 taken at Clapham Junction illustrates the second Gatwick Express livery used.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Final
    Livery
    An unidentified TFOH in the final livery used, though still awaiting "Gatwick Express" branding in the center of the coach.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 73207
    Gatwick
    N°73207 pausing at Gatwick Airport station before its next working back to Victoria on 12th May 2001.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Gatwick Express
    Pennants
    GLV N°9110 displaying Gatwick Express pennants on its cab front working an up service at Clapham Junction in April 1994.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 73203
    East Croydon
    N°73203 is seen passing through East Croydon on 8th June 1999.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • Topped
    and Tailed
    Here N°73207 is seen coupled in front of the MLV of a down train passing through Clapham Junction in July 1998. Another EDL is on the rear of the formation.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Old & New
     
    The beginning of the end for the "old" Gatwick Express stock as GLV N°489109 is across the platform from brand new Class 460 N°460004 at Gatwick Airport Station on 22nd September 2000.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.

This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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