Javelin (British Rail)

British Rail Class 310

The British Rail (BR) Class 310 is a slam-door, alternating current (AC) electric multiple unit (EMU) introduced in 1966 as part of the West Coast Main Line electrification project. They were initially classified as Class AM10 units before the introduction on the TOPS classification system. Constructed at BR's Derby Carriage and Wagon Works. They consisted of four carriages - a second class driving trailer, a second class trailer, a second class motor car (with guard's/luggage compartment above which the pantograph was mounted) and a composite (1st and 2nd class) driving trailer. The maximum speed was 75 miles per hour. A glass partition behind the driver's cab enabled passengers in the leading and rear coaches to have an excellent view of the line ahead or behind.

Original livery was overall Rail Blue, later amended to the familiar blue and grey colour scheme.

Initially they were primarily used on local services from London Euston to Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Birmingham, and within the West Midlands. They were also the first EMUs to be based on the British Rail Mark 2 bodyshell, which featured semi-integral construction.

During the mid 1980s they underwent their heavy C1 refurbishment at Wolverton which included new flat windscreens, a corridor connection between the TSO and the MBS, and a PA system among other modifications.

The main fleet of Class 310/0 units was replaced on the Euston commuter routes with Class 317/1 units which began to enter service on the route in late 1987, however the Class 317 units were then superseded by the new build of Class 321/4 within about 2 years.

All Class 310 units that survived into the 21st century were withdrawn between 2001 and 2004.

Sub-classes

  • 310/0 - four-car units. All 310s were originally 310/0s.
  • 310/1 - three-car units modified for use in the Midlands.

Privatisation

All 310/0 units came under the control of LTS Rail (now c2c) which operated them on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. They were replaced by Class 357 units from 1999 to 2002.

The thirteen 310/1 units came under the control of Central Trains. All were withdrawn by 2002 and replaced by a mixture of Class 170 and Class 323 units.

Departmental Usage

In 2002 vehicles from two Class 310/1 units, numbers 310109 and 310113, were used to create a single four-car departmental unit, 960201 which could operate on either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) lines for test purposes. The set consisted of two driving cars, a Class 310 power car with Hitachi equipment and either a standard Class 310 25 kV power car or a modified 650V third rail vehicle from a Class 423 (4-VEP) unit. One of these two vehicles was included in the formation depending upon where the unit was operating (on 25kV overhead lines or third rail). To facilitate third rail running, shoegear was fitted to each driving car. The unit was known as the 'Hitachi Verification Train' or 'V Train' and was used by Hitachi to test and prove its traction equipment in the UK. The subsequent order for the Class 395 Javelin trains which will run on the High Speed 1 line benefitted from this exercise. The V train was scrapped at MoD Pig's Bay in Shoeburyness in 2007. Details and more pictures of the V train on AC, DC and the High Speed 1 lines can be found at Train Testing - Hitachi's V train

Preservation

There is some talk of preserving a Class 310 unit, but due to the use of asbestos in the units, at best this would be a stripped carriage.

There are 2 email lists relating to seeing a Class 310 unit saved at The Class 310 e-mail group and 310-active-preservationists

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