Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
British Rail Class 308
The first batch of 33 units were built in 1961, numbered 133-165. This was later changed to Class 308/1, and units were renumbered 308133-165. These units were built to operate commuter services on the GEML from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield , Witham, Colchester, Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton. Each unit was formed of four carriages; two outer driving trailers, an intermediate trailer, and a motor coach.
From 1981-83, the units were refurbished, which including opening out of compartments, the fitting of gangways between carriages, and moving first class seating from the intermediate trailer to one of the driving trailers. In this modified form, the technical description of the formation was BDTCOL+MBSO+TSOL+DTSO. Individual carriages were numbered as follows:
- 75878-75886 and 75896-75919 - BDTCOL
- 61883-61915 - MBSO
- 70611-70643 - TSOL
- 75887-75895 and 75929-75952 - DTSO
A second batch of nine units, numbered 313-321, were built for boat train services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Line in 1962, from Tilbury to London Fenchurch Street. These units were later reclassified as Class 308/2. Each unit was formed of four carriages; two outer driving trailers, an intermediate trailer, and a motor luggage van. The technical description of the formation was BDTS+MLV+TC+DTS. Individual carriages were numbered as follows:
- 75920-75928 - BDTS
- 68011-68019 - MLV
- 70644-70652 - TC
- 75953-75961 - DTS
Finally, a third batch of 3-car unit, were built in 1962 for suburban services from London Liverpool Street to Chingford and Enfield. They were numbered 453-455, following on from the Class 305/1 units, which also operated these services, and were numbered in the range 401-452.
These units were later reclassified as Class 308/3, and renumbered 308453-455. Unlike the first batch, these units contained no first-class seating. Each unit was formed of three carriages; two outer driving trailers, and an intermediate motor coach. The technical description of the unit formation was BDTS+MBS+DTS. Individual carriages numbers were as follows:
- 75741-75743 - BDTS
- 61689-61691 - MBS
- 75992-75994 - DTS
These units were withdrawn in the late 1980s.
Converted Postal Units
In 1983, three former Class 308/2 units (nos. 314/319/321) were converted into Class 308/4 postal units by the Parcels sector, with the removal of the intermediate trailer, and renumbered 308991-993. These units were replaced by three converted Class 302/9 parcels units in 1992.
By the early 1990s, only the Class 308/1 units were still in service. These were gradually replaced on GEML services by the new Class 321 units. Some of the displaced units were transferred to the LTS Line, whilst others were transferred to the West Midlands to work commuter trains pending the introduction of new Class 323 units. The LTS units were later displaced by Class 312 units, but two were retained and converted to Class 937 sandite units.
In 1994/95, electrification spread North from Leeds to Bradford, Skipton and Ilkley. As no new stock had been ordered, BR decided to overhaul Class 308 units for use on these services. The work was carried out at Doncaster Works, and involved reducing the unit length to three carriages, with the removal of the intermediate trailers, which were scrapped. The trains were also painted in the attractive West Yorkshire Metro maroon and cream livery.
In 1996, with the privatisation of Britain's railway network, the Class 308 fleet passed into the ownership of the Angel Trains and leased to Regional Railways Noth East franchise. This was originally operated as Northern Spirit, but the franchise was later taken over by Arriva and operated as Arriva Trains Northern.
By the late 1990s, it was clear that the elderly Class 308 units needed replacing. Due to their age, they were increasing unreliable, and expensive to maintain. Replacement came in the form of sixteen new 3-car Class 333 units, which were introduced from 2000. They slowly replaced the Class 308 units, which were withdrawn, and sent for storage at Pig's Bay near Shoeburyness. The final three units, nos. 308138/157/158, were withdrawn in late 2001, and were sent for scrap at Immingham. Since then, the stored units have slowly been scrapped at various locations, with the final vehicles disposed of in 2004. However, one driving trailer was saved for preservation.
One driving trailer from unit 308136 has been saved for preservation.
|Class||Route||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit Nos.||Withdrawn|
|Class 308/1||Great Eastern||33||1961||4||133-165||308133-165||2001|
|Class 308/3||Great Eastern||3||1962||3||453-455||308453-455||late-1980s|
|Class 308/4||Postal Units (ex-Class 308/2)||3||Rebuilt 1983||3||(ex-314/319/321)||308991-993||1992|
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