- British Rail Class 357
British Rail Class 357 "Electrostar"
Class 357 006 at West Ham in the new National Express c2c livery
Green interior of Class 357/0 unit
In service 1999 - Current Manufacturer ADtranz Derby (now Bombardier Inc.) Family name Electrostar Number built 74 trainsets Formation 4 cars per trainset Capacity 282 seats: DMSO 71 each, MSO 78 and PTOSL 62 each Operator c2c Specifications Car length DMSO: 20.75 m (68 ft 1 in) each, MSO and PTOSL: 20.10 m (65 ft 11 in) each Width 2.80 m (9 ft 2 in) Height 3.78 m (12 ft 5 in) Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h) Weight 157.6 t: DMSO 40.7 t each, MSO 39.5 t, PTOSL 36.7 t Power output 3 × 560 kW = 1,680 kW (2,250 hp) Electric system(s) 25 kV AC Overhead lines Coupling system Tightlock fully automatic couplers Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) Standard gauge
The British Rail Class 357 "Electrostar" alternating current (AC) electric multiple units (EMUs) were built by ADtranz (now owned by Bombardier Transportation) at their Litchurch Lane Works in Derby, England, in two batches from 1999 to 2002 at a cost of approximately £292 million. They were the first member of the Electrostar family, which also includes Classes 375, 376, 377, 378, and 379, and is the most numerous type of EMU built in the post-privatisation period of Britain's railways. It shares the same basic design, bodyshell and core structure as the Turbostar diesel multiple unit (DMU), which is in turn the most common post-privatisation diesel multiple unit family, and both evolved from the Class 168 Clubman design by ADtranz.
The Clubman/Turbostar/Electrostar platform is a modular design, optimised for speedy manufacture and easy maintenance. It consists of an underframe, which is created by seam-welding a number of aluminium alloy extrusions, upon which bodyside panels are mounted followed by a single piece roof, again made from extruded sections. The car ends (cabs) are made from glass-reinforced plastic and steel, and are huck-bolted onto the main car bodies. Underframe components are collected in 'rafts', which are bolted into slots on the underframe extrusion. The mostly aluminium alloy body gives light weight to help acceleration and energy efficiency. Electrostar units have a shorter 20-metre-long (65 ft 7 in) version of the Turbostar's 23-metre-long (75 ft 6 in) body as Electrostars have 3 or 4 cars per unit rather than 2 or 3 for Turbostars.
Class 357 units were built with 100 mph (161 km/h) capability, although the maximum line speed on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (the Essex Thameside franchise) is at present only 75 mph (121 km/h). They all have air conditioning, air suspension, CCTV, standard class 3+2 Chapman seating throughout, 28 computers, sliding plug doors, and rheostatic air disc brakes, which now have regenerative capacity. As with all Electrostar units, they use insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) AC motors. They have Tightlock fully automatic couplers but are only interoperable within their own class with other Class 357 units. There are orange LED dot matrix displays at the front of each unit which shows the time due at the destination and the name of the destination, e.g. "17.10 Shoebury", or "Not in Service" or "Empty to Depot" as necessary. The time due at the destination updates to the new time due if the train is delayed. There are also LED displays inside, at the end of each carriage above the gangway which give route and customer service information.
The first batch of 44 Class 357/0 units were ordered at a cost of £200 million by Prism Rail in March 1997 to replace the Class 310 slam-door units, and allow the return of 18 hired Class 317 units to their other franchise WAGN. Construction started in 1999, and they are currently leased by c2c from Porterbrook. They were built in the green LTS Rail colour scheme, painted with a white livery with dark green doors and underskirt (bottom body panels). Their interior consists of dark green seat moquette with alternating rows of large flecks of light blue and light green, light green plastic seat tops with slots in the side for reservation tickets (which are not used) with dark green insets, a stone pattern linoleum floor, purple plastic interior, light green handrails and metal luggage racks with large circular perforations and light green edges, and dark green stickers on the inter-carriage gangway doors. The "door out of order" display is in between the interior door buttons, with the door close button above and the door open button below, unlike in the 357/2 units.
All 44 units were due to enter service by 1 November 1999 but were marred by late deliveries due to safety certification problems and reliability problems, meaning they were delivered during 2000, and leading to their temporary withdrawal in October 2001. As a result, ADtranz built two further units free of charge, bringing the total to 46 units.
Units are formed of four vehicles, and are numbered in the range 357001-046. Each unit is formed of two outer driving motors (each powered by two ADtranz asynchronous traction motors), an intermediate motor (powered by two ADtranz asynchronous traction motors) and an intermediate trailer. The technical description of the formation is Driving Motor Open Standard A (DMOS-A)+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+Pantograph Trailer Open Standard Lavatory (PTOSL)+Driving Motor Open Standard B (DMOS-B). Individual vehicles are numbered as follows:
- 67651-67696 - DMOS-A
- 74151-74196 - MSO
- 74051-74096 - PTOSL
- 67751-67796 - DMOS-B
Prism Rail was purchased by National Express in September 2000, and the franchise was rebranded as c2c once the Class 357/0 units were in service. The second batch of 28 Class 357/2 units were ordered at a cost of £92 million by c2c in 2000 primarily to replace the remaining Class 312 units. Construction started in 2001, and they were delivered between September 2001 and May 2002. They are owned by Angel Trains and leased by c2c, at an initial cost of £900 a day (including rental and maintenance). Due to the rebranding, they have a white livery with grey doors, and are internally branded to the c2c purple colour scheme with magenta handrails, magenta stickers on the inter-carriage gangway doors with c2c branding: "culture2club2commuters2culture2club2", and a light grey linoleum floor with white, dark grey and light purple flecks. The "door out of order" display is above the door close button, which is above the door open button, unlike in the 357/0 units.
The last slam-door units were withdrawn on 31 March 2003, resulting in c2c being the first train operating company (TOC) to replace its entire fleet with new trains.
Units are numbered in the range 357201-228. The formation of each 4-car unit is identical to that of the Class 357/0 units. Individual vehicles are numbered as follows:
- 68601-68628 - DMOS-A
- 74701-74728 - MSO
- 74601-74628 - PTOSL
- 68701-68728 - DMOS-B
Livery, problems and maintenance
In June 2001, units 357 025 and 357 027 had vinyl stickers applied with two prototype variants of the proposed purplish blue and magenta c2c livery at Bombardier's Litchurch Lane Works in Derby. They were delivered to East Ham EMU Depot for evaluation. Each set of vinyl stickers cost about £40,000. Rollout of the new livery on the whole fleet began by mid-2002, and was completed over the next three months. Hence, although the underlying paintwork and interiors of the two sub-classes were different when delivered, their exterior appearance is identical, and the only way to distinguish them externally is by their numbering. When the Quiet Zone car was introduced in each set, this was marked on the exterior of the doors by a magenta and white sticker.
On 19 April 2004, the unusually large rate of increase in atmospheric pressure led to an airlock and failure of hydraulic pressure on eight of the Class 357 trains which caused their computer's software to lower their pantographs and so be unable to collect power from the overhead lines, causing service disruption. However, after their teething problems were sorted out, they have since been the most reliable fleet of EMUs in the United Kingdom, winning Best Modern Era EMU at the Golden Spanners Awards from 2005 to 2007, for an average annual miles per casualty (MPC) figure of 43,180 in 2005, 37,391 in 2006, and 45,459 in 2007 (defined as the number of miles a train runs before a defect develops causing 5 minutes or longer delay).
The Class 357 units are all normally maintained by Bombardier service technicians at c2c's East Ham Depot, which won the Golden Spanner Award for Maintenance Team of the Year (Rolling Stock) at the Annual National Rail Awards in 2005 and 2006 and their Shoeburyness depot.
On 14 December 2005, c2c's East Ham depot began putting advertising vinyl wraps on some carriages, starting with branding the MSO intermediate trailer car 74716 in set 357 216 as a 'Cough-Free Zone' by the cough syrup makers Benylin for the winter. This has not been done for quite some time.
In June 2009, c2c and Bombardier began a repainting programme on the Class 357 units beginning with 357 203. When the vinyl wraps were taken off the Class 357 units, slight corrosion caused by water getting trapped behind the vinyl was found in the aluminium around the doors, so a bodywork maintenance and repair programme was carried out. The corrosion was treated by rubbing the aluminium down and repainting it with two-pack paint. More serious corrosion caused by water seeping in through a poorly-sealed join between panels was found behind several panels on the lower part of the vehicle bodysides, which had spread to the outside. A thick, tight mastic seal was introduced between the panels to prevent this issue from re-occurring. To save money during construction, stainless steel bolts were used to secure the external aluminium panels in place; however, this resulted in galvanic corrosion of the more reactive aluminium, so the bolts have been replaced by aluminium ones. Salts in water catalyse corrosion, a problem for the c2c fleet as they run beside the sea.
After repair at Bombardier's Litchurch Lane Works in Derby, 357 203 was repainted and re-entered service on 30 July 2009. Similar work was carried out on the rest of the fleet over the next 21 months at Bombardier's Ilford Depot, where the units were repainted into their original white colour, but with dark blue doors, and branded with both "national express" and "c2c" logos in lower-case. The "Quiet Zone" stickers are now white with sky-blue lettering instead of magenta with white lettering. c2c ran a special "Farewell to the Blue Train" railtour service to commemorate the last day of running in passenger service of the blue livery on Saturday 5 March 2011.
During the winters of both 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, fine powdery snow settling on the Auxiliary Control Modules (ACMs) melted by warmer air led to water leaking into the ACMs, causing damage and their shutdown, subsequently causing passenger information system, heating, and lighting failure in some carriages. Several units also had to run in service with fewer traction motors working. The ACMs were modified in six ways to try and prevent this from recurring.
On 9 November 2006, unit 357 028 was sent to the Velim railway test circuit in the Czech Republic for safety testing to obtain certification for a regenerative braking system which had been trialled for many months on the Class 357 fleet. In March 2007, 357 028 returned from the Czech Republic, having gained safety certification, and c2c began fitting the regenerative braking systems to the rest of its Class 357 fleet, becoming the first UK train operator to do so. On 3 June 2007, the eve of World Environment Day, unit 357 010 was given an all-over green vinyl sticker livery with magenta doors and the tagline:
“ All c2c trains are greener now - find out more at - www.c2c-online.co.uk - c2c - the greener way to go ”
to highlight the completion of the scheme, which has given energy savings of up to 21%. 357 010 lost its green livery in March 2011 as part of the fleet's corrosion repair and repainting project.
The two fleets of units are used interchangeably on all c2c services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. Trains are generally formed of a single unit (4 cars) or two units (8 cars) working in multiple during off-peak times, and strengthened to two or three units (12 cars) during the morning and evening peak times. 71 of the 74 units are required to run the current normal timetable.
Five units were loaned to sister National Express Group operator National Express East Anglia (then branded 'one' Railway) for a period ending in 2006 to accommodate the transfer of three Class 321/3 units to Silverlink (themselves to cover for Class 321/4 units hired to Central Trains). The units were generally used on London Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria services on the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML).
On-board television and Wi-Fi trials
In January 2005, it was announced that an on-train television service would be trialled on unit 357 014. The system consisted of six television screens and ten speakers in each carriage, and was also intended to be used to deliver real-time travel information. In June 2006 the '360 On-Board Television' service ran into financial difficulties when c2c's partners in the project, TNCI (UK), ceased trading, and the equipment was removed. c2c has indicated it will recommence the roll-out should a suitable partner be found for the scheme. The same unit, 357 014, had Wi-Fi installed using equipment from Nomad Digital and T-Mobile, and tested for a little-publicised 6 month trial from 14 May 2007. The service was free to use during the trial, but there has been no further news of c2c's plans for Wi-Fi access. Full rollout of the Wi-Fi service may have been delayed for financial reasons.
In October 2007, c2c announced that the country-end carriage of each unit (i.e. Shoeburyness end of the trains) would be made into a "Quiet Zone", where the use of mobile phones and personal audio players is prohibited. The "Quiet Zone" was introduced in early 2008 and is indicated by magenta and white stickers on the outside of the carriage doors and within the carriage. A trial was carried out to install special film onto the windows of the Quiet Zone carriages to block all mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals, however it was not successful and the project was not continued.
On 5 November 2006 at about 00:30, 357 043 hit a red Ford Escort which had come off the road and crashed through a boundary fence onto the railway line. The driver of the car had lost control off New Road near the junction with Laurel Close in Leigh-on-Sea. The driver of the car and its passengers left the car before it was hit a few minutes later by the train. A police officer at the site tried to flag the train down before it reached the car but, although the train had slowed before hitting the car, it pushed the car about 100 yards along the line. The train driver and the four passengers on the train were uninjured. The left front valance of 357 043 was damaged. There are varying reports on the age of the driver and the number of passengers in the car.
In November 2006, 357 028 had to have its front valance removed whilst it was undergoing testing at Velim in the Czech Republic after it ran over two dogs and a deer, and almost ran over a local hunter, which were not expecting a train to pass at up to 100 mph (160 km/h) as the test track is not used very often.
On 9 December 2006, two Class 357 units, 357 002 and 357 043, were involved in a minor incident at East Ham Depot when one unit scraped down the side of the other. The undamaged driving car of 357 002 was used to temporarily replace the damaged driving car of 357 043 to form a hybrid unit, which was renumbered 357 099 under the TOPS system and remained in service with a guard due to the position of the Driver Only Operation (D.O.O.) mirrors. The damaged units, formed mostly of 357 002 with the driving car of 357 043, were renumbered 357 098 and sent to Crewe Electric TMD for repairs. Both trains were repaired and then had their normal numbering restored. They were due to re-enter service on Friday 5 October 2007, but actually re-entered service over the weekend of 13/14 October.
These accidents and units 357 028 and 357 045 being out of service at the same time led to two spare Class 321/4 units, 321 408 and 321 428, being loaned from sister National Express Group train operator Silverlink for three months for use at Monday-Friday peak hours on diagrams between Fenchurch Street-Pitsea via Rainham and Fenchurch Street-Laindon to cover for the unavailable Class 357 units. The Class 321 units were used with guards as they are incompatible with the positioning of c2c's face-on Driver Only Operation (D.O.O.) mirrors.  
c2c has recently named several units, many of them after longer-serving employees.
- 357 001 - Barry Flaxman
- 357 002 - Arthur Lewis Stride (the founder of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway
- 357 003 - Southend City on Sea (renamed in support of the town's bid for City status in 2012 at a ceremony at Southend Central station on 5th August 2011, previously named Jason Leonard)
- 357 004 - Tony Amos
- 357 011 - John Lowing
- 357 028 - London Tilbury & Southend 150 1854-2004 - this unit was sent to the railway test circuit Velim in the Czech Republic on 9 November 2006 to gain safety certification for the regenerative braking system later fitted to the whole fleet.
- 357 029 - Thomas Whitelegg 1840 - 1922 (London, Tilbury and Southend Railway locomotive superintendent)
- 357 030 - Robert Harben Whitelegg 1871 - 1957
- 357 201 - Ken Bird
- 357 202 - Kenny Mitchell
- 357 203 - Henry Pumfrett
- 357 204 - Derek Flowers
- 357 205 - John D'Silva
- 357 206 - Martin Aungier
- 357 208 - Dave Davis in December 2007, after his 41 years' service as a driver. (From Thurrock Gazette dated Friday 5th January 2007.)
- 357 209 - James Snelling
- 357 213 - Upminster I.E.C.C. (Integrated Electronic Control Centre)
- 357 217 - Allan Burnell
Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos. Class 357/0 c2c 46 1999–2001 4 357001-357046 Class 357/2 28 2001–2002 357201-357228
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British Rail Class 375 — Electrostar A Class 375/9 Electrostar EMU No. 375908 at London Bridge … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 312 — Class 312, nos. 312718 and 312721, at Kirby Cross station in Essex on 6 March 2004. These units were operating a farewell excursion train ( The Grand Slam ) to commemorate their retirement from service. These two units were among the final three… … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 317 — A newly repainted National Express East Anglia Class 317/5 No. 317505 at London Liverpool Street … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 377 — Electrostar Southern Class 377/2 no. 377207 at Hemel Hempstead with a service from Milton Keynes Central to South Croydon … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 376 — Electrostar 376015 at Woolwich Arsenal In service 2004 Current Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 378 — Capitalstar London Overground Class 378 No. 378149 at Crystal Palace … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 323 — London Midland Class 323 No. 323220 at Birmingham In service 1992 present Manufacturer … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 313 — A refreshed Southern Class 313 No. 313203 at Brighton on the West Coastway Line … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 379 — Electrostar 379001 arrives at Norwich on test In service 17 March 2011 Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation … Wikipedia
British Rail Class 415 — 4EPB set at Wimbledon In service 1957 1995 Manufacturer BR Eastleigh Number built … Wikipedia