April 13, 2012

British Rail Class 350 Desiro

The Class 350 is a modern 4-car Desiro EMU first built by Siemens in 2004. They were first operated by Central Trains and Silverlink until the two railroad franchises expired in 2007 (this article is a good start for some background jazz on how railroads work in Britain after privatization in the 1990s). These trains were transferred to London Midland, a new franchise that took over. Four batches of the Class 350 have been ordered so far, designated 350/1, 350/2, 350/3, and 350/4. The first three batches are all for London Midland and Class 350/4 are ordered for the TransPennine Express franchise operated by First Group. Batches The first 2 batches have been delivered by 2009, batches 3 and 4 are scheduled to arrive Britain between 2012 and 14. The Class 350 has a total power output of 2,000 hp. 350/1 and 2 have a top speed in revenue service of 100 mph, 350/3 and 4 will have a top speed of 110 mph.

I had an opportunity to ride this EMU in 2008 when I visited England from London Euston to Berkhamsted then Milton Keyne Central on the West Coast Main Line (I then continued on to Manchester Piccadilly on board of Virgin's Class 390 Pendolino) . Nice ride.






1 comment:

Unknown said...

I remember the class 317 on this route. They were shoddy; rattles & soft suspension, seating always coming apart. The 350 is basically like the 317 but with no clanks & rattles, seats that stay in place & air con. We were lucky to get 2+2 seating but now we have more 3+2. Hey ho, three steps forward, one step back!

These units are good but seeing as how the suburban line now also serves Stoke-On-Trent, they're barely able to keep up with passenger demand, being the cheaper alternative to Virgin. In the south, the same train (class 450 DC version) has a bigger brother, the class 444. Why there isn't a mainline version of this train on the WCML suburban is beyond me. I hold on to the hope that future promise of "Intercity Express Project" (very expensive) is downgraded in favour of this. There are many other routes which could benefit from an AC version of the 444, such as London to Norwich.