British Rail Class 332/3
I'm sure the excitement of riding some new unknown equipment for the first time lingers in a railfan's heart for a long time. I knew nothing about this EMU at the time I first stepped onto it at Heathrow Airport in the summer 2009, except that the conductor told me we could ONLY do 100 mph. It was a smooth ride to London Paddington, with the gentle whine of electrical wizardry at the helm and blurry scenery rushing by. 100 mph seemed like a hell of a deal for trains where I come from, but here the word "only" went ahead of it. The avid trainspotters of course know it by now, I'm talking about, the Class 332 used in the Heathrow Express service.
|Class 332 in Heathrow Express Service at London Paddington|
Then there's the Class 333, roaming the gentle landscape of West Yorkshire, far away from London. They are mechanically very similar if not identical to the Class 332 but have an entirely different interior layout. The Class 333 are used in regional commuter service rather than as a premium non-stop express shuttle. They are operated by Northern and can be seen around Leeds. Indeed the service I rode on a later trip to the UK, from Leeds to Carlisle via the Settle Carlisle Railway, had passed many of the Class 333 by.
|Class 333 operated by Northern|
The Class 332/3 are said, according to Wikipedia, to be built by CAF and Siemens in Spain. The Class 332s were built earlier in the late 1990s, while the Class 333 were built in 2000. The Class 332 can be found in either 4- or 5-car sets, while the Class 333 only come in 4-car consist. Combined, one set will put out 1 900 horsepower onto the rails.
Pictures and videos courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and YouTube (the video is really more about the Heathrow Express Service than the Class 332 EMU...).