On Borrowed Time – 2

Having written about the Class 455 units on the South Western Railway, I think I should turn my attention to the services out of Liverpool Street station on the old Great Eastern routes. Change has been afoot out here for several years and many of the older electric units have been under threat of withdrawal for a long time.

One of the key enablers for change was Crossrail – now known as The Elizabeth Line. It was supposed to open in 2018. Class 345 units (345002 seen at Ealing Broadway),..

… were bought to operate it both through the new central London section and on the suburban services out of Paddington and Liverpool Street which were handed over from their respective operators to Transport for London. At the eastern end, this should have allowed the replacement of the ageing Class 315 units – 315821 seen here arriving a Stratford…

…However, with the central section still not open and currently finally expected in late spring 2022, 8 of these units remain available for use at peak times to cover for the absence of the through London services. The other 53 members of the class including ‘821 have been scrapped.

The other bastion of the 315’s – the Enfield and Cheshunt services – became part of London Overground. Here’s 315808 at White Hart Lane…

…The ones allocated to these services have all been scrapped – replaced by new Class 710/1 units similar to this 710/2 unit, 710259, seen at Wanstead Park…

Long-distance Greater Anglia outer suburban and semi-fast services have been in the hands of the Class 317 and Class 321 for a number of years (there are also a small batch of 322’s drafted in recently). Greater Anglia are replacing all of these with Class 720/5 units like 720540, seen here approaching Shenfield…

The Class 317’s bear a family resemblance to the Class 455’s which is understandable with both types having been designed and built by BREL at Derby and York in the mid-1980’s. Here’s 317506 passing through Stratford…

…and 317665 waiting in platform 11 with a service to Bishops Stortford…

…The latter unit having already gone to the scrapyard☹️ They are mainly restricted to peak time services now and I saw 317507 in Liverpool Street just a week ago. The only reason any are still in service is continuing delays to the arrival of the Class 720’s. These are Bombardier Aventra units and there have been some issues.

Finally, there are the Class 321’s and 322’s. These will be the last survivors of the mkIII bodied units in service with Greater Anglia. But when the last of the 720’s finally arrives, the axe will fall on them too. Here’s 321319 at Stratford…

…Some of these units will find a new life elsewhere but a number have already fallen to the cutters torch.

Change is always painful. For the enthusiast, there is a loss of variety. You may have noticed that all these new units look the same except for the paint schemes and some very minor detail differences☹️ As for the passengers – I’m not sure how they will take to the seating; some of it longitudinal. I have to say that the ride feels a bit light and jittery compared with the gentle wallow of the older types too – could be more tiring on longer journeys?🙄


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