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|British Rail Class 456|
456014 approaching Guildford from the Reading line
The interior of a South West Trains refurbished Class 456
|In service||30 September 1991 – present|
|Family name||BR Second Generation (Mark 3)|
|Refurbishment||Refresh: 2005–2007 by Southern. |
Full refurbishment: 2014–2015 by South West Trains.
|Number built||24 trainsets|
|Formation||2 cars per trainset|
|Fleet numbers||456001 – 456024|
|Operator(s)||South Western Railway|
|Maximum speed||75 mph (121 km/h)|
|Weight||72.5 t (71.4 long tons; 79.9 short tons)|
|Power output||500 hp (373 kW)|
|Electric system(s)||750 V DC third rail|
|Braking system(s)||Air (westcode)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The British Rail Class 456 is an electric multiple-unit passenger train introduced by Network SouthEast on inner suburban services in South London to replace the elderly Class 416 2EPB units. Twenty-four two-car units were built by British Rail Engineering Limited's York Works between 1990–91.
Following the privatisation of British Rail, the fleet was sold to Porterbrook and operated by Southern up until late 2013, when they were transferred to South West Trains and heavily refurbished. The trains are now used by the new South Western franchise holder, South Western Railway. They are scheduled to be replaced by new Bombardier Aventra units.
Entry into service
24 two-car units were built as direct replacements for the elderly Class 416 2EPB units which operated on the Central Division of the Southern Region of British Rail. Units were delivered into traffic painted in Network SouthEast blue, red and white livery with cabs based on the Class 321 units. Although Network SouthEast had shifted to units painted with pale grey, the Class 456s were given a dark grey shade to match the Class 455 units they would be working with. Units were numbered in the range 456001-024. Each unit consisted of two carriages; a driving motor and a driving trailer.
The Class 456 entered service in 30 September 1991, with some shortage of service delays caused by minor defects. The trains were planned to be driver-only operated, without the presence of a guard, so the driver had to have a clear view of the platform. However, it was discovered that the cab window was too small for the driver to see CCTV feed screens situated on the platform; the driver's seat was modified to slide sideways.
South Western Railway
The units ended their career with Southern, as their operations on its Metro routes were replaced by the class 455s, later to be replaced by the class 377/6 units.
The first units entered service with South West Trains on 23 March 2014 between Ascot and Guildford, replacing more modern Class 458 trains with toilets and air conditioning. They initially ran in pairs (i.e. 2 x 2 car) still in Southern's green livery, but without fleet names. 10 units were required to provide the half-hourly service. The one train per day from Clapham Junction (07:45) to Guildford via Ascot was also operated by two 456s, but the trains that run through to Waterloo during the rush hours continue to use Class 458 trains. The Class 456 trains are the main units on the line, but occasionally Class 450 sets operate alone on the line.
All have now been refurbished and are running in the South West Trains livery, and are fully refurbished internally. In August 2017, all 456 units transferred to the new South Western franchisee, South Western Railway.
Since the privatisation of Britain's railways, the entire Class 456 fleet passed into the Southern (formerly known as South Central) franchise, which was originally won by Connex South Central. Only one unit, No. 456024, was repainted in white and yellow Connex livery, when it was named Sir Cosmo Bonsor after a chairman of the South Eastern Railway. The rest of the fleet had remained in NSE livery, until summer 2006 when the fleet started to be repainted.
On 8 May 2012 it was announced by the DfT that the entire fleet of 24 2-car Class 456s would transfer to South West Trains (SWT) in 2014, to be used in conjunction with SWT's Class 455 fleet on London inner-suburban lines. SWT will be using the 456s to enhance peak-hour Metro services through Wimbledon from 8 to 10 coaches and to provide two additional morning peak services from Raynes Park to Waterloo. These changes will take place from December 2014. Class 456s will be repainted in the red "Metro" version of SWT livery to match the Class 455 with South West Trains and will be refurbished to have a similar interior to the Class 455 before entering service with SWT between March 2014 and December 2014. It was announced that the 456 fleet will retain its standard traction equipment when transferred to SWT. This will leave them as the only fleet on SWT to be powered by conventional DC traction gear.
The Southern services on the South London Line were withdrawn in 2012 and replaced by a new London Overground service, the East London Line, operated using new air-conditioned 5-car Class 378 units. Southern also received 26 new 5 car Class 377/6 units and these entered service at the end of 2013, in place of 92 cascaded carriages promised for extra capacity. This gives a total of 50 replacement carriages in addition to the 92 carriages for extra capacity, leaving the 48 Class 456 carriages surplus to requirements at Southern.
In March 2005, No. 456006 was hauled away to Wolverton where it has been studied for corrosion assessment. This caused some doubt as to whether they would be refurbished. However, in a statement in April 2006 Southern said the class would receive a 'refresh', which meant they would not receive a refurbishment as major as the 455s, since the 456s are 10 years newer and already have high-backed seats (although of a different design). Also, new CCTV cameras and flooring were installed; this was not mentioned on the original refurbishment plan.
All units were instead 'refreshed' and were painted into Southern green colours. No. 456006 was completed in a one-off promotional livery for rail safety on the Southern network. 456013 had an experimental cab-cooling system installed and 456022 had some experimental air-conditioning fitted, in an effort to make drivers' jobs more comfortable.
Southern removed the toilets from the trains, to provide more capacity. Despite this the Class 456 EMU trains lost two seats from each pair, due to a space being cleared for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Accidents and incidents
- On 15 August 2017, unit 456 015 was damaged in a collision with an engineers train at Waterloo station, London. The cause was a wiring error in the signalling which meant that a set of points not correctly set was not detected. This was introduced as part of the testing of the temporary changes to the signalling during a major works programme at Waterloo. This allowed the signalling logic to detect that a set of points was correctly set when in reality, the points were mid-way between either of the correct positions. A false proceed signal was shown to the driver when it should not have been possible.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Routes Served|
|Class 456||South Western Railway||24||1990–1991||2||456001 – 456024||London Waterloo – Shepperton / Hampton Court / Woking / London Waterloo via Hounslow|
London Waterloo via Strawberry Hill / Dorking / Guildford via Oxshott or Epsom / Chessington South / Windsor & Eton Riverside (in conjunction with Class 455s)
- Llewelyn, Hugh (2016). EMUs A History. Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445649832.
- "Southern Farewell to Class 456". extra.southernelectric.org.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- Class 456 Electric Multiple Unit Fleet Technical Information. Porterbrook.
- "Knorr-Bremse in the United Kingdom - RailServices Increase Capacity and Comfort for South West Trains". www.knorr-bremse.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- "Bombardier wins South Western Aventra contract". www.railmagazine.com. 20 June 2017. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- Class 456 – Southern E-Group. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- Roger Freeman, Secretary of State for Transport (7 November 1991). "Written Answers to Questions". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons.
- Class 456 Enters Service – Southern Electric Group. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- SWT Supplement: Modern Railways (PDF). Key Publishing. 2017. p. 10.
Until Platforms 1 to 4 at Waterloo could be extended, Class 456s have been used to allow five key trains in each peak to run as 10 cars, using the longer Platform 5. Other Class 456s ran on the Ascot-Guildford route, freeing extra class 450s for main line peak services.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- 456024 Connex SouthCentral livery – Southern E-Group. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "Further boost for passengers as South West Trains secures additional carriages". South West Trains. 8 May 2012. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays – Transport for London. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Southern launches competition for 130 new carriages. – Southern. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- Southern's 456 Overhauls and Refreshing Archived 30 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine – Southern Electric Group. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- "SWT completes Class 456 refurbishment with last of 48 carriages". www.railtechnologymagazine.com. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- Hartley-Parkinson, Richard. "Train derails after colliding with freight train at London Waterloo station". Metro. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "Collision near London Waterloo station, 15 August 2017". Rail Accidents Investigation Branch. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- "Collision near London Waterloo station, 15 August 2017" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- FirstGroup and MTR order 750 EMU cars for South Western franchise International Railway Journal 20 June 2017
- "Refurbished SWT '456s' enter service". Rail Express (224): 50. January 2015. ISSN 1362-234X.
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