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Class 319

photograph by John Lewis

A Connex-logoed SouthCentral unit Nº319003 photographed at Purley. Note the NSE markings and lettering had been removed

With the reopening in the mid 1980s of the Snow Hill Tunnel between Farringdon and the Blackfriars to Holborn Viaduct line, and the laying of track in 1986 with electrified third rail between those two points, cross London train services (as championed by the former Greater London Council) became a reality. To run these services dual voltage stock would be needed to accommodate 750v dc third rail running south of Farringdon and 25kV ac overhead running north. Electronic control systems had improved considerably since the last class of dual voltage units, the 1976 generation class 313, had been introduced and indeed the Southern Regions last class 455 unit had proven the concept of "chopper" (thyristor) control which was to be used on this new stock.

To commence the cross London service, which became branded "Thameslink" by Network SouthEast, an initial batch of 60 class 319 units was constructed. These used the same Mk3 EMU body shells as class 317 and 318 units, but with slightly increased passenger space in the driving cars by eliminating the vestibule behind the driving cab and without unit end gangways. However doors in the cab fronts were still required to enable evacuation of the units in the Metropolitan Widened Lines tunnels between Farringdon and Kings Cross. As a departure from normal Southern practice, and not learning from the lack of unit compatibility experienced with class 508 units whilst they were operating on the Southern region, high level MU jumper cables were not fitted. However a tidy looking cab front design was the result. These units were fitted with retention tank toilets, also because of the tunnels.

The initial batch units, class 319/0, were formed Driving Trailer Standard (DTS), Pantograph Motor Standard (PMS), Auxiliary (i.e. containing the motor-alternator set) Trailer Standard (ATS) and another DTS. Mileage accumulation on 319 units began on 1st March 1988 and in passenger service on some Southern Region internal services from the weekend of 9th/10th April 1988. Full Thameslink service commenced in May 1988 and proved to be an immediate and considerable success, even far exceeding the expectations of the far sighted people who proposed the concept.

Following protests by holders of First Class season tickets who found they no longer had first class accomodation available to them, a further batch of 20 units containing first class accommodation was constructed for the longer distance Bedford and Gatwick Airport/Brighton services. Designated class 319/1 these units had a Driving Trailer Composite (DTC) in place of one DTS. The first recorded working of a 319/1 was on 23rd October 1990 on the 6:36p.m. Victoria-West Croydon via Crystal Palace service and it worked a Thameslink service the next day. The full Bedford to Gatwick/Brighton service began on 21st January 1991.

In their early days the 319 units experienced an number accidents with their pantographs striking overhead structures whilst incorrectly raised on the Southern. This was found to be due to a wiring design fault - operating the overload reset whilst working in the 750v dc mode also disastrously raised the pantograph unless dc traction mode was first re-selected. Unit utilisation allowed use on internal workings both north and south of the Thames, but such workings increased on the Southern following a major revision of the Thameslink timetable cutting back on the number of destinations served south of the Thames.

The class' chief claims to fame come from glamorous workings away from their normal territory - indeed from working outside of the UK. On 10th December 1993 units 319 008/09 operated a special train from Dollands Moor (Cheriton) to Coquelles (Calais) during the hand over of the Channel Tunnel from its contractors to its operators. Subsequently a 319 unit transported HM The Queen through the Channel Tunnel during the official opening ceremony.

All 319 units were introduced in Network SouthEast livery. However during October 1994 the Thameslink shadow franchise introduced - it is believed contrary to a directive applied at the time of the shadow franchise process - a controversial new livery on some of their units consisting of a silhouette of the London skyline against a grey background. This was rapidly nicknamed the "graffiti" livery. Upon privatisation the 319 fleet was split between Thameslink and Connex South Central.

A combination of heavy use and the desire of the privatised operators to adapt their EMU fleets to changing demands led to an early refurbishment for the class. Connex thoroughly refurbished seven of their 319/0 units, including converting a DTS to a DTC, to provide "new" stock for their Capital Coast Express service (formerly served by 8 Dig units) in the process becoming units 319214-220. Unit 319017 was the first conversion. The press launch for the new stock, and rebranding of the service as the Connex Express, was on 21st January 1997 using units 319217/218/215, with the public service commencing on 27th January 1997.

This service was rebranded as the Brighton Express early in 2000. Using the freedom that privatisation brought and pushing the concept of a cross London service further north than Bedford Connex introduced a Gatwick Airport to Rugby service via the west London line, though congested tracks subsequently put paid to this route. 319/0 units were used on this service.

Meanwhile from 1998 Thameslink refurbished their 319 stock and introduced a new sober Blue orange and white livery. 319/1s were refurbished to 319/3s for their City Metro (i.e. shorter haul) services, the fleet being all converted by autumn 1999. 319/0s were converted to 319/4s for use on Thameslink City Flyer (i.e. Bedford to Gatwick/Brighton) services. Note again the transposition of first class accommodation from the original build - seats were exchanged during the refurbishment process.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • Unit
    Front
    The brand new front end of state-of-the-art EMU design (of the day) on display at the Network Day at Waterloo on 24th October 1987.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Liveries
     
    This Class 319/1 unit ran for a time with car 77380 from Class 319/0 unit Nº319046, after 318186 had been involved in a derailment. Note the differing liveries carried by the leading coach (77380) and the rest of the train, also the way the recess behind one of the end handrails has been painted black. Photographed at East Croydon, 27th December 1993.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319046
    Purley
    The same unit Nº319046 as in the previous photo, but now formed with the correct carriages. Note the rather curious weathering caused by deposits from the overhead lines. Photographed at Purley.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319008
    Victoria
    In March 1994 unit Nº319008 was running with "Network SouthCentral" in place of "Network SouthEast", but still with the NSE markings - and with the Thameslink diamond present next to the doors. Photographed at Victoria.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319035
    St Pancras
    Unit Nº319035 was seen at St Pancras newly painted in the "Graffitti" livery in April 1995. Note "Thameslink" now on the ends of the unit in an italic style font and the unit number is in a different font than in the NSE livery.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319051
    Purley
    Close up of the Thameslink lettering on the side of unit Nº319051, photographed at Purley during March 1996.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Graffiti
     
    Close up of the Thameslink "graffitti" symbol. The grey of the coach side is used to symbolise buildings in silhouette, the shape of St Paul's dome can be seen on the left, and to the right of it the towers of Tower Bridge, with a City office block between.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319052
    Purley
    Unit Nº319052 at Purley June 1996. The coach number is now on the dark blue at the base of the side, immediately to the left of the lamp post. Note that in this livery "Thameslink" was always to the left of the two symbols, even on the driving trailer at the other end of the unit.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319001
    Olympia
    Unit Nº319001 was subsequently repainted into the later NSE livery with radiused upsweeps, and the number on the far side, but without "Network SouthCentral" or NSE markings. Seen here at Kensington Olympia on 3rd June 1997. It is sporting a destination blind with yellow lettering on a black background (white on black was the previous standard). It was repainted into Connex South Central livery by the end of 1997.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Connex
    Branding
    Unit Nº319003 has had the logo moved and "connex south central" added. Note that not only was the logo moved to the left, it was also moved down a little and applied at a slightly different angle. Coach 77295 of unit Nº319003 at East Croydon during June 1997. The NSE livery tended to be faded and the units were repainted into Connex Yellow and white by the end of 1997.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • CityMetro
    Branding
    The Thameslink CityMetro sign carried on class 319/3 units (Blackfriars, June 1998).
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Gatwick
    To Rugby
    Unit Nº319004 was subsequently used to advertise the Gatwick - Rugby service. This is one of the driving trailers.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Tiny
    Lettering
    This photograph shows the intermediate PMS car of unit Nº319004. The tiny lettering under West Brompton is "For Earls Court".
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • ATS
    Car
    This is the ATS car, taken from its other side!.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Brighton
    Express
    When the off-peak service was increased to half-hourly it was relaunched as the "Brighton express", complete with new stickers. This shows Tthe new branding together with the first class decals that appeared about the same time. Photo taken at East Croydon, December 1999. Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319422
    New signage
    The outside of unit Nº319422 showing the Thameslink City Flier sign, the web address now carried on the 319/3 and 319/4 units, and the "Luton Airport Parkway for London Luton Airport" sign carried on this unit only. October 2000.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319218
    East Croydon
    For a while "Brighton express" units 319 214/5/8/20 had applied to them a livery advertising children's creche facilities at Victoria. This photograph of unit Nº319218 was taken at East Croydon in September 2001. Later the Connex markings, logos, web address etc. were removed.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Splashes
     
    This photograph and the following none show two of the "splashes" on a unit at East Croydon on 25th May 2002. These were later removed.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Splashes
     
    Another photograph of the "splashes" on a unit at East Croydon on 25th May 2002.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Continental
    Airlines
    This photograph shows the Continental Airlines advertising livery that was used for a while. >A livery similar to this was used on some of the Gatwick Express units. Photographed at East Croydon in July 2004.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319428
    Purley
    A unit displaying ex-Thameslink dark blue plus yellow stripe livery with First Capital Connect lables, including the website address. Photographed at Purley during May 2006.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Silver
    Thameslink
    Unit Nº319373 in a Silver/Blue livery as photographed at East Croydon during May 2006.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Silver
    FCC
    A silver First Capital Connect livery at Purley in August 2006.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 319010
    East Croydon
    Unit Nº319010 in a blue livery, taken at East Croydon during June 2006.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • FCC
    Livery
    The First Capital Connect livery as seen at East Croydon during October 2006.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Southern
    FCC livery
    Unit Nº319220 in hybrid Southern/FCC livery of Southern colours and FCC branding. Photographed at South Croydon during September 2009.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • First Class
    Compartment
    he interior of the first class compartment of unit Nº319427.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Power
    Bogie
    BREL P7-4 power bogie on the PMS of Thameslink Nº319432.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Trailer
    Bogie
    BREL T3-7 trailer bogie on the PMS of Thameslink Nº319432.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Underframe
     
    Underframe of the PMS of Thameslink Nº319432.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

This page was last updated 6 November 2010

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