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5-Wes (Class 442)

photograph by Mark Westcott

5-Wes unit Nº442414 is seen at Polegate on an Eastbourne test run on 25th November 2008.

Deliveries of new units was slower than planned leading to use of the remaining Reps and TCs longer than expected. The first unit was introduced to service on 16th May 1988 and the last unit commissioned on 25th February 1989. The first thirteen units were constructed with luggage areas either side of the guard's office however thereafter the area next to the buffet was constructed as a lounge commonly referred to as the "snug". Earlier units were subsequently rebuilt with a snug. In 1989 the cab end jumper hatch covers were removed following injuries to staff because they were heavy and they were replaced by lighter covers in 1990. Controlled emission toilets were retro-fitted to all units by the end of 1992.

The 442 units (the designation 5-wES is less commonly used) with their stylish looks and internal comfort proved to be popular and a great success with passengers, the only poor aspect being only two doors per car - expected on long distance Intercity stock but not on the relatively short haul intensively used Southern.

A celebrated early use of a 442 occurred with the charter by the Southern Electric Group on their 21st anniversary of unit number 2413 (note the reverse of their preserved 4 Cor unit number 3142) for their "Coming of Age" railtour on 7th December 1991. This took a 442 unit away from its normal territory from Victoria to Brighton and back (including a 100mph run on the Brighton main line) and thence from Victoria to Portsmouth and then the coast way to Southampton and Weymouth. An intended record breaking run back from Weymouth to Waterloo was frustrated by signal checks. Following timetable changes 442s were also used on the Portsmouth direct line in regular service (at least for a while) from 11th May 1992.

Refurbishment of the class began in January 1998 which also involved further reducing the guards/luggage area in the MBLS to provide 16 more seats. During refurbishment the units were repainted into the new South West Trains colours. To conclude their recent history, in a re-run of the jumper hatch problems ten years earlier in November 1999 the hatches were again removed. They started being restored during the summer of 2001.

During 2008 17 units were refurbished and repainted into Gatwick Express livery for use on the new extended Gatwick Express service that started on 15th December of that year. This refurbishment included the removal of the buffet from the motor coach, new seating, and the removal of first class from the front of the train to the motor coach in the middle of the units.

The underframes of the trailer cars are basically as for any Mk3 coach but the MBLS underframe carries the traction equipment. Both sides of an MBLS are illustrated here.  Above on unit 2404 car 62939. The equipment groups left to right are (thought to be) rear of air-conditioning unit, circuit breakers, camshafts and switchgear.  Below on unit 2402 car 62938, where the equipment groups left to right are weak field resistances, EP brake unit, starting resistances, auxiliary equipment case and air-conditioning unit.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • Wesses
    Electrics
    When introduced the units carried "Wessex Electrics" branding on the side of their MBLS.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Class 442
    Waterloo
    A 442 unit in its early days of awaiting departure on its next service from Waterloo - complete with young admirers! 1st October 1988.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 2413
    Brighton
    Unit Nº2413 pictured off its normal patch at Brighton on 7th December 1991 during the Southern Electric Group's "Coming of Age" railtour. Note this unit had still not been refitted with hatch covers by this time.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 2413
    Clapham Jn
    Unit Nº2413 is captured (now with hatch covers) almost eight years later flying through Clapham Junction towards Waterloo on 13th October 1999.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 2424
    Clapham Yard
    The new SWT livery is at its most effective when the whole unit can be seen. Unit Nº2424 is seen emerging from Clapham Yard on 13th October 1999.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 2414
    MLC
    A close-up view of unit Nº2414's Motor Luggage Composite, previously the Motor Buffet Luggage Standard.
    Photograph by Mark Westcott.
  • 2422
    Eastleigh
    Unit Nº2422 formed the 4:09pm departure to Wareham from Eastleigh on 17th April 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Class 442s
    Bournemouth
    Wessex Electric units in their element - a ten car formation in platform two (up) and five car in platform three (down) under the magnificently restored overall roof at Bournemouth on 28th April 2001.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • First
    Class
    A first class compartment in 2409. All these compartments have 3+3 seating and before smoking was banned there was just one compartment provided for smokers.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • Lounge
    Area
    The lounge area of 2409 which is sandwiched between the guard's compartment/van and the buffet bar. This was a smoking area in all class 442 units.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • Standard
    Class
    A standard class open saloon taken in a driving trailer. Seating is mostly airline style with some tables in the middle section. Gangways have always been a problem on these units.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • First
    Open
    A small first class open area is situated behind the driving cab in all Class 442 units. This photograph was taken in unit Nº2409.
    Photograph by Paul Ferbrache.
  • Connections
     
    he MBLS has an additional socket on its end adjacent to the TSW. This is for traction power within a depot where for safety reasons there are no conductor rails. A long jumper cable carrying the traction supply is connected to this socket.  This allows a unit to be moved by its own motors until a pickup shoe is connecting with the third rail.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Connections
     
    The low level only connections seen between the DTC/DTS and DTS/MBLS.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Connections
     
    The high and low level connections seen between the MBLS/TSW and TSW/DTS.  The  connections on the other side of the unit appear to be almost a mirror image from one end of the unit to the other, i.e. low level only one side, high and low level on the other side of the corridor connection.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Class 442
    Roof
    The roof hatches above most car ends - these being typical of coaches of Mk3 construction.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Class 442
    Roof
    Looking from the TS towards the DTC of one unit and then onto another five car unit.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Class 442
    Roof
    At the MBLS, the additional hatches being above the buffet servery.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Underframes
     
    The underframes of the trailer cars are basically as for any Mk3 coach but the MBLS underframe carries the traction equipment. Both sides of an MBLS are illustrated here.  Above on unit Nº2404 car 62939. The equipment groups left to right are (thought to be) rear of air-conditioning unit, circuit breakers, camshafts and switchgear.  Below on unit Nº2402 car 62938, where the equipment groups left to right are weak field resistances, EP brake unit, starting resistances, auxiliary equipment case and air-conditioning unit
    Photographs by Colin Duff.
  • Motor
    Bogie
    The MBLS has two motor bogies providing four traction motors - the motors being recycled from 4-Rep units. This is clearly one of the motor bogies of unit Nº2402.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Trailer
    Bogie
    A trailer bogie with shoebeam and pickup shoe. Pickups are fitted to the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th bogies in the formation, that is to the bogies under both driving cabs and on the bogies of the TS and TSW next to the MBLS..
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Trailer
    Bogie
    A trailer bogie without pickup.  This can positively be identified as the inner bogie of the DTC of unit Nº2402.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

This page was last updated 20 January 2004

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