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Class 456

photograph by John Lewis

This photograph of Class 456 unit Nº465002 was taken at East Croydon in Network SouthEast days and has NSE flashes on the end.

The 24 two car class 456 units were built by BREL York between 1990-91 to provide operational flexibility on the Central Division's suburban services. Like the Class 455 and Class 319 their bodies are based on the Mk3 bodyshell. However a third design of cab front is used similar to that on the class 320/321/322 but with high level jumper cables. As on the 319s GTO thyristor control is used and the class 456 is the last Southern EMU to employ English Electric 507 traction motors. The class can work in multiple with other members of its class and classes 455, 457, 507 and 508.

The units are formed DMSO (driving motor standard open) - DTSO (driving trailer standard open) and they are only gangwayed within the unit. The motor bogie is positioned under inner end of the DMSO. The motor coach seats 79 passengers and the driving trailer 73. The class wore NSE livery from new and were then repainted into Connex SouthCentral livery.

The first delivery (456001) was on 14th December 1990 for commissioning at Strawberry Hill depot. However the class immediately hit a problem. Being designed for driver only operation the driving seat was incorrectly positioned to allow the driver both to observe the platform VDUs through the cab door and to be able to drive in the more forward position. Meanwhile units were arriving from York, being commissioned and then being placed immediately into store not only at Strawberry Hill, which rapidly became full, but also Clapham Yard and Battersea Pier. The solution devised by Selhurst depot was to provide a new driving chair which could slide between the two positions but being interlocked so that traction power could not be applied unless the chair was in the driving position. The new chairs were installed at Fratton depot, though Selhurst, the final home of the class, again had to farm out units for storage until they finally entered service. The fact that such an obvious design fault had been overlooked was an embarrassing episode for Network SouthEast.

The class finally entered service on 30th September 1991 although not on the South London Line until further problems associated with driver only operation had been resolved. 456s were seen working on the South London Line by late 1991/early 1992. In practice the class works as a single unit on lightly used services, and in multiple any permutation of 456s and 455s up to a total of eight cars. Unit Nº456024 has been named Sir Cosmo Bonsor (with a nameplate on its DTSO) after the late chairman of the SER and also prolific property developer who built many of the suburban housing estates served by Central Division/Connex SouthCentral trains.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.
  • 456006
    London Bridge
    Unit Nº456006 at London Bridge on 14th June 1999, waiting to work a West Croydon service.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 456005/6
    London Bridge
    Units Nº456005 and Nº456006 side by side at London Bridge during the off peak lull in services on 17th May 2000.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 456015
    London Bridge
    Unit Nº456015 trailing an unidentified 456 departs London Bridge on 17th May 2000.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 456024
    Purley
    Unit Nº456024 in its new Connex livery at Purley, June 1997. Note the Connex SouthCentral wording and logo. Either side of the pasenger doors were "South London Metro" signs.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • S London
    Metro
    The "South London Metro" signs either side of a door and internally at Wimbledon, 28th November 1996.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Sir Cosmo
    Bonsor
    In October 1997 unit Nº456024 was named "Sir Cosmo Bonsor" as part of the centenary celebrations of the Tattenham Corner branch, which opened as far as Kingswood on 1st November 1897, Bonsor being one of the three promoters of the Chipstead Valley Railway Act. This photograph shows the nameplate and was taken at Purley in June 1998. Note that by now the "South London Metro" signs have gone, although they were still present when the unit was named.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 456011
    Peckham Rye
    Unit Nº456011 was on a Victoria via Peckham Rye service when photographed at Peckham Rye on 22nd September 2000.
    Photograph by Michael Taylor.
  • 456007
    Clapham Jn
    Unit Nº456007 photographed at Clapham Junction in June 1994, presumably on a Kensington service it is standing at Platform two.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 465013
    Clapham Jn
    Unit Nº456013 photographed at Clapham Junction during October 1993.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • 456011
    Clapham Jn
    Class 456 units are looking quite dowdy these days and on March 18th 2005 the first unit for refurbishment. Nº456006, left the Southern for attention at Wolverton. Here 456011 pauses at Clapham Junction on 19th April 2005 with a working into Victoria via Crystal Palace. Note one jumper receptacle cover is missing.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Interior
     
    The interior of unit Nº456024 at Victoria on 30th October 1996. This unit was in Connex SouthCentral livery.
    Photograph by John Lewis.
  • Route
    Diagram
    This is the South London Metro route diagram, used internally. The numbers at each station indicate the number of trains per hour serving that station.
    Photograph by John Lewis.

This page was last updated 8 August 2005

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