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Class 707

photograph by Colin Duff

The classic view at Vauxhall looking towards the Houses of Parliament is now spoiled (as at many locations) by vegetation and at this time with the (now called) Elizabeth Tower swathed in scaffolding. Class 707 units Nº707010 and Nº707023 have departed Vauxhall heading for Waterloo with the 2O:27 11:33 UP via Brentford Hounslow roundabout working on 9th July 2019.

On the 3rd September 2014 South West Trains issued a press release that they had ordered thirty 5 car EMUs from Siemens, to be financed by and leased from Angel Trains, in order to increase capacity on their suburban services. This was to deliver a total peak-time capacity increase of around 30% by 2018. At the time it was stated the first was due to be delivered in 2017 and all would be in service by early 2018. Unlike the other Siemens Desiro trains run by South West Trains these trains were to be maintained by SWT themselves at Wimbledon depot, which had already benefitted from £6 million worth of investment to deliver improved maintenance facilities.

These trains are of the Siemens Desiro City platform (similar to, but a high-density metro version of, the Class 700) and have a lot of the modern features lacking from the then existing suburban stock - but as with existing Classes 455/456 unpopularly not having lavatories. (Though it is known that the Desiro City platform has provision for lavatories and with such things being modular these days could be retro-fitted, but with a reduction in seating capacity.) The Desiro City platform can accommodate ac and dc voltages and pickups, and although tested on ac during commissioning (please read more later) the Class 707 would operationally only be dc units.

These units were built at Krefeld in northern Germany, initially tested at the Siemens test site at Wildenwrath, and then delivered, being hauled by locomotives throughout, through the Channel Tunnel. Construction of the first bodyshell commenced in June 2015 and was completed at the end of October 2015. Test running commenced at Wildenwrath in March 2016.

For publicity and feedback a half-coach mock-up of a unit was on display on the concourse at Waterloo for seven days from 23rd March 2016. In September 2016 three cars of Nº707006 were displayed at the Innotrans Exhibition in Berlin.

The first delivery, of Nº707001, was on 8th December 2016. Regular test running, initially out of Clapham Yard, was established between Staines Up Loop and Reading. It is believed Nº707003 and Nº707005 kicked off the testing programme on 10th February 2017 as originally scheduled, but a sighting confirmed testing had definitely commenced by three days later. Other test runs, at various times, included running between Eastleigh and Brockenhurst, between Clapham Yard and Bournemouth, to Alton and between Haslemere and Havant (also one trip to Portsmouth and Southsea).

Unfortunately early units were not meeting their required fault-free mileage which delayed the commissioning progress and introduction to service. Construction was halted for a while and there were no deliveries between 8th April (by which time units up to Nº707010 were in the country) and 16th September 2017 (commencing with Nº707011 and Nº707012).

South West Trains controversially lost the South Western franchise to First Group's/MTR's South Western Railway venture and with the SWT franchise ending on 29th August 2017 SWT ceased testing of these units on 26th July. As was quipped at the time, leaving First Group to sort out the problematical commissioning! Though some units did move, mostly between depots and sidings, in the interim. However, in order to fulfil a franchise commitment Nº707003 and Nº707005 ran in passenger service, as a somewhat token gesture, on 17th August 2017, just three days before the SWT franchise ended! These were exceptionally diagrammed for the 1Z31 09:28 Brentford to Reading, with quite an odd stopping pattern, followed by a few Reading-Staines shuttles. A test run of this pair of units had previously run to Reading - perhaps a rehearsal - on 7th August. There was no further running of class 707 units until after the Waterloo Blockade.

South Western Railway took over the franchise on 20th August 2017 and soon there was a bombshell announcement that due to a franchise commitment the entire suburban fleet consisting of Classes 455, 456, 458 and (not fully out of the box) Class 707 would be replaced by a new fleet of Bombardier Adventra 5 and 10 car units, to be designated Class 701. So before they had even entered service properly the 707s had no long term future on the south western.

Units fully entered service from Tues 5th September 2017 with the following being 10.707:

Waterloo to Windsor 0558 0828 1058 1328 1558 1828 2058
Windsor to Waterloo 0723 0953 1223 1453 1723 1953 2223

As previously mentioned, Units 707001 and 707002 were temporarily fitted with pantographs and were tested on ac, initially in LOROL's New Cross Gate Depot on 24th July 2017 and then at Peterborough on the East Coast Mainline overnights between 17th and 19th September 2017.

707s diagrams increased from one pair to three pairs in traffic from Monday 16th October 2017.

Diagram 1

5U07 0502 Wimbledon Park Depot-London Waterloo
2U07 0558 London Waterloo-Windsor & Eton Riverside
2U14 0721 Windsor & Eton Riverside-London Waterloo
Repeat every 2.5 hours until
2U67 2058 London Waterloo-Windsor   Eton Riverside
2U74 2221 Windsor   Eton Riverside-London Waterloo
5Y80 2332 London Waterloo-Wimbledon Park Depot

Diagram 2

3F09 0500 Wimbledon Park Depot-Guildford
9D10 0558 Guildford-London Waterloo via Epsom
9F09 0720 London Waterloo-Woking
9F96 0817 Woking-London Waterloo
3Y83 0914 London Waterloo-Wimbledon Park Depot
5V47 1610 Wimbledon Park Depot-London Waterloo
2V47 1637 London Waterloo-London Waterloo via Brentford and Richmond
2R53 1815 London Waterloo-London Waterloo via Richmond and Brentford
5Y36 1955 London Waterloo-Clapham Yard

Diagram 3

5H91 0602 Clapham Yard-Shepperton
2H92 0700 Shepperton-London Waterloo via Richmond
2R13 0815 London Waterloo-London Waterloo via Richmond and Brentford
5Y24 1000 London Waterloo-Clapham Yard
5V39 1356 Clapham Yard-London Waterloo
2V39 1437 London Waterloo-London Waterloo via Brentford and Richmond
2R45 1615 London Waterloo-London Waterloo via Richmond and Brentford
2S55 1752 London Waterloo-Weybridge
2S64 1937 Weybridge-London Waterloo
5Y92 2112 London Waterloo-Wimbledon Park Depot

Thereafter with subsequent introductions 707s settled down to operate on the entire the SWR suburban network on services which Classes 455, 456 and 458 also ran. They do not appear to have ever had a monopoly on any service. By 2nd November 2017 Nº707003 to Nº707012 had all worked in passenger service. On 4th December 2017 Nº707023, Nº, Nº707025, Nº707026 and Nº707027 all had their first day in public service, meaning 16 out of 30 were then in service. The period between delivery and entering service had considerably reduced. On the other hand, the first two units delivered, Nº707001 and Nº707002, only finally entered service a week before Christmas on the 0700 Shepperton to Waterloo and 0815 Waterloo to Waterloo. Nº707024 and Nº707030, the final delivery, entered service on 13th March 2018. So arguably, despite the troublesome commissioning, the entire fleet had still entered service, as originally projected, in "early" 2018.

Although the suburban network is the 707s regular purlieu, including not infrequent runs to Reading (as also Class 455s) there have been some unusual workings. On 17th March 2019 Nº707006 was used as a shuttle between Reading and Staines during engineering work. During a strike on 20th June 2019 Nº707012 and Nº707018 worked services to Basingstoke. Nº707014 was on display, but not publically accessible, at the Siemens Northam Depot open day on 28th September 2019. Finally the big one! Nº707015 and Nº707018 worked the 17:35 Waterloo to Weymouth as far as Southampton Central on 18th December 2019 due to the diagrammed Desiro not being available following a broken rail at Brockenhurst.

On 20th April 2020 it became public that Southeastern had signed a contract to sub-lease the 707s from SWR. This to fulfil, as part of their Direct Award contract announced on 30th March, a commitment to increase suburban train capacity. Overnight 8th/9th January 2021 unbranded Nº707003 and Nº707004 transferred to Grove Park from Wimbledon via Waterloo and the following day they were moved to Ashford. Nº707005 and Nº707006 followed to the Southeastern, arriving at Grove Park on 16th January. Due to poor weather and Covid restrictions, Southeastern had, at the time of writing (mid-February 2021) hardly done anything with them. Though on 17th February 2021 Nº707005 and Nº707006 are known to have run between Grove Park and Orpington.

Delivery dates (arrival at Clapham Yard):

Nº707001 9th December 2016
Nº707002 7th February 2017
Nº707003 23rd December 2016
Nº707003 23rd December 2016
Nº707005 28th January 2017
Nº707006 7th February 2017
Nº707007 25th February 2017
Nº707008 25th February 2017
Nº707009 8th April 2017
Nº707010 8th April 2017
Nº707011 16th September 2017
Nº707012 16th September 2017
Nº707013 25th November 2017
Nº707014 25th November 2017
Nº707015 16th December 2017
Nº707016 16th December 2017
Nº707017 5th January 2018
Nº707018 5th January 2018
Nº707019 13th January 2018
Nº707020 13th January 2018
Nº707021 9th February 2018
Nº707022 9th February 2018
Nº707023 17th November 2017
Nº707024 24th February 2018
Nº707025 17th November 2017
Nº707026 10th November 2017
Nº707027 10th November 2017
Nº707028 14th October 2017
Nº707029 14th October 2017
Nº707030 24th February 2018
Technical details:
Units are of aluminium construction and are formed
Bo-Bo   2+2   2+2   2+2   Bo-Bo
Car dimensions are 20.00/20.16m long and 2.80m wide.
Sliding plug doors are fitted.
Seating is a high capacity mixture of 2+2, 2+1, facing and coach.
Nearly full width inter-car gangways are fitted within each 5 car unit.
Maximum speed is 100mph.
Bogies are the Siemens SF7000 inside-frame design.
Traction motors are of the Siemens asynchronous type of 200kW.
The traction control system is IGBT Inverter.
Disc (unpowered bogies), tread (motor bogies) and regenerative braking is employed.

Units can only work in multiple with other Class units and, at least in theory, Classes 700 and 717. Out of passenger service assistance can be provided by other units with compatible couplers (Classes 444, 450, 458/5 and 377) or with an adaptor for Tightlock couplers (Classes 455 and 456).

Units are fitted with Automatic Selective Door Opening (ASDO) and the default door opening if ASDO fails is the first four caches. The guard can override this as appropriate.

Passenger alarms (emulating the old "communication cord") are of a new type, being of fairly small red buttons, but behind break-glass panels. They are also labelled "S.O.S." rather than "Alarm", plus the accompanying S.O.S. sign is yellow, rather than red.

Operationally drivers may only change ends in platforms or along specially constructed walkways. Guards have to travel in the rear set in a 10 car formation, so that there are staff in both units. Units have a new design of wheelchair ramp specific to the stock. They are located in a small cupboard next to the emergency cupboard in coaches 3 and 8. A limited number of locations have station specific ramps, at places where there is a low stepping height. Due to the wide gangways vehicles can only be locked out of use by using a lightweight barrier between the handrails at the end of the coaches.

The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment has advanced features. It can continue for up to 90 minutes if the power supply fails. If a fire is detected it switches to ventilate only, to reduce the spread of smoke. Special lightweight barriers have been designed to allow open door ventilation if trains become stranded between stations.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image. Clicking again will close the window.
If there is a larger version, clicking on the 'F' key will display it.
  • 707006
    Prior to introduction to service a regular testing mileage accumulation driver training run was between Staines Up loop and Reading. Here unit Nº707006 and unit Nº707004 sit in platform 4 at Reading prior to working the 5Q32 10:32 Reading to Staines Up Loop (XFZ) on the 15th March 2017. The workings photographed certainly included an element of driver training.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707006
    Later on 15th March with the next Up working, units Nº707006 and Nº707004 are seen departing Wokingham and taking the LSWR line to Waterloo. This is the 5Q34 12:52 Reading to Staines Up Loop (XFZ) working.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707015
    Units Nº707027 and Nº707015 are certainly drawing attention to themselves, and a lot of current, as they depart Guildford on the 1st May 2019 with the 2Q34 Guildford to Waterloo via The Guildford New Line service.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707002
    Units Nº707002 and Nº707017 round the curve entering Staines on the 2nd July 2019 with the 2S28 10:33 Weybridge to Waterloo via Virginia Water service.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707029
    Not quite in the depths of the countryside, and it is certainly not usually quiet in this location as it is under a departure flight route from London Heathrow Airport. Units Nº707006 and Nº707029 are approaching Datchet station with the 2U29 11:28 Waterloo to Windsor and Eton Riverside service on the 2ndJuly 2019.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Two 707s
    Two class 707s meet on the Windsor lines at Vauxhall on the 9th July 2019. On the left in platform 2 are units Nº707029 and Nº707006 with the 2K21 10:27 Kingston roundabout service UP via Richmond. On the right, entering platform 3, are units Nº707018 and Nº707002 working the 2V27 11:37 Hounslow roundabout service DOWN via Brentford.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707003
    In platform 21 of the former Waterloo International station are units Nº707003 and Nº707016, which arrived as the 2V19 09:37 UP via Richmond Hounslow roundabout service. They are soon to depart with the 2R25 DOWN via Richmond Hounslow service on the 9th July 2019. Presumably in the reverse direction to prevent the units getting giddy!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • At platform
    The business part of the train with passengers flocking on and off. Only just fitting into the platforms at Kingston, hence no possibility of a cab front shot, Units Nº707007 and Nº707019 pause to await right time before departing back to Waterloo on the 2K27 11:57 Kingston to Waterloo UP via Richmond service on 9th July 2019.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • En-route to
    The day (10th January 2021) after transferring to Southeastern unbranded units Nº707003 and Nº707004 are approaching Tonbridge on their way to Ashford (Kent - not Ashford Middlesex through which theyregularly ran). Taken during a period of lockdown whilst on a permitted journey.
    Photograph by Colin Price.
  • Coupling
    Detail of a coupling on unit Nº707006.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707 Traction
    Traction equipment detail on one side of DMSO 150317.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707 Traction
    Traction equipment detail on one side of DMSO 150317.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 707 Traction
    Traction equipment detail on the other side of DMSO 150317.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Inter-car
    Inter-car connection on the Class 707 units..
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Information
    The on-board information screen has the usual details of destination and via points plus a display of how busy the train is, and in which car you are travelling plus, as illustrated here, a comprehensive update on how services are performing.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Data plates
    The data panles from (left) DMOS and (right) TOS of car Nº280919.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Motor bogie &
    Pickup detail
    Motor bogie and pickup detail.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Air con
    A roof mounted air conditioning unit on unit Nº707006.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Seating
    The "airplane" style seating provided in car Nº090721. Note the completely clear floor area beneath these seats which should make cleaning these units a lot quicker and easier.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Seating
    The "2 + 2" style seating provided in car Nº090721, with the heating ducts just visible.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

This page was created 22 February 2021

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