FOCUS ON 313s
Words and pictures by Mark Richards
The Class 313s were built by BREL at York between February 1976 and April 1977 originally for the Great Northern routes from Moorgate to Welwyn Garden City/Hertford North. As the section between Drayton Park and Moorgate is in tube-type tunnels, the 313s were built to a slightly lower loading gauge than standard units and feature doors at either end for use in the event of a tunnel evacuation. They were also the first units to be built for BR that were equipped to run on both 25Kv AC overhead power and 750v DC third rail supply.
Although for most of their careers the 313s have been used on the Great Northern routes, a batch was transferred for use on the North London and Euston DC lines in 1985. Upon privatisation 23 units transferred to Silverlink, which used the 313s on the Metro services around Greater London. The Silverlink-liveried 313s could be seen in operation on the North London Line between Richmond and North Woolwich, the West London Line between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction (High Level), Watford Junction and Euston (on the DC lines) and Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey. The 313s earlier in their career saw a spell working on the Great Eastern, running Colchester - Clacton on Sea/Walton-on-the-Naze.
The Silverlink 313s passed to London Overground in November 2007 and had branding applied but retained their Silverlink livery. Withdrawal came eventually in 2010, once sufficient Class 378 'Capitalstars' were in service to replace them. The last booked workings on the North London/West London lines was on 19th February 2010 although they would substitute on an ad hoc basis for non-available 378s.
Final withdrawal from Overground service came on Monday 13th September 2010 with 313123 forming the 23.10 Willesden Junction (High Level) to Clapham Junction service. On Friday 17th September, 313123 together with 313121 moved under their own power to Wolverton Works for repainting, thus signalling the end of London Overground operation.
One of the most interesting developments for the Class 313 units is the allocation of 19 of the class to Southern, for operation on East and West Coastway services between Portsmouth and Eastbourne. The move was controversial as they displaced more modern Class 377s which were required to strengthen services in the London area. Unlike the 377s, the 313s do not have any toilets and this was raised as a concern as they would be deployed on fairly long routes, such as the Brighton to Portsmouth Harbour stopping service.
The units were repainted at Wolverton, with a full refurbishment being undertaken at Wabtec, Doncaster. The latter has seen the fitting of new interiors with high back seating, new flooring and carpeting and a customer information system. The first unit to emerge with the Coastway branding was 313206 on 14th May 2010.
As part of the refurbishment, the units have been renumbered into a new sub-class, 313/2. The 313s entered passenger service with Southern from the May 2010 timetable.
Currently (May 2011 timetable) the Southern 313s are used on the following services:
East Coastway services
Brighton to Lewes (shuttles)
Brighton to Seaford via Newhaven Town
Brighton to Eastbourne (one journey only, SX)
West Coastway services
Brighton to Hove (shuttles)
Brighton to West Worthing (stopping service)
Brighton to Portsmouth Harbour (stopping service)
Portsmouth Harbour/Portsmouth & Southsea to Littlehampton
Littlehampton to Bognor Regis (shuttles)
Barnham to Bognor Regis (shuttles)
Southern Class 313 Fleet
The excellent Southern Electric Group society's website is highly recommended for those interested in the third rail electrified system along with their bi-monthly magazine Live Rail.