15/11/2016

Great Western Electrics

The Great Western Main Line electrification programme has allowed GWR to replace some of their Networker Turbos with new electric trains. Although the wires have not reached Reading yet, the trains have already been built. So as wires already reach Hayes & Harlington, and there is a large amount of overcrowding on GWR services in the London area already, why not introduce them on the already electrified section?

First Great Western Electrostar
GWR 387133 (and 387130), Hayes & Harlington (© Aubrey)

So they did. The Class 387/1s have third rail shoes as they are very similar to the 387s at Great Northern (Thameslink). Introduced initially on some peak hour journeys, the new 387s provide much needed relief on the GWML commuter services.


The timetable shows two AM eastbound, one westbound, and two eastbound, three westbound services (© Aubrey). This was taken at Ealing Broadway on the Saturday before the start of service. These services take Greenford branch slots. During this time, the Greenford branch terminates at West Ealing bay platform.

GWR Electrostar Route Map
GWR Electrostar Route Map (© Aubrey)

Currently, the services will only run between Hayes & Harlington and London Paddington, and GWR aim to have a service between those two places every 30 minutes with these Class 387s by early 2017. Once the electrification (for Crossrail + Great Western Modernisation) to Maidenhead is complete in Summer 2017, electric services will be extended to Maidenhead. Eventually, these trains will form most of the non-Crossrail Thames Valley services. Not all branch lines will be electrified, however.

Great Western Renewal
GWR 43163 next to 387130/387133, Paddington (© Aubrey)

GWR have ordered more than the initial 8 units that were ordered, with the uptake of the rest of the Porterbrook order "for future demand" that isn't going to National Express c2c and 23 more, with a total of 45 units going to GWR. This allows Thameslink 387/1s to move to Great Northern instead of GWR. The Class 387s are to eventually cascade most of the Class 165/166 to the South West & Bristol, replacing Pacers and other BR-era trains in the area.

Eventually, with electrification, the HSTs and Class 180s* will, too, be partially replaced by newer electric trains. The Intercity Express Programme Hitachi units (Class 800/801) will soon take over most express diesel services over 2017-2018. Electrification of services, modernisation of stations and ERTMS signalling installation making up most of the approx £5bn (with parts now indefinitely deferred) Great Western Modernisation Programme.

The first GWR electric service departed Paddington at Platform 11 at 0715, formed of 387130 and 387133. (© Aubrey)

As the 387s are more permanent to the GWR franchise, they have gained a GWR interior, as shown:

Interior of a GWR Class 387 (387130)
Interior of a GWR Class 387 (387130) (© Aubrey)

This is only the second batch of 387s that do not have the Southern interior - the other being the 387/2s for Gatwick Express.

Table inside GWR 387133
(© Aubrey)

Amenities include no First Class and plug sockets on each side of the train for most seats. The seats are the same as other 387s other than the colours. This also introduces a newer PIS system for GWR:


A video of the PIS in action leaving Ealing Broadway - note there is a lot of wheelslip as it was a fairly wet day. The usual "Coach 1 of 8" announcement standard in nearly all Electrostars still exist!

First Great Western Electrostar
GWR 387133 (and 387130), Hayes & Harlington (© Aubrey)

As the bay platform at Hayes & Harlington is not yet finished, the 387s went to a siding, before returning for the return trip back to London. Usage of these peak hour services are quite high, and these services get quite busy. Thus, it is very good that this necessary capacity is being provided now.

GWR 387130, Hayes & Harlington
GWR 387130, Hayes & Harlington (© Aubrey)

The first services have done well. The Class 387s are just like any other 387s albeit with a different interior (that isn't a Gatwick Express one). Hopefully, the electrification delays subside enough so there is more capacity on services on the GWML to Reading, Maidenhead, Burnham, Slough etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment