British Rail Class 321

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British Rail Class 321
321404 at Euston 2.jpg
Class 321 unit no. 321404 at Euston railway station.
In service 1986-Current
Manufacturer BREL
Number built 117 trainsets
Formation 4 cars per trainset

London Midland National Express East Anglia

Northern Rail
Car length 19.95 m (65.5 ft)[1]
Width 2.82 m (9.3 ft)[1]
Height 3.78 m (12.4 ft)
Maximum speed 100 mph (161 km/h)[1]
Weight Total - 137.9 tonnes
Power output 1,328hp (996kW)
Voltage 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead
Gauge Standard gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in)
Class 321/3, no. 321362 at Manningtree on 8th March 2003. This unit carries the original-version First Great Eastern livery, which is based on the old Network SouthEast livery.

The British Rail Class 321 alternating current (AC) electric multiple units (EMU) were built by BREL York in three batches from 1986-1989. The design was very successful and led to the development of the similar Class 320 and Class 322 units for use by Strathclyde PTE and Stansted Express (now used by First ScotRail) respectively. The bodyshell design was also used for construction of the Class 456 direct current (DC) units. The Class 321s were nicknamed 'Dusty Bins', due to the class number sharing the same name as the game show 3-2-1. (This name has also been given to the diesel multiple unit (DMU) Class 153 no. 153321 for the same reason).

Past operations[change | change source]

Class 321s were originally built for the Bedford services. However in 1990, they started being used on Great Eastern Main Line services to Southend Victoria, Braintree and Clacton, to replace the class 302 and 305 EMUs, many of which were approaching 50 years old. Some 321s (many of the 3214s) were sent to work inter-regional services for Silverlink, and then briefly for London Midland, primarily on Euston to Northampton/Milton Keynes/Tring services.

Current operations[change | change source]

London Midland use class 321s on the services between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction and they are also used by West Coast Main Line peak hour services between London Euston-Tring/Milton Keynes Central/Northampton.

Now days it is more likely to be a class 313 EMU, built originally for the Moorgate Suburban Electrification.

On the Great Eastern Main Line, class 321s primarily work services to Southend Victoria, Southminster and Braintree. However they can also be found working the Romford to Upminster services, also the London/Colchester to Clacton services. However they can be occasionally be replaced by Class 315s or Class 360s or class 90s, when no Class 321s are in stock.

There are also three class 321's that operate suburban services:

The 19:47 Liverpool Street to Shenfield calling at all stations to Shenfield. Operates Mondays to Saturdays.

The 19:56 Shenfield to Liverpool Street calling at all stations to Liverpool Street. Operates Mondays to Saturdays.

The 19:38 service from Shenfield to Liverpool Street calling at all stations, then Manor Park, Stratford and Liverpool Street. Operates Monday to Friday.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Fox, Peter; Hall, Peter & Pritchard, Robert (2007). British Railways Locomotives & Coaching Stock 2007. Platform 5, Sheffield. ISBN 978 1902 336558 .