(updated with new pictures and information on the 9th April 2019)

In the next few years several familiar types of train will disappear from the UK network. One such fleet is the BR built Class 313 EMU which is currently the oldest surviving electric multiple unit on the UK mainland. The class were a development of the experimental PEP EMUs tested on the Southern region. Built at York, the 313s were introduced to the newly electrified East Coast Main Line in 1976 to work inner suburban services from Kings Cross and Moorgate to Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City.

Now, 42 years later, they’re about to be replaced by the new Siemens built Class 717s, which will offer a step-change in comfort. This blog will look back on the 313s lives and times and some of the services they’ve operated across London (and elsewhere) over the years…

DG298137. 313201. Shoreham-by-Sea. 8.6.18crop

The first of the 64 strong fleet was 313001. Now numbered 201 and owned by Beacon Rail who’ve repainted it into a version of the original BR livery, the unit works Southern services along the South coast, along with 18 of its brethren.  It’s seen at Shoreham-by-Sea on the 8th June 2018.

Let’s take a look at the units working the services they were originally built for, the Great Northern services.

DG00043. 313061. Harringay. 12.2.04crop

NSE liveried 313061 calls at Harringay station on the 12th February 2004

DG00523. Catching the 16.20. Moorgate. 19.4.04.crop

Catching the 16:20 to Stevenage from Moorgate on the 19th April 2004. Note the new high back seats fitted in place of the originals.

DG00817. 313053. Stevenage. 6.5.04.crop

313053 stands at Stevenage after working in from Moorgate on the 6th May 2004. The unit’s still in NSE livery although most of the GN units were in white undercoat by this stage.

DG01565. 313039. Alexandra Palace. 10.8.04.crop

On the 10th August 2004 Undercoat liveried 313039 trails one of the handful of NSE liveried units through Alexandra Palace on their way to Moorgate.

DG01929. 313043. Harringay. 24.9.04.crop

313043 arrives at Harringay on the 24th September 2004. This was one of 5 units advertising the WAGN family travelcard.

DG02311. 313058. Moorgate. 6.1.05.crop

313058 sits at Moorgate before working a service to Hertford North on the 6th January 2005.

DG04134. 313026. Crews Hill. 12.8.05.crop

Sporting WAGN’s new deep purple livery, 313036 calls at Crews Hill on the line from Hertford East on the 12th August 2005.

DG06919. 313052. Hitchin. 24.7.06.crop

A year later on the 24th July 2006 313052 calls at Hitchin en-route to Moorgate. The units in WAGN liver but sporting First Capital Connect branding. FCC had taken over the franchise in the 1st April 2006.

DG16969. 313063. 313042. Alexandra Palace. 11.6.08.crop

Fast forward to the 11th June 2008 and all the 313s had FCCs ‘Urban lights’ vinyls applied. I’ve always thought this livery suited them very well. Here’s 313063 and 313042 passing at Alexandra Palace.

DG39627. 313027. Harringay. 11.11.09.crop

On November 11th 2009 313027 pulls away from Harringay with a service for Welwyn Garden City.

DG49622. 313018. Essex Rd. 22.4.10.crop

After 23 of the fleet were converted for duties on the North London line, 313018 became the lowest numbered 313/0. It’s seen here arriving at Old St on the 22nd April 2010 whilst working a service to Moorgate

DG174921. Interior. 313043. 1.4.14.crop

Here’s the interior of 313134 with the original low backed seating on the 1st April 2014. This is one of three ex NLL units that were transferred back to GN services after the units were displaced by Class 378s. The two others are 313122 and 313123.

DG186308. 313054. Welwyn Garden City. 14.7.14.crop

On the 14th July 313054 waits to work back to Moorgate from Welwyn Garden City

DG194581. 313030. 313029. Kings Cross. 21.9.14.crop

313030 and 313029 stand at London Kings Cross on the 21st September 2014. This shot shows of the flat front ends to good effect.

DG261483. TSGN pax. Highbury and Islington. Drayton Park. 12.12.16crop

How many passengers saw the 313s. An unidentified unit pulls into Highbury and Islington on the 12th December 2016.

DG261549. 313043. Drayton Park. 13.12.16crop

13th December 2016. 313043 stands at Drayton park on the Moorgate branch. It’s at this station the units switch over from the overheads to the 3rd rail (or vice versa).

DG290780. 313033. Alexandra Palace. 28.2.18crop

The 313s have carried commuters in all weathers for over 40 years. Here’s 313033 in a snowstorm at Alexandra Palace on the 28th February 2018.

If you want to know more about the new Siemens Class 717 trains that are replacing the 313s, have a look at this blog. I visited the German factory where they were build and also had a run on one on the Wildenrath test track.

UPDATE: 9th April 2019

Yesterday, the first member of the class to be withdrawn was towed away from Hornsey depot to Sims Metals, Newport, for scrapping. 313026 was hauled by 57312 as 5Q56, the 105:4 Hornsey E.M.U.D. to Newport Docks. It left slightly later than planned due to a few technical issues, but here’s pictures of it passing Finsbury Park in very gloomy weather.



Withdrawals are expected to pick up pace now that three of the new Class 717’s are in service. This evening, another unit (possibly 313050) may be going to Booths scrapyard in Rotherham (link) whilst 313055 is expected to be the next to go, this time heading off to Kingsbury on Thursday. Needless to say, the usual caveats apply to these workings, which can’t be confirmed as certain to happen.

So, if you want to see or ride these trains, now’s the time because this is how Moorgate services are going to look in the future…


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