At the time of writing, just 8 units of the 61 old BR built Class 315 4-car EMUs constructed at York between 1980-81 remain in service. Operated by Transport for London (TfL), they’re used during the Monday-Friday peaks on one of the routes they were originally built for – Liverpool St to Shenfield. After a career of over 40 years their task of moving people in and out of the capital is finally drawing to a close. The 315s were the last of several fleets (313, 314, 507 and 508 were the others) totalling 755 vehicles based on the 1970s ‘PEP’ test trains. BR then moved on to vehicles based on the Mk3 coach bodyshell, starting with the Class 317 EMUs.
Over their career they’ve worked for several different operators. BR first, then at the advent of privatisation the fleet was taken over by Eversholt Rail and leased to West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN) who had 18 units (315844 – 861) based at Hornsey in North London and First Great Eastern who had 43 units (315801-843) based at Ilford in East London. Both franchises used the units exclusively on services from Liverpool St.
Franchises changes in 2004 saw the entire fleet come together again at Ilford depot under the banner of National Express East Anglia which originally named the franchise ‘ONE’. The 315s began to emerge in their distinctive livery which lasted until 2008 when the ‘ONE’ name was dropped. NXEA lasted until February 2012 when operations (and the 315s) were taken over by Abellio Greater Anglia (AGA). Committed to total fleet replacement, this was the writing on the wall for the 315s.
The next change for the fleet was in May 2015 when TfL Rail took over operations of AGA’s metro operations on the Liverpool St – Shenfield line prior to this being incorporated into Crossrail. They also took over the services to Cheshunt, Enfield Town, Chingford and the Romford – Upminster branch. This meant all the 315s moved to TfL control with the first 17 units being allocated to London Overground and the rest to TfL rail. Another repaint into London Overground livery followed.
The last London Overground 315 ran on October 21st 2020 as the fleet was displaced by new Class 710 ‘Aventra’ trains built by Bombardier. Their sisters, the longer 345s continued the job on the Liverpool St-Shenfield services, leaving just the aforementioned 8 Class 315s in service at the present time.
Here’s a look at the 315s over their time in traffic. With a fleet of 61 I’m not going to illustrate every one but give you a snapshot of their lives and times instead.
On the 28th March 2002 315844 calls at the single platform station at Ware, Hertfordshire on its way to the end of the line at Hertford East.
Four of the class carried names. Unit 817 was ‘Transport for London’. 829 was ‘London Borough of Havering Celebrating 40 years’. 845 was named ‘Herbie Woodward’ and 857 became ‘Stratford Connections’.
You can brows (or buy) many more photographs of the 315s in these galleries.
I’ve a favour to ask… If you enjoy reading this blog, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course (although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab!), but the revenue from them helps to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site – and right now (because of Covid), us freelances appreciate all the help that we can get to aid us in bouncing back from lockdowns. Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website – https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/