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Here’s the final blog on the BR built Class 321s. I’ve lumped the final build of 3 Class 321/9s and 5 Class 322s together as they were both such small fleets.

The trio of 321/9s were built at BREL York in 1991. They were the final build of the Class 321 design. They were built for Regional Railways but paid for by for West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive who wanted them to operate local services on the newly electrified route from Doncaster to Leeds, so the units were built with all Standard Class seating. They shuttled between the two locations for several years before their sphere of operation was extended to include the Wharfdale line when the route was electrified in 1995.

Little changed for many years apart from liveries as they transferred from British Rail to Northern Spirit, then Northern Rail in all its incarnations. The units were refurbished by Hunslet-Barclay in Kilmarnock during 2006-2007 when they received an internal refit and and lost their original WYPTE livery for a derivative of the livery applied to the Class 333s with whom they shared Wharfdale services.

They remained based in West Yorkshire until they were displaced by the new CAF built Class 331s in 2020 when they were sent to Abellio Greater Anglia services to allow older (unrefurbished) Class 321s to be retired. The units hang on in service at the moment but are clearly living on borrowed time and their use could finish any time. They’ve been joined in Anglia by the Class 322s, which have had a much more varied career!

The 5 Class 322s were Class 321s in all but name. Like the rest of the fleet they were constructed at BREL York but in 1990, the year before the 321/9s. They were numbered Class 322 as they had minor detail difference to the rest of the builds and were designed for the new Stansted Express service from Liverpool St to Stansted Airport so they were fitted with a much larger 1st Class seating area and 2+2 seating in Standard Class. They were also delivered in their own ‘Stansted Express’ white livery.

The some of the units were loaned out a couple of times. in 1998 a pair were sub-leased to North-Western trains for the short-lived service from Manchester to London Euston. It folded after a year. They also appeared on Silverlink services from Euston and worked for Anglia trains from Liverpool St to Norwich.

They continued to ply their trade to Stansted airport until 2000 when they were displaced by refurbished Class 317/7 trains – after which they became ‘common-user’ and shared duties with the rest of the WAGN fleet on services to Cambridge and Peterborough. This led to their biggest move. In December 2001 all the units were transferred to Scotland to replace slam-door Class 305s on Edinburgh – North Berwick Services. They remained in Scotland until 2004 when they had a brief return to old haunts in order to cover services for the new ‘ONE’ franchise. This was short-lived, within a year they’d returned to Scotland and the North Berwick branch

Like the Class 321/9s they were refurbished in by Hunslet-Barclay in 2006-07 when the 2+2 and 1st class seating layouts where changed and Standard seating increased. The trains remained in Scotland until 2011 when they were displaced by the new Siemens Class 380s. This time they joined the Class 321/9s operating electrified services around West Yorkshire until they too were displaced by the new CAF built Class 331s by May 2020. Following the 321/9s they too were transferred back down to Anglia services which is where they remain to this day until their final withdrawal.

Here’s a selection of pictures of both classes during their time in service.

On the 1st September 2011 class leader 321901 pulls out of the bays at Doncaster en-route to Leeds.
At Doncaster five years earlier on the 29th July 2006 321902 takes the same journey. It’s sporting the original WYPTE livery the units were delivered in, complete with ‘Metrotrain’ branding but with the addition of the ‘Northern’ logo.
Fast forward another 15 years to the 12th June 2021 and 321902 is seen in the company of a ‘Renatus’ Class 321/3 passing Manor Park whilst bringing up the rear of a service to London Liverpool St.
Here’s 312903 operating a Wharfedale service arriving at Kirkstall Forge on the 13th September 2019.
A few months earlier on the 27th June 2019 322481 is pictured at Leeds before departing with a service to Ilkley.
Here’s 322482 in the ‘as delivered’ Stansted Express’ livery. The driving cars carried ‘Stansted Express’ on one side of the vehicle and ‘Network SouthEast’ on the other. The unit’s seen diverted from its normal route, passing through Stratford on the 15th April 1993.
Many years and many moves later, 322482 is pictured at Leeds Neville Hill on the 10th October 2011.
In a revised form of its original ‘Stansted Express’ livery minus all branding bar the First group ‘Flying F’ 322483 is pictures at Edinburgh Waverley between turns to North Berwick on the 25th May 2005.
Many years later after having spent time in West Yorkshire 322483 is seen eking out its last days working Anglia services. It’s pictures here pulling out of Wivenhoe on its way to Clacton on the 8th June 2021.
Pictured at Liverpool St on a day in October 1996 is set 322484 showing the opposite side branding to ‘Stansted Express’. Also on display is the revised window layout for the extended 1st Class section which takes up 2/3 of the driving car.
The same unit several years later in First North-Western livery with gold star on the driving car end seen passing Harringay at speed when it had been returned to WAGN and used as part of the generic fleet. It’s en-route to Peterborough, pictured on the 17th October 2000.
322484 again after it has been transferred to Anglia services. It’s seen at Colchester Town on the 20th August 2004.
Back in Scotland on the 9th September 2009 where 322485 in First Scotrail livery is seen arriving at Glasgow Central. Whilst the units were normally used on the Edinburgh – North Berwick services they also appeared on services to Glasgow Central via Carstairs – useful for returning them to base as the units were actually allocated to Glasgow Shields Rd depot.
Fat forward to the 7th June 2021 and 433485’s seen passing Witham at speed with a service from Ipswich to Liverpool St.
The interior of refurbished Driving Trailer 78163 when it was in service with Northern. This was originally a 1st Class section, the fact being given away by the large gap between the windows. It’s seen on the 10th October 2019.