As it’s been announced that Southern will be retiring its BR built Class 455 units by the end of the year I thought I’d compile a picture gallery of the trains in use over the past 20-odd years, first with the late unlamented ‘Connex’ franchise and then with Southern which has run the service since August 2001 after buying Connex out of the last 2 years of its franchise (which Govia as winning bidder was originally going to operate from 2003). Originally run as Govia South Central the franchise began to repaint trains in the distinctive white and green livery in 2001 but didn’t introduce the ‘Southern’ brand and logo until 2003. It’s remained ever since even tho’ Southern were absorbed into the huge Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise in July 2015.
The 455s were built from 1982 onwards but the first units didn’t appear on the South-Central network until 1986 after Selhurst depot had been modified to cope with the new trains. Their career’s lasted 36 years but sets are already standing idle on a daily basis as not all 46 trains are needed to run the current timetable.
The Southern sets look very different to their South-Western sisters. Between 2004-06 the trains were refurbished by Alstom at Eastleigh works. As well as internal work the nose-end doors were removed and replaced with a revised front end that incorporates cab air-conditioning. A new light cluster also changed their appearance. Unlike the SWR refurbishment the passenger doors weren’t altered, which leaves the Southern sets with the old cramped arrangement.
Here’s a look back over their lives. Please note. All the pictures are my copyright…
The Southern years.
Here’s a comparison between the unmodified doors on the Southern sets compared to the rebuilt (and this wider) doors on the SWR 455s.
If you want to view (or buy) more pictures of the Southern 455s you can find them in these galleries.
It’s worth mentioning that the ‘Part-time Spotter’ WordPress blog is currently posting the daily allocations and diagrams of the Southern 455 fleet, so if you want to track and trace any particular members or travel on them before they disappear, give them a follow at this link.
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