Class 458
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The 30 Class 458 4 car 750V DC EMUs were the first new design for a privatised operator and have had an interesting life, being rebuilt after 10 years and now going through another conversion prior to swapping their outer suburban existence for a starring role on the Waterloo - Portsmouth route.
South West trains ordered 30 4-car Class 458 750V DC EMUs from Alstom in 1997, with the first units being delivered in 1998. The new units were the first examples of the Juniper design to run in the UK and proved extremely troublesome in their early years. At one stage the units were all in store and it looked likely that they would be returned to Alstom. Eventually the problems were sorted out and, by 2012, the 458s were the most reliable trains on the system, averaging over 100,000 miles between failures. They were usually deployed on services from Waterloo to Reading, often running in pairs.

From 2013 the class underwent a conversion programme to create 36 5-car Class 458/5 units using redundant vehicles from former Gatwick Express Class 460s, also Alstom Junipers, to strengthen the original 30 458s and create 6 new ones. The units were also regeared to reduce their 100mph maximum speed to 75mph. After rebuilding, they spent their early years working from Waterloo to Weybridge and Windsor while waiting for platforms on the Reading line to be extended to take 10-car sets. Afterwards they mainly worked Reading trains but continued to be used on some Weybridge and Windsor services.

Following the takeover of the South Western franchise by South Western Railway in 2017, it looked like the 458s would be made redundant by new class 701 units but, after spending millions refurbishing class 442s for Portsmouth line services, the new franchisee decided it didn't want them and would re-purpose the 458s instead. The conversion programme will see the units reverting to their original 4-car configuration, having new interiors fitted and restoring their 100mph capability.
page : 1009
WK000 : 2024-04-29
CS000 : 2022-08-03
CK000 : 2024-02-29
GS000 : 2022-07-26
GK000 : 2024-02-29


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