Electric Multiple Units have run in Britain for over a hundred years and will probably be the dominant form of traction for the next century. They come in many variants, designed for everything from urban mass transit to high-speed, long-distance, InterCity travel and carry a wide variety of liveries.
EWS, the UKs largest freight operator, was taken over by Deutsche Bahn in late 2007, first becoming DB Schenker and later DB Cargo. DBC operates around 180 Class 66 diesels and small fleets of Class 60 and 67 diesels and Class 90 electrics on all types of freight traffic across the system.
The 16 Class 325 4-car EMUs were introduced in 1995 for postal services and can run on 25kV AC and 750V DC electrified routes. They are currently operated by DB Cargo and can normally be found working trains between Willesden, Warrington and Shieldmuir for Royal Mail.
065 Euston - Crewe
The southern section of the West Coast Main Line, from London Euston north to Rugby, Stafford and Crewe is one of the country's busiest rail routes with freights and passengers vying for the available capacity. Despite the line being electrified at 25kV AC, much of the freight traffic is still hauled by diesels.
The GM JT42CWR Co-Co, better known as the Class 66, has been Britain's standard freight diesel for the last 20 years, with almost 500 delivered between 1998 and 2015. They can be seen everywhere from the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall or Kent on all types of freight traffic.
Freight traffic declined steadily through the BR years despite numerous initiatives to stem the tide. There was an upturn post-privatisation but the decline in coal-fired power generation hit the sector hard. Fortunately other markets such as intermodal and aggregates are helping to fill the gap.
GB Railfreight is the most successful of the new freight companies that have been created since privatisation and currently operates a fleet of well over 100 locomotives from a variety of classes. The company is now a strong player in the rail freight market and continues to expand its activities.
BR's intermodal activities were privatised in 1996 and retained the Freightliner name. The company has since expanded to become the UK's second largest freight operator. The loco fleet consists largely of class 66 diesels but there are also Class 70 diesels and Class 90 electrics.
High Speed Trains
Originally high speed trains meant HSTs, or InterCity 125s as they were better known, but the category has grown to include Class 91 powered InterCity 225s and various types of high speed DMU, EMU or BMMU. This gallery includes all high speed trains, defined here as unit trains capable of 125mph or more.
Virgin Trains introduced the 53 Alstom built Class 390 Pendolinos to the West Coast Main Line in 2002 and these 9 and 11 car 25kV EMUs soon dominated Inter City services on the route. At the end of 2019, the class 390s passed to Avanti West Coast, the new franchisee, and remain on WCML services.
Virgin / Avanti West Coast
Virgin Trains operated long distance services on the West Coast Main Line, linking London with the West Midlands, North West England and Scotland, from privatisation in 1997 until late 2019 when the franchise, complete with its Class 221 DMUs and Class 390 EMUs, passed to Avanti West Coast.
Direct Rail Services
Direct Rail Services was formed by BNFL to move nuclear flasks between power stations and the Sellafield reprocessing plant in Cumbria. It has since diversified into other freight markets. The company has an eclectic mixture of old and new locos with Classes 37, 57, 66, 68 and 88 all in use.
The Class 70 is a 3700hp Co-Co diesel-electric built by GE for Freightliner and Colas between 2008 and 2017. The 17 Colas machines are very active, working departmental and freight trains across the network, in contrast, Freightliner's 20 locos seem underutilised, with several usually in store.
Diesel Multiple Units have been a significant part of the British railway landscape since the modernisation plan units first appeared in the late 1950s. Their use has since expanded from local and suburban services to almost all passenger trains on non-electrified lines, including long-distance expresses.
East Midlands Railway
East Midlands Trains operated the Midland Main Line and associated passenger services until 2019, when the franchise was awarded to East Midlands Railway. Both companies' trains will appear here. All services have been worked by DMUs since the last HSTs were retired in late 2020.
Class 168 & 170-172
Classes 168, 170, 171 and 172 are all developments of the BR Class 165 and 166 DMUs and were built for privatised operators by Bombardier in Derby from the late 1990s. Many are used on longer distance services such as Marylebone - Birmingham, Norwich - Birmingham or Glasgow - Inverness.
The 76 Class 350s are 4-car 25kV EMUs from the Siemens Desiro Mainline range, built for outer suburban and long distance services from 2005. They are very similar to the Class 450 750V DC units. All 350s are now with London Northwestern, part of WMT, but 10 were used by Trans Pennine until recently.
London Northwestern operates outer suburban and long distance services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, Crewe and Liverpool and is actually part of West Midlands Trains. Almost all services are operated with Siemens built 4-car Class 350 EMUs.
Class 375, 377, 379, 387
Classes 375, 377, 379 and 387 are all Bombardier Electrostar EMUs, intended for outer suburban and medium distance services. Some are 25kV AC only, others 750V DC only and yet more are dual system. Almost 500 units are in service with various operators, mainly in the south-east of England.
Southern operates passenger services on the former Central division of the Southern Region, centred around the electrified lines from London to Brighton and various south coast destinations. It also operates an extensive electric suburban network in South London and local services along the south coast.
Class 220, 221, 222
Classes 220, 221 and 222 are similar high speed DEMUs built by Bombardier between 2000 and 2005. In total 105 units were built in various configurations for long-distance services. Cross Country, Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway all currently operate fleets of these trains.
Loco Hauled Passenger
The loco hauled passenger train is a real rarity in the UK these days but it wasn't always so. The word "passenger" has been loosely interpreted to mean trains formed of coaching stock including parcels and mail trains as well as empty stock workings, test trains and unit drags. HSTs and similar are excluded.
English Welsh &Scottish Railway
EWS bought 5 of the 6 ex-BR freight operations at privatisation in the late 1990s, becoming the largest rail freight operator by far. It then introduced the Class 66 to replace most of the ex-BR locos. DB bought EWS in 2009. This gallery covers both the EWS era and EWS liveried locos in later years.
The fifty Class 90 25kV Bo-Bo electrics were the last locos built specifically for the WCML and entered service between 1987 and 1990. Some still worked passenger trains in East Anglia until 2020 but the class is now almost exclusively used in pairs on intermodal trains for DB Cargo and Freightliner.
135 Reading - Westbury
The scenic Berks and Hants line is part of the most direct route from London to Taunton and beyond. It handles expresses from London to the West of England and local trains as far as Bedwyn but the main interest is the heavy aggregates traffic from the Mendip quarries to the London area.
Fifteen 3300hp Class 59 Co-Co diesel-electrics were built between 1986 and 1995. They were unusual at the time in being American built and privately owned. All but one ended up working stone traffic from the Mendip quarries and they still do, but now for Freightliner. GBRf owns the 15th loco.
The rail operations of Foster Yeoman and Hanson (formerly ARC) were combined as Mendip Rail in 1993. Their 8 class 59 locomotives continue to haul stone trains from Merehead and Whatley quarries to various destinations in southern England but are now owned and operated by Freightliner.
Network Rail owns and operates the rail network (the infrastructure as opposed to the trains) and was formed in 2002 after the collapse of Railtrack. It owns a wide variety of rolling stock used to test and maintain the infrastructure, including a few locomotives, but freight operators provide the power for most trains.
158 Waterloo - Weymouth
This 143 mile line, electrified at 750V DC, provides a vital link from London to Southampton and much of Hampshire and Dorset. West of Basingstoke it also carries traffic from the Midlands and further north to the south coast, including significant volumes of freight to and from Southampton docks.
South West Trains operated suburban and long distance services from London Waterloo to the south and west from 1996 to 2017, when South Western Railway took over. Both are covered here. The franchise operates a large fleet of 750V DC 3rd rail EMUs but also uses DMUs on a few routes.
The Class 701 750V DC EMUs are from the Aventra range and intended for use on South Western's inner and outer suburban routes. An order for 60 10-car and 30 5-car sets was placed in 2017 and, although testing has taken place, the first units are yet to enter service.
Class 455, 456
137 Class 455 4-car 750V DC EMUs were built in the mid-1980s to replace older slam-door stock. The 24 Class 456 2-car units followed in 1991. The 456s and many of the 455s have recently been withdrawn. The remaining 455s are in service with South Western but are overdue for replacement.
149 Waterloo - Reading & branches
The line from Waterloo to Reading, its branches to Windsor and Weybridge and the Hounslow loop are known as the Windsor Lines. Commuter traffic to and from London worked by South Western Railway EMUs dominates but the line also sees through freight traffic routed to the LSWR main line via Chertsey.
Class 444, 450
These classes are similar EMUs from the Siemens Desiro Mainline range. The 127 Class 450 4-car units for outer suburban services were introduced in 2003 and the 45 Class 444 5-car units for long distance services the following year. All are 750V DC 3rd rail units and work for South Western Railway.
This gallery contains pictures of British Rail's diesel and electric loco classes introduced before 1980, including later rebuilds such as the Class 57s and 69s. These were the locos I grew up with, travelled behind and collected the numbers of as a teenager and cut my teeth on as a photographer.
The Class 73 Electro-Diesels were built for the Southern Region in the 1960s and were 750V DC electrics with a small diesel engine to provide power away from the 3rd rail. GBRF retains a small fleet and several of these were rebuilt with more powerful diesels from 2014 for test trains and the Caledonian Sleeper.
Electro-Diesels are electric locomotives that also have a diesel engine to provide power away from electrified lines. The 750V DC Class 73s have been in use since the 1960s and have recently been joined by new 25kV Class 88s. With Classes 93 and 99 also on order the future for electro-diesels looks bright.
Class 158, 159
The 2-car Class 158 DMUs were introduced in 1989 to replace loco hauled trains on major regional routes. Some now run as 3-car sets. The 159s are very similar 3-car units originally owned by Network South East rather than Regional Railways. Both classes are still hard at work across the network.
This category covers units with bi-mode capabilities, generally the ability to run as EMUs on electrified lines and switch to diesel engines or batteries elsewhere. Over 100 such units, almost unknown in the UK until recently, are in service already and many more are expected to be built in the coming years.
Great Western was one of the first privatised passenger franchises, created in 1996 to operate former Western Region InterCity services. It has since expanded to run other services in the same general area, including the Cardiff - Portsmouth route and local services in the Thames Valley and West Country.
Class 800 - 810
Classes 800 to 810 are new bi-mode high-speed units built by Hitachi for various operators including LNER, GWR and TPE and introduced in 2017. Some units have plenty of diesel power and can operate normally away from the wires, others just enough to keep them moving if the power fails.
The 34 Class 68 3800hp Bo-Bo diesel-electrics were built between 2013 and 2017 by Vossloh, later Stadler, and are all in service with DRS. As well as working DRS's own freight trains, a number of Class 68s are sub-leased to Chiltern Railways and Trans Pennine Express for passenger work.
Class 47, 57
With 508 locos built from 1962, the Class 47 or Brush Type 4 was Britain's most numerous class of main line diesel loco and could be found on passenger and freight services almost anywhere on the system. Around 30 were rebuilt as Class 57s and a similar number of un-rebuilt locos remain in service.
These 3000hp diesel-electric Co-Co heavy freight locos were the last diesel design built for BR and 100 entered service between 1989 and 1993. All passed to EWS and then to DBC. Many are in store but some are still in service with DBC and more have been sold to and operate for GBRf and DCR.
The 30 3200hp Class 67 Bo-Bo diesel-electrics were built by Alstom from 1999 for mail trains operated by EWS and had the same GM engine and generator as the class 66. After the mail contract was lost in 2003, they have been used for many different types of traffic with several in store and a couple sold.
116 Didcot - Aynho Jn
The Didcot - Aynho Junction line is part of a major route linking the Midlands with Reading, London and the south coast via Oxford, a major source of passenger traffic in its own right. In addition to frequent passenger trains, the line carries a significant volume of freight, predominantly container traffic.
Chiltern Railways operates passenger services from London's Marylebone to the north-west suburbs and beyond to Oxford and the West Midlands. Most trains are worked by DMUs, some of them classes unique to Chiltern, but a few trains are operated by hired DRS Class 68 diesels on push-pull sets.
Birmingham is England's second city and one of the best connected rail-wise. The area sees plenty of freight and long distance and local passenger traffic on the main routes converging on New Street and Snow Hill stations and on various freight lines that avoid the congested central area.
071 Aynho Jn - Birmingham
The unelectrified route from Aynho Junction through Banbury and Leamington funnels trains from London and the south coast towards the Midlands. The line runs through attractive rural countryside and has seen significant growth in both passenger and freight traffic in recent years.
Colas Rail is a major French railway infrastructure maintenance company that also runs freight and departmental trains across the network. Its core fleet consists of Class 56, 66 and 70 diesels and it uses classes 37 and 43 (and GBRf Class 73) on test trains operated on behalf of Network Rail.
Class 165, 166
The Class 165 and 166 DMUs were introduced in 1990 for local and regional services on the Thames Valley and Chiltern routes. Many have now moved to other GWR services further west. As DMUs go they're among the most attractive in use today with rounded fronts unspoilt by corridor connections.
148 Reading - Redhill
The 46 mile Reading - Redhill line was completed in 1849 by the South Eastern Railway. Although some of the route is electrified, there are two lengthy gaps and through passenger services are worked by DMUs. There is no regular freight traffic but the line sees test trains and the occasional diverted freight.
The Class 20 or English Electric Type 1 1000hp Bo-Bo diesel-electric was the first of the 1955 modernisation plans to be built in large numbers. Designed for freight work, they proved very reliable locos and a few still see occasional use, over 60 years after the class was introduced.
Harry Needle Railroad Co
HNRC is the owner of a sizeable fleet of older locomotives which it hires out. Some are main line certified while others act as industrial or depot shunters. The operational fleet changes frequently with a number of Class 20, 37 and 47 being on the company's books as this is written in summer 2023.
047 Water Orton - Leicester - Peterborough
This is a meandering east-west route linking the West Midlands with East Anglia and connecting the West Coast, East Coast and Midland main lines. Passenger trains are all DMUs. Freight traffic has grown significantly in recent years, particularly container trains to and from the port of Felixtowe.
The Cross Country franchise operates a number of medium and long-distance services via Birmingham, none of which serve London. Most trains are worked by Class 220 or 221 DEMUs but a few HSTs remain in use and there were loco hauled trains in the past. A fleet of Class 170 DMUs covers secondary routes.
The Class 37 or English Electric Type 3 1750hp Co-Co diesel-electric was BR's go anywhere, do anything locomotive and arguably the country's most successful diesel design. Some have remained in main line service for almost 60 years and still see regular use with a few operators today.
The Class 56 3250hp Co-Co was a late 1970s heavy freight design. Most were built at Crewe or Doncaster but the first 30 were subcontracted to Electroputere in Romania. A number remain in service today, mainly with Colas, while others are being rebuilt as Class 69 for GBRf.
DC Rail (Devon and Cornwall Railways) has been operating freight services since 2011 and currently uses a small fleet of 2 Class 56 and 4 Class 60 diesels, mainly on aggregates traffic for its parent company, Cappagh Group. It has recently acquired more Class 60s although none are yet in service.
053 Midland Main Line
The Midland route from St Pancras to Sheffield via Derby, Toton or Nottingham is relatively quiet compared to the East or West Coast routes but carries significant volumes of freight, particularly north of Leicester. Electrification only reaches Kettering at the moment but is currently being extended northwards.
078 Peak District
The Hope Valley line from Sheffield to Manchester and the freight lines around Peak Forest and Buxton make attractive subjects for photography. The local quarries generate significant volumes of traffic as does the cement works at Hope. As a bonus, there are still semaphore signals at several locations.
Northern Trains operates local and some regional services over a large area of northern England, from Northumberland to Nottingham and Carlisle to Crewe, including the cities of Lancashire and Yorkshire. It operates a wide variety of DMU and EMU classes including several types that are unique to Northern.
The 51 Siemens built Class 185 3-car DMUs all work for Trans Pennine Express on various medium to long distance routes across northern England, occasionally reaching Glasgow or Edinburgh as well. They were built in 2006 and are the UK's only examples of Siemens Desiro DMUs.
Trans Pennine Express
Trans Pennine Express operates long distance passenger services across the Pennines, linking the cities of Lancashire with Yorkshire, the Humber and North East England. Its trains also operate from Liverpool and Manchester via the ECML to Edinburgh and via the WCML to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Class 150 was the first of BR's 'Sprinter' DMUs, introduced to replace life-expired first generation units in the mid 1980s. Most of the approximately 130 units are 2-car sets but a few run as 3-car formations. They remain in use, operating local services for Northern, Great Western and Transport for Wales.
The 30 class 707 5-car 750V DC inner suburban EMUs are from Siemens' Desiro City range and entered service with South Western in 2017. They are in the process of being transferred to South Eastern but the late delivery of SWR's new Class 701s has delayed the move of some units.
The BRCW Type 3 Bo-Bo diesel-electric was a useful 1550hp loco designed to meet the requirements of the Southern Region. Over the years their duties took them far from SR metals on passenger and freight workings. Most of the class were withdrawn in the 1990s but a handful are still in service with WCRC.
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.
British Railways, later British Rail, was the national operator from 1948 until privatisation in the late 1990s. Most images here are from the "corporate blue" era, which ended with sectorisation in 1982, as well as later photos featuring liveries from that era. Post-sectorisation liveries will be covered elsewhere.
011 Liverpool St - Norwich
The 115 mile route from London Liverpool St to Norwich was the GER's premier route and has employed a wide variety of motive power over the years. Recently it was notable for being the last British main line to retain loco hauled passenger trains, long after units had become the norm elsewhere.
The original Brush Type 2 1365hp A1A-A1A diesel-electrics were troublesome. After re-engining they became reliable but were still heavy and underpowered. Originally based on the ER, the class spread to most parts of the system by the 1990s. Many finished in that decade but three remained in service until 2015.
Real working steam has been a priority for me and that hasn't been available in the UK since the last industrial systems closed or dieselised in the early 1980s, just as I was getting started. Although preserved steam feels a bit artificial to me, I do point my camera in the direction of a steam special, occasionally.
ScotRail operates almost all passenger services that run entirely within Scotland. The operator has a large fleet of EMUs and DMUs, which operate most services, but has recently acquired a number of shortened HST sets for use on services linking Glasgow and Edinburgh with Aberdeen and Inverness.
229 Dundee - Aberdeen
The line from Dundee north to Aberdeen is quite scenic and follows the coast part of the way. It's fairly busy these days with short HSTs on most Glasgow and Edinburgh trains and DMUs on local services. There are also a few regular freights, the Caledonian Sleeper and semaphore signals to add to the interest.
240 Aberdeen - Inverness
The Aberdeen to Inverness line is all that remains of a once extensive rail network in North East Scotland. The route is a combination of lines operated by the Highland Railway, west of Keith, and the GNoSR, to the east. Today it is mostly operated by DMUs but a few services are now booked for Scotrail HSTs.
West Coast Railway Co
West Coast Railway Company is a Carnforth based charter train operator with its own fleet of coaches and a sizeable roster of ex-BR steam and diesel locomotives. WCRC operates special trains across the network itself and also runs them on behalf of other tour promoters.
Class 43 HSTs
The Class 43 powered HSTs brought new levels of speed and comfort to several of Britain's main lines in the 1970s. They have lost their highest profile work in recent years but some remain in service today, on passenger work for Cross Country, Scotrail and GWR and on Network Rail test trains.
The East Coast franchise, covering trains from London to Newcastle, Edinburgh and Leeds, has changed hands several times since privatisation but the motive power, Class 91s and HSTs, remained the same until 2019, when the Class 800 and 801 IETs replaced all the HSTs and many 91s.
Caledonian Sleeper services between London and Scotland are operated by Serco using GBRf locos. Class 92 electrics work south of Glasgow and Edinburgh, with Class 73/9 electro-diesels working north to Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William. New Mk V coaches were introduced in 2019.
The 4000hp 25kV AC Class 86 Bo-Bo was introduced in 1965 for mixed traffic duties on the recently extended electrified section of the WCML. They continued on WCML and later Great Eastern passenger duties until 2004 and worked container trains for Freightliner until early 2021.
The Class 88 is the first of a new family of electro-diesels and bears a close resemblance to the Class 68. DRS has 10 of these 25kV 5400hp electric / 940hp diesel Bo-Bos in service, used primarily on intermodals between Mossend and Daventry, but appearing on other traffic and routes as well.
Brush built 46 Class 92 Co-Co electrics for Channel Tunnel traffic from 1993. Only a few are in use after the traffic they were intended for didn't materialise. DBC and GBRf use 92s in the tunnel and GBRf locos work Caledonian Sleeper services between London and Scotland. Some have been exported.
135 Westbury - Cogload Jn
This line forms the western part of the GWR's direct route from Reading to Taunton. The Westbury end is busy with local trains on the Bristol - Weymouth route and stone trains from the Mendip quarries but further west there's little traffic apart from the through expresses between London and the west.
The English Electric Class 50 2700hp Co-Co diesel-electric was introduced in 1967 for WCML services north of Crewe. They were excellent performers but had some reliability problems. The class migrated to the Western Region in 1974 and remained there until the final examples were withdrawn in 1994.
A small class of 12 EMUs operated by Trans-Pennine on long distance services linking Glasgow and Edinburgh with Liverpool and Manchester via the WCML. The 5-car units were built by CAF and introduced by TPE in late 2019. Despite running at up to 125mph they have no yellow warning panels.
065 Carlisle - Glasgow
The former Caledonian Railway route over Beattock Summit, forms the northern section of the electrified West Coast Main Line. It's busier now than it's ever been but most passenger services are worked by EMUs. There is some freight, much of it diesel hauled despite the line being electrified for many years.
065 Crewe - Carlisle
The line from Crewe to Carlisle was completed in the 1840s and forms the central section of the busy West Coast Main Line. The section from Crewe north to Carlisle was electrified in the 1970s and is busiest south of Preston but best known for the steeply graded climb over Shap Summit in Cumbria.
054 Stenson Jn - Sheet Stores Jn
This short section of freight line runs for 12 miles from Stenson Junction, south of Derby on the Birmingham line, to Sheet Stores Junction, south-east of Derby on the route to Trent Junction, leading to Toton, Nottingham and Leicester. The line sees no regular passenger trains but is quite busy with freight traffic.
The 14 5-car Class 180 high speed DMUs were plagued with reliability issues in their earlier years. Originally all were with First Great Western but some later went to Hull Trains. The fleet is currently split between Grand Central, which has used them since 2009, and East Midlands Railway.
Metro-Cammell built 114 2-car Class 156 DMUs for BR in the late 1980s. They were originally intended for medium-distance limited-stop services but soon gravitated to less important duties. All 114 units are still in service, currently working for ScotRail, Northern and East Midlands franchises.
123 Westbury - Southampton
The 50 mile long line from Westbury via Salisbury to Southampton forms part of the important secondary route from Bristol and South Wales to the Solent and South Coast. As well as DMUs, there are a number of regular stone trains on this attractive rural route through the English countryside.
029 North Lincolnshire Lines
Barnetby lies at the junction of 3 former Great Central Railway routes leading to the east coast ports of Immingham and Grimsby. Immingham still generates a high volume of freight traffic for the energy and steel industries with regular coal, biomass, iron ore and oil trains worked by a variety of loco classes.
The class 69s are BR Class 56 Co-Cos rebuilt with EMD 710 series engines and introduced in 2021. The rebuilds have many components in common with Class 66s and both classes are capable of working in multiple. GBRf have based the locos at Tonbridge for working freights in the South East of England.
125 Paddington - Reading
The four track main line from Reading to Paddington was one of Britain’s busiest diesel worked routes, carrying frequent HSTs and DMUs from London to the west. Freight traffic includes container, steel and stone trains. The line is still busy but electrification had ruined all the good photo locations by late 2016.
This gallery brings together photos taken within a radius of 3 miles of Reading station on the various lines radiating from this major junction on the Great Western Main Line, 36 miles west of London. Locations include Sonning Cutting and Southcote Junction, both now ruined by electrification.
Network South East
Network South East was part of British Rail, set up to operate local and regional passenger services in the London area and the south east of England. NSE existed from 1982 until the run-up to privatisation in the late-1990s and operated a variety of locos and multiple units.
Class 423 4-VEP
The 4-VEP, later Class 423 750V DC EMU was a mainstay of the Southern Region's outer suburban services from the late 1960s until the early 2000s. They were 90mph 4-car units with an external door to every seating bay, a factor that led to their demise due to safety concerns over slam door stock.
The Class 442 750V DC EMUs were 5-car sets built for Waterloo - Weymouth services when electrification was extended to Weymouth in 1988. They worked for Gatwick Express from 2007 to 2016. A return to SWR for Portsmouth services was cancelled in 2021 and most vehicles have now been scrapped.
Class 421 4-CIG
The 4-CIG, later Class 421, was the standard Southern Region long distance 750V DC 4-car EMU from the late '60s, used across the region and particularly on the Central division. Safety concerns over slam-door stock led to their replacement by new sliding door stock during the first few years of this century.
Class 491 4TC
The Class 491, later 438, also known as the 4TC, was developed for the Bournemouth electrification in 1967 and was an unpowered 4-car unit that was pulled or pushed by locos or EMUs. They saw use on other routes including the Waterloo - Salisbury line. All were withdrawn by 1990.
122 Reading - Basingstoke
The Reading - Basingstoke line is a busy 14 mile double-track railway that forms part of the principal route from the Midlands to the port of Southampton and the south coast resorts. Freight traffic, mainly containers and automotive, is heavy and there are also frequent local and long distance passenger trains.
170 Victoria - East Croydon
The 4-track main line from Victoria to East Croydon via Balham and Norbury is one of the county's busiest, feeding trains into a complex network of suburban lines, as well as the Brighton Main Line and routes to other Sussex and South Coast destinations. Almost all services are worked by Southern EMUs.
186 East Croydon - Brighton
The core of the electrified Brighton Main Line runs from East Croydon through London's outer suburbs, under the North Downs and into the countryside, serving Gatwick Airport and several medium sized towns before reaching Brighton. The vast majority of traffic is worked by EMUs of various types.
125 Didcot - Swindon
Brunel's Great Western Main Line leaves the Thames Valley at Didcot and strikes westwards, climbing gently for 24 miles to Swindon, a town created by the railway and a major junction today. These photos were taken in 2016, just before electrification work ruined almost every photo location.
Manchester has a longer involvement with railways than most places, being the eastern terminus of the world's first public railway. These pictures were taken on a day trip to the city in 1982 and show a range of diesel and electric traction that disappeared soon afterwards and seems very exotic today.
Class 55 Deltics
Without doubt the most remarkable diesels ever to run on the BR system, the Deltics were fast and more powerful than their contemporaries. After 20 years and millions of miles working 100mph expresses on the ECML, these 3300hp Co-Co diesel-electrics were worn out and withdrawn at the end of 1981.
229 Glasgow - Dundee
The line from Glasgow to Dundee via Stirling and Perth is the gateway to the Highlands and the North East, carrying long distance and regional passenger trains as well as a few freights. Passenger services are a mixture of DMUs and short HSTs and there are semaphore signals in places.
057 Birmingham - Derby
The former Midland Railway route from Birmingham to Derby is an important part of the North-East to South-West corridor, linking Yorkshire and the East Midlands with the West Midlands, South Wales and the South West. It continues to be busy with passenger traffic and also sees a significant volume of freight.
125 Reading - Didcot
The busy 4-track Great Western main line from London to Oxford, Bristol and South Wales follows the Thames Valley through attractive countryside between Reading and Didcot. Most of these photos were taken in 2003 and between 2014 and 2015, before electrification spoiled all the good photo locations.
Greater Anglia operates most passenger services in East Anglia and on several outer-suburban routes from London Liverpool St. The vast majority of GA trains are EMUs but some services were hauled by Class 37 diesels or Class 90 electric locos until late 2019 and early 2020 respectively.
Class 320, 321, 322
Classes 320, 321 and 322 are closely related 25kV AC EMUs built by BREL's York Works around 1990. The 3-car Class 320s work for ScotRail around Glasgow. The Class 321 and 322 4-car units currently work Greater Anglia outer suburban duties from Liverpool Street but are being withdrawn.
015 Norwich - Gt Yarmouth & Lowestoft
The "Wherry Lines" running east from Norwich to the coastal towns of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are operated by Greater Anglia. A shortage of DMUs led the hire of Class 37s and coaches from DRS to operate a few services until the operator received new bi-mode MUs from Stadler in late 2019.
Edinburgh is one of Scotland's two great railway hubs, located at the north end of the ECML and at the east end of the busy central belt. It's seen a wide variety of traction over the years, from Glens and A4s to Deltics and HSTs. These days most trains are EMUs or DMUs but Scotrail HSTs add some variety.
026 East Coast Main Line
The East Coast Main Line runs from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross via Newcastle, York and Peterborough. It isn't particularly scenic but has long been famed for fast running. From Stirling Singles through Gresley Pacifics to Deltics, it was home to some of the most iconic locomotives to run in Britain.
Thames Trains won the franchise to operate local passenger services in the Thames Valley and related routes from 1996 using a fleet of class 165 and 166 DMUs. In 2004 the Thames franchise was combined with the Great Western contract and Thames Trains ceased to exist as an operator.
Industrial railways were once a very visible part of the British railway scene but most have closed along with the heavy industries they served. The few that remain are often inaccessible in high security environments, such as oil refineries or steelworks. These shots are from Bedlay Colliery in 1981.
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