Class 170

Govia South Central selected this class to replace their venerable mk1 DEMUs on their Uckfield branch and Ashford-Hastings services. As a franchise commitment a new Ashford-Brighton service is to be introduced in 2005 using these units. Govia's order, financed by Porterbrook, is for nine two car 170s formed DMCL - DMSL and six four car units formed DMCL-MS-MS-DMSL. The latter are to be used on Uckfield - London Bridge (low level) services which will be extended to all day operation, formerly only peak services operated into central London. The destination in London has been switched from Victoria to London Bridge since the diesel fume extractor hoods "under the raft" at Victoria are only positioned for Class 205/7 units.

The first South Central 170, 170721 was delivered to Selhurst on 6th August 2003 with 170722 following two days later. Test running on the Uckfield branch began on 14th August, though there was also some testing between Oxted and East Grinstead due to signalling problems on the branch. The first passenger working was the 12:48pm from East Croydon on 8th December using 170721. Thereafter 170s mostly worked this diagram until their full introduction on Oxted-Uckfield shuttles on 28th February 2004.

170725 The new order on the Uckfield branch! The first Class 170/7 "Turbostar" for South Central, 170721, was delivered to Selhurst on 6th August 2003. Test running on the Uckfield branch began on 14th August. The new units started working one diagram (commencing with the 12:48pm departure from East Croydon to Uckfield) on 8th December 2003. Here 170725 arrives at Uckfield on its first trip of the day on this particular diagram on 12th February 2004.

photograph by Colin Duff

The first working of a 170 across the Kent marshes was of a unit in South Central colours but it was not actually a SC unit! With the commencement of a new Solent area service serving Chandler's Ford, South West Trains required an additional 170 and arranged to lease one from Porterbrook out of the lessor's intended lease pool. The quickest and most economical way this could be sourced was by adding it without an expensive variation order onto the batch then being built for South Central. Thus this unit was built to SC not SWT specifications, appearing from Derby in SC colours as 170727 and delivered to SC at Selhurst. The best quote for re-painting was from Chart Leacon which resulted in a journey of 170727 from Selhurst to Chart Leacon (Ashford) via Eastbourne and Hastings on 21st October 2003. It returned across the marshes on 12th November in SWT colours in its eventual number, 170392. Note this unit retains a SC style interior and is formed DMCL-DMSL.
170727 - The train that never was!

As explained above, 170727 was painted in South Central livery at Derby and is seen here at Eastbourne en route to Ashford on 21st October 2003 to be repainted into South West Trains livery and TOPed as 170392.

photograph by Edmund Copping

Not 170727
Driver training for 170 operated Marshlink services commenced in the week of 5th April 2004 from Brighton. Trials across the marshes started on 14th April which included observation by an HMRI Inspector of the selective door opening arrangements (SDO) required at Doleham and Three Oaks where there are very short platforms. From 10th May one Marshlink diagram was due to be worked by a 170 with all diagrams on this line nominally being 170 operated from 24th May. However, with only six units to cover an overall five diagrams and considering maintenance and coupler conversion requirements it took a bit more time before Marshlink was fully Class 170 operated.
170392 Then on 12th November 2003 it was seen at Lewes making the return journey and wearing the correct livery and number!

photograph by Edmund Copping

As mentioned in the text, for TOPS reasons the class 170 sub-classes progressed not from 170/7 to 170/8 but to 171/8. Here we see 170724 leaving East Croydon in February 2004, before it was renumbered 171724.

photograph by John Lewis

170725 Left: A pair of doors into the DMCL showing the contrasting colours required for determining the door position by travellers with impaired eyesight (required by disability access regulations).

Right: The connections between the DMCL and DMSL.

photographs by Colin Duff

170725 Interior The interior of the standard saloon of the DMCL of 170725 looking towards the first class accommodation.

photograph by Colin Duff

The interior of the first class saloon of 170725. This photograph was taking on 12th February 2004 during the early weeks of Turbostar operation on the Uckfield branch. For those who do not recognise the location through the windows - it is at the town end of Uckfield station.

photograph by Colin Duff

170725 Interior
170725 The door lobby in the standard saloon of the DMCL of 170725.

photograph by Colin Duff

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This page was last updated 25 November 2010

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