SEmG

Class 365

As recounted on our class 465/466 pages (class465) the Networker programme was conceived by Network SouthEast as a family of new electrical multiple units to cover all applications within their sector - inner suburban, outer suburban and long distance, 750v DC, 25kV overhead and dual voltage/pickup. This family would have provided all replacements for life expired EMU stock, and stock for the Thameslink 2000 and CrossRail projects. Network SouthEast management took the bold and imaginative decision to apply (the then) new advanced technology of welded aluminium construction and GTO thyristor controlled three phase ac drive traction motors. It was hoped that the economies of scale and the adaptability of the traction package (dual voltage capability can be achieved much more simply compared to the previous cumbersome engineering required) would provide large new fleets economically. The class 465 (and the related two car class 466) was the first to be produced specifically for Kent inner suburban workings and it was intended for the next design to be the class 371 Universal (dual voltage) Networker for several longer distance applications including Kent Coast, Great Northern and LT&S. However the prevailing financial strictures of the time, internal politics within BR, relationships with the government and rolling stock contractors, resulted in the promising Networker project failing to take off, but not before a creative (but as history has proved an interim) solution to the Universal Networker was devised. In September 1992 ABB proposed that an existing 465 unit could be converted as a long distance demonstrator. Then in his autumn statement he Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that British Rail could acquire £150 million of new rolling stock - largely as a concession to the plight of the fledgling privatized British railway construction industry. Having swiftly devised a dual voltage traction package ABB, along with the Network SouthEast management and design teams, moved quickly to produce the Universal Networker demonstrator which was designated 465301.
 
365502 The driver's cab of 365502 contrasts with that of 4-VEP 3416, seen at London Victoria on Monday, 18th September 2000. 365502 & 365505 named "Spirit of Ramsgate" were working the 5:06pm to Ramsgate which runs non-stop to Chatham (5:52pm) and arrives at 7:09pm in Ramsgate.

photograph by Michael Taylor

 
365502 leaves Victoria in the rain.

photograph by Michael Taylor

365502
 
On 465301 one driving coach had a 12 seat first class compartment installed providing a 2+2 layout. On the standard class car following this the accommodation was refitted to Networker Express specifications with carpeting and (as with the first class compartment) identical seating to that used on the successful Networker Turbo DMUs. With seats being aligned to the windows increased leg room over that available in the class 465 was achieved. 465 301 proved that a viable long distance unit could be developed from an inner suburban shell that 90% of the original specification of the alternative and expensive to develop completely from new option. The demonstrator went on display at Waterloo and the concept approved, though not to the extent that ABB had hoped. Only two batches of the now designated class 365 were built between 1994 and 1995. Sixteen DC units (but with provision for AC) were provided for Kent Coast services (numbered 365501-365516) and twenty five AC units (but with provision for DC) for Great Northern services out of Kings Cross (numbered 365517-365541).
 
365505 365505 "Spirit of Ramsgate" rushes through Peckham Rye and away from the camera on the 12:24pm Ramsgate-Victoria (due 2:17pm) on Friday, 22nd September 2000

photograph by Michael Taylor

 
First two cars of unit 365511 emerging from Grosvenor Carriage Shed towards Victoria for a mid afternoon working on 19th October 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

365511
 
The first unit on the Southern started unit testing during April 1995 and the first public service (a special) was on 14th October 1996. Connex units have white roofs and are painted in Connex (blue, white and yellow) colours whereas WAGN units remain in NSE colours and have grey roofs except over their cabs (which are white). Some WAGN units also have an experimental cab air-conditioning unit disfiguring their otherwise attractive cab front design.
 
365505 365505 "Spirit of Ramsgate" pictured at Herne Bay

photograph by James Kent

 
365505 Close-up of the names on
"Spirit of Ramsgate" and
"Spirit of Dover"

photographs by James Kent

365515
 
The pantograph cover on the Connex 365s is very discreet but it is often the only spotting feature to tell these units from a similarly liveried 465. In this photograph it can just be made out by being a slightly different shade of white. Seen by Ebury Bridge Victoria on 19th October 2000.

photograph by Colin Duff

365511

 
365502 365502 pictured as dusk falls at Falconwood

photograph by James Kent

 
Unit 365502 had ac equipment installed and was temporarily transferred to WAGN as a replacement for 365526 following the tragic derailment at Potters Bar on 10th May 2002. It ran in Connex colours but with WAGN branding. It returned to Connex on 23rd January 2003. However, in early 2004 all 16 SET units were transferred to WAGN/Great Northern to allow a cascade of class 317 units to Thameslink during the St Pancras blockade late 2004 into 2005, so ending this class' association with the Southern. Their lease to SET ended on 31st March, however about half a dozen stragglers, known to include 365504/09/10/12/14/16, continued in SET service for another week or so. 365509 and 12 were thought to be the last in service, 365512 having been seen working out of Victoria on 10th April. During their transferral these units were taken by road to Doncaster works to have ac equipment and cab air conditioning installed ("smiley face" front modification) plus removal of the SET vinyl overlays. Thus they were restored to Network SouthEast colours.

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This page was last updated 17 May 2004

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