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LTSV > Rail Data > More > Profiles List > Profile 60: Class 313 EMUs
Title:Class 313 EMUs Profile Index Image
Builder:BR York
Numbering:313001-313064, 313101-134r, 313201-220r
Running Gear:
Summary:The 313s were the first production 2nd-generation EMUs for BR, and the first to feature dual-voltage (overhead and 3rd rail) equipment. After serving various routes into London for over 40 years, most have recently been replaced and scrapped. About a quarter of the fleet survives for now, having retired to a more sedate lifestyle on the south coast.

With a few exceptions, most multiple units built for use in Britain up until the early 1970s were of traditional construction. They featured separate (usually steel) underframes and bodywork, manual couplings and slam doors. A step-change in design was needed and, in 1971, BR built three prototype EMUs which became the forerunners of a fleet of 'second-generation' units. They featured aluminium bodywork with sliding doors and automatic couplers. The three units were allocated to the Southern Region, where they were classified as PEPs (Prototype Electro Pneumatic), the two 4-car units being 4-PEPs and the single 2-car being a 2-PEP.
In the early 1970s, the 'Great Northern' lines out of London King's Cross were being electrified as far as Royston. It was decided that suburban services on this route (as far as Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North) would be furnished with new design trains, and a fleet of 64 3-car units was ordered. The design of the PEP units was modified slightly so that the new units had two pairs of sliding doors on each side of each car (the PEPs had three pairs on non-driving cars), and the front-end styling was more conservative. The Scharfenburg couplings used on the outer ends of the PEP units were ditched in favour of the Tightlock type, couplings within the units on both types being fixed bars. Built at York Works from February 1976, the new units were classified as 313s, numbered 313001 to 313064 and finished in the standard blue/grey livery with yellow driving ends.
As well as being the first production second-generation units, the 313s were also the first dual-voltage EMUs, able to work off AC overhead wires or DC third-rail. This was necessitated by the incorporation of the former London Transport Moorgate branch into the BR network. Opened in 1904 as the Great Northern and City Railway, this was essentially a tube railway running underground between Moorgate and Finsbury Park, though with a surface station and depot at Drayton Park. Uniquely the tunnels were built to main-line train gauge, rather than the smaller 'tube' size used on other lines. When London Transport was formed in 1933 there were proposals to increase its usefullness by building a new link between Drayton Park and the surface station at Finsbury Park, and for it to then take over the LNER branch to Alexandra Palace, connecting with the main Northern Line routes at Highgate [1]. Work on the connection at Finsbury Park was started but the advent of World War 2 saw work suspended and later cancelled. The line continued to be run as an isolated section of the Northern Line until it closed in 1975 in preparation for its transfer to BR.
The 313s entered service in August 1976, replacing DMUs. The units were allocated to a new depot built at Hornsey. Delivery of the batch was completed in April 1977, all 64 units being identical except that the first dozen or so had noticeably larger roof vents. Photos suggest that these larger vents were removed when the units were overhauled for Silverlink in the late 1990s.
Formation and construction details for the class 313s was as follows [2]:

Car TypeNumbersLotDesign Code
Driving Motor Second (DMS)62529-6259230879EA204.0A
Pantograph Trailer Second (PTS)71213-7127630880EH210.0A
Battery Driving Motor Second (BDMS)62593-6265630885EI201.0A
It seems that the provision of 64 units for the Great Northern suburban services was a bit over generous, and spare units were available for use elsewhere. The first reported movement was of four units (313008/034/035/039) from Hornsey to Clacton in autumn 1981 [3], where they were used on services from Colchester onto the Walton-on-Naze branch. For this work, the third-rail current collection equipment was not required, the line being fully overhead wired. It is not known if the shoegear was removed. The four units were to remain at Clacton for two years, returning to Hornsey in August 1983 [4], having been replaced by 308453-455 [5]. The return of 313039 was delayed after it collided with the bufferstops at Walton [5], requiring repairs at Ilford depot. Almost straight away there was another role for the class, supporting the class 317 units on the newly electrified Bedford to St Pancras/Moorgate route. The recently-built class 317s were suffering from a spate of failures and technical problems, and class 313s were used on some services from August 1983 [6] until at least July 1984 [7]. Eleven different units were known to have been used, including the three undamaged examples latterly at Clacton. The units were worked off Cricklewood depot but remained officially allocated to Hornsey. During their use on the Bed-Pan route they sometimes operated in nine-car formations, something that has not happened on any other line.
A more permanent use for the surplus class 313s was found in 1984 with the transfer of a quantity to the Euston to Watford Junction route. Together with the use of Southern Region class 416 EMUs on the North London line, this would allow the withdrawal of the class 501 units. 313006 was tested on the Euston route in November 1984, then returned in January 1985 (with 313004) for crew training at Willesden [8]. The plan had been for 313s to take over from May 1985, though this was delayed (by a dispute over the manning of inter-regional maintenance movements) until the end of September [9]. The first seventeen units (313001 to 313017) were dedicated to the Euston service, although remaining allocated to Hornsey depot for maintenance. These units were fitted with extra shoegear on the outer bogies of the driving cars and in October 1987 they were officially transferred to Bletchley depot [10]. Although this did remove the need for 'inter-regional' movements, there was presumably a lot of dead mileage run between Bletchley and Watford. Changes in requirements over the next few years, and the use of class 313s on the North London line (Richmond to North Woolwich) from October 1989 [11], saw further transfers between Hornsey and Bletchley, and there was generally a split between high-numbered units at the former and low-numbered ones at the latter. The class had now worked from three different main London termini (Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston), but it is worth mentioning that they now also visited Liverpool Street. A few peak-hour Watford to Liverpool Street services were run, believed to be a requirement of the closure of the adjoining Broad Street. Although not renumbered, the 313s with additional shoegear were later reclassified as class 313/1s [12].
313 004 working on the Euston lines, seen at North Wembley in 1987. Note the large roof vents, and also the extra shoegear fitted to the lead bogie.
June 1986 saw the launch of the Network SouthEast brand for train services in London and the south east of England. This came with an eye-popping blue, white, red and grey livery, and this was progressively applied to both class 313 fleets over the next seven years (completed by 1994 [13]). Also in 1986, the class made another foray to Clacton. The last three units (313062/063/064) were transferred there in September [14], and were again used on the Walton-on-Naze branch. One of this trio was involved in another bufferstop over-run at Walton, this time on 12th August 1987. More serious than the previous incident, the unit apparently continued for 30ft, demolishing part of the station building. Motive Power Monthly magazine stated that it was 313063 [15], while Rail Enthusiast curiously gave the number as 303064 [16], corrected to 313063 in the next month's issue. The unit was unusually sent to Slade Green for repairs [17]. 313061 was transferred from Hornsey to Clacton in December 1987 [18], perhaps as a replacement.
During 1987 the Anglia region was suffering from a shortage of rolling stock, and there was apparently a plan to transfer all the 313s then in use on the Euston-Watford line to Clacton, where they would replace class 302 and 308 units on local services. The Euston services would temporarily be taken over by Southern Region class 415s reduced to 3-car units [19]. Nothing came of this plan, perhaps because the class 313s had a reduced top speed (75mph against the 90mph normal on Anglia units) and they also lacked toilets.
The first renumbering of class 313 units took place in January 1988. Class 310 units were being transferred to the Anglia region, having been replaced on the Euston semi-fast workings by class 317 units, which themselves were displaced from Bedford to St Pancras services by new Thameslink class 319s. The 310s were numbered in the range 310046 to 310095. There was still a policy of avoiding having units with the same last three digits on the same routes, presumably because some internal references to the trains only quoted the last three digits of the numbers. As the Clacton 313s could be confused with the 310s working out of Ilford, the former were renumbered to 313096 to 313099. While it is agreed that 313061/062/064 became 313096/097/099 respectively, sources differ as to the origins of unit 313098. Ian Allan stated that it was renumbered from 313063 [20], though this unit was likely still under repair. Rail Enthusiast suggested that 313098 was formed from 313012 re-formed with one undamaged 'driving trailer' from 313063 [21]. Class 313s do not having driving trailers, and it is assumed this was an error for 'driving motor'. Confusing the issue somewhat, Ian Allan then stated that 313012 'returned to Clacton on 10th March following collision damage repairs at Ilford' [22]. Finally, Rail reported that there had been a change of plan and that 313012 would not be renumbered 313098 but would be transferred away when 313063 returned from collision damage repairs, the latter unit then taking the number 313098 [23].
It is believed that the 313s used at Clacton had their un-needed third-rail shoegear removed. 313012 was reported to be the first electric train on the newly energised Watford to St Albans branch in July 1988 [24], this line having overhead wiring. A later issue confirmed that the unit was confined to the line due to having no shoegear [25]. Unit 313063, now repaired and renumbered 313098, was in the wars again in October 1988, when it over-ran the bufferstops at Colchester [26]
By the beginning of 1989 the 313s were (almost) neatly divided into three distinct fleets. 313/1s (with extra shoegear) were 313001 to 313017, all in Network SouthEast livery and all allocated to Bletchley apart from the last three which were temporarily back at Hornsey. These three (313015 to 313017) still had the extra shoegear but had regained Driver Only Operation communication equipment (this had been progressively fitted to the Hornsey-based fleet from about 1986, being removed from units transferred to the Euston lines). 313018 to 313060 were all 313/0s based at Hornsey, about a quarter of which were in Network SouthEast livery. Finally, renumbered 313096 to 313099 were also classified 313/0 and were based at Clacton. Design codes were all still as-built with one exception. Driving car 62566 was now to design code EA204.0B, due to it having steel rather than aluminium bodywork [27]. I have seen no other reference to explain this variation.
The Clacton class 313s were returned to Hornsey in April 1989, having been replaced by class 310s [28]. Rail magazine gave a summary of the history of the allocation which clarified some issues but also contradicted some earlier info. They stated that 313061 to 313064 all moved to Clacton in September 1986, and that they were renumbered 313096 to 313099 in December 1987, the number of accident victim 313063 being changed to 313098 whilst it was under repair at Slade Green. They then stated that 313012, which had also had an accident, was reformed with the undamaged coach from 313063 and was transferred to Clacton in December 1987. Nine days later this unit had another accident, colliding with 309603 at Clacton depot! 313012 was sent to Ilford for repairs, returning in March 1988. When repairs to 313063/098 were complete, it was reformed, and the remaining vehicles of unit 313012 were returned to Hornsey. The final contradiction is that it mentioned the earlier (1981 to 1983) use of 313s at Clacton, but gave the number of the unit involved in the original Walton accident as 313035, rather than 313039 [28]. Phew! How can four units be so complicated?
313012 had its shoegear refitted in May 1989 [29], and it is assumed that the same applied to the units transferred from Clacton to Hornsey, these also being renumbered back to their original numbers that month [30]. Meanwhile, unit 313034 had been moved to Derby Railway Technical Centre at the beginning of 1989. It was to donate its pantograph trailer until March 1990 for use in the class 457 'Networker' development unit, this being converted from DC to AC operation [31] and reclassified as a 316 [32]. The two driving cars of 313034 were transferred to Bletchley at the end of 1989, where it was reported they would be used as a 2-car, un-powered set to strengthen services on the DC lines [33]. It is believed that this never occurred, and the unit was later reported in use for ATP (Automatic Train Protection) tests [34]. In early 1991 the unit was transferred back to Hornsey [35], where it gained the trailer car from 313055 (71267) [36] while the latter unit underwent repairs to accident damage.
In September 1989 it was decided to allocate new design codes to differentiate the 313/1s from the 313/0s. EA204.0A cars with extra shoegear were recoded to EA204.0C, while the EI201.0A cars became EI201.0B [37]. The introduction of the class to North London line workings from October 1989 required the conversion of additional 313/1s. It was planned that these would be units 313018 to 313024, the line also making use of earlier 313017 [38].
The first half of the 1990s appears to have been a period of stability for the class 313s, with barely a mention in the railway press. The formations of 313034 and 313055 had reverted to original, and the Bletchley allocation had settled as 313001-017/019-023/034. Major changes were on the way though, with the creation of new TOCs (Train Operating Companies) and ROSCOs (Rolling Stock Leasing Companies) in the run-up to privatisation, and also the need for the now 20-year old class 313s to undergo 'mid-life' refurbishment.
Ownership of the class 313s passed to Eversholt Train Leasing, renamed Forward Trust Rail in 1997 then again later to HSBC Rail and finally back to Eversholt Rail in 2010. The Hornsey units came under the West Anglia and Great Northern TOC, franchised to Prism Rail and rebranded as WAGN, while the Bletchley units were operated by North London Railways, contracted to National Express and re-branded as Silverlink. The WAGN units continued to operate in Network SouthEast livery for the time being, but Silverlink developed a bold new purple and green livery and started applying it to their 313s from autumn 1997. Most were repainted as they underwent refurbishment (sources differ as to whether this work was carried out at Ilford or Wolverton), and the units were renumbered into the 3131xx series (retaining the original last two digits) at the same time. 313022 was unique in being repainted before it was refurbished [39]. All 23 units had been refurbished by 2002 [40].
I don't (yet) have a photo of a 313 in Silverlink livery, but the layout was similar to that carried by the 321s such as 321 413, seen in 2008.
A refurbishment programme for the WAGN 313s was also started, the first being 313057 in 1999 [41]. The work was undertaken by Adtranz at Ilford and differed from the 313/1s in including the replacement of the original low-backed seating with high-backed units. WAGN had not yet devised its own livery, and the refurbished units emerged in plain white, some later gaining advertising livery for either WAGN Family Travelcard or Intalink (Hertfordshire County Council) [42]. As with the 313/1s, the refurbishments were completed by 2002, by which time Prism Rail had been taken over by National Express. A new livery for WAGN eventually emerged in 2002, being a very simple deep purple relieved only by light grey for the passenger doors. By 2005 this had been applied to about a third of the 313/0s, three units still retaining Network SouthEast livery and the remainder being in white or advertising colours [43].
The original operating franchises had been due to expire in 2004 but both were extended. In 2006, the franchise for the Great Northern elements of the WAGN operation passed to First, and was rebranded as First Capital Connect. 313047 was the first 313 to carry First's 'Urban Lights' livery [44], extended to the entire 313/0 fleet within 2 years.
313 018 is seen in the 'Urban Lights' livery introduced by First, although by 2019 the operation had changed hands again and the First branding had been replaced by Great Northern labels.
The Silverlink contract was extended until 2007, after which it became London Rail. This was a unique franchise that had its fares and services dictated by TfL (Transport for London) rather than the DfT (Department for Transport), and which was branded as London Overground and marketed more as part of the London Underground network than the national rail one. London Overground developed a new livery, based on the white/blue London Underground scheme, but this was not applied to any 313s. New trains had been ordered (class 378s), and these started replacing the 313s from summer 2009.
Details of the period 2009 to present will be added shortly.

[1] The Northern Line, Mike Horne, Capital Transport, 2009, page 40
[2] British Rail Coaching Stock 1982, RCTS, page 116
[3] Rail Enthusiast magazine, December 1981/January 1982 issue, page 15
[4] Rail Enthusiast magazine, January 1984 issue, page 22
[5] Rail Enthusiast magazine, December 1983 issue, page 51
[6] Rail Enthusiast magazine, June 1984 issue, page 48
[7] Rail Enthusiast magazine, September 1984 issue, page 50
[8] Rail Enthusiast magazine, April 1985 issue, page 49
[9] Rail Enthusiast magazine, December 1985 issue, page 49
[10] Motive Power Monthly magazine, December 1987 issue, page 34
[11] Motive Power Monthly magazine, August 1989 issue, page 39 (under class 416 heading)
[12] British Railways Locomotives and Coaching Stock, Platform 5, 1992 edition, page 230
[13] Electric Multiple Units, Platform 5, 1994 edition, page 26
[14] Rail Enthusiast magazine, January 1987 issue, page 60
[15] Motive Power Monthly magazine, October 1987 issue, page 15
[16] Rail Enthusiast magazine, October 1987 issue, page 60
[17] Rail Enthusiast magazine, February 1988 issue, page 62
[18] Motive Power Monthly magazine, February 1988 issue, page 43
[19] Motive Power Monthly magazine, September 1987 issue, page 14
[20] Motive Power Monthly magazine, April 1988 issue, page 42
[21] Rail Enthusiast magazine, April 1988 issue, page 62
[22] Motive Power Monthly magazine, June 1988 issue, page 42
[23] Rail Enthusiast magazine, June 1988 issue, page 60
[24] Rail Enthusiast magazine, September 1988 issue, page 59
[25] Rail magazine, Issue 90 (12th February 1989), page 24
[26] Rail Enthusiast magazine, December 1988 issue, page 65
[27] British Rail Motive Power Combined Volume 1989, Ian Allan, page 92
[28] Rail magazine, Issue 95 (4th May 1989), page 12
[29] Rail magazine, Issue 98 (15th June 1989), page 52
[30] Motive Power Monthly magazine, August 1989 issue, page 43
[31] Motive Power Monthly magazine, August 1989 issue, page 39
[32] Motive Power Monthly magazine, January 1990 issue, page 52
[33] Rail magazine, Issue 114 (25th January 1990), page 54
[34] Rail magazine, Issue 119 (5th April 1990), page 54 (with photo)
[35] Motive Power Monthly magazine, April 1991 issue, page 50
[36] Motive Power Monthly magazine, May 1991 issue, page 52
[37] Motive Power Monthly magazine, December 1989 issue, page 43
[38] Motive Power Monthly magazine, October 1989 issue, page 41
[39] Rail Express magazine, Issue 41 (October 1999), page 50
[40] British Railways Locomotives and Coaching Stock, Platform 5, 2002 edition, page 249
[41] Rail Express magazine, Issue 36 (May 1999) page 49
[42] May 2000 EMU Fleetlist from gbrail website,
[43] British Railways Locomotives and Coaching Stock, 2005 edition, page 240
[44] Rail Express magazine, Issue 125 (October 2006) page 40

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Data tags: ?Tags are mainly intended to show links to relevant profiles when looking at the detail page for TOPS codes, designs, batches etc. Here they work 'backwards' and will take you to the detail pages. Batch: 62529-62592
Batch: 62593-62656
Batch: 71213-71276
Batch: 313001-313064
Batch: 313096-313099
Batch: 313101-313117
Batch: 313119-313123
Batch: 313134
Batch: 313201-313217
Batch: 313219-313220
Design/Diagram: EA204.0A Class 313 Driving Motor Second (DMS)
Design/Diagram: EH210.0A Class 313 Trailer Second (TS)
Design/Diagram: EI201.0A Class 313 Battery Driving Motor Second (BDMS)
TOPS Class/Code: 313 BREL 4-car Electric Multiple Unit

Added on:02/11/2019
Edits: This item has not been edited.
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