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The British Rail Class 357 "Electrostar" alternating current (AC) electric multiple units (EMUs) were built by ADtranz (now owned by Bombardier Transportation) at their Litchurch Lane Worksmarker in Derbymarker, Englandmarker, in two batches from 1999 to 2002 at a cost of approximately £292 million. They were the first member of the Electrostar family, which also includes Classes 375, 376, 377 and 378, and is the most numerous type of EMU built in the post-privatisation period of Britain's railways. It shares the same basic design, bodyshell and core structure as the Turbostar diesel multiple unit (DMU), which is in turn the most common post-privatisation diesel multiple unit family, and both evolved from the Class 168 Clubman design by ADtranz.

The Clubman/Turbostar/Electrostar platform is a modular design, optimised for speedy manufacture and easy maintenance. It consists of an underframe, which is created by seam-welding a number of aluminium alloy extrusions, upon which bodyside panels are mounted followed by a single piece roof, again made from extruded sections. The car ends (cabs) are made from glass-reinforced plastic and steel, and are huck-bolted onto the main car bodies. Underframe components are collected in ‘rafts’, which are bolted into slots on the underframe extrusion. The mostly aluminium alloy body gives light weight to help acceleration and energy efficiency. Electrostar units have a shorter 20 m long version of the Turbostar's 23 m long body.

Class 357 units were built with capability, although the maximum line speed on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway is at present only . They all have air conditioning, air suspension, CCTV, standard class 3+2 Chapman seating throughout, 28 computers, sliding plug doors, and rheostatic air disc brakes. They have Tightlock fully automatic couplers but are only interoperable within their own class with other Class 357 units. There are orange LED dot matrix displays at the front of each unit which shows the time due at the destination and the name of the destination, e.g. "17.10 Shoebury", or "Not in Service" or "Empty to Depot" as necessary. The time due at the destination updates to the new time due if the train is delayed. There are also LED displays inside, at the end of each carriage above the gangway which give route and customer service information.

Class 357/0

The first batch of 44 Class 357/0 units were ordered at a cost of £200 million by Prism Rail in March 1997 to replace the Class 310 slam-door units, and allow the return of 18 hired Class 317 units to their other franchise WAGN. Construction started in 1999, and they are currently leased by c2c from Porterbrook. They were built in the green LTS Rail colour scheme, with a white livery with dark green doors and underskirt, and green seats and light green handrails and luggage rack edges. The "door out of order" display is in between the interior door buttons, with the door close button above and the door open button below, unlike in the 357/2 units.

This batch of units was due to enter service in November 1999 but was marred by late deliveries due to safety certification problems and reliability problems, leading to their temporary withdrawal in October 2001. As a result, ADtranz built two further units free of charge.

Units are formed of four vehicles, and are numbered in the range 357001-046. Each unit is formed of two outer driving motors (each powered by two ADtranz asynchronous traction motors), an intermediate motor (powered by two ADtranz asynchronous traction motors) and an intermediate trailer. The technical description of the formation is Driving Motor Open Standard A (DMOS-A)+Motor Standard Open (MSO)+Pantograph Trailer Open Standard Lavatory (PTOSL)+Driving Motor Open Standard B (DMOS-B). Individual vehicles are numbered as follows:
  • 67651-67696 - DMOS-A
  • 74151-74196 - MSO
  • 74051-74096 - PTOSL
  • 67751-67796 - DMOS-B


Class 357/2

The second batch of 28 Class 357/2 units were ordered at a cost of £92 million by c2c in 2000 primarily to replace the remaining Class 312 units. Construction started in 2001, and they are leased from Angel Trains. They have a white livery with grey doors, and are internally branded to the c2c purple colour scheme with magenta handrails. The "door out of order" display is above the door close button, which is above the door open button, unlike in the 357/0 units.

The last slam-door units were withdrawn on 31 March 2003, resulting in c2c being the first train operating company (TOC) to replace its entire fleet with new trains.

Units are numbered in the range 357201-228. The formation of each 4-car unit is identical to that of the Class 357/0 units. Individual vehicles are numbered as follows:
  • 68601-68628 - DMOS-A
  • 74701-74728 - MSO
  • 74601-74628 - PTOSL
  • 68701-68728 - DMOS-B


Livery

All Class 357 units had vinyl stickers applied with the new purple and magenta c2c livery over their paintwork soon after their introduction, so the exterior appearance of the two sub-classes is identical and the only way to distinguish them is by their numbering. Each set of vinyl stickers cost about £40,000.

In June 2009, c2c and Bombardier began a bodywork maintenance programme on the Class 357 units, beginning with 357 203 as it had corrosion damage around its doors. After repair at Bombardier's Litchurch Lane Works in Derbymarker, 357 203 was repainted and re-entered service on 30 July 2009. An initial batch of four trains, the second unit being 357 044, will be repainted into their original white colour, but with dark blue doors, and branded with both "national express" and "c2c" logos. However, they will not carry the diagonal grey car ends and "circuit board" stripes of the National Express corporate livery. The "Quiet Zone" stickers are now white and sky-blue instead of magenta and white. The whole fleet is expected to receive bodywork maintenance and be repainted by the time c2c's franchise ends in May 2011.

Announcement systems

The passenger information system 'knows' if the train is over 10 minutes late and automatically apologises for this at each station. The format of the announcement systems originally was as follows, but was re-recorded in May 2009:

Next station: The next station is station name.

Approaching station: We are now approaching station name, please mind the gap between the platform and the train.

Approaching Interchange station: We are now approaching station name. Please change here for other opearator services. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.

At station: This station is station name, please change here for other opearator services. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Welcome aboard this c2c service to destination.

At penultimate station: This station is station name. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Welcome aboard this c2c service to destination.

At Destination: This station is D, our destination. Please ensure you take all you personal belongings with you when you leave the train.

Problems

On 19 April 2004, the unusually large rate of increase in atmospheric pressure led to an airlock and failure of oil pressure on eight of the Class 357 trains which caused their computer's software to lower their pantographs and so be unable to collect power from the overhead lines, causing service disruption. However, after their teething problems were sorted out, they have since been the most reliable fleet of EMUs in the United Kingdom, winning Best Modern Era EMU at the Golden Spanners Awards from 2005 to 2007, for an average annual miles per casualty (MPC) figure of 43,180 in 2005, 37,391 in 2006, and 45,459 in 2007 (defined as the number of miles a train runs before a defect develops causing 5 minutes or longer delay).

Regenerative braking

On 9 November 2006, unit 357 028 was sent to the Velim railway test circuitmarker in the Czech Republicmarker for safety testing to obtain certification for a regenerative braking system which had been trialled for many months on the Class 357 fleet. In March 2007, c2c began fitting the regenerative braking systems to all of its Class 357 fleet, becoming the first UK train operator to do so. On 3 June 2007, the eve of World Environment Day, unit 357 010 was given an all-over green vinyl sticker livery with magenta doors and the tagline:
"All c2c trains are greener now - find out more at - www.c2c-online.co.uk - c2c - the greener way to go"
to highlight the completion of the scheme, which has given energy savings of up to 21%.

Current operations

The two fleets of units are used interchangeably on all c2c services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. Trains are generally formed of a single unit (4 cars) or two units (8 cars) working in multiple during off-peak times, and strengthened to two or three units (12 cars) during the morning and evening peak times. 71 of the 74 units are required to run the normal timetable.

Several units were loaned to sister National Express Group operator National Express East Anglia for a period ending in 2006 to accommodate the transfer of three Class 321/3 units to Silverlink (themselves to cover for Class 321/4 units hired to Central Trains). The units were generally used on London Liverpool Streetmarker to Southend Victoriamarker services on the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML).

On-board television and Wi-Fi trials

In January 2005, it was announced that an on-train television service would be trialled on unit 357 014. The system consisted of six television screens and 10 speakers in each carriage, and was also intended to be used to deliver real-time travel information. In June 2006 the '360 On-Board Television' service ran into financial difficulties when c2c's partners in the project, TNCI (UK), ceased trading, and the equipment was removed. c2c has indicated it will recommence the roll-out should a suitable partner be found for the scheme. The same unit, 357 014, had Wi-Fi installed using equipment from Nomad Digital and T-Mobile, and tested for a little-publicised 6 month trial from May 14 2007. The service was free to use during the trial, but there has been no further news of c2c's plans for Wi-Fi access. Full rollout of the Wi-Fi service may have been delayed for financial reasons.

Quiet Zone

In October 2007, c2c announced that the first carriage of each unit would be made into a "Quiet Zone", where loud talking and use of mobile phones and personal audio players is prohibited. The "Quiet Zone" was introduced in early 2008 and is indicated by magenta and white stickers on the outside of the carriage doors and within the carriage. After complaints from some customers that other customers were not abiding by the "Quiet Zone", in October 2008 c2c gradually began to enforce it by installing radio frequency signal blocking film on the windows of the Quiet Zone carriages which blocks all mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals, becoming the first train operator to do so. However, although this was welcomed by many people, there are concerns that mobile phones are useful for contacting people in the event of an emergency, and unfairly prevents silent use, for example text messaging and mobile internet via 3G or Wi-Fi.

Naming

c2c has recently named several units, many of them after longer-serving employees.

Maintenance

The Class 357 units are all maintained by Bombardier service technicians at c2c's East Ham Depotmarker, which won the Golden Spanner Award for Maintenance Team of the Year (Rolling Stock) at the Annual National Rail Awards in 2005 and 2006 and their Shoeburyness depot.

Accidents

On 5 November 2006 at about 00:30, 357 043 hit a red Ford Escort which had come off the road and crashed onto the railway line. The driver of the car had lost control off New Road near the junction with Laurel Close in Leigh-on-Sea. The driver of the car and its passengers left the car before it was hit a few minutes later by the train. A police officer at the site tried to flag the train down before it reached the car, but although the train had slowed before hitting the car, it pushed the car about 100 yards along the line. The train driver and the four passengers on the train were uninjured. The left front valance of 357 043 was damaged. There are varying reports on the age of the driver and the number of passengers in the car.

In November 2006, 357 028 had to have its front valance removed whilst it was undergoing testing at Velim in the Czech Republic after it ran over two dogs and a deer, and almost ran over a local hunter, which were not expecting a train to pass at up to as the test track is not used very often.

In December 2006, two Class 357 units, 357 002 and 357 043, were involved in a minor incident at East Ham Depot when one unit scraped down the side of the other. The undamaged driving car of 357 002 was used to temporarily replace the damaged driving car of 357 043 to form a hybrid unit, which was renumbered 357 099 and remained in service with a guard due to the position of the Driver Only Operation (D.O.O.) mirrors. The damaged units, formed mostly of 357 002 with the driving car of 357 043, were renumbered 357 098 and sent to Crewe Electric TMDmarker for repairs.

Fleet details

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 357/0 c2c 46 1999-2001 4 357 001-357 046
Class 357/2 28 2001-2002 357 201-357 228




References

External links




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