Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

“With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy…”

Posted in London, Other general stuff about railways, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 5 January 2012

So that’s that then. Porterbrook and South West Trains have signed an agreement to strengthen their existing fleet by lengthening their Class 458s from four to five cars, as well as bringing into service an extra six units, through the conversion of the former Gatwick Express Class 460 fleet. Obviously this is a good thing financially, as the conversion cost will be a little over £40m, significantly less than the purchase of new build stock, which would most likely have been new Desiros. It also increases what is a small, relatively non-standard element of SWT’s overall fleet. But it means saying farewell forever to the coolest looking third-rail EMU currently used on the British network. Look at it any way you like, but there’s very little that’s sexy about the external appearence of a Class 458. Look at a Class 460 with its nosecone and it will fire the imagination of little boys. They ain’t called “Darth Vaders” for nothing you know. But there we are. We live in a modern age where things need to be refurbished and recycled and reused. One does wonder what this says for the potential for preservation of the rolling stock we use now in twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years time.

“Porterbrook signs agreement for future of Class 458s”

A Class 460 without its nosecone - this is the sight that will await us when these vehicles are recommissioned as Class 458s

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