Imagine hearing about an exciting new railway line running across the capital then turning up to find some dingy-looking 1980s train. Well, you don’t have to, because, on the section of London’s spanking new (and mega-expensive) Elizabeth line between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, some of the trains are a whopping 42 years old. These British Rail Class 315 units (as they’re technically called) were a temporary stopgap. The plan was always to scrap them, but more time was needed to get enough newer trains running, so they let the older guys stick around for a bit longer than anticipated.
For the first few months of the Elizabeth line services, the 315 ran at weekday commuter peak hours. Now, however, the newer Class 345 trains are ready and have completely replaced the 315s. They officially decided to retire the remaining 315 cars because of their incompatibility with new signalling systems on the central and Heathrow sections of the Lizzy. Since the Elizabeth line now starts in Paddington, joining the existing route just before Stratford, these trains were sitting idle.
If you are particularly passionate about trains, as the Class 315 Preservation Society definitely is, there will be a special farewell tour for the 315 units on Saturday November 26 for £31.50 (see what they did there?). All the proceeds will be going to the Railway Children charity, an organisation helping displaced children find safe accommodation. Which sits well in theme, as the UK’s rail network attracts vulnerable and runaway young people like a magnet, often providing them with somewhere to go in place of home or a safe place to stay.
Help them by taking a ride on London’s oldest newest trains.
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