The Anonymous Widower

Rounding Up The Class 170 Trains

In an article in the October 2019 Edition of Modern Railways, which is entitled EMR Kicks Off New Era, more details are given of the trains that will be used by EMR Regional, which will operate the regional services of East Midlands Railway.

EMR Regional will obtain Class 170 trains from various sources.

  • Five three-car from ScotRail
  • Twenty-three two-car from West Midlands Trains
  • Ten two-car and two three-car from Govia Thameslink Railway
  • Four three-car from Govia Thameslink Railway


  1. Thirty-five trains are owned by Porterbrook, with the rest owned by Eversholt.
  2. There is some work to do to bring them, all to the same standard.
  3. It looks like the fleet will end up as something like eighteen three-car trains and fourteen two-car trains.

They will be a great improvement to the trains that currently run the service.

But they could be a better improvement, if the powertrain were to be upgraded to a modern hybrid one!

Porterbrook, who own the largest proportion of these Class 170 trains, are converting some to hybrid drive, using an MTU Hybrid PowerPack.

I talk about the conversion in Looking At The Mathematics Of A Class 170 Train With An MTU Hybrid PowerPack.

So will some or all of these trains be converted?

Thst’s one for the engineers, the accountants and the environmentalists!

Are Battery Electrostars On The Way?

The article finishes with this paragraph about the Class 171 trains, that will come from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and be converted back to Class 170 trains.

GTR currently uses the ‘171s’ on the non-electrified Marshlink and Uckfield lines, and the release of these sets to EMR is contingent on their replacement with converted Electrostar EMUs with bi-mode battery capability, removing these diesel islands of operation from the otherwise all-electric GTR fleet.

So are these battery Electrostars finally on their way?


September 27, 2019 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. Wouldn’t it make more sense to turn the SWR Desiro’s into battery trains for GTR’s nonelectrified routes? That would give you a uniform fleet.

    Comment by william | September 27, 2019 | Reply

    • Porterbrook are working on turning the spare Class 350 trains into battery bi-modes. So they could probably do that. But GTR don’t have any Desiros! There’s always the Class 379 trains, which nobody seems to want. Surely, they’d make high class battery trains. I was a bit surprised they didn’t end up on Corby. But they are owned by a leasing company outside the big four and perhaps their price is too high!

      Comment by AnonW | September 27, 2019 | Reply

  2. I have it on very good authority that short sections of 3rd rail connected to local power packs are in the design phase at network rail for deployment on the Uckfield Branch.

    Comment by Matthew Hodgson Barratt | September 28, 2019 | Reply

  3. The plans are currently to deploy short sections of 3rd rail with local battery packs on the Uckfield Branch in conjunction with conversion of Class 378s to battery/3rd rail units. They form 10 car trains that can fit the restrictive platforms on the branches and at London Bridge Low level.

    Comment by angelmoon117 | September 28, 2019 | Reply

    • That sounds like the system Vivarail have developed. Each section of rail is connected to a container full of batteries, that are trickle-charged. They could even be super capacitors as they don’t degrade as much. I assume you mean Class 387 or Class 379 trains, which have long distance commuting interiors, rather than the seats along the side of the Class 378 trains of the Overground. I also think the Overground wants all its trains to expand services. But there are a few 387s and 379s that are likely to be hanging around waiting for new operators and routes.
      Vivarail put 424kWh of batteries under a two car Class 230 train and they are talking of ranges in the order of 50 km.
      I reckon under a five car Electrostar you could put 120 kWh under each car. As a Class 801 seems to need about 3.4 kWh per vehicle mile to maintain 125 mph, a rough calculation says that these trains could have a battery range of at least 30-40 miles.
      As Southern already has 34 five-car Class 377 trains, would some of these be converted. Especially, as they sometimes run on the Coastway.

      Comment by AnonW | September 28, 2019 | Reply

  4. My mistake, having checked it’s the 376s that are up for conversion. 2×5 car units same roughly the same length as 2×4 + 1×2 car class 171s.

    Comment by angelmoon117 | September 28, 2019 | Reply

    • Getting your numbers mixed up is usually caused by drinking other things rather than real ale. Just finishing my second bottle of Adnams.

      The 36x Class 376 trains are used by Southeastern and mean there are seventy five-car units.

      If the new Southeastern franchise decided to replace all the trains, as some have done, there would be enough battery trains for a large number of reopened railways like the West London Orbital and the Ashington Blythe services North of Newcastle.

      Comment by AnonW | September 28, 2019 | Reply

  5. […] Rounding Up The Class 170 Trains, I said this, which is based on a quote from an article in the October 2019 Edition of Modern […]

    Pingback by Battery Electrostars And The Uckfield Branch « The Anonymous Widower | October 1, 2019 | Reply

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