Thames Valley EMU order finalised

Great Western Railway (GWR) has announced it has finalised an agreement with Bombardier and Porterbrook to procure 37 new Class 387 Electrostar EMUs for its Thames Valley route.

GWR said the new four-car units, which will replace the operator’s ‘Turbo’ fleet, could begin to enter service as early as September.

The new units, which add to eight already ordered by GWR, are due to go into service on the Hayes & Harlington – London Paddington route on September 5.

GWR will be able to operate the EMUs either as four, eight or 12-car trains.

Great Western Railway managing director, Mark Hopwood said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK.

“We’d already promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and faster journey times, but this deal goes even further offering the comfort of what will be most up-to-date commuter fleet on the UK rail network.”



  1. National Express c2c are getting about 6 Class 387/3’s on hire until 2019 unless Bombardier are planning to build up to 20 Class 387/3’s for c2c or 20 Class 38x’s for c2c. Plus Bombardier could also build more Class 379’s (Class 379/1 & Class 379/2) for Abellio Greater Anglia or future train operator if they do win the Greater Anglia franchise in October with more Class 379 Electrostar trains to be built to replace the Class 317’s and Class 321’s and the current 30 Class 379’s will still be used on Stansted Express services as they were built back in 2010. And Bombardier are also to built and assemble the 65 Class 345’s for MTR Crossrail and 45 Class 710’s Aventra for London Overground’s Lea Valley lines (Liverpool St-Cheshunt, Enfield Town & Chingford), Romford-Upminster and Gospel Oak-Barking lines with 8 Class 172/0’s (or some of the Class 172/0’s) could be used on the West Ealing-Greenford branch line in West London if London Overground takes over the Greenford branch line.

  2. I read in Modern Railways that because of new crash regulations, that they can’t build any more Class 387 cabs after September 30th. So does that mean more new Electrostars.can’t be built? I don’t suspect that Bombardier are too worried, as the first Class 345s probably aren’t too far away. MR also said a couple of months ago, that 125 mph Aventras are a possibility. Bombardier have told me that all Aventras will be wired to accept on-board energy storage. So could we be seeing Aventras running between Ipswich and Cambridge and on the various branch lines in East Anglia without any wiring?

    Remember Abellio lent the Class 379 for the IPEMU tests, so will their reward be a new franchise and the first to run high-speed battery trains? A 125 mph IPEMU would do London to Yarmouth in style and London to Norwich in 90!

    MR also mused last month about some of the GWR Class 387s having batteries to work the branch lines in the Thames Valley and Reading to Gatwick.

    To add to the mystery of what is happening, the share-price of Torotrak, who make KERS for Formula One and have just announced a program to develop the technology for heavy off-highway use, is going up and down like a whore’s drawers.

    Could we be seeing a 125 mph Aventra with energy storage based on Formula One-proven technology?

    I’ve no idea, but we live in interesting times!

    • I do fear that you are taking the idea of onboard energy storage far more seriously than most. Unless you know of something that the most of us don’t. Not to mention that Formula One no longer makes use of ‘KERS’.

      • Something is happening, but I know not what. I rode the IPEMU prototype in early 2015 at Manningtree and didn’t believe what I’d just done. But if you look up the mathematics of steel wheel on steel rail, it makes sense. KERS may not be in Formula One any more, but the system was successfully applied to buses in Gillingham. I bought a few shares in Torotrak to have some fun!

        I wouldn’t be surprised at anything that happens. Including total failure of the idea.


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