British Rail Class 357

British Rail Class 357
British Rail Class 357 "Electrostar"

Class 357 006 at West Ham in the new National Express c2c livery

Green interior of Class 357/0 unit
In service 1999 - Current
Manufacturer ADtranz Derby (now Bombardier Inc.)
Family name Electrostar
Number built 74 trainsets
Formation 4 cars per trainset
Capacity 282 seats: DMSO 71 each, MSO 78 and PTOSL 62 each[1]
Operator c2c
Car length DMSO: 20.75 m (68 ft 1 in) each, MSO and PTOSL: 20.10 m (65 ft 11 in) each
Width 2.80 m (9 ft 2 in)
Height 3.78 m (12 ft 5 in)
Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h)
Weight 157.6 t: DMSO 40.7 t each, MSO 39.5 t, PTOSL 36.7 t
Power output 3 × 560 kW = 1,680 kW (2,250 hp)
Electric system(s) 25 kV AC Overhead lines
Coupling system Tightlock fully automatic couplers[2]
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge

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 Works in Derby, England, in two batches from 1999 to 2002 at a cost of approximately £292 million.[3][4] They were the first member of the Electrostar family, which also includes Classes 375, 376, 377, 378, and 379, 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-metre-long (65 ft 7 in) version of the Turbostar's 23-metre-long (75 ft 6 in) body[5] as Electrostars have 3 or 4 cars per unit rather than 2 or 3 for Turbostars.

Class 357 units were built with 100 mph (161 km/h) capability, although the maximum line speed on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway (the Essex Thameside franchise) is at present only 75 mph (121 km/h). They all have air conditioning, air suspension, CCTV,[6] standard class 3+2 Chapman seating throughout, 28 computers,[7] sliding plug doors, and rheostatic air disc brakes, which now have regenerative capacity.[1] As with all Electrostar units, they use insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) AC motors. They have Tightlock fully automatic couplers but are only interoperable within their own class with other Class 357 units.[2] 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[3] in March 1997[8] 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, painted with a white livery with dark green doors and underskirt (bottom body panels). Their interior consists of dark green seat moquette with alternating rows of large flecks of light blue and light green, light green plastic seat tops with slots in the side for reservation tickets (which are not used) with dark green insets, a stone pattern linoleum floor, purple plastic interior, light green handrails and metal luggage racks with large circular perforations and light green edges, and dark green stickers on the inter-carriage gangway doors.[9] 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.

All 44 units were due to enter service by 1 November 1999[10] but were marred by late deliveries due to safety certification problems[1] and reliability problems, meaning they were delivered during 2000, and leading to their temporary withdrawal in October 2001.[4] As a result, ADtranz built two further units free of charge, bringing the total to 46 units.[11]

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

Prism Rail was purchased by National Express in September 2000, and the franchise was rebranded as c2c once the Class 357/0 units were in service. The second batch of 28 Class 357/2 units were ordered at a cost of £92 million by c2c in 2000[12] primarily to replace the remaining Class 312 units. Construction started in 2001, and they were delivered between September 2001 and May 2002. They are owned by Angel Trains and leased by c2c, at an initial cost of £900 a day (including rental and maintenance).[13] Due to the rebranding, they have a white livery with grey doors,[14] and are internally branded to the c2c purple colour scheme with magenta handrails, magenta stickers on the inter-carriage gangway doors with c2c branding: "culture2club2commuters2culture2club2", and a light grey linoleum floor with white, dark grey and light purple flecks. 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, problems and maintenance

357030 at Barking in new livery

In June 2001, units 357 025 and 357 027 had vinyl stickers applied with two prototype variants of the proposed purplish blue and magenta c2c livery at Bombardier's Litchurch Lane Works in Derby. They were delivered to East Ham EMU Depot for evaluation. Each set of vinyl stickers cost about £40,000.[citation needed] Rollout of the new livery on the whole fleet began by mid-2002, and was completed over the next three months. Hence, although the underlying paintwork and interiors of the two sub-classes were different when delivered, their exterior appearance is identical, and the only way to distinguish them externally is by their numbering. When the Quiet Zone car was introduced in each set, this was marked on the exterior of the doors by a magenta and white sticker.

On 19 April 2004, the unusually large rate of increase in atmospheric pressure led to an airlock and failure of hydraulic 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.[7][15][16] However, after their teething problems were sorted out, they have since been the most reliable fleet of EMUs in the United Kingdom,[17] 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,[18][19] 37,391 in 2006,[20] and 45,459 in 2007[21] (defined as the number of miles a train runs before a defect develops causing 5 minutes or longer delay).

The Class 357 units are all normally maintained by Bombardier service technicians at c2c's East Ham Depot,[7][22] which won the Golden Spanner Award for Maintenance Team of the Year (Rolling Stock) at the Annual National Rail Awards in 2005 and 2006[23] and their Shoeburyness depot.

On 14 December 2005, c2c's East Ham depot began putting advertising vinyl wraps on some carriages, starting with branding the MSO intermediate trailer car 74716 in set 357 216 as a 'Cough-Free Zone' by the cough syrup makers Benylin for the winter.[24] This has not been done for quite some time.

In June 2009, c2c and Bombardier began a repainting programme on the Class 357 units[25] beginning with 357 203. When the vinyl wraps were taken off the Class 357 units, slight corrosion caused by water getting trapped behind the vinyl was found in the aluminium around the doors, so a bodywork maintenance and repair programme was carried out. The corrosion was treated by rubbing the aluminium down and repainting it with two-pack paint. More serious corrosion caused by water seeping in through a poorly-sealed join between panels was found behind several panels on the lower part of the vehicle bodysides, which had spread to the outside. A thick, tight mastic seal was introduced between the panels to prevent this issue from re-occurring. To save money during construction, stainless steel bolts were used to secure the external aluminium panels in place; however, this resulted in galvanic corrosion of the more reactive aluminium, so the bolts have been replaced by aluminium ones. Salts in water catalyse corrosion, a problem for the c2c fleet as they run beside the sea.

After repair at Bombardier's Litchurch Lane Works in Derby, 357 203 was repainted and re-entered service on 30 July 2009. Similar work was carried out on the rest of the fleet over the next 21 months at Bombardier's Ilford Depot, where the units were repainted into their original white colour, but with dark blue doors, and branded with both "national express" and "c2c" logos in lower-case.[25][26] The "Quiet Zone" stickers are now white with sky-blue lettering instead of magenta with white lettering.[27] c2c ran a special "Farewell to the Blue Train" railtour service to commemorate the last day of running in passenger service of the blue livery on Saturday 5 March 2011.[28]

During the winters of both 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, fine powdery snow settling on the Auxiliary Control Modules (ACMs) melted by warmer air led to water leaking into the ACMs, causing damage and their shutdown, subsequently causing passenger information system, heating, and lighting failure in some carriages. Several units also had to run in service with fewer traction motors working. The ACMs were modified in six ways to try and prevent this from recurring.

Regenerative braking

On 9 November 2006, unit 357 028 was sent to the Velim railway test circuit in the Czech Republic for safety testing to obtain certification for a regenerative braking system which had been trialled for many months on the Class 357 fleet.[29] In March 2007, 357 028 returned from the Czech Republic, having gained safety certification, and c2c began fitting the regenerative braking systems to the rest of its Class 357 fleet, becoming the first UK train operator to do so.[30][31] 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[32] and the tagline:

All c2c trains are greener now - find out more at - - c2c - the greener way to go

to highlight the completion of the scheme, which has given energy savings of up to 21%.[33][34][35] 357 010 lost its green livery in March 2011 as part of the fleet's corrosion repair and repainting project.


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 current normal timetable.[7]

Five units were loaned to sister National Express Group operator National Express East Anglia (then branded 'one' Railway) 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 Street to Southend Victoria 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 ten 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.[36] 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 14 May 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.[37] Full rollout of the Wi-Fi service may have been delayed for financial reasons.

Quiet Zone

In October 2007, c2c announced that the country-end carriage of each unit (i.e. Shoeburyness end of the trains) would be made into a "Quiet Zone", where the 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.[38] A trial was carried out to install special film onto the windows of the Quiet Zone carriages to block all mobile phone and Wi-Fi signals, however it was not successful and the project was not continued.[39]


On 5 November 2006 at about 00:30, 357 043 hit a red Ford Escort which had come off the road and crashed through a boundary fence 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.[40][41]

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 100 mph (160 km/h) as the test track is not used very often.

On 9 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 under the TOPS system 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 TMD for repairs. Both trains were repaired and then had their normal numbering restored. They were due to re-enter service on Friday 5 October 2007, but actually re-entered service over the weekend of 13/14 October.

These accidents and units 357 028 and 357 045 being out of service at the same time led to two spare Class 321/4 units, 321 408 and 321 428, being loaned from sister National Express Group train operator Silverlink for three months for use at Monday-Friday peak hours on diagrams between Fenchurch Street-Pitsea via Rainham and Fenchurch Street-Laindon to cover for the unavailable Class 357 units. The Class 321 units were used with guards as they are incompatible with the positioning of c2c's face-on Driver Only Operation (D.O.O.) mirrors. [1] [2]


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

Fleet details

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 357/0 c2c 46 1999–2001 4 357001-357046
Class 357/2 28 2001–2002 357201-357228

Class 357 c2c Diagram.PNG


  1. ^ a b c The Railway (2002). "The Railway Class 357 - Technical Data". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Angel Trains - Data Sheets - Regional Passenger Trains - Class 357/2". Angel Trains. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "UK Business Park - UK Activity Report - ADtranz". UK Business Park. 5 March 1997. Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c2c. "c2c Online - Progress on c2c's new train fleet". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Porterbrook - Class 357" (PDF). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  6. ^ Roger Ford (August 2000). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources August 2000". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d Roger Ford (February 2006). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources February 2006 - Golden Spanners won the hard way". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  8. ^ Roger Ford (October 2001). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources October 2001". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  9. ^ The Railway (2002). "The Railway Recognition and Equipment information - Class 357". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  10. ^ Roger Ford (January 2001). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources January 2001". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  11. ^ Roger Ford (February 2000). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources February 2000". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  12. ^ "UK Business Park - UK Activity Report - ADtranz". UK Business Park. 5 July 2000. Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  13. ^ Roger Ford (February 2000). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources February 2000". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  14. ^ John Law (15 January 2006). " The London, Tilbury & Southend". Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  15. ^ Martin Wainwright (20 April 2004). " - Wrong type of pressure halts new trains". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 July 2008. 
  16. ^ " - Trains fail under pressure". The Sun (London). 19 April 2004. Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  17. ^ c2c (10 March 2009). "c2c Online - c2c achieves its best-ever train service punctuality" (Press release). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  18. ^ Roger Ford (January 2006). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources January 2006: Train reliability – electrics excel but diesels disappoint". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  19. ^ c2c (24 May 2006). "c2c Online - Most reliable electric trains in the country win award for c2c" (Press release). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  20. ^ c2c (7 December 2006). "c2c Online - c2c's trains win top award for second year running" (Press release). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  21. ^ c2c (12 December 2007). "c2c Online - c2c wins top train award again" (Press release). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  22. ^ "Wikimapia - East Ham Railway Depot London". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  23. ^ National Express (11 September 2006). "National Express Group PLC - NX scoops the honours at National Rail Awards". Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  24. ^ Morrison, Brian (2005). "Cough-free zone on c2c 'Electrostars'". The Railway Herald (Railway 1 (25): 9. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  25. ^ a b c2c (June 2009). "c2c Online: c2c Commuter News - June 2009" (pdf). Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  26. ^ sinkplunger (24 September 2009). "Flickr: Class 357 001 National Express". Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  27. ^ Dave Amis CDP (26 September 2009). "Flickr: If only!". Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  28. ^ c2c (5 March 2011). "c2c Online: Last Blue Train Takes to the c2c Rails". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  29. ^ Roger Ford (November 2006). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources November 2006". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  30. ^ c2c (3 June 2007). "c2c Online - c2c takes the lead in energy saving train travel". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  31. ^ (4 June 2007). "TheRailwayCentre - c2c launches major energy saving with re-gen braking on Class 357 fleet". Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  32. ^ David Dawson (23 June 2007). " David Dawson's Railway Photos - To promote the use of regenerative braking on the 357s, c2c have outshopped 357 010 in this eye-catching livery". Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  33. ^ c2c (4 June 2007). "c2c Online - Green Credentials". Retrieved 19 July 2008. 
  34. ^ Roger Ford (July 2007). "Alycidon Rail: Modern Railways - Informed Sources July 2007". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  35. ^ Roger Ford (2 July 2007). "Railway Gazette International: Regenerative braking boosts green credentials". Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  36. ^ c2c (20 June 2006). "c2c Online: TV On Trains - Trials Stopped". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  37. ^ Maggie Holland (25 May 2007). "IT PRO - c2c starts onboard Wi-Fi trial". Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  38. ^ c2c (2008). "c2c Online: Quiet Zone". Retrieved 19 July 2008. 
  39. ^ Andrew Levy (28 October 2008). "Mail Online: End to the mobile phone bores: New 'quiet' train carriages to block mobile phone signals". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  40. ^ "London Evening Standard: Lucky escape for joyriders who crashed on rail line". 6 November 2006. Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  41. ^ Steven Blaakman (6 November 2006). "Echo News: Car hit by train". Retrieved 1 August 2009. 
  42. ^ c2c. "c2c Online: c2c honours memory of route champion". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  43. ^ c2c (24 May 2006). "c2c Online: c2c honours long-serving employee with train naming ceremony". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  44. ^ c2c (19 June 2006). "c2c Online: Fifty years of service recognised on c2c". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  45. ^ c2c (9 October 2006). "c2c Online: Train name unites c2c and Network Rail". Retrieved 14 April 2011. 

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