Bombardier Electrostar

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Bombardier Electrostar
Hugh Llewellyn 20870385584 electrostar sunny.jpg
A Southern Class 377 approaching Norwood Junction
In service2000–present
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation
(formerly ADtranz)
ReplacedClass 421
Class 423
Class 319
Class 456
Class 313
Class 508
Class 365
Class 466
Class 411
Class 465
Class 310
Class 317
Class 312
Class 442
Class 165
Class 166
Class 321
Number built480 trainsets
SuccessorBombardier Aventra
Formation3, 4 or 5 cars per trainset
CapacityVaries depending on number of carriages and seating configuration, see individual articles for details
Operator(s)Greater Anglia
London Overground
Great Northern
Great Western Railway
Car lengthClass 357: DMSO: 20.75 m (68 ft 1 in) each, MSO and PTOSL: 20.10 m (65 ft 11 in) each
Classes 376 and 377 DMSO: 20.4 m (66 ft 11 in) each, MSO and PTOSL: 19.99 m (65 ft 7 in) each
Width2.80 m (9 ft 2 in)
Height3.78 m (12 ft 5 in)
Maximum speed75 mph (120 km/h) (376/378)
100 mph (160 km/h) (357/375/377/379)
110 mph (180 km/h) (387)
WeightClass 357 C2c:157.6 t
Classes 375/3 and 377/3: 133.1 t
Classes 375/6, 375/7, 377/1, 377/2: 173.6 t
Power output2x373 = 746 kW kW (377/3 only)
3x373 = 1,119 kW (others, third rail)
3x560 = 1,680 kW (AC mode)
Electric system(s)25 kV AC Overhead lines
750 V DC third rail
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Bombardier Electrostar (sold as the ADtranz Electrostar until 2001) is a family of electric multiple-unit (EMU) passenger trains manufactured by Bombardier Transportation (formerly ADtranz) at their Derby Litchurch Lane Works in England between 1999 and 2017. Since the privatisation of British Rail, it has become the most common new EMU type in the United Kingdom, where different variants referred to as Class 357, Class 375, Class 376, Class 377, Class 378, Class 379 and Class 387. Electrostars are most common on the high-volume suburban commuter routes in North, South and East London, and mainline services south of London to the Surrey, Sussex, Kent & South Essex coasts and north to Cambridge and Stansted Airport . It shares the same bodyshell and core structure as the Bombardier Turbostar, which is in turn the most common post-privatisation diesel multiple unit (DMU) family, and both evolved from the Class 168 Clubman design by ADtranz.

The Turbostar and Electrostar platforms are a modular design, which share the same basic design, bodyshell and core structure, and are optimised for speedy manufacture and easy maintenance. They consist of a common 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.

The Electrostar was also selected for use on the Gautrain system in South Africa, a new railway between Johannesburg, Pretoria, and the Johannesburg International Airport. The trains were assembled by UCW Partnership in South Africa from components made in Derby.[1]

Transport for London (TfL) announced in August 2006 that it had ordered 48 three- and four-car Electrostar trains for the new London Overground service. These were categorised by Network Rail as Class 378, and entered service in 2009 to replace the Class 313 and Class 508 on the North London Line and West London Line, and to provide the opening service on the new East London line extension from 2010.[2]

In 2009, as part of the government's wider rolling stock plan, an order was placed for thirty four-car Class 379 Electrostar units intended for use by National Express East Anglia (now operated by Greater Anglia) on the Stansted Express and West Anglia services.[3] The first of the new Class 379 units entered passenger service on Thursday 3 March 2011 running the 20:10 Stansted Express from London Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport and the 21:15 return service.

Production of the trains ended in 2017 when unit no. 387174 for Great Western Railway was completed at Derby[4] and was superseded by the Bombardier Aventra.

Electrostar variants[edit]

Class Image Operator Introduced Number Power Carriages Door configuration End gangways Notes
357 Electrostar Unit 357030 at Rainham.JPG c2c 2000 74 AC electric 4 "Plug" style No
375 Electrostar
Unit 375926 at Orpington.JPG Southeastern 2001 112 Dual Voltage/DC electric 3 or 4 "Plug" style Yes Classes 375 and 377 differ only in their coupler configuration and other minor fittings; all Southern units built as Class 375 have since been converted to Class 377 couplers and re-classed. Minor differences in interior trim remain.
376 Electrostar 376022 at Sevenoaks Station.jpg 2004 36 DC electric 5 Sliding pocket No
377 Electrostar Southern377215-WestBrompton-20040927.JPG 377519 at Bedford.jpg Southern
2002 239 Dual Voltage/DC electric 3, 4 or 5 "Plug" style Yes 377/6 and 377/7s have been built with different exteriors, matching the 379s and 387s.
378 Capitalstar Unit 378005 at Canonbury.jpg London Overground 2009 57 Dual Voltage/DC electric 5 Sliding pocket Emergency only The Class 378s were constructed in three separate batches - 24 three car units designated as Class 378/0 with dual voltage capability were utilised on the North London Line and West London Line. 20 four car DC-only units designated Class 378/1 were built for the East London Line. 13 four car Class 378/2s were also built, and the 378/0s had an extra car added to make them 378/2s. All later extended to 5 cars.
Gautrain-in-depot-retouched.JPG Gautrain 2010 24 AC electric 4 "Plug" style No
379 Electrostar Unit 379012 at Bethnal Green.jpg Greater Anglia 2011 30 AC electric "Plug" style Yes The Class 379s incorporate some technical features of the proposed Aventra Mark II Electrostar.[5] However they are outwardly similar to classes 375 and 377.
387 Electrostar Ely - GTSR Great Northern 387114 passing GBRf 66731.JPG387 number 202 and 387222 to Sevenoaks (29311124025).jpgEaling Broadway - GWR 387130+387131 up service.JPG c2c
Great Northern
Gatwick Express
Great Western Railway

Heathrow Express

2014 107 Dual Voltage "Plug" style Units under construction until 2017. Class 387s for Thameslink have been ordered to cope with extra service before enough Class 700s are built. These will then transfer to Great Northern. 387/2s will replace Class 442s on Gatwick Express. GWR's units on the Thames Valley services were to replace the 165s and 166s.

Bombardier Electrostar routes[edit]


357030 at Barking in National Express c2c livery. Electrostar trains are the new standard on many of London’s commuter routes.

c2c uses Class 357 and Class 387 units on services down the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line from Shoeburyness and Southend to London Fenchurch Street.


A Southeastern Class 375 Electrostar at Strood.
Interior of a Southeastern electrostar (Class 375).

The Class 375 is the backbone of Southeastern's long distance routes, seeing services on most of its lines originating from its London termini (London Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge) including;

On the outer suburban portions of these above routes, Class 465/9 Networkers support the Electrostars, but they do not work in multiple together.

A Southeastern Class 376 Electrostar in Southeastern livery.

The Class 376 operates on the metro routes in suburban London, in conjunction with the Class 465 and Class 466 Networkers, operating over the London portion of the above lines from the London Termini (including Blackfriars) out to Dartford and Sevenoaks);

This leaves the Bromley North Line and Sheerness Line, both operated by Class 466s (2 car Networkers) which also used to operate on the Medway Valley Line prior to the May 2012 Timetable Changes.


A Southern Class 377.

Southern's Class 377 fleet is found on all parts of the network apart from the non-electrified routes. They also now run frequently in metro routes alongside the Class 455s and used to run alongside the Class 456s until their transfer to South West Trains in 2014.

Main lines[edit]

Outer suburban[edit]

  • London Victoria–Horsham via Dorking
  • London Victoria–East Grinstead
  • London Bridge–Horsham via East Croydon
  • London Victoria-Reigate
  • London Victoria-Tonbridge via Redhill


Often found on

  • London Victoria–Dorking via Sutton
  • London Victoria–Epsom Downs
  • London Bridge-London Victoria via Sydenham
  • London Bridge-Caterham
  • London Victoria-Caterham
  • London Victoria-Epsom
  • London Bridge-Tattenham Corner

377s can be also found running overnight on Southern London Victoria–Brighton duties at 1:00am and 4:00am, calling at Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Horley, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges.

London Overground[edit]

A London Overground Class 378 in TfL livery at Crystal Palace.

London Overground operates Class 378s over five lines around London:

The sixth major route it's responsible for is the unelectrified Gospel Oak to Barking Line. For this, London Overground obtained Class 172 Turbostar DMUs and have been replaced by new Class 710 Aventra EMUs.

Gautrain (South Africa)[edit]

On 8 June 2010, the route between Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa opened in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[6] The rest between Johannesburg Park Station and Rosebank was to be completed in 2011. This section was actually opened 7 June 2012,[7] the delay caused by work to resolve a water-seepage problem in the single-track tunnel section between Rosebank and Park. Although railways in South Africa use the 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) Cape gauge, Gautrain is built to the more expensive standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in). According to the Gautrain planning and implementation study,[8] this is done for several reasons, including that standard gauge is safer and more comfortable to passengers. The rolling stock is also easier, quicker and less expensive to obtain than Cape Gauge rolling stock, and standard gauge is also less expensive to maintain as it is more tolerant of track imperfections than Cape Gauge. Standard gauge allows for travel at Gautrain's required speed of 160 km/h (99 mph).

Greater Anglia[edit]

Abellio Greater Anglia Class 379 "Electrostar" EMU 379014 arrives at Tottenham Hale with a service to Liverpool Street.

From March 2011 National Express East Anglia introduced 30 x 4 car Class 379s on Stansted Express and West Anglia Main Line services.[9] These incorporate some features of Bombardier's planned 'Aventra' Mark 2 Electrostars.[5]

All units had entered service by mid-August 2011, two months ahead of schedule. A major timetable update in December 2011 entailed the introduction of 12-car trains on some peak workings to and from Cambridge.[10] These trains are now operated by Greater Anglia as of 5 February 2012.

All of Greater Anglia's 30 units will be replaced in 2020 by class 745s.

Great Western Railway[edit]

Great Western Railway class 387 "Electrostar" EMUs 387131 & 387132 at London Paddington on 2 September 2016.

From September 2016 Great Western Railway introduced 37 x 4 car class 387/1s on Peak services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. They currently replace the class 165s and the class 166s on the Thames Valley services and now operate between London Paddington and Reading/Didcot.

GWR announced in 2018 that they will modify 12 units to be used on Heathrow Express due to the Class 332s no longer having a depot.

Great Northern[edit]

From late 2016, 29 of the Class 387/1s operating on Thameslink were displaced by the delivery of Class 700 Desiro City units, and were transferred to Great Northern. They operate mostly on the Kings Cross-Cambridge-King's Lynn route, though they can also been seen on other services. These units were delivered in the livery of Southern, with green doors and Southern upholstery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bombardier Selected Preferred Bidder for Rapid Rail System in South Africa". Bombardier. 2 July 2005. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012. Bombardier Transportation’s facility in Derby, United Kingdom, will be responsible for manufacturing the fleet of Electrostar vehicles, with final assembly performed in South Africa by UCW Partnership, a broad-based empowered subsidiary of Murray & Roberts.
  2. ^ "TfL awards £223m new trains contract". Transport For London. 31 August 2006. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2012. Funded by TfL's £10 billion Investment Programme, the new trains will operate on the North London Railway, which TfL will manage from November next year, and the extended East London Line.
  3. ^ "Express delivery". Railfuture. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Last-ever Electrostar finished in Derby as 18 years of production come to an end". 28 November 2017. The final carriage marks the 2,805th to be constructed at Bombardier’s Derby Litchurch Lane facility, with engineers, company bosses and local MP Margaret Beckett attending a sending-off ceremony to celebrate to the occasion.
  5. ^ a b "First new Stansted Express train rolls out". Railway Gazette International. 14 October 2010.
  6. ^ Smith, David (8 June 2010). "Welcome aboard the Gautrain, Africa's first high-speed urban train". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  7. ^ "Gautrain Rapid Rail Link: Park Station Opening". Official Gautrain Website. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Gautrain Rapid Rail Link: Planning and Implementation Study" (PDF). Official Gautrain Website. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  9. ^ "National Express launches Class 379s on Stansted Express Service" (PDF). Railway Herald. 21 March 2011. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  10. ^ "New timetable for the West Anglia network". National Express East Anglia. Retrieved 11 November 2011.

External links[edit]

The Operators of the Electrostars