TS18: The Final PEP

Main photograph above, copyright mattbuck.

A total of 61 BR Class 315 EMUs were built at the start of the 1980s, and soon, Waggonz and Armstrong Powerhouse will bring this final PEP-derived unit to Steam and Dovetail Games Stores!

The design for the second generation of electric multiple units for British Rail was established in the early 1970s, a total of 3 Prototype Electro Rheostatic units were built in York, two 4-car Class 445s and a single 2-car Class 446. Intended for the Southern Region, they were also given Southern classifications, but despite technically being 4-PER and 2-PER units, they were given the suffix ‘PEP’ instead.

It was from the early ‘PEP’ EMUs that a large production fleet of suburban stock would be refined for the Southern Region and Scotland, 217 units to be precise, the last 61 of which were built for use out of London Liverpool Street onto the Great Eastern Main Line; these were the Class 315s.

Introduced about a decade after the PEP first appeared, the Class 315 replaced ageing stock which dated back to 1949, taking command of local commuter services between London and Shenfield, and on the Lea Valley Lines. Given their time of construction, it would only be a few years before they would be subject to privatisation, and initially, the fleet was split in two as the West Anglia Main Line went to WAGN, and the GEML to First Great Eastern.

The fleet would be split until 2004, after which a new franchise combined everything out of London Liverpool Street into one, and the units underwent a round of refurbishment until 2008, they were repainted into new liveries and some were given headlight modifications.

Today, the fleet is again split in two, although operated under the governing body Transport for London. The Lea Valley Lines, and the Upminster Branch, were transferred to London Overground in May 2015, and select Class 315 units run services as such. On the same day, the Shenfield Metro services were handed to TfL Rail, the precursor the Elizabeth Line which will operate Crossrail services.

Ultimately, the future of the Class 315s is uncertain, all will be replaced as Class 345s and Class 710s enter service, and their age means it could be the end of the line for them, and soon all other PEP-derived units.

While times are changing, the chance to experience the challenge of frequent stopping, difficult conditions and on-the-line timetables will soon be yours, as the headlining traction of the Shenfield Metro, the BR Class 315, is coming soon from Waggonz and Armstrong Powerhouse!


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