British Rail Class 508

British Rail Class 508

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British Rail Class 508

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The British Rail Class 508 electric multiple units ("EMUs") were built by BREL at York works in 1979-80. They were the fourth variety of BR's then-standard 1972 design for suburban EMUs, eventually encompassing 755 vehicles and five classes (313/314/315/507/508). They have mostly worked on the Merseyrail network since 1983, and continue to do so, now refurbished by Alstom's Eastleigh Works.


The Class 508 EMUs were developed for Merseyside following extensive trials and testing of the 4Pep/2Pep stock built in the early 1970s. Testing of Class 313 stock took place on Merseyside, using 313003 and 313005. However, following planning and building, British Rail decided to divert the 508s to work alongside much older first-generation 4Sub EMUs in the London Waterloo area. Based at Strawberry Hill depot, they soon became very unpopular in the Southern region due to their being non-standard. Once a new build of Class 455 EMUs were complete the 508s were slowly sent to their originally intended home on the Merseyrail network, to work alongside the already well-established fleet of Class 507 EMUs working there since 1978.

All 43 508s are now formed of three cars, although they were four-car sets on the Southern Region. When sent to Merseyside one of the trailer cars was removed and incorporated into the 455/7 build of EMUs. The individual passenger door controls, which had been a feature of these units, were plated over before the units were sent north. Original...
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