Class 508s

A forum for the discussion of railway related topics
Post Reply
windsor_lad
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:38 pm

Class 508s

Post by windsor_lad » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:20 pm

Can anyone explain why the Cl.508 EMUs were moved from the Southern to Merseyside? I remember them being introduced and being a breath of fresh air after years of SUBs and EPBs.

User avatar
pdeaves
Posts: 125
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:35 pm
Contact:

Re: Class 508s

Post by pdeaves » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:30 pm

I readily admit that I am not an expert on rolling stock. However...

My understanding is that their use on the Southern was only ever a temporary measure until the North West was ready for them. They were, of course, numbered in the 'Merseyside' series from the outset.

Anyone else know any better/different?

MisterC
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:51 pm

Re: Class 508s

Post by MisterC » Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:25 pm

I don't know the answer but I think I know where to find it.

Like most large organisations BR had a documented process for approving investment expenditure. BRB papers in the National Archives at Kew will say whether the units as built were for Southern or for Merseyrail but loaned to Southern temporarily.

If I remember correctly the class 508s on Southern were the first trains to have serious problems with leaves on the line, particularly in the autumn of 1981. The class 508s were withdrawn from service in November 1981, returning to service on 7 December, see ROs 01/82 and 02/82.

LostockHall
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:55 pm

Re: Class 508s

Post by LostockHall » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:18 am

The 508's were originally destined for the Merseyside Wirral Line as a follow on to the 507's on the Northern Line. But as the incumbent Wirral class 503's were still in reasonable condition (Unlike the 502's which were worn out), the decision was taken to temporarily have the 508's on the Southern Region as a stop-gap which would allow vintage 4-SUB units to be withdrawn. I had a conversation with the Depot Engineer at Birkenhead North when the first 508 was transferred in 1982, and from memory there was also some clearance issues and platform lengths to be sorted before the fleet came to Merseyside and entered service on the Wirral system. It was realised from the outset that both fleets (507 & 508) would be interchangable between the two systems and is why the 508's had their set numbers modified. After several years in service some trials were conducted to monitor tyre wear on the two systems. 508139 was kept on the Wirral, whilst 507015 was used on the Northern Line only. The Wirral Line services traverse the clockwise Loop tunnel under Liverpool city centre on each journey, and as a consequence the units effectively turn themselves each time they run round the Loop. Unlike the Northern Line, where units shuttle back and forth between termini. As a consequence to aid balanced tyre wear (And to even out mileages, there are some long & short journeys on both systems), both fleets are regularly exchanged between the Wirral & Northern Lines via the tunnel that connects James Street (Wirral Line) to Liverpool Central (Northern Line).
Hope that the above is of some use.
Martyn Hilbert.

Peter Hall
Posts: 268
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:51 am

Re: Class 508s

Post by Peter Hall » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:23 am

p.71 - p.72 of the RCTS 'Coacxhing Stock of British Railways 1978' lists them as being on order and says "Replacements for 4-Sub units'. They of course entered service on the Southern as four car units with a car being removed when they moved to Merseyside and included in 455/7 Units then being built.

MisterC
Posts: 101
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:51 pm

Re: Class 508s

Post by MisterC » Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:55 am

My 2nd hand copies of 1970s ROs did not include the indexes, Peter's comment gave me a clue where to look.

The class 508 order was reported in RO 04/78 in the Coaching Stock (Electric) notes. It says 58 units for SR no mention of subsequent transfer to LMR.

Post Reply