Class 309: The only mark I design express AC EMUs were the class 309 fleet, delivered to the Great Eastern from 1962 and lasting in service until 2000. 23 units were built at York, delivered in maroon livery, originally in 2- and 4-car formation allowing 10-car trains to work between London Liverpool Street, Clacton and Walton, dividing at Thorpe-le-Soken. Loco-hauled stock was added in the early 1980s to create further 4-car units, around which time those sets with ‘Griddle’ cars had these vehicles removed. The whole fleet was refurbished in 1985-1987, first appearing in ‘Jaffa Cake’ livery before succumbing to NSE stripes. Displaced by class 321s, they lasted on the GE until 1994. However, seven sets saw further use around Manchester until 2000. Two units then entered Departmental use for cab-signalling tests, and have been preserved.
This image shows 309612 tailing a sister unit out of Colchester with a working to Liverpool Street. Set 612 was new in October 1962, and lasted until June 1993. This had been one of the sets delivered with a 'Griddle' car (cut by Vic Berry, Leicester in August 1984 and replaced by ex-loco hauled stock), the final formation being scrapped by MCP Glasgow later in 1993.
From EMU: pre-digital