British Rail Class 180

British Rail Class 180
British Rail Class 180 Adelante
Grand Central Class 180 unit on Cromwell Moor
Grand Central Class 180 on the East Coast Main Line
In service 2002 - Present
Manufacturer Alstom[1]
Built at Washwood Heath, Birmingham
Family name Coradia
Constructed 2000 - 2001
Number built 14 trainsets
Formation 5 cars per trainset[1]
Fleet numbers 180101 - 180114
Capacity 287 seats[2]
Operator First Hull Trains
Northern Rail
Grand Central
Car body construction Steel[3]
Train length 116.52 metres (382 ft 3 in)
Car length 23.71 or 23.03 metres (77 ft 9 in or 75 ft 7 in)
Width 2.80 metres (9 ft 2 in)
Doors TEBL electric single-leaf swing plug, two per side at the ends of each carriage
Maximum speed 125 mph (201 km/h)
Weight 252.5 tonnes (248.5 long tons; 278.3 short tons) (5 car set)[4] Axle load weight 13.25 tonnes
Engine(s) Cummins QSK-19[1]
Power output 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm
Transmission Voith Hydraulic T312BRE to Voith final drive
2 axles driven per car
AAR wheel arrangement 2-B/B-2/B-2/B-2/B-2
Bogies Alstom MB2
Braking system(s) Air/Hydrodynamic
Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS - ATP
Coupling system Scharfenberg[5]
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge

The Class 180 is a type of British diesel multiple unit train built by Alstom between 2000 and 2001 for use on then-new express services by First Great Western (FGW). They were built at Washwood Heath in Birmingham and are part of the Coradia 1000 family along with the Class 175. FGW stopped using the class on 27 March 2009, and they are now employed by other operators. The Class 180s were given the name Adelante on entry into service with FGW, a name devised by First Group that they retain with First Hull Trains.



In the late 1990s, FGW was keen to increase to half-hourly the frequency of its express service from London Paddington to South Wales. This required extra high-speed rolling stock, but there was little available. FGW therefore decided to order 14 new 125 mph diesel multiple units from Alstom, similar to the 26 Class 175s already under construction for sister company First North Western.[2] The order reportedly cost £74.5 million; financing was organised by Wiltshire Leasing, another subsidiary of First Group.[2]

The first unit, 180101, was unveiled on 18 April 2000.[2] However, following a string of problems, full main line testing did not begin until December 2000, six months after it was intended to start.[6] Despite this, Alstom claimed that the trains could enter service in time for the May 2001 timetable change.[6] This date too was missed, and the trains did not go into squadron service until the next timetable change, in December 2001.[7]


The original interior of Standard Class aboard a Class 180 DMSO vehicle

There are 14 Class 180 trains, numbered 180101-180114. There are five cars per unit. Each unit consists of two Standard Class Driving Motor, two Standard Class Intermediate Motor and a First Class Intermediate Motor. All coaches are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine which develops 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm,[1] identical to that found in the Voyager family of DEMUs as well as in the Siemens Class 185 DMUs used by First Transpennine Express.

Unusually for such a fast train, they feature a hydraulic transmission,[4] supplied by Voith which is a three-speed type, with integral hydrodynamic braking (rated at 750 kW short term, 420 kW continuous). One bogie per coach is powered, with both axles driven. Total vehicle weight is 278 tonnes.[1]


Current operators

First Hull Trains Class 180 No. 180113 at London King's Cross

First Hull Trains

First Hull Trains acquired two Class 180 units to replace a damaged Class 222 Pioneer which operated in parallel with the remaining Class 222s on services between London King's Cross and Hull. In 2008, the Department for Transport decided that First Hull Trains Class 222s should be cascaded to EMT and replaced with Class 180s by the end of 2008.[8]The acquired units have undergone an internal refit including the installation of laptop sockets and new coffee machines. The first of the refurbished units began operation in late January 2009. The refurbishment was completed in early 2011.[9]

Northern Rail

Northern Rail operates three Adelantes. They are painted in a more purple version of First Group's "Barbie" livery.

Northern Rail added three Class 180 units to its fleet in October 2008 for crew training with the sets entering service in December 2008 to operate services from Hazel Grove and Manchester Victoria to Preston and Blackpool North until the end of 2010. These units are sub-leased by East Coast to Northern until it can obtain more long-term rolling stock.[10] The three units sub-leased to Northern Rail were to have transferred to East Coast after the 18-month contract finishes in November 2010. However, East Coast has changed its plans and no longer requires them, so they will stay with Northern until May 2011 when it is hoped Northern will have taken delivery of ex-London Midland Class 150 DMUs.[11]

Grand Central

Grand Central Class 180 No. 180112 at London King's Cross

Grand Central operates a pair of Class 180s for use on its London to Sunderland route, having secured the rights to a fourth daily service in each direction.[12] The two 180s join the company's three high-speed trains (HSTs).[13] The company had initially announced the two units would run as one, giving a ten-car train, but later said they would run separately for extra flexibility to the fleet.

Grand Central also acquired three additional units for its new service to Bradford Interchange.[14] Originally the service was to be operated under the brand name Grand Northern, as part of parent company Grand Union, but is instead operating as Grand Central, so that units can be interchanged between the two routes.

The units have been modified by Railcare and fitted with wi-fi and at-seat plug sockets.[15] The first unit to be refurbished was 180114. One of the initial two units, number 180112, was named James Herriot at a ceremony at London King's Cross and is the first to carry Grand Central's new logo[15] and orange stripe livery. They entered service in September 2009, with the Bradford service starting on 23 May 2010.[16] A second unit, 180107, was named Hart of the North in October 2010 following a competition in the Hartlepool Mail.[17]

Former operators

First Great Western

A First Great Western Class 180 unit at Radley

The Class 180 fleet, given the name Adelante by FGW, was originally deployed on First Great Western services linking London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads via Bath Spa and to Cardiff Central via Bristol Parkway.[7] The class suffered a number of technical problems, including problems with the doors closing and locking quickly.[18] This resulted in their replacement on most of the above services with HSTs displaced from Midland Mainline. The Class 180s then operated express commuter services from London Paddington to Oxford, Worcester, Hereford (via the Cotswold Line), Exeter St Davids and Gloucester.

The reliability problems experienced by FGW, combined with increased passenger numbers, eventually led the operator to lose patience with the class and instead to acquire extra refurbished HST sets towards the end of 2007 as replacements to operate the express commuter services.[18] As a consequence, First Great Western returned most of the Class 180 fleet to the leasing company Angel Trains in early 2008.[19]

Although FGW had planned to return the entire fleet for storage, it decided to retain three Class 180 units until it had received a cascaded HST from National Express East Coast.[19] These units were usually operated in multiple, with a 2x5-car train plus one 5-car unit as a spare, on the Cotswold Line from Paddington to Worcester and Hereford.[20] The final FGW 180 ran on 30 March 2009.[21]

Five Class 180 units were planned for use by East Coast in 2009/10. After this proposal was abandoned, it was announced that the five units will be transferred back to First Great Western, to increase capacity on Thames Valley services.[22]

Aborted proposals

East Coast

National Express East Coast requested additional services to a number of destinations in its application for access rights on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) in March 2008, stating that, in addition to its existing InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 sets, it would require as many as nine Class 180s.[23] The routes proposed to use class 180s were London to Lincoln (with one train per day extended to Cleethorpes) and London to Harrogate via York. Although NXEC no longer exists, its successor East Coast pressed ahead with the plans, and managed to secure five units, three of which were temporarily sub-leased to Northern (see above).[10] However, it recently announced that, due to government cuts, it would no longer be introducing a regular all-day service to and from Lincoln, which the units had been planned to operate.[24]

Platinum Trains

Platinum Trains had aimed to use 180s on an Aberdeen to London service, if its track access application was approved.[25] However, the application was refused in January 2009.[26]

Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains leased two units from Angel Trains in 2008, intending to use them as standby units on the West Coast Main Line following the loss of a Class 390 Pendolino unit in the Grayrigg derailment.[27] The units, described as 'strategic standby' units by the company, were returned to Angel Trains without being used following a decision to use a Class 90 locomotive and Mark 3 coaching stock instead.[27]

Fleet details

First Hull Trains 180113 passes Cromwell Moor
Class Operator No. in service Year Built Cars per set Unit numbers
Class 180/1 First Hull Trains 4[28] 2000–2001 5 180109, 180110, 180111, 180113
Northern Rail 3[29] 180103, 180106, 180108
Grand Central 5[30] 180101, 180105, 180107, 180112, 180114[13]
Stored 2 180102, 180104


  1. ^ a b c d e High-speed diesel multiple units Class 180 of First North Western with T312 bre turbo transmission + KB 190, KE-445 and SK-445 final drive and cardan shaft.
  2. ^ a b c d "125mph sleek and stylish Coradias for Great Western". RAIL (Peterborough) 382: 12–13. 3 May 2000. 
  3. ^ Diesel Multiple Units 2010. Platform 5. 2010. p. 53. ISBN 978 1902 336 75 6. 
  4. ^ a b Class 180 Technical Data
  5. ^ "Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  6. ^ a b "Alstom claims 'several' Class 180s will be in use by May". RAIL (Peterborough) 400: 10. 10 January 2001. 
  7. ^ a b "Unveiling of new Class 180 High Speed train" (Press release). FirstGroup. 4 September 2001. 
  8. ^ "East Coast Main Line: Route Utilisation Strategy (section 4.3.2)". Network Rail. February 2008. p. 71. 
  9. ^ About First Hull Trains
  10. ^ a b Today's Railways (Sheffield) (86). 
  11. ^ Miles, Tony (July 2010). "East Coast Class 180s to be retained by Northern?". Modern Railways (London: Ian Allan): p. 46. 
  12. ^ New trains
  13. ^ a b "Two Adelantes on their way to Grand Central". Rail (Peterborough) (613): 10. March 2009. 
  14. ^ "West Riding Update". Grand Central Railway. 
  15. ^ a b "Grand Central Railway names train after famous Yorkshire vet 'James Herriot'". Grand Central Railway. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  16. ^ "'West Riding' services starts in May". Rail (Peterborough) (641): 13. 7 April 2010. 
  17. ^ "Grand Central name Class 180 DMU Hart of the North". Railway Herald (Scunthorpe) (243). 25 October 2010. 
  18. ^ a b Murray, Dick (10 September 2007). "Rail firm goes back to 30-years to boost reliability". London Evening Standard. 
  19. ^ a b Marlow - Maidenhead Passengers' Association News
  20. ^ "Trains to be withdrawn". Oxford Mail. 19 February 2008. 
  21. ^ "Final train rolls into town". Oxford Mail. 30 March 2009. 
  22. ^ "GW mulls Adelante use". Modern Railways (London): p. 89. November 2010. 
  23. ^ East Coast- Track Access Rights on the East Coast Main Line, Office of Rail Regulation, 28 March 2008.
  24. ^ East Coast Class 180 changes, East Coast, 16 June 2010.
  25. ^ Application to the Office of Rail Regulation for a passenger track access contract under section 17 of the Railways Act 1993. Office of Rail Regulation.
  26. ^ ORR Track Access Rights Application Decision for ECML - 28 January 2009. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
  27. ^ a b "Virgin returns two unused Adelantes to Angel Trains". RAIL (Peterborough) 604: 14. 5 November 2008. 
  28. ^ RSTS Hitchin Branch - Railway services around Hitchin
  29. ^ "Northern takes three 180s for Blackpool services". Today's Railways (Sheffield) (84): 64. 
  30. ^ Modern Railways (London): 42. October 2009. 

External links

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