British Rail Class 483

British Rail Class 483

Infobox Train
name = British Rail Class 483

imagesize = 300px
caption = Class 483, no. 483001, pictured in 1989. At the time, the line was operated as part of Network SouthEast.
background = #243D5C
Manufacturer = Metro Cammell
Operator = Island Line Trains
Formation = 2 cars per trainset
InService = 1938 on London Underground
1989-present on Island Line
Weight = 55 tonnes
Capacity = 84 seats
MaxSpeed = 45 mph
Gauge = Standard gauge
Voltage = 750 V DC 3rd rail
Power = 500 kW
Depots = Ryde depot
The British Rail Class 483 electrical multiple units were originally built by Metro-Cammell as 1938 tube stock units for London Underground. They were extensively refurbished between 1989 and 1992 by Eastleigh Works, for use on services on the Isle of Wight's Island Line. This was despite having already worked for nearly fifty years on the London Underground. The units replaced the even older and life-expired Class 485 and Class 486 units, which were introduced in 1967, but were originally built as 'Standard' stock units for the London Electric Railway in 1923.


Nine two-car units were refurbished, numbered 483001-009, although only the final three digits were carried on the cab ends. Units were painted in the new Network SouthEast livery, of blue with red and white stripes. A tenth unit, was also shipped to Ryde depot, although this was for spares only and was never used in passenger operation on the Island. This unit was unofficially given the unit number 483010.

Each unit was formed of two driving motor vehicles, numbered 121-129 and 221-229. The technical description of this formation was DMSO(A)+DMSO(B).

When the units were first introduced, the final digit of the unit number and the final digit of the carriage numbers corresponded, such that unit 001 was formed of vehicles 121 and 221. However, since then, many reformations have taken place to the unit formations.

In 1996, with the privatisation of Britain's railways, the Ryde-Shanklin became part of the Island Line franchise, which was won by the Stagecoach Group. Services were branded as Island Line. In the late 1990s several units were withdrawn from service as surplus to requirements. From 2000 onwards, the remaining units were overhauled, and most repainted into a new livery of blue and yellow, with pictures of dinosaurs. Two units, nos. 007 and 009, were later repainted into their original London Transport red livery, (albeit with yellow warning panels on the cab rather than the original red), and from 2007, the rest of the fleet is being painted into this livery.

In 2007, Island Line was amalgamated with South West Trains as part of the new South Western Franchise. However, there are no plans to replace the rolling stock on the Isle of Wight [cite web|url=|title=Stagecoach Group welcomes South Western Rail Franchise win|date=|accessdate=2008-04-28|publisher=South West Trains] , despite a large amount of newer London Underground rolling stock soon to be available.

In March 2007, South West Trains purchased the rolling stock outright from the leasing company HSBC Rail for £1. [cite web|url=|title=‘Wagons Roll’ Towards Island Line Independence.|date=2007-03-28|accessdate=2007-09-18|publisher=Island Pulse]

Fleet details

Five of the nine units remain in service, the majority of the others having been taken out of service in the late 1990s.

Image Gallery


External links

* [ Class 483 Depot] - Source of detailed information on the Class 483 EMU's
* [ Island Line Online] - Official website of the operator of Class 483 EMU's

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