Class 442 Wessex Electrics 


Introduced in 1988 for the Waterloo-Bournemouth line, the class 442 units re-used the traction package from the original 1963-built REP units (Restaurant EPB) and were allocated to Bournemouth depot.

With five 23m cars with First class retaining some compartments, and capable of 100 mile/h running, the units were something of an eye-opener on the Southern Region when they first took to the rails. For a railway used to Mk1 slab-fronted stock the contemporary design of the 442's was quite a surprise.

Irreverently known as 'Plastic Pigs' it was the first time Mk3 coaches had been seen on the Southern Region and furthermore the twenty four 5-car sets were fitted with sliding plug doors.

The author was involved with a few test runs, the initial commissioning of the units and the setting up of a computer-based component control system for these units at the depot.

What a travesty that SW Trains saw fit to remove them from traffic in early 2007 for reasons best known to themselves.

After the introduction of the class 387/2 trains for the London Victoria to Brighton and Gatwick Airport routes the class 442s have all been withdrawn.

However in March 2017 as part of the new franchise it was announced that 18 five-car class 442s will be re-furbished and operate on London Waterloo and Portsmouth services entering service by December 2018.

Click on the picture for a bigger image - photos are the author unless credited

A class 442 at Bournemouth depot in early 1988

Author's collection

A class 442 on test pictured at Wimbledon depot in early 1988

Author's collection

Platform 2 at Woking in late 1988

Author's collection

Departing Woking

Author's collection

Class 442

A class 442 unit heading for Waterloo passes Basingstoke in early 1989

Author's collection

442 cab

A view inside the cab - as built

Author's collection

442 Bournemouth.jpg (72636 bytes)

An unidentified member of the class is seen in the Down platform at Bournemouth after a test run from Waterloo in the summer of 1988


442406 at Southampton on 23rd January 1990 in original livery

Steve Jones


Unit 442419 in South West Trains livery, awaits departure from Weymouth with the 14.00 service to Waterloo on 8th June 2006


Unit 442411 leaves Southampton Central with the 15.52 to Weymouth on 8th June 2006
442414 at Victoria station with a Gatwick Express service on 22nd December 2011
442204 passes Battersea Park on 28th June 2014


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