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Wimbledon Park

28th June 2000

© Peter Lindop

12 people gathered outside Wimbledon Park Station on 28 h June 2000 for the follow-up visit to Peter Summerhays' talk about the new Alstom Juniper class 458 units.  We made our way along to Wimbledon Depot (South West Trains), and then had a little traipse around the site, trying different offices until eventually ending up at an Alstom office.  Things had changed since April, with Peter Summerhays having retired and our other expected hosts either having gone back to college or away for the day!   Eventually a guide was arranged (sorry I didn't get his name) from Alstom.

First we went out into the inspection shed.  This is 7 roads wide: 2 x 12 car long, 3 x 8 car long and 2 x 4 car lifting roads (25-ton overhead crane).   No. 9 road (8 car) has been set aside solely for Alstom use.  Here were units 010 and 001, alongside which we walked and had various items pointed out or questions answered.  The trains are four car 750-volt DC third rail units.  An empty centre underneath showed where AC equipment would be placed.  Each unit has two retention toilets, CET pump-out equipment being situated on site and at Clapham Junction.

We then moved out into the yard for a guided walk through unit 008, almost from cab to cab. The "cupboard like" driver's area was seen, this being due to the gangway connection. Not being so easy to deploy as thought, it was not tried! The small but comfortable 12-seater first-class section was tested!

12 of the 30 four car units have so far been delivered, only two however are passed for passenger service (005 and 006). With space at Wimbledon short, two units are stored at Clapham Junction, and another two at Wembley Heavy Repair Depot (West Coast Traincare) where retro-mods are being carried out. Units are often changed between sites.

The summer timetable has brought a change in the workings, the ECS from the depot now having left, we made out own way to Waterloo. Just in time we caught the 11.48 Waterloo-Alton and 13.01 return to try the train in service, formed by unit 005. The journey was uneventful, only the slightly noisy air-conditioning causing adverse comment (this is being corrected).  The 14.20 Waterloo-Alton and ECS back to Wimbledon is all the unit now works, an unfortunate reduction in useful mileage.

Our party dispersed during the 13.01 return journey after an interesting day, following the hiccup at the start!

If you have enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in the following articles by the same author:

Class 458

You maybe interested in the previous lecture on the Class 458s.