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Class 442s: The Wessex Electrics (Paperback)

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Transport > Trains & Railways

By Mark Pike
Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Britain's Railways
Pages: 96
ISBN: 9781802821840
Published: 13th January 2023

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First introduced in the late 1980s, the Class 442s were like nothing that had been seen before in terms of Southern Region electric multiple units. These stylish and sleek trains were the first electric multiple units capable of reaching 100mph, and after many years travelling on the old Southern slam-door stock, mostly in vehicles that dated back to the steam era, the public’s experience of riding in one of the 442s must have been incredible. The class served with several operators, including South West Trains, Southern and South Western Railway. With the advent of COVID-19 and the cutbacks to rail services across the country, after 35 years of service, the Class 442s found themselves on the chopping block. This book is a pictorial tribute of more than 200 images to what was, by far and away, the best electric unit ever to have worked on the Southern Region electrified lines.

This is very much a "record" book, but one that's worth having for a resume of a once proud class."

The Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum - Summer 2023, Issue 184

"...this book provides a fitting record of their work over the third rail electrified lines of Southern England."

West Somerset Railway Association

As with other books in this series, this follows a photographic reference format in a A5 size. The book starts with a short introduction to the class and a brief outline of the history of the units. The photos cover the period from introduction in 1988 to their withdrawal in 2022. Each member of the class is recorded, with the name plate/crest at the start of each chapter. The various liveries carried by the class are covered, from Network SouthEast through to South Western Railway.

The majority of the photos are South West Trains however, with a small number of Network SouthEast photos of some of the class and unit 442404 in unbranded white livery. The focus is on the privatisation era, which is no bad thing.

The photos are nicely produced, although due to the format of the book are not big but are clear. A nice addition to the library of the EMU enthusiast. Recommended.

Diesel and Electric Modellers United – Issue 102

About Mark Pike

Mark Pike has a lifelong interest in UK railways that started at the age of about six when his father used to take him to watch trains at Poole station in Dorset, just after steam had been abolished in the late 1960s. He later joined the railway at the age of 19 as a permanent way trackman at Bournemouth and was later an electric track maintenance worker at Dorchester for over 20 years. Now semi-retired, he is still an avid railway photographer, with various images appearing regularly in mainstream railway magazines and books.

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