British Rail Class 306

The British Rail Class 306 was a type of electric multiple unit (EMU) introduced in 1949. It consisted of 92 three-car trains which were used on newly electrified suburban on the Great Eastern Main Line between Shenfield and London Liverpool Street.

British Rail Class 306
306022 Liverpool Street.jpg
306022 at Liverpool Street in 1975.
In service1949 - 1981
ManufacturerMetro Cammell and BRCW
Number built92 trainsets
  • 3 cars per trainset
Design codeAM6
Fleet numbers
  • 306001-306092 (sets)
  • 65201-65292(DMSO)
  • 65401-65492 (TBSO)
  • 65601-65692 (DTSO)[3]
  • 62S (DMSO)
  • 46S (TBSO)
  • 60S (DTSO)[1]
Operator(s)British Rail
Line(s) servedGreat Eastern Main Line [4]
Train length177 ft 7 in (54.13 m)[2]
Car length
  • 60 ft 4 14 in (18.396 m) (DMSO)[5]
  • 55 ft 0 12 in (16.777 m) (TBSO)[5]
  • 55 ft 4 14 in (16.872 m) (DTSO)[6]
Width9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)[5]
Height13 ft 1 in (3.99 m)[2]
DoorsBi-parting sliding[2]
Articulated sections3
Maximum speed75 mph (121 km/h)[2]
  • 105 long tons (107 t; 118 short tons) (total)
  • 51.7 t (50.9 long tons; 57.0 short tons) (DMSO)
  • 26.4 t (26.0 long tons; 29.1 short tons) (TBSO)
  • 27.9 t (27.5 long tons; 30.8 short tons) (DTSO)[1]
Traction motors4 × EE 504[5]
Power output4 × 210 hp (160 kW)[5]
Electric system(s)
Current collection methodPantograph
UIC classificationBo'Bo'+2'2'+2'2'
Braking system(s)Air (EP/Auto)[2]
Coupling systemScrew[1]
Multiple workingWithin class
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
View of the former Motor Brake Second Open (MBSO) vehicle showing the modified (raised) roofline above the cab when the pantograph was relocated to the centre carriage.
A side view of the centre carriage showing the Stone Faiveley AMBR pantograph and the guards' section below


Class 306 trains were built to a pre-World War II design by Metro Cammell (Driving Trailer) and Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (Driving Motor Brake and Trailer) and were equipped with English Electric traction equipment. Each carriage featured two sets of twin pneumatic sliding passenger doors, which could be opened by either the guard or the passengers, who could use buttons fitted inside and outside the doors. The order was placed by the LNER in 1938 but official delivery did not commence until February 1949.[8]

When built the trains were energised at 1,500 V direct current (DC) which was collected from overhead wires by a diamond pantograph located above the cab on the Motor Brake Second Open (MBSO) vehicle.

In the early 1960s, the overhead wires were re-energised at 25,000 V alternating current (AC) (and 6,250 V AC in the London area) and the trains were rebuilt to use this very different electrical system. A transformer and rectifier unit was fitted to the underframe between the bogies of the intermediate carriage and the pantograph, now a more modern Stone Faiveley AMBR design, was moved to the roof of this carriage. Because this reduced the headroom inside the train, the guard's compartment was relocated to be directly below the pantograph. The trains were then re-numbered 001-092 with the last two digits of each carriage number (previously numbered in the LNER coaching series) the same as the unit number.


Units being made up of three coaches, trains were usually formed on three units (nine coaches)[8] although off-peak trains formed of only two units (six coaches) could be seen. This meant that the standard formation could carry 528 seated passengers plus another 696 standing, making 1,224 passengers, compared with about 1,000 passengers in the steam trains that they replaced.[8]

There is a record of a single three-coach unit hauling a Class 47 and train into Chelmsford after the locomotive failed on a London Liverpool Street to Norwich express.[9]

Withdrawal and preservationEdit

The Class 306 trains were withdrawn in the early 1980s, with 306017 preserved. It has been repainted in a near original green livery, albeit with a yellow warning panel on the front to comply with present-day safety regulations. In the early 2000s, it was restored to operational condition by First Great Eastern.[10]

The unit was in store at MoD Kineton awaiting the resolving of issues such as asbestos contamination. The contamination was removed at Eastleigh Works and the unit was transferred by rail to the East Anglian Railway Museum in June 2011 for display as an exhibit, under a 4-year loan agreement from the National Railway Museum. It was moved to Locomotion: the National Railway Museum at Shildon in October 2018 so it can be assessed before restoration.[11] It is scheduled to move to York when space becomes available.[10][12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Fox 1987, p. 52
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Class 306". The Railway Centre. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011.
  3. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 22
  4. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 21
  5. ^ a b c d e Longworth 2015, p. 349
  6. ^ Longworth 2015, p. 350
  7. ^ Longworth 2015, pp. 349–350
  8. ^ a b c Glover, John (2003). Eastern Electric. Hersham: Ian Allen. pp. 38–40. ISBN 0 7110 2934 2.
  9. ^ "Motive power miscellany". Railway World. Vol. 30 no. 345. Shepperton: Ian Allen. February 1969. p. 93.
  10. ^ a b " What future for the last 306?" Rail Express issue 247 December 2016 pages 16-19
  11. ^ Locomotion (18 October 2018). "Class 306 Electric Multiple Unit set number 306 017 has recently arrived at Locomotion - for assessment and initial conservation in advance of a restoration". @LocomotionSHD. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  12. ^ Class 306 Science Museum Group


  • Fox, Peter (1987). Multiple Unit Pocket Book. British Railways Pocket Book No.2 (Summer/Autumn 1987 ed.). Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0906579740. OCLC 613347580.
  • Longworth, Hugh (2015). British Railways Electric Multiple Units to 1975. Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 9780860936688. OCLC 923205678.

Further readingEdit