Gemstone on the beach


An introduction to this issue of Modern Railways

James Abbott

Off to the sunny south coast for a jolly event – and yes, even in November when this trip took place, the weather was bright and mild. While a modern EMU might not have quite the same glamour as the 5-BELs enjoyed by Sir Laurence Olivier and his ilk, the Brighton main line is always fun: the clamour of Clapham, expansion at the airport, the railway nerve centre atThree Bridges – topped off by the thrill of sailing across the Ouse valley at Balcombe.

The BML was but a precursor to the main object of the day – a trip east on the Coastway, along the Seaford branch. Nestled in a corner under the restored roof of the Brighton terminus is a splendid survivor: a Class 313 EMU. Like so many other Londoners, these veterans of the suburban system have retired to the south coast, with fond memories of the PEP of their youth and the‘happy trains’ with which they enjoyed japes. They do almost converse of days gone by, with their low-back seats and airy interiors – even if the lack of toilets has earned them some criticism from bladder-challenged passengers on the coast.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

I have a subscription but need to register on site…

You will need your print Customer ID ready to set up an account, you'll find this on your welcome email and cover sheet delivered with each print magazine.

Register now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers