A high-speed experience


PHILIP SHERRATT takes a ride up front in a Southeastern ‘Javelin’ unit on HS1 and then visits Ashford depot to view the upgrade work on the ‘395’ fleet

At the sharp end: Class 395s at St Pancras on 25 April 2024; at right are Nos 395003/021 ready to form the 12.04 to Ramsgate.

It is hard to believe Southeastern’s Highspeed services from St Pancras will celebrate their 15th birthday later this year. In that time the Class 395 ‘Javelins’, built by Hitachi, have transformed travel from Kent into London, bringing Ashford, for example, within 40 minutes of the capital. And, of course, they played a pivotal role in transport provision for the 2012 London Olympics, earning the units their nickname.

A £27 million refurbishment of the 29-strong fleet is now in progress at Ashford depot, funded by fleet owner Eversholt Rail. What better way to get there than in the cab of one of the ‘395s’, travelling at up to 140mph?

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