Class 460 - Introduction
As a result of the Brighton Main Line RUS rolling the franchise into a new South Central franchise from May 2008 (run by ) and consequent rolling stock changes, from the December 12th 2010 timetable change Alstom Juniper Class 460 units started going off lease. Initially four units were taken off lease.
Due to shortage of other rolling stock damaged by bad weather, initially two M-F diagrams remained plus ad-hoc workings, including weekends. From 13th December 2010 a Class 460 worked the 06:45 Brighton Victoria and 08:13 return, thus picking up Gatwick Express circuits commencing with the 08:50 from Gatwick Airport. Ultimately 460001 and 460002 remained at Stewarts Lane working on a "power by the hour" basis until September 2012, the bulk of the Class 460 fleet being stored at Bournemouth T&RSMD. To provide extra capacity for the Olympics and Paralympics 460007 was reactivated and returned to service. The last working of a Class 460 unit was expected to be on Saturday 15th September 2012. 460002 was out working a diagram for the day, stepping up some time during the day so it finished on diagram SL059 with the 00:50 Gatwick Airport to Victoria on Sunday 16th September. The diagram it commenced the day on finished late on Saturday, so the change got the unit running into September 16th!
The future deployment of these twelve year old units is rebuilding and reforming into 5 car units, with surplus cars being used to lengthen existing Alstom Juniper Class 458 units, to form a new fleet of 5 car Class 458/5 units for . Sufficient Clas 460s will first be rebuilt to class 458/5 to permit subsequent release of existing Class 458 units to be refurbished with an additional car, ex Class 460, added.
Existing Class 458 and Class 460 cab fronts will be rebuilt and couplers changed to be similar to Desiro units, thus permitting joining and breaking in service. plus they will have a "high capacity" interior, allowing the Class 450 high capacity units to be restored to regular Class 450 accommodation. The Class 458/5 is expected to emerge in SWT blue livery. The first unit for conversion, 460004, was taken from Wimbledon to Doncaster by road in late July 2012.