The Class 210 diesel electric multiple unit was designed in the early 80’s as a replacement for the multilple units built in the 1950’s and 60’s that were now showing their age. Two prototypes were built in 1982 using different engine and electrical makes, a Paxman and Brush Traction combination in a 4 car outer-suburban version and an MTU and GEC combination in a 3 car inner-suburban layout with coaches based on the Mark 3 coaches then in full production for High Speed Trains and loco hauled services on the west Coast Main Line.
Like the “Thumper” units built for the Southern Region they had the engine mounted behind one driving cab, rather than the more traditional position below the floor. The drawback being that the engine took up space for passengers as the engine and electrical components took up over half of the length of the coach.
The units entered service in 1982 and were popular with passengers on the Thames Valley services from London Paddington. Despite the good reception the trains got wherever they went they never went into production. Sprinters were also on test at the time and do to their lower cost they got the production order.
The Driver Trailer Second from 210 001 survived to become part of the Class 457 Networker prototype. It is now retired and enjoying life on the Kent & East Sussex Railway. Two coaches from 210 002 survive in service on the rail network. Trailer Second 60400 is in Class 455 unit 912 after the original was damaged in an accident and Driving Trailer Second 60301 now makes up half of Trailer Motor Second in unit 913 after half of the original coach was crushed when a cement mixer fell from a bridge.
When these units retire in summer 2020 we hope to acquire the two surviving coaches, plus two Driving Trailer Seconds to make up the rebuilt set, turning one into a new Driving Motor Second housing a Paxman 6RPL similar to the original engine. If you would like to join us turn this into reality please get in touch.