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British Rail Class 507

British Rail Class 507
Pioneer set no. 507001 at Hunts Cross illustrated in the new post-refurbishment Merseyrail livery.
Interior of a Merseyrail Class 507
In service 1978 - Current
Manufacturer BREL
Built at York Works
Family name BREL 1972 "PEP"
Entered service 1 November 1978
Refurbishment 32 Merseyrail sets 2002 - 2005
Alstom Eastleigh Works
Number built 33 trainsets
Number scrapped 1 trainsets
Formation 3 cars per trainset
Capacity 234 seats (as-built)
222 seats (modified)
192 seats (refurbished)
Operator(s) Merseyrail
Depot(s) Kirkdale TMD
Birkenhead North TMD
Line(s) served Northern Line
Wirral Line
Car length 19.8 m (65 ft)
Width 2.82 m (9.3 ft)
Height 3.58 m (11.7 ft)
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)
Weight 104.5 tonnes (102.8 long tons)
Traction system 8 x GEC G310AZ of 82kw (110hp)
Power output 656 kW (880 hp)
Electric system(s) 750 V DC 3rd rail
Braking system(s) Electro-pneumatic disc and rheostatic
Multiple working within class and Class 508
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) Standard gauge

The Class 507 is a type of electric multiple unit (EMU) train built by British Rail Engineering Limited at York Works in two batches from 1978 to 1980. They were the second variety of British Rail's standard 1972 design for suburban EMUs derived from PEP stock, which eventually encompassed 755 vehicles and five Classes (Class 313/314/315/507/508). The 507s were the first variant to be 750 V DC third rail only. They have worked on the Merseyrail network from new, and continue to do so, having been refurbished by Alstom's Eastleigh Works.


  • History 1
  • Incidents 2
  • Description 3
  • Current operations 4
  • Liveries 5
  • Plans for replacement 6
  • Naming 7
  • References 8
  • See also 9


With the Class 502 units life-expired, unable to cope with the demands of the new "Link" tunnel and approaching 40 years old, by 1977 a replacement was sought. Owing to the success of the Class 313 fleet on suburban services from King's Cross, four sets were temporarily transferred to Merseyside and based at Hall Road TMD. Sets 313013/063[1] were used for clearance trials on the Southport, Ormskirk and Kirkby-Garston lines. The results showed that a similar type of stock would be suitable for the Merseyrail Northern Line.

Initially, 47 sets were ordered (507001-507047) but cost issues forced this number to be reduced to 38 units, then 30 by early 1978 when the first sets were under construction. Ultimately, 33 units were built between September 1978 and October 1979.

On 25 October 1978, Royal Special involving units 507001 and 507002 conveyed HM the Queen and several other VIPs on a special service between Moorfields and Kirkby. Following the journey, she declared the new-look Merseyrail network officially open.[2] The first passenger working occurred on 1 November 1978 with 507001 working the 0739 Southport-Liverpool Central with a commemorative headboard.[3] It worked between Liverpool and Southport for the remainder of the day, while 507002 operated between Liverpool and Ormskirk. Further 507s steadily entered service and the 502s were in turn withdrawn. By mid 1980, Northern Line services were entirely in the hands of the 507s.



507022 was written off as a result of a serious collision with 507004 at Kirkdale TMD in 1991. Driving motor 64388 is now in 507004, as the latter's was damaged beyond repair, and the other motor carriage, renumbered, is in Glasgow-based 314203. To date, this is the only withdrawn Class 507 set.

Two other collisions at Kirkdale depot have resulted in Class 507s formed as hybrid sets. In 1982, 507011 and 507027 were severely damaged (one leading car each); carriage 64415 from 507011 was attached to the rest of 507027 as a result. The second occurred in 1987, involving 507010 and 507014. Again, driving carriages of both were damaged to the extent a hybrid set was temporarily formed.

An arson attack at Rock Ferry in 2001 caused a third hybrid set to occur. Sets 507023 and 508130 had different carriages damaged by fire and had to be repaired, leaving the remaining coaches to be formed while repairs took place.

Collisions with buffer stops at terminal stations have also occurred. Sets 507029 and 507032 both received damage due to overrunning at Kirkby in 1991 and 1997 respectively. Set 507019 was involved in a collision at West Kirby on 11 January 2007 and carriage 64423 had to be sent to Crewe Works for repair.

On 30 June 2009 unit 507002 without a driver rolled out of Kirkdale TMD, derailing at a set of points further down.[5][6] The incident, which caused disruption to many services, was caused by failure to apply the brakes [7] whilst maintenance was performed so that when isolating wooden paddles were removed from between the conductor rail and pick-up shoes, the train moved off without a driver on board. On 23 May 2011, it was announced by the Office of Rail Regulation that Merseyrail were fined £85,000 and ordered to pay legal costs of £20,970.15 due to the breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 leading to this incident.[8][9][10]


507s are formed of three cars, and numbered 507001 to 507033. Original plans were drawn up for 47; later 38 507s to be built, but costs enforced a reduction in the number. Sets are made up of two driving motor cars ('A' DMSO with the compressor; 'B' BDMSO with the battery) and a trailer. Car numbering is as follows:

  • 64367-64399 - DMSO (Driving Motor Second Open)
  • 71342-71374 - TSO (Trailer Second Open)
  • 64405-64437 - BDMSO (Battery Driving Motor Second Open)

Originally, each 3-car set seated 234 passengers, this figure being reduced to 222 following interior modifications during the 1990s. After the introduction of high back seats during refurbishment in 2004/2005 this was reduced to 192 with space for cyclists and disabled people improved.

The 507s (and 508s) replaced LMS-designed Class 502 EMUs on the Northern Line and Class 503 EMUs on the Wirral Line.

Current operations

From new, all 507s have worked the Merseyrail network. Sets have been used interchangeably between the Northern Line and the Wirral Line since 1997, so work the following:

Class Operator No. Built No. in service Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 507 Merseyrail 33 32 1978–1980 3 507001 - 507021
507023 - 507033
Class 507 diagram


507004 and 507011 in BR blue and grey with Merseyrail logo, seen at Freshfield in 1986.

507s have appeared in various colours over their lifetimes.

  • BR Blue and Grey (1978–1994): the initial livery lasted until well into their careers on Merseyside. The units also carried the MPTE 69 logo and Merseyrail branding on the driver's side of the outer ends of the driving vehicles.
  • Merseyrail Original (1993–2001; repaints 2001–2004): yellow with white around the windows and black and grey stripes, exclusive to Merseyside EMUs.
  • Merseyrail Revised (1999–2004): a lighter yellow, and no black stripe.
  • Merseyrail Refurbished (2003–2015): silver, with vertical curved yellow stripes receding from the cab ends. The passenger doors were all yellow, introduced as a safety measure by Merseyrail. 'M' branding on the front ends and on the sides, and a Merseyrail vinyl. The vinyl was purchased without graffiti protection, and so it does not wear well if vandalised. Several sets ran with their 'M' logos missing or worn away.
  • Merseyrail Capital of Culture (2008–2009): based around the Merseyrail Refurbished livery, with overlain graphics. Photographs depicted focus on some of the weird and wonderful innovations from Liverpool, such as the SuperLambBanana. The colourful liveries met with mixed reactions from travellers. It was most often on the Southport – Hunts Cross line. Passenger doors carry diagonal safety stripes.[11][12]
507002 at Old Roan in 2013, sporting the Hope University livery.
  • Merseyrail Hope University (October 2012 –): pale background with text and graphics, advertising Liverpool Hope University.[13] The passenger doors are all yellow, as a safety measure which was introduced, previously, by Merseyrail. The livery is applied as a vinyl skin.[14] This livery is unique to unit number 507002.
  • Merseyrail Good Communications (January 2014 –): six different designs, half with a yellow background, and half with a brushed metal background.[15] Both sides have lifestyle text, in a rounded font, and graphics along a lower railway map-type stubbed stripe. The passenger doors are white, on the yellow coaches, and yellow on the brushed metal coaches. There is Merseyrail 'M' branding on each of the passenger doors, as well as on the cab fronts. The livery is applied as a vinyl skin.[16][17]

Plans for replacement

It was expected by Merseyrail that the 507s and 508s would be withdrawn around 2014 and replaced by a new EMU, but this has been postponed following the latest refurbishment. On 14 May 2012, Merseytravel announced that it had formally begun a project for replacement of the 507s and 508s, with new trains to be expected by 2017.[18]

Merseytravel is considering several options to modernise the Merseyrail rolling stock by the end of the decade. This includes new stock or an extensive re-working of the existing Class 507s and 508s.[19] The lease on the Class 507s and 508s has been extended to 2018. As part of the agreement with Angel Trains, the fleet will receive a refresh package including external re-livery, internal enhancements and engineering work.[20]


Named units are as follows:[21][22]

  • 507004 - Bob Paisley
  • 507008 - Harold Wilson[23]
  • 507009 - Dixie Dean (denamed)
  • 507016 - Merseyrail - celebrating the first ten years 2003-2013[24] (denamed)
  • 507020 - John Peel[25] (denamed)
  • 507021 - Red Rum (denamed)
  • 507023 - Operations Inspector Stuart Mason
  • 507033 - Cllr George Howard (denamed)
  • 507033 - Councillor Jack Spriggs


  1. ^ Today's Railway UK issue 123
  2. ^ The Story of Merseyrail
  3. ^ Merseyrail Electrics: The Inside Story
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Runaway trains rolls out of Depot". BBC News. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  6. ^ "Railway commuter train derails in 'handbrake' accident". Liverpool Echo. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  7. ^ Railways Archive - Accident at Kirkdale on 30 Jun 2009
  8. ^ "Merseyrail operator fined £85,000 for runaway train incident" (Press release). Office of Rail Regulation. 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  9. ^ Rossington, Ben (2011-05-24). "Runaway train costs Merseyrail £100,000 after company admits safety breaches which nearly led to disaster". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  10. ^ Tuplin, Richard; Morrison, Brian (2011-05-30). "Merseyrail Electrics fined over H&S issues" (PDF). Railway Herald (269): 4.  
  11. ^ Matty P's Railway Pics Accessed 2014-06-05
  12. ^ Stewart Signs - Step on the Culture train! Accessed 2014-06-05
  13. ^ Liverpool Hope University - Merseyrail wraps train in Liverpool Hope University livery
  14. ^ Stewart Signs - Merseyrail's Liverpool Hope train wrap captures student attention Accessed 2014-06-05
  15. ^ Merseyrail - New Look Trains Accessed 2014-06-05
  16. ^ Prolific North - Good Communications designs new-look Merseyrail trains Accessed 2014-06-05
  17. ^ RMWeb - 507017 breaks cover in the new Merseyrail livery Accessed 2014-06-05
  18. ^ "Merseytravel signals go ahead for new trains". Merseytravel. 2012-05-14. Archived from the original on 2012-08-13. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  19. ^ "Burges Salmon advises Merseyrail Electrics on rolling stock arrangements". 
  20. ^ "Best Merseyrail service for two years". 
  21. ^ "The Encyclopaedia of Modern Traction Names". Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  22. ^ "AbRail Rail Databases - Electric Multiple Units". 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Tuplin, Richard; Morrison, Brian (2010-10-27). "Merseyrail honours local DJ in Class 507 naming" (PDF). Railway Herald (153): 2.  

See also

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