Class 460 (or 8Gat) is the designation of a fleet of 8-car British electric multiple-unit trains built by Alstom at Washwood Heath in 2000-01. They are part of Alstom's "Juniper" family, which also includes the 334 and 458 classes.
From their introduction until the final units were withdrawn in September 2012, they operated Gatwick Express services between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport. All are currently in store and are to be merged with the Class 458 fleet used by South West Trains.
When National Express won the Gatwick Express franchise, part of the agreement was to replace the ageing Class 73/2 locomotives, British Rail Class 488 coaching stock, and Class 489 motor luggage vans. Therefore, an order was placed with Alstom for the construction of eight Class 460 units.
Deliveries of the new units began in 2000. The units featured controversial sloping cab-ends, which earned them the nickname "Darth Vaders" among rail enthusiasts. A Juniper coupler is located under the removable nose cone although only intended for emergency use.
Each 8-car unit was formed of a driving motor luggage van, two intermediate 1st-class/composite trailers, two intermediate 2nd-class motor carriages, an intermediate 2nd-class trailer, another 2nd-class motor carriage, and a 2nd-class driving motor (DMLFO+TFO+TCO+MSO+MSO+TSO+MSO+DMSO).
They were mechanically similar to the Class 458s operated by South West Trains, but the "Darth Vader" nose cones on the Class 460s look very different from the Class 458s' flat cab fronts.
From December 2010 the Class 460s were gradually withdrawn from in favour of refurbished Class 442s, with the final units going off lease in September 2012. The Class 460s were allocated to Stewarts Lane Depot.
On 23 December 2011 the Department for Transport announced that the Class 460s would be split up and sixty carriages rebuilt to be incorporated with South West Trains' one hundred and twenty Class 458 carriages (30 4-car units), resulting in 36 five-car Class 458/5 sets. The remaining four carriages will be stripped for spares. This £42m scheme was devised by Porterbrook Leasing the owner of both fleets. The new 5-car sets will be designated Class 458/5 and coupled together to form 10-car trains to provide extra peak capacity on suburban services into London Waterloo.
Porterbrook Leasing signed the deal with South West Trains in January 2012. The work will be carried out by Wabtec, Doncaster and Brush Traction, Loughborough (Drive vehicles) on behalf of original builder Alstom. The first trains arrived in October 2013. It will involve replacing the existing retractable gangways and couplers between coaches. The cab ends both on Class 458 and on Class 460 driving vehicles will be redesigned to be compatible with the Template:Brc Desiro fleet. The "Darth Vader" nose cones will be discarded. New Train Management System software will be installed to improve reliability. Internal refurbishment will include reconfiguring the seating layout to provide more standing room for passengers. Traction units on the Class 460 vehicles will be re-geared from Template:Convert maximum, not required on the services for which the trains will be used, to Template:Convert maximum to avoid overheating. Automatic Selective Door Opening is to be installed for use at a few suburban stations where it is not practicable to lengthen platforms.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Notes|
|Class 460||Gatwick Express||8||2000-01||8||460001 - 460008||Withdrawn for conversion to Class 458/5. (2012-2013)|
The formation of the 8Gat unit is shown below. In normal circumstances, the luggage van (DMLFO) was at the 'London' end of the train (i.e. closest to the concourse at London Victoria).