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Gatwick Express 458s

458001 at Stewarts Lane Gatwick Express replaced its original push-pull stock with eight 8 car class 460 Juniper units, and whilst routine maintenance was taken into account when ordering this quantity it does leave things rather tight to run normal services if more than a single unit is out of action.  Accordingly Gatwick Express took advantage of South West Trains' under utilisation of its class 458 Juniper units to first sub-lease and then lease directly 8001 ad 8002 as a reserve train. Both units were moved to Stewarts Lane on 2nd September 2005. The units will only be used if sufficient 460s are unavailable, likely to be after 2030 when maintenance cover may be required, estimated no more than 70 days a year. Both units have had their South West Trains livery rebranded Gatwick Express, had luggage racks installed and seating converted to 2+2.  Unlike the remaining  South West Trains 458s these units have not had RVAR compliant passenger information displays fitted. An exemption order for Gatwick Express for 8001 and 8002 was applied for on October 14th 2005, granted on March 28th effective 4th April 2006. However, 8001 (not a stranger to inactivity) and 8002 did not move out of Stewarts Lane until June 30th 2006 (ironically due to be the last day of 458 operation on South West Trains) when they finally went for a test run on the Wimbledon loop. As far as the webmaster has been able to establish they have yet to carry passengers for their new masters. These two units returned to South West Trains on 15th December 2006 and it is presumed they are now being modified and returned to South West Trains  specification.

(upmost left) 8001 at Stewarts Lane soon after arrival in September 2005.
photograph by James Bunch

(upper left) 8001 in basic South West Trains livery re-branded to Gatwick Express.
photograph by Dave Hickson

(left) The interior of the PTSO of 8001 converted to 2+2 seating.
photograph by Belgian Marine

Gatwick Express branding over South West Trains livery
interior of converted PTSO of 8001
wheelchair space in converted PTSO of 8001 (left) The wheelchair space in the PTSO of 8001 in its new 2+2 seating configuration

photograph by Belgian Marine

converted interior awaiting luggage racks (left) In this picture of the interior of 8001 the luggage racks have yet to be installed but a seating bay has been removed adjacent to the door vestibule.

photograph by Belgian Marine