But they are/were diesels and as such were a different breed to the EMUs I was used to. In the early 1990's Connex decided to convert a few CEP's to 3 car for use on the Medway Valley Line and Sheerness branch, and to be honest they looked a bit, well, short. The other thing that's short is the number of pics of them out there - searched for ages to no avail so here is a 4 coach version of my comfort zone on my local line in Kent
|Class 411 EMU 1562 at Maidsotne West Station|
However still no 5 car trains, as the 3 car 411's units were not compatible with the 2 car 465 Networkers. It was all the more suprising that 5 car units weren't around as the vast majority of the platforms on the Kent suburban routes were 10 coaches in length, so a maximum length train would be 4+4+2. And so it remianed until 2002 when the new class 375 Electrostars entered service, gradually spelling the end for the old slam door stock. But still no 5 car units as the 375's came in 3 and 4 car formations. Then one Saturday I arived at Margate to take over my train and thought I was seeing things. 375604 had gained a coach and glory be at last I had seen a 5 coach EMU! Sadly though not many other people must have seen it as there are no pics around of the short time it spent as a 5 car.
Then in 2004, just as work was carried out on surburban stations to make them able to accommodate 12 coach trains, Southeastern decided to invest in more Electrostars specifically for the surburban routes. So naturally they were 5 car units. In the Electrostar world these are unique in that you cannot walk between units when 2 are connected. You might also notice the flat design of the front/rear of the train with not even any buffers to speak of. This was to deter the yoofs of SE London from train surfing, but at last the 5 coach EMU was born.
|5 cr unit 376008 at New Cross|
|5 car unit 377701 leaves East croydon for Milton Keynes yesterday|
|5 car unit 377606 at Anorak Central (Clapham Junction) yesterday|
|Interior of 2nd coach of 377608|