British Rail Class 180

The British Rail Class 180 is a class of 14 diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit passenger trains built by Alstom at Washwood Heath in 2000/01 for First Great Western (FGW). They are part of the Coradia 1000 family, along with the Class 175. After recurring technical problems with the trains, FGW handed all the units back to leasing company Angel Trains in 2008/09. After a period in store, they were leased to Hull Trains and Grand Central, while the remainder returned to service with FGW. The latter have since moved to Grand Central.

British Rail Class 180 Adelante
First Hull Trains 180113 at Peterborough in March 2011
Original interior
In serviceDecember 2001–present
Built atWashwood Heath
Family nameAlstom Coradia
ReplacedInterCity 125
Class 222
Class 166
Number built14 sets
Formation5 cars per set
Fleet numbers180101–180114
Capacity287 seats
Operator(s)Grand Central
Hull Trains
Car body constructionSteel[1]
Train length116.52 m (382 ft 3 38 in)
Car length23.71 or 23.03 m (77 ft 9 12 in or 75 ft 6 34 in)
Width2.73 m (8 ft 11 12 in)
DoorsTEBL electric single-leaf swing plug, two per side at the ends of each carriage
Maximum speed125 mph (201 km/h)
Weight252.5 tonnes (248.5 long tons; 278.3 short tons) (5-car set)[2] Axle load weight 13.25 tonnes
Prime mover(s)Cummins QSK19[3]
Engine typeDiesel engine[3]
Power output560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm
TransmissionVoith Hydraulic T 312 bre to Voith final drive
2 axles driven per car
AAR wheel arrangement2-B/B-2/B-2/B-2/B-2
BogiesAlstom MB2
Braking system(s)Air/Hydrodynamic (Retarders bypassed due to unreliability)
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS - ATP
Coupling systemScharfenberg
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge


As a franchise agreement, FGW was required to increase to half-hourly the frequency of its express service from London Paddington to South Wales. This required extra high-speed rolling stock. FGW ordered fourteen 125 mph diesel multiple units from Alstom, similar to the 26 Class 175s then under construction for sister company First North Western.[4]

The first unit was unveiled on 18 April 2000.[4] However, following a string of problems, full main line testing did not begin until December 2000, six months after it was intended to start.[5] Despite this, Alstom claimed that the trains could enter service in time for the May 2001 timetable change.[5] This date too was missed, and the trains did not go into squadron service until the next timetable change, in December 2001.[6][7]


There are 14 Class 180 sets, numbered 180101-180114. There are five cars per unit: two Standard Class Driving Motors, two Standard Class Intermediate Motors and a First Class Intermediate Motor. All coaches are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine, which develops 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm.[3]

The trains feature a hydraulic transmission,[2] supplied by Voith which is a three-speed type, with integral hydrodynamic braking (rated at 750 kW short term, 420 kW continuous). These trains are the only diesel-powered high-speed trains in the world with diesel-hydraulic transmission. One bogie per coach is powered, with both axles driven. Total vehicle weight is 278 tonnes.[3] The units feature Scharfenberg couplers.[8]


Current operators

Grand Central

Grand Central initially planned to operate a pair of Class 180s on its London King's Cross to Sunderland service, having secured the rights to a fourth daily service in each direction.[9] The two 180s joined the company's three High Speed Trains (HSTs).[10][11] Grand Central had initially announced that the two units would run as a ten-car train but later said that they would run separately, for extra flexibility.

The Grand Central Class 180s were initially given the fleet name Zephyr, the Adelante name was later reintroduced.[12] Maintenance is carried out at Heaton TMD and Crofton TMD.

Grand Central leased three additional units for its new service to Bradford Interchange.[13] Originally the service was to be operated under the brand name Grand Northern, as part of parent company Grand Union, but is operating as Grand Central so that units can be interchanged between the two routes.

The units have been modified by Railcare and fitted with wi-fi and at-seat sockets.[14] One of the initial two units, 180112, was named James Herriot at a ceremony at London King's Cross and was the first to carry Grand Central's new logo and orange stripe livery.[14] They entered service in September 2009, with the Bradford service starting on 23 May 2010.[15]

Other sets named were 180107 as Hart of the North in October 2010 following a competition in the Hartlepool Mail,[16] 180105 as The Yorkshire Artist, by the artist Ashley Jackson in October 2011 and 180108 as William Shakespeare in April 2018.[17]

Since July 2016, Northern have operated a peak morning working between Halifax and Leeds via Bradford with a Class 180 set hired from Grand Central. This is to release other DMUs to cover the reduction in the number of units available to hire from TransPennine Express.[18][19]

In 2017 Grand Central received the remaining five 180s being operated by Great Western Railway, to allow for service expansion and replace its HSTs.[20][21] In 2018 an overhaul programme for all 10 sets commenced at Arriva TrainCare, Eastleigh.[22]

Hull Trains

Hull Trains leased two Class 180 units to replace a damaged Class 222 Pioneer, which operated with the remaining Class 222s between London King's Cross and Hull.[23] In 2008 Hull Trains released its Class 222s to East Midlands Trains and replaced them with Class 180s.[24] The acquired units underwent an internal refit including the installation of laptop sockets and new coffee machines. The first entered service in late January 2009.[25] The refurbishment program was completed in early 2012.[26] Until 2018 Hull Trains' Class 180s were maintained alongside the FGW fleet at Old Oak Common TMD in London.[27] They are now maintained by Bombardier Transportation at Crofton TMD.

The Hull Trains fleet are to be replaced by Class 802 bi-mode trains in early 2020.[28] These will then move to East Midlands Railway.[29]


Starting from 11 July 2016, Northern have leased one Class 180 from sister Arriva company Grand Central per day from Monday to Friday to provide additional peak time capacity on the Calder Valley Line.[30] As of the May 2018 timetable, the 180 is currently diagrammed to operate 1S98, the 07:02 service from Hebden Bridge to Leeds, and the 1S99 17:25 return. Both services call at all stations en-route, except for Low Moor.[31]

Former operators

Great Western Railway

The Class 180 fleet, given the brand name Adelante by First Great Western (now Great Western Railway), was originally deployed on services linking London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads via Bath Spa and to Cardiff Central via Bristol Parkway.[6] They also operated on occasions to Paignton.[32]

The class suffered a number of technical problems, including problems with the doors closing and locking quickly.[33] This resulted in their replacement on most of the above services with HSTs displaced from Midland Mainline by Class 222s. The Class 180s then operated express commuter services from London Paddington to Oxford, Worcester, Hereford (via the Cotswold Line), Exeter St Davids and Gloucester.

The reliability problems experienced by FGW, combined with increased passenger numbers, eventually led the operator to lose patience with the class and it acquired extra refurbished HST sets towards the end of 2007 as replacements on the express commuter services.[33] Most of the Class 180 fleet were returned to the leasing company Angel Trains between 2007 and 2009.[34][35]

Although FGW had planned to return the entire fleet in December 2007, it decided to retain three units until it had received a cascaded HST from National Express East Coast.[34] A pair of the units operated in multiple on an early-morning Oxford to London commuter service, before being divided to work independently the rest of the day (after returning as empty stock to Oxford) on the Cotswold Line from Paddington to Worcester and Hereford.[36] The final FGW 180 ran on 30 March 2009.[37] The remainder were placed in store from December 2007 at Oxley TRSMD with the last withdrawn in March 2009.[38][39][40]

Five Class 180 units (102-104, 106 and 108) were leased by East Coast in 2009. After the new services they were to operate were abandoned, all were back to FGW to increase capacity on Thames Valley services, three have operated for Northern Rail in the interim.[41] They were introduced on the Cotswold Line, allowing Class 165 and 166 Turbo DMUs to be released for Thames Valley services.[42][43][44]

The first refurbished Class 180 entered passenger service on 28 May 2012.[45] GWR's Class 180s were maintained at Old Oak Common TMD.[27] After being replaced by Class 800s, all five were transferred to Grand Central in 2017.[46]

Northern Rail

Northern Rail leased three Class 180 units (103, 106 and 108) with the sets entering service in December 2008 operating from Hazel Grove and Manchester Victoria to Preston and Blackpool North, until the end of 2012.[47] These were sub-leased by East Coast until it could obtain more long-term rolling stock.[48] The three were to have transferred to East Coast after the 18-month contract finished in November 2010. However East Coast changed its plans and no longer required them, so they remained with Northern until December 2011 when Northern took delivery of ex London Midland Class 150s. The last was withdrawn on 2 December 2011.[49] After being refurbished, all three returned to service with First Great Western.

Aborted proposals

East Coast

National Express East Coast requested additional services to a number of destinations in its application for access rights on the East Coast Main Line in March 2008, stating that, in addition to its existing InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 sets, it would require as many as nine Class 180 units.[50] The routes proposed were London to Lincoln (with one train per day extended to Cleethorpes) and London to Harrogate via York. After NXEC's demise, its successor East Coast pressed ahead with the plans, and leased five units, three of which were temporarily sub-leased to Northern (see above).[48][51] However the planned services were never introduced.[52]

Harrogate Trains

Harrogate Trains proposed to operate services from London King's Cross to Harrogate with Class 180s.[53][54]

Platinum Trains

Platinum Trains had planned to use Class 180 units on an Aberdeen to London King's Cross service, buts its track access application was rejected by the Office of Rail Regulation.[55][56] [57]

Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains leased two units from Angel Trains in 2008, intending to use them as standby units on the West Coast Main Line following the loss of a Class 390 Pendolino unit in the Grayrigg derailment. The units, described as 'strategic standby' units by the company, were returned to Angel Trains without being used following a decision to use a Class 90 locomotive and Mark 3 coaching stock instead.[58][59]

Fleet details

Class Operator No. in service Year Built Cars per set Unit numbers
Class 180 Grand Central 10 200001 5 180101180108, 180112, 180114
Hull Trains 4 180109180111, 180113

See also

  • List of high speed trains


  1. Diesel Multiple Units 2010. Sheffield: Platform 5. 2010. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-902336-75-6.
  2. Class 180 Technical Data
  3. High-speed diesel multiple units Class 180 of First North Western with T 312 bre turbo transmission + KB 190, KE-445 and SK-445 final drive and cardan shaft.
  4. "125mph sleek and stylish Coradias for Great Western". RAIL. Peterborough. 382: 12–13. 3 May 2000.
  5. "Alstom claims 'several' Class 180s will be in use by May". RAIL. Peterborough. 400: 10. 10 January 2001.
  6. "Unveiling of new Class 180 High Speed train" (Press release). FirstGroup. 4 September 2001.
  7. Alstom 180s enter service - 20 months after unveiling Rail issue 426 9 January 2002 page 12
  8. "Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  9. New trains
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  12. Grand Central begins £9m Adelante train refurbishment Grand Central 29 March 2018
  13. "West Riding Update". Grand Central Railway.
  14. "Grand Central Railway names train after famous Yorkshire vet 'James Herriot'". Grand Central Railway. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
  15. "'West Riding' services starts in May". Rail. Peterborough (641): 13. 7 April 2010.
  16. "Grand Central name Class 180 DMU Hart of the North". Railway Herald. Scunthorpe (243). 25 October 2010.
  17. Name Game Rail Express issue 266 July 2018 page 84
  18. "THIRTY SEVENTH SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT" (PDF). Network Rail. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
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  20. Grand Central to acquire five FGW 180s Rail issue 759 15 October 2014 page 11
  21. Ex GWR 180s on way to Grand Central Today's Railways UK issue 187 July 2017 page 71
  22. Upgrade for Grand Central Class 180s Railways Illustrated issue 184 June 2018 page 13
  23. Hull Trains starts using 180s Rail issue 591 7 May 2008 page 13
  24. "East Coast Main Line: Route Utilisation Strategy (section 4.3.2)" (PDF). Network Rail. February 2008. p. 71. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 29 February 2008.
  25. Hull Trains to go all Adelante Rail Express issue 153 February 2009 page 4
  26. First Hull Trains celebrates success after £4.5m mechanical overhaul Hull Trains 10 September 2012
  27. Old Oak to maintain Adelantes The Railway Magazine issue 1309 May 2010 page 81
  28. Hull Trains Confirms AT300 Order Modern Railways issue 819 December 2016 page 11
  29. Hitachi rumoured to have won EMR bi-mode deal Rail issue 884 31 July 2019 page 28
  31. Route 45 Train Times
  32. First Adelante heads west - and is first to visit Paignton Rail issue 489 9 June 2004 page 26
  33. Murray, Dick (10 September 2007). "Rail firm goes back to 30-years to boost reliability". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007.
  34. Marlow - Maidenhead Passengers' Association News.
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  36. "Trains to be withdrawn". Oxford Mail. 19 February 2008.
  37. "Final train rolls into town". Oxford Mail. 30 March 2009.
  38. After seven years FGW says adios to Adelantes Rail issue 582 2 January 2008 page 10
  39. First 180s move for storage Today's Railways UK issue 75 March 2008 page 66
  40. Last runs for FGW 180s Today's Railways UK issue 89 May 2009 page 63
  41. "GW mulls Adelante use". Modern Railways. London. November 2010. p. 89.
  42. "Thames Valley and West Country Rail passengers in line for extra seat boost" (Press release). Department for Transport. 22 November 2011.
  43. "Return of Adelantes to First Great Western confirmed". Railnews. Stevenage. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  44. Class 180 Adelantes return to FGW to boost capacity Rail issue 683 30 November 2011 page 18
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  46. Grand Central to replace HSTs with cascaded Class 180s Rail issue 842 20 December 2017 page 29
  47. Third Adelante for Northern Rail issue 606 3 December 2008 page 69
  48. Northern takes three 180s for Blackpool services Today's Railways UK issue 84 December 2008 page 64
  49. Miles, Tony (July 2010). "East Coast Class 180s to be retained by Northern?". Modern Railways. London: Ian Allan. p. 46.
  50. East Coast- Track Access Rights on the East Coast Main Line Archived 25 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Office of Rail Regulation, 28 March 2008.
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  52. East Coast slashes all but one Lincoln service Rail issue 647 30 June 2010 page 12
  53. "Three companies want East Coast paths" Today's Railways UK issue 78 June 2008 page 6
  54. "Hull Trains applies to serve Harrogate four times a day" Rail issue 594 18 June 2008 page 12
  55. Platinum wants rights to Scotland but not ORCATS Rail issue 602 8 October 2008 page 20
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  57. ORR Track Access Rights Application Decision for ECML - 28 January 2009. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
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  59. Virgin drops Adelantes…but Northern takes two on The Railway Magazine issue 1292 December 2008 page 72
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