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British Rail Class 180
180114 at Cheltenham Spa.JPG
First Great Western Class 180 Adelante No. 180114 at Cheltenham Spa on 31 March 2004
In service 2000 - Present
Manufacturer Alstom[1]
Family name Coradia
Number built 14 trainsets
Formation 5 cars per trainset[1]
Capacity 287 seats[2]
Operator First Hull Trains
Northern Rail
Grand Central
East Coast
Maximum speed 125 mph (201 km/h)
Weight 252.5 tonnes (5 car set) [3]
Engine(s) Cummins QSK19[1]
Transmission Voith Hydraulic T312BRE
2 axles driven per car
Braking system(s) Air/Hydrodynamic
Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS - ATP
Coupling system Scharfenberg[4]

The Class 180 is a type of British diesel multiple unit built by Alstom between 2000 and 2001 for use on then-new express services by First Great Western (FGW).[2] They were built at Washwood Heath in Birmingham and are part of the Coradia 1000 family along with the Class 175.[2] FGW stopped using the class on 27 March 2009, and they are now employed by other operators. The Class 180s were given the name Adelante upon entry into service with FGW, a name devised by First Group that they retain with First Hull Trains. Grand Central renamed their units as Zephyrs leading some enthusiasts to nickname the units A to Z.[5]



In the late 1990s First Great Western was keen to introduce a new half-hourly service from London Paddington to South Wales. This required extra high-speed rolling stock, but there was little available. First therefore took the decision to order 14 new 125mph diesel multiple units from Alstom, similar to the 26 class 175s already under construction for sister company First North Western.[2] The order reportedly cost £74.5 million; financing was organised by Wiltshire Leasing, another subsidiary of First Group.[2] The first unit, 180101, was unveiled on April 18, 2000.[2] However, following a string of problems, full main line testing did not begin until December 2000, six months after it was intended to start.[6] Despite this, Alstom claimed that the trains could enter service in time for the May 2001 timetable change.[6] This date too was missed, and the trains did not enter service until the next timetable change, in December 2001.[7]


The original interior of Standard Class aboard a Class 180 DMSO vehicle
The original interior of First Class aboard a Class 180 MFO vehicle

There are 14 Class 180 trains, numbered 180101-180114. There are five cars per unit, with individual cars numbered:

Coach Description Class
A Driving Motor Standard
B Intermediate Motor Standard
C Intermediate Motor Standard
D Intermediate Motor First
E Driving Motor Standard

All coaches are equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine which develops 560 kW (750 hp) at 2,100 rpm,[1] identical to that found in the Voyager family of DMUs as well as in the Siemens Class 185 DMU's used by First Transpennine Express.

Unusually for such a fast train, they feature a hydraulic transmission,[8] supplied by Voith which is a three speed type, with integral hydrodynamic braking (rated at 750 kW short term, 420 kW continuous). One bogie per coach is powered, with both axles driven. Total vehicle weight is 278 tonnes.[1]



Current Operators

First Hull Trains Class 180 No. 180113 at London Kings Cross.
Grand Central Class 180 No. 180112 at London Kings Cross.

First Hull Trains

First Hull Trains acquired two Class 180 units to replace a damaged Class 222 Pioneer[9] which operated in parallel with the remaining Class 222s. In 2008, First Hull Trains decided to replace its Class 222 units with Class 180s by the end of 2008[10] for services between London and Hull. The acquired units have undergone an internal refit including the installation of laptop sockets and new coffee machines. The refurbished units began operation in late January 2009.

Northern Rail

Northern Rail added three Class 180 units to their fleet in December 2008 to operate services from Hazel Grove and Manchester Victoria to Preston and Blackpool North until the end of 2010. These are units obtained by East Coast for the expansion of their own services on the East Coast Main Line, and which have been sub-leased to Northern until they can obtain more long term stock.[11]

Grand Central

Grand Central operate a pair of Class 180s for use on its London to Sunderland route, having secured the rights to a fourth daily service in each direction.[12] The two 180s join the company's 3 high speed trains (HSTs).[13] The company had initially announced the two units would run as one, giving a ten-car train, but later confirmed the two units would run separately for extra flexibility to the fleet.

Grand Central also acquired three additional units for their new service to Bradford Interchange.[14] Originally the service was to be operated under the brand name Grand Northern, as part of parent company Grand Union, but will instead run as Grand Central, meaning units can be interchanged between the two routes.

The units are being modified by Railcare and are being fitted with wi-fi and at-seat plug sockets[15] The First One Being 180114 To Be Refurbished. One of the initial two units, number 180112, was named James Herriot at a ceremony at London King's Cross and is the first to carry Grand Central's new logo[15] and orange stripe livery. They entered service in September 2009, with the Bradford service due to start in spring 2010.[16]

Future Operators

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 (ECML) in March 2008. In its application, the company specified that, in addition to its existing InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 sets, it would require as many as nine Class 180s.[17] Although NXEC no longer exists, its successor East Coast have pressed ahead with the plans, and have already managed to secure five units to start running additional services.[11]

Former Operators

First Great Western

A First Great Western Class 180 unit at Radley

The Class 180 fleet, given the name Adelante by FGW, was originally deployed on a wide variety of First Great Western services, including

The Class 180 fleet suffered from a number of reliability problems, including problems with the doors closing and locking quickly.[18] This resulted in their replacement on most of the above services, using High Speed Trains displaced from Midland Mainline. The Class 180s then operated express commuter services from London Paddington to Oxford, Worcester, Hereford (via the Cotswold Line) Exeter, Gloucester, Westbury and Frome.

The reliability problems experienced by FGW, combined with increased passenger numbers, led the operator to acquire extra refurbished HST sets towards the end of 2007 as replacements to operate the express commuter services.[18] As a consequence, First Great Western returned most of the Class 180 fleet to the leasing company Angel Trains in early 2008.[19]

Although FGW had planned to return the entire fleet for storage, it made a decision to retain three Class 180 units until it had received a cascaded HST from National Express East Coast.[19] These units were usually operated in multiple, with a 2x5 car train plus one 5-car unit as a spare, and usually operated on the Cotswold Line from London Paddington to Worcester and Hereford.[20] The final FGW 180 ran on March 30, 2009.[21]

Proposed operations

Platinum Trains

Platinum Trains had aimed to use 180s on an Aberdeen to Kings Cross service, provided their track access application was approved.[22] However, the application was declined in January 2009.[23]

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.[24] The units, officially 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.[25] [24]

Fleet details

Class Operator No. in service Year Built Cars per set Unit numbers
Class 180 First Hull Trains 4[26] 2000-2001 5 180109 - 180111, 180113
Northern Rail 3[27] 180103*, 180106*, 180108*
Grand Central 5[28] 180101, 180105, 180107, 180112, 180114[13]
East Coast 2 180102, 180104[29]

Grand Central have secured the lease of 5 units, 3 of which will be used for the Bradford Interchange to London service commencing in May 2010.


  1. ^ a b c d e High-speed diesel multiple units Class 180 of First North Western with T312 bre turbo transmission + KB 190, KE-445 and SK-445 final drive and cardan shaft.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "125mph sleek and stylish Coradias for Great Western". RAIL 382: 12–13. 3 May 2000. 
  3. ^ Class 180 Technical Data
  4. ^ "System Data for Mechanical and Electrical Coupling of Rail Vehicles". Rail Safety and Standards Board. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  5. ^ Abell, Paul (2009). "Grand Central plans Bradford service for next spring". Today's Railways (93): 11. 
  6. ^ a b "Alstom claims 'several' Class 180s will be in use by May". RAIL 400: 10. 10 January 2001. 
  7. ^ Latest News|FirstGroup plc - Archive
  8. ^ Class 180 Technical Data
  9. ^ About First Hull Trains
  10. ^ East Coast Main Line : Route Utilisation Strategy, February 2008. page 71 (section 4.3.2) from Network Rail
  11. ^ a b Today's Railways Issue 86
  12. ^ New
  13. ^ a b "Two Adelantes on their way to Grand Central". RAIL 613: 10. March 2009. 
  14. ^ West Riding
  15. ^ a b "Grand Central Railway names train after famous Yorkshire vet ‘James Herriot’". Grand Central Railway. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  16. ^ "GC sets out plan for five '180s' by 2010". RAIL 624: 15. 12 August 2009. 
  17. ^ East Coast- Track Access Rights on the East Coast Main Line, Office of Rail Regulation, 28-03-2008
  18. ^ a b "Rail firm goes back to 30-years to boost reliability". 2008. 
  19. ^ a b Marlow - Maidenhead Passengers' Association News
  20. ^ Trains to be
  21. ^ Final train rolls into
  22. ^ Application to the Office of Rail Regulation for a passenger track access contract under section 17 of the Railways Act 1993 Office of Rail regulation
  23. ^ ORR Track Access Rights Application Decision for ECML - 28 January 2009 ORR Website; Retrieved 2009-01-29
  24. ^ a b "Virgin returns two unused Adelantes to Angel Trains". RAIL 604: 14. 5 November 2008. 
  25. ^ Rail news and press releases | ATOC | Charter train potential for Virgin Trains new look loco-hauled trainset
  26. ^ RSTS Hitchin Branch - Railway services around Hitchin
  27. ^ "Northern takes three 180s for Blackpool services" - Today's Railways Issue 84, p64
  28. ^ "Modern Railways" Magazine October 2009 P42
  29. ^ "The Railway Magazine 155"

External links

Simple English

British Rail Class 180 "Adelante"
File:180114 at Cheltenham
Class 180, no. 180114 at Cheltenham Spa on 31 March 2004
In service 2000 - Present
Manufacturer Alstom
Family name Coradia
Number built 14 trainsets
Formation 5 cars per trainset
Operator First Great Western
First Hull Trains
Northern Rail
Maximum speed 125 mph (201 km/h)
Engine(s) Cummins QSK19
Braking system(s) Air/Hydrodynamic
Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS
Coupling system Scharfenberg

, showing its roof]] , on its way to London Paddington in First livery]]

The Class 180 "Adelante" is a type of British diesel multiple unit built by Alstom between 2000 and 2001 at Washwood Heath in Birmingham. The units are express trains originally built for First North Western but then the contract was passed over to First Great Western (FGW) to supplement their High Speed Train fleet. However, due to reliability and operating problems the decision was made to withdraw most of the fleet from service. The majority of the units have already been returned to the Leasing Company with the remainder of the fleet to follow in due course. Four operators are currently looking for Class 180 units, which are unwanted by First Great Western, indicating the desperate shortage of high-speed InterCity rolling stock on Britain's railways.[needs proof]


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