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Project: Clacton Express

Saving 309 624 From Scrap and Restoration To Working Order

The Reason for the Group's Establishment, Class 309 624 was threatened for scrap and this group formed and found a benefactor to help secure the set for future generations. Unfortunately, in 2023 He has decided to step back for personal reasons so the group is looking for interested parties to help keep the Clacton's future alive.


Offer of Sale:

3-Car Express Heritage EMU offered for sale.

The 309 is offered for sale on an as-seen and where-lying basis. It is a condition of sale that it be removed from Isfield within two months of purchase. Assistance with loading will be provided and there is reasonable road access. Open to reasonable offers. Inspection by appointment.


Introduction and Brief History:

The 309s were built in 1962 and are Mk1 bodyshell “Express” EMUs. Their main home was on the GEML, Running from London to Clacton hence the nickname. The 309s were incredibly popular units, being very highly regarded by both crews and passengers alike and often hailed as the best of the 1st gen of EMU's. In 1994 7 transferred to Longsight and worked around Manchester and Crewe until retirement in 2000. In 2001 2 sets were overhauled and modified at Eastleigh with Both sets used as ECTS test vehicles at Asfordby test centre from 2002-2003 before going into storage at MOD Shoeburyness until 2009, where they then entered preservation and were stored at the now-closed Electric Railway Museum in Coventry. In 2018, 309624 was sold to fund the move of 309616. In 2021, 624 was put up for sale again due to the changing priorities of the Lavender Line. The CEPG was formed with the intention of keeping the set in one piece, and found a benefactor who set up a holding company to purchase the set. The benefactor now wants to move on and pass ownership as he is unable to devote more time to the project. Hopefully this will be someone or some group who can actively drive the project forward and work closely with the CEPG who will continue to keep the set maintained until the deal closes.

Project Scope and future:

Priority will be given to interested parties that can keep the set together as very little work is needed to make it operational.The main jobs are 4 vandalised windows that need replacing, some localised floor repairs where there has been slight water ingress around the doors, Sealing the Main air pipe where the ECTS join was made, and a few door overhauls. A larger heritage outfit could complete the necessary work in 2-3 months.


Refitting the front Gangways (which were removed in 2001) and a repaint are both cosmetic jobs which would then complete the look of the set and enable it to enter passenger traffic as a 3 car hauled stock set. The CEPG drafted plans and has begun to paint the set in BR maroon, which is a prototypical livery and would help the set fit into its surroundings on a 1950s/60s oriented heritage setting. This set has many positives to a standard Mk1 rake including having cabs to enable piloting, removing the need for running round and being suitable for sites where this isn't feasible.


The set can be hauled by any air-braked steam or diesel locomotives, as they have the right cables and buckeye couplers. The CEPG have firm plans in hand to modify the set for Blue star work by manufacturing translator connections between the EMU 36-way jumpers and the standard LH 27-way to enable control from a leading cab, therefore greatly increasing its flexibility. There is also the space and the scope to dual brake the set however this is not something the CEPG have looked heavily into.


Detailed condition Report:


In basically very good order though the paint is now poor, with the CEPG Starting to repaint the set but with limited progress. Some windows were vandalised during the lockdowns which have been temporarily covered with perspex by CEPG and others have blown double glazing. There is very little of the usual mk1 rot as it has been extensively repaired and some doors were sealed up and have no handles, most of them have been made to work but not all.



It does not leak and is in good condition inside but the departmental conversion means that some alterations were done. The MBS is complete with all seats and tables, and there are a load of spare used seat covers. In the DTC The first class compartments are complete and in brilliant condition and the standard class has enough seats to complete the vehicle. All the departmental equipment has been removed. There was some minor rot in the floorboards which has been removed and localised lino repairs are in the process of being carried out. The DTS has an extra partition, and has some but not enough seats to complete the vehicle. The CEPG Started with a plan to convert this area into a miniature buffet. One of the intermediate doors on the DTC has a broken window and has some rot on the bottom end, but this has been removed ready for repair.


-Underframe & bogies

The unit received a full C4/6 overhaul at Eastleigh in 2001. Therefore The underframe is in remarkably good condition, the wheels all have new tyres and the brake blocks are new. All couplings and hoses are present.


-Traction equipment:

All is present but of course, we have no way of knowing if it works. Please note there has to be assumed that Asbestos is present in the Arc Shoots and PCBs are in the transformer Oil. The unit has AWS and was also previously fitted with NRN/CSR. The unit is also fitted with a CET toilet.


Mostly as in service, the removal of the experimental cab signalling equipment has resulted in 2 gaps to the main air pipe which need sealing, and this is something the CEPG plan to do this year. The DTC cab has been given a deep clean and repaint by the CEPG, with the DTS cab mostly untouched.



Original Batteries are present but likely shot, so CEPG have placed an order for more. These are due to arrive and be tested in early 2023. All Departmental wiring has been removed.  The unit retains a full ETH system.



The brakes were modified to accommodate the cab signalling system. Lavender Line have removed the extra valves etc but the connections into the original systems need blanking off, which the CEPG intend to do this year, thus allowing the air brakes to become operational once more. The handbrakes are good.

Any serious Purchase enquiries please email:


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