CLASS 334 MULTIPLE UNITS

Introduction to service

The class 334 is part of the Juniper range built by Alstom as a replacement for the veteran Class 303 units. The 40 strong fleet made up of 3 car sets were built between 1998 and 2000 and featured seating for 183 passengers, Passenger Information Displays, automatic doors between carriges, air conditioning and toilets with disabled access. Deliveries and their introduction to service were supposed to have started during 1999 but serious problems kept them out of service for a long time.

The delay of their introduction resulted in Alstom building an extra 2 sets as a good will gesture meaning that the original order of 38 was increased to 40. Once testing finally started during 2000, there was a couple of incidents and numerous breakdowns which delayed introduction. An incident of note was when 334001 whilst stabled at Platform 11a in Glasgow Central whilst on test, rolled away and derailed on a set of catch points. The delay in delivering these units to Scotrail meant that the then 42 year old class 303's which were to be replaced by the class 334's had to soldier on for longer than expected. There was many reports that the 303's were reputedly more reliable in service than the 334s during this time!!!!

334010 and 334020 were the units used to form the first 334 operated service on the 3rd April 2001 and they operated a service to Gourock. As the first 334s started to appear in service in April 2001, some of the 318s from the Ayrshire lines began to be cascaded on to the Argyle line in May that year.

By late 2001, the 334s began to appear on the Cathcart Circle lines when short of 314s to operate these services, taking over this role from the 303's.

North Clyde and Argyle Line were reached in September 2002 where for 3 months it was possible to catch both a 303 and a 334. For a time after introduction on these lines the 334s seemed to be confined to peak time services with 303's, 318s and 320s being used off peak on these lines before eventually taking on a more equal role once the final 303's had been withdrawn.

December 2002 saw a special trip to Ayr by 334024 to finally properly accept the 334s in service. This trip was for the press and special guests. December 2002 also saw the introduction of sets 001,002,009,039 and 040 which allowed SPT to withdraw the final 6 303s (001,003,004,011,043 and 088). By July 2011 the 334's had transferred from the Ayrshire lines and are now on the North Clyde / Airdrie - Bathgate and Argyle lines.  By 2011

Unit namings

March 2003 saw 334001 being named Donald Dewar after the Late "First" First Minister of Scotland whilst 334021 was named Larkhall in 2005 after the newly reopened line.

Present Situation

At present the class 334's can be found mainly on the North Clyde line and running right out to Edinburgh Waverley and also some use on the Argyle line.

Livery

18 of the 334's are painted in a modified variation of the SPT Carmine and Cream livery with blue stripes on the body sides and Strathclyde Passenger Transport branding on the sides. The fronts of the units have yellow warning panels. 22 of the units have had their SPT livery replaced with the new Saltire blue livery which all Scotrail units will be receiving in the next few years.

Good / Bad points about the 334's

Like all types of train there are some good and some bad points to the class 334's

The good points are that the seats are comfortable, the interior is smart with bright lighting, the trains are disability friendly, they have a nice livery, they're fast, with quick acceleration and braking.

The bad points are that the motors and brakes make a loud whining noise when the train is accelerating and braking, on some sets when the pantograph is  passing over a dead section of overhead line most of the lights go out and sometimes dont come back on again.   They have  a low seating capacity compared to the other types of unit in operation and when busy the units can get cramped with not alot of space for standing.

Annoying Annie

Who could forget "annoying Annie" the announcer who used to announce the upcoming station stops when the 334's were first introduced. "Annoying Annie" spoke in a monotone voice and sounded fed up.   There were also a few blips and errors in pronouncing station names such as,

  • Wymess Bay being called "Wee Mess Bay"
  • Cardonald was called "Car donuld"
  • Airbles was called "Air bulles"
  • Carluke being called "Car look"
  • When approaching Motherwell she would say
    "We are now approaching Motherwell, this is an interchange station for east and West Coast mainline services, services to Whifflet, Coatbridge Central (x2) services to Lanark."
    she was also known to be 3 stops behind where the train actually is on some occasions for example when you are at Motherwell she is still at Cambuslang

    Fortunately Annoying Annie has been replaced with a new voice from a different actress who sounds alot better than Annie ever did (she even apologises if a 3 car set appears instead of the usual 6 car set as well).

    Class 334 Unit Formation summary

     

    Unit Number Livery Vehicle Numbers Unit Name Notes year entered service
    334001 Saltire 64101 74301 65101 Donald Dewar This unit was the first to arrive in Scotland, first to be used in testing, however the unit derailed after running away from Central Station when stabled at Platform 11a in 2000. Unit was first 334 to be named. 2002
    334002 Saltire 64102 74302 65102   Was the final 334 to enter service entering service in December 2002 2002
    334003 Saltire 64103 74303 65103     2001
    334004 Saltire 64104 74304 65104     2001
    334005 Saltire 64105 74305 65105     2002
    334006 Saltire 64106 74306 65106     2001
    334007 Saltire 64107 74307 65107     2002
    334008 Saltire 64108 74308 65108     2002
    334009 Saltire 64109 74309 65109   Unit was one of the last to enter service as it was used as a test train for a while 2002
    334010 Saltire 64110 74310 65110   Worked first ever 334 passenger journey of a 334 with 020 to Gourock in 2001 2001
    334011 Saltire 64111 74311 65111     2001
    334012 Saltire 64112 74312 65112     2002
    334013 Saltire 64113 74313 65113     2001
    334014 Saltire 64114 74314 65114     2001
    334015 Saltire 64115 74315 65115     2002
    334016 Saltire 64116 74316 65116     2001
    334017 Saltire 64117 74317 65117     2002
    334018 Saltire 64118 74318 65118     2002
    334019 Saltire 64119 74319 65119     2001
    334020 Saltire 64120 74320 65120   Worked the first 334 passenger service to Gourock with set 010 in 2001 2002
    334021 Saltire 64121 74321 65121 Larkhall   2001
    334022 Saltire 64122 74322 65122     2002
    334023 Saltire 64123 74323 65123     2001
    334024 Saltire 64124 74324 65124   Did the press + official trip to offically introduce the 334s in December 2002 2001
    334025 Saltire 64125 74325 65125     2001
    334026 Saltire 64126 74326 65126     2001
    334027 Saltire 64127 74327 65127     2001
    334028 Saltire 64128 74328 65128     2001
    334029 Saltire 64129 74329 65129     2001
    334030 Saltire 64130 74330 65130     2002
    334031 Saltire 64131 74331 65131     2002
    334032 Saltire 64132 74332 65132     2002
    334033 Saltire 64133 74333 65133     2002
    334034 Saltire 64134 74334 65134     2001
    334035 Saltire 64135 74335 65135     2001
    334036 Saltire 64136 74336 65136     2001
    334037 Saltire 64137 74337 65137     2001
    334038 Saltire 64138 74338 65138     2002
    334039 Saltire 64139 74339 65139     2002
    334040 Saltire 64140 74340 65140