The Liverpool Street Suburban EMUs on the Lea Valley
As a follow up to a previous post showing a Class 309 EMU on its way to Clacton, we bring you another Peter Collins photograph of an inner-suburban working between Chingford and Liverpool Street. The AM5 electrics were introduced on the Lea Valley lines in 1959/60. The 3-car sets (Class 305/1) worked the lines to Chingford, Enfield Town and Hertford East. The 4-car sets (Class 305/2) worked the services towards Bishops Stortford.
The AM5 EMUs worked most of their life on these routes, although occasionally they may have worked some services as required on the Great Eastern lines. The Class 305/1s were replaced by Class 315 EMUs in 1980, the Class 305/2s lasting until the late 1980s when they were replaced by Class 310 EMUs.
A number of Class 305/1 units moved to the Manchester area where they worked suburban services into Manchester Piccadilly station. Class 305/2 units followed after work to shorten them to 3-car units. These units worked on the newly electrified line to Manchester Airport. Most were withdrawn themselves in 2000 when superseded by the Class 323 EMUs which operated all electric services out of Manchester Piccadilly station.
The photograph of Bethnal Green captures a station still unchanged from the steam era, and still it seem, just as grimy! Given that steam had finished in 1962 you could be forgiven for thinking that steam locomotives were still using the lines looking at the state of the roof lattice ironwork. Unfortunately, the 70s look was not unusual on British Rail at this time, and it took another five years or so for BR to clean up stations and move into a more modern era..