Class 508 (BREL York Suburban Services 3-car)

The Class 508, part of the 1972 Standard PEP family like the Class 313 and 507, was built for the Merseyrail DC third rail network. However, as there was a desperate need for new stock on Southern Region in the late 1970s they served there initially until the new Class 455 could be built [1].

Merseyrail 508 125 at Ellesmere Port

Number built: 172 cars (as built 4-car sets later 3-car sets)
Built: 1979-80
Builder: BREL York
Motor: 8 GEC G380AZ traction motors per unit (750v DC third rail)
Power: 880 hp (657 kW)
Formation: As built: Driving Motor Standard Open (DMSO)+Trailer Standard
Open (TSO)+TSO+Battery Driving Motor Standard Open (BDMSO)


Not all sets went North, some remained in the South East as Class 508/2 though none of these are still in service. In the early 2000s three sets worked alongside the Class 313 on the London Euston-Watford route [3] as Class 508/3 but in recent years the only 508s in service have been the twenty seven Class 508/1s sets operated by Merseyrail on it's DC third rail network alongside the Class 507.

Merseyrail replaced them with the new Class 777 [4] though there were delays in introducing the new units, the Class 508 finally left service at the start of 2024. Some ex-Class 508 cars do still exist, having been part of strengthened Class 455/7 formations since the 1980s.

508 130 at New Brighton

508 108 at Bank Hall

508 103 at Liverpool Lime Street Low Level

Aboard 508 123

508 120 at Hooton

[1] Brian Haresnape & Alec Swain, Third Rail DC Electric Multiple Units (Ian Allan, 1989) p. 74
[2] Bruce Oliver, Southern EMUs Before Privatisation (Ian Allan, 2010) p. 86
[3] Colin J Marsden, DMU and EMU Recognition Guide (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 389
[4] "Five shortlisted for new Merseyrail trains", Today's Railways UK No. 171 (March 2016)