Class 323 Profile and Models

Class 323

323239 at Crewe in September 2010. ©Steve Jones

The British Rail Class 323 is a class of electric multiple unit (EMU) passenger train built by Hunslet Transportation Projects and Holec. All 43 units were built from 1992 through to 1995. Entering service in 1994, the 323s were among the last trains to enter service with British Rail before its privatisation in the mid-1990s. The units were designed to operate on inner-suburban commuter lines in and around Birmingham and Manchester with swift acceleration and high reliability. The units are known for the distinctive sounds that can be heard during acceleration or deceleration. These sounds are generated by the traction electronics. The Class 323s were initially beset with a number of technical problems related to their traction motors, doors, traction converters, gearbox and vibration at high speed which took several years to resolve, preventing them from entering service. The first unit finally entered revenue-earning service on 7 February 1994. Of the 43 units built, 26 are in operation with West Midlands Trains and 17 with Northern Trains. In the first half of 2024 the West Midlands Trains units are planned to be replaced by new Class 730 EMUs, and 34 units will be operated by Northern Trains.

(Information provided via Wikipedia)

Type of Unit

Electric Multiple Unit - 25kV 50Hz AC Overhead


Hunslet Transportation Projects
Holec Ridderkerk UK

Build Dates

1992 to 1995

Total Built

43 sets

Coaches Per Unit


Power Output


Top Speed


Passenger Capacity

275 to 284 seats

Operated By

British Rail
Central Trains
First North Western
London Midland
Northern Rail
Northern Trains

Main Duties

Suburban Passenger

In Service Until


Surviving Examples

All in service