2020-10-19 12:46:44 UTC
With all the fuss being made, rightly, about the soon-to-depart 38TS on the Island Line, it occurred to me that SWR has
another Birmingham-built fleet due to retire soon, probably with no home to go to. Like the class 483s, these trains are
being retired for a second time, but their total life may only be a quarter as long. I think both classes were even
built in the same former MCCW factory, in Washwood Heath.
Yes, I'm talking about the unloved class 458 fleet. I'd not travelled in them before, so I felt I should give them a try
while they're still in service. I found that they're surprisingly comfortable I wonder if Ian Walmsley managed to
sneak comfortable seats in when the 458s and 460s were being refurbished to become the 458/5s?
The other thing I was keen to catch up on was the rapidly-developing Manhattan-style canyon that's developing in Nine
Elms. A few decades ago, these were railway lands, full of tracks, loco sheds and turntables. Then they because
warehouses, the New Covent Garden Market a Royal Mail depot, courier firms and light industrial units. Now, they look
like they're Manhattan transplanted. Anyone who's not travelled into Waterloo in the last couple of years might be
amazed at what's erupting, with multiple blocks taller than the Walkie-Talkie. Soon, it won't be possible to see
Battersea Power station except from the river, so hemmed-in will it be.
I took some photos through a slightly grubby window of a moving class 458/5: