A Class 365 electric multiple unit with strong connections to Her Majesty The Queen has been granted a place in preservation by its former owner Eversholt Rail.
Unit No. 365524 – considered to be in the best condition of the original fleet of 41 trains – is destined for the East Kent Railway in mid-January. The initiative came from transport consultant and investor Howard Johnston, and the unit is intended for static display and become a restaurant, exhibition area, and major events venue.
“We are delighted to mark The Queen’s forthcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations by donating 365524 a new career after travelling over a million miles in the 25 years since it entered service. Her Majesty was a frequent passenger aboard Class 365s as part of her journey from London to her winter home at Sandringham in Norfolk.” said Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director at Eversholt Rail.
“Although they only had a short life by railway standards, the Class 365s were universally popular with those who travelled on them regularly, including myself. I was determined to save one from the scrapyard” added Howard Johnston.
Matthew Plews, Managing Director of the EKR said “We are grateful to Eversholt Rail and Howard Johnston for choosing us, and we will look after it well. Some of the Class 365s started their working lives in the South East, so the East Kent Railway is a most appropriate place for the last survivor.”
The EKR, which is near to Dover and the nearest standard gauge heritage line to the French coast, offers a four-mile scenic ride through rolling countryside between the pretty villages of Shepherdswell and Eythorne. Just eight miles north of Dover and close to Folkestone, it is a nostalgic reminder of the once thriving East Kent coalfields. It also honours the pioneering engineering achievements of the late Colonel Holman F Stephens, who famously ran many small UK railways on a shoestring budget.
Following minor modifications, it is intended that No. 365524 will be open to the public as a cafe and restaurant and centre capable of staging major functions.
Photo courtesy of Neil Pulling