Southern 377’s locally no more

Southern 377’s Watford – Keynes no more, May 2022

Class 319’s and 377 units had been working Brighton – Watford services for many years, having previously being operated Connex operated Brighton – Rugby service before that. The original Southern extension of services to Milton Keynes was planned for December 08 but revenue sharing objections by another TOC (not LM) saw a delayed introduction until February 2009.

Southern 377 from Mentmore Hill, South of Leighton on September 19th 2009.

So a small piece of local history was made on February 16th 2009 with 377212 working the inaugural 0501 Balham – M.Keynes and the 0701 M.Keynes – Clapham Jn. The service was hourly Mon – Sat.

Working in Kingston at the time i commuted on the 0701 ex MK off and on for a good few years. Being only a 4 car train was the peak hour problem for Southern, within a week this service was standing room only from Berko, by Harrow and Wembley it was a nasty wedge.

Throw in tube strikes and the overcrowding became mental! I switched to a slower commute using the lovely, but less overcrowded change at Harrow and Willesden Jn leaps. Late delivery of units created an issue for the DfT so from March – Sep 2009 LM class 350’s again as 4 cars operated the services.  In 2010 heavy snow saw LM in a state with unit availability and 377s like 377210 made booked stops at Aspley and Kings Langley on December 21st 2010. Platform lengthening of the new/reopened West London stations allowed 5 car 377’7s to operate the service from 2014.

By 2018 the 377’2’s were back but in pairs thus alleviating the over crowding issues, albeit 9 years late. Then came Covid with the service cut back to just driver familiarisation runs but a 1 train each way from Milton Keynes was reintroduced in Dec 2021.

Into 2022 this pattern remained Mon – Fri although Saturdays saw a full hourly service reinstated when (on rare occasions) there were no blockades on the WLL or WCML. Unfortunately the DfT in their wisdom decided post Covid loadings North of Watford could be ditched and so from May 17th 2022 the Southern service was terminated at Watford, and cut back to 4 car units on an hourly service, i wander how long till its cut in full.

377212/210 worked the single diagram on May 11th, 377212/214 on May 12th  , 377210/213 on May 13th, the full hourly service on May 14th 2022 saw 377213/210, 377208/212 and 377214/201 working all day turns. 377214/201 having the honour of working the final Southern service from M.Keynes on the 1913 MK-East Croydon, a sad day.

We assume 377’s will still occasionally work to Tring when a turn round at Watford Jn isn’t possible especially at weekends but only as ECS, Farewell Southern you will be much missed locally   

The phots (loads of em!)       

Although they normally terminated at Watford Jn in 2007, signalling farces or line closures saw them work ECS to Tring. Here during a signalling shambles at Watford Jn 377211 rests at Tring prior to returning South on January 1st 2007

LM 350s worked the Southern service for much of the Summer of 2009, on June 2nd 2009 350120 awaits departure for M.Keynes from East Croydon

377201 looking good approaches Ledburn with a morning Milton Keynes – East Croydon service on June 18th 2011

Autumn mist down Ledburn way on September 24th 2011 as 377206 heads South from the Keynes at Ledburn

The 5 car 377’7 series were introduced from new on the East Croydon – M.Keynes with 377702 passing Old Linslade on June 24th 2014

377702 heads South with the 0701 M.Keynes – Clapham jn service at Ledburn on July 28th 2014

Nice early morning light for 377208 on the early Balham – M.Keynes at Ledburn on August 12th 2014

A rare 377 failure at Leighton on a chill January 25th 2017 with 377708 cancelled at Leighton with 377703 coming to the rescue as ECS with some serious delays

Into the final week 377212 and 377214 leave Tring with the 0701 M.Keynes – Clapaham Jn on May 12th 2022

With a farewell toot the last ever 0701 M.Keynes – Clapham Jn with 377210 and 377213 passes Ledburn on May 13th 2022

The train crew pose at Milton Keynes for the last time with the final 1710 East Croydon – M.Keynes on May 14th 2022, 377214 and 377201 doing the honours

377214 with 377201 out of sight leave Leghton for the last time with the 1913 M.Keynes – East Croydon on May 14th 2022

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