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321361 becomes Ilford's 'Phoenix'

Driving car 78294 from Class 321 No. 321361 was seriously damaged by fire following an arson attack at Wickford on 14 July 2007 while forming the 05.06 Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street. After the fire was extinguished, the train was removed to Ilford depot for assessment of repairs.

Although several of the mainstream repair companies were asked to tender for the repair contract, none could come up with a suitable financial offer, and eventually 'One' now National Express Great Eastern decided to carry out repairs from its own resources.

The closed shed building at Colchester was selected and the vehicle arrived for repair in September 2007, with a two man team from Ilford, Alan Reynolds coach maker’s Assistant, and Bob Buckley Industrial Engineer carrying out the work.

The job was complete in February this year and the set returned to Ilford for re commissioning, returning to service on 26 March 2008.

The work involved was huge, after removing all the fire damaged materials from more than half the coach length, some light structural repairs had to be undertaken and new parts resourced, many of which had to be specially made.

The result is a true credit to the staff from Ilford and shows just what can be done from local resources.

To mark the achievement, Andy Chivers, Managing Director of National Express East Anglia hosted a special event at Ilford on 29 April 2008 when the two staff responsible for the repair were invited to name the set Phoenix.

The person responsible for the arson attack was captured on the trains CCTV and arrested a few days after, he is now serving a five year prison term.

Andy Chivers, National Express East Anglia Managing Director, Alan Reynolds coach maker’s Assistant and Bob Buckley Industrial Engineer, stand by the newly named 321. CJM
The finished interior of the behind cab area of the driving car. CJM
The same vehicle interior after the arson attack. NEEA


Last Updated: 29 April 2008
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