Last Pig Standing: Inside The Final Class 442

by | Mar 10, 2023

On the South Coast of England in Hampshire sits the town of Eastleigh, a town synonymous with the railways.

Sign of Eastleigh Station

It started in 1891, LSWR opened a large traction maintenance depot in the town replacing the existing TMD at Northam. It is now known as Eastleigh Works, an iconic railway landmark.

Throughout the years Eastleigh Works has been used for a variety of reasons. From constructing the first six Class 73 electro-diesel locomotives to storing off lease rolling stock and conducting repairs & refurbishments.

Class 442s & Eastleigh, An Entangled History:

A notable example has been the Class 442, a frequent visitor to Eastleigh Works. Originally they would speed through on their way to Waterloo and Weymouth. After their time was up with South West Trains in 2007, the majority of the fleet would head into storage under the care of Knights Rail Services. Then Re-entering service under Gatwick Express only a year later. They would serve strong on the Brighton Mainline before their withdrawal in 2017. After their final services on the Brighton Mainline the 442s once again found themselves back at Eastleigh Works, this time only for temporary storage as the fleet would be transferred to Ely Papworth for cold storage under their ROSCO Angel Trains.

When South Western Railway won the South West Franchise in 2017, they subsequently announced plans to refurbish eighteen Class 442s for use on services to Portsmouth.
South Western Railway Annouce 442 Overhaul – Rail Advent

Afterwards the Class 442s would be once again transferred to Eastleigh Works. From 2018 onwards eighteen of the twenty four strong fleet would undergo extensive overhaul for South Western Railway.
‘Plastic pig’ trains undergo revamp in Eastleigh

The refurbished fleet would come make their South Western comeback at the start of 2020 after multiple teething issues and with more to come, including a delay to retractioning.

Scrapping of the remaining fleet:

By April scrapping of the first Class 442 vehicles commenced at Arlington Eastleigh Works with MLC 62944 from 442405. The MLCs would be scrapped first due to allow recovery of their EE546 motors. We highly recommend these photos of 62944’s disposal that can be found here: Class 442 62944 (442405) Eastleigh Works 22nd April 2020 – Carl’s Railway Photos

 We are unsure as to when the final 442s were scrapped. However the units scrapped at Arlington Eastleigh consist of: 442 401 excl 77832, 442 405 (partially), 442 407 (partially), 442 420, 442 421 and 442 424.

With the failure of the SWR refurbishment it truly seemed like the end of the line for the plastic pigs. We thought so too, until we noticed a peculiar piggy sticking its snout out of a siding. Upon further investigation we found 4212, missing it’s MLC but intact!.

Class 442 412 at Eastleigh Works

As many of you are aware, we decided to take full advantage of this opportunity for our Class 442 tags, using sections of the exterior and interior for a photoshoot. We took many more photos though!.

Exclusive to Rail Tags are never before seen of the last remaining Class 442! (All photos are taken and published with the permission of Arlington Fleet Group Ltd. We would like to thank Systems Director Carl Watson for this unforgettable opportunity.)

Collage of photos from the exterior of Class 442 412 Collage of interior and exterior photos of Class 442 412 Collage of Class 442 Cab Photos Collage of Random Class 442 Pictures