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Author Topic: Scrapping HSTs instead of relieving voyagers  (Read 9437 times)
grahame
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« on: December 14, 2019, 03:03:56 pm »

Twitter, 20th November

Quote
First HST (High Speed Train) goes to Wales for scrapping tomorrow. Stock is NL65.

And meanwhile ... 4 car voyagers on Arrive Cross Country are bursting at the seams and need to be doubled up on alternate trains, with the train being used to double up being replaces by an HST.

I understand that there is no money budgeted for any new trains for Cross Country until 2024/5

It remains a scandal to make railmen despair that services which are grossly overcrowded on a daily basis are not being strengthened by trains which are available and have good life in them ... but are being sent for scrap.
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broadgage
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 04:42:01 pm »

For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"

My crystal ball has previously forecast that HSTs (High Speed Train) would be withdrawn and scrapped before pacers. HSTs are perhaps considered too good for todays railway and there MUST GO. Pacers are nasty enough to keep for as long as possible.

I also forecast that HSTs would become "non compliant" as soon as the new DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit) arrived. Exactly what has happened, GWR (Great Western Railway) now have their new suburban DMUs, and HSTs become non compliant in a few weeks.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2019, 04:55:07 pm »

For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"
The issue is also the cost of running HSTs (High Speed Train) compared to Voyagers. I believe this is why XC no longer make full use of the HSTs they do have (I remember back in 2009 there were 4 diagrams on Mondays to Fridays but now there are only 2/3).  The conversion to power operated doors has of course taken one HST at a time out of service recently but XC reduced the Monday-Friday diagrams quite a few years before that started.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2019, 04:59:10 pm »

I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs (High Speed Train) retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.
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broadgage
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2019, 05:00:18 pm »

Providing enough capacity will always cost money.
I have no doubt that an HST (High Speed Train) costs more to run than a 4 car voyager, but the HST provides more capacity and should perhaps be compared not to a single 4 car voyager but to a PAIR of 4 car voyagers.

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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 05:21:04 pm »

Providing enough capacity will always cost money.
I have no doubt that an HST (High Speed Train) costs more to run than a 4 car voyager, but the HST provides more capacity and should perhaps be compared not to a single 4 car voyager but to a PAIR of 4 car voyagers.

There are other things that the ROSCO» (Rolling Stock Owning Company - about) will need to consider as well.

To keep an HST in service requires modifications to be made to meet the post 2020 requirements (accessible and retention toilets and power doors spring to mind). These trains are now up to 40 years old and many have been sprayed with sea water regularly in their normal daily rounds. They were. IIRC (if I recall/remember/read correctly). the first monocoque bodied trains so corrosion of the shell is much more of an issue than for train with a separate chassis. I also note that during previous refurbishments a number of carriages were found to be more seriously corroded than had been thought which delayed the refurbishment while additional work was done. 

I have no inside knowledge of the particular units being sent for scrap, but if I was planning to refurbish some HST's to keep them in service I would do a thorough corrosion survey before start and factor that cost into the refurbishment. These are only ever going to be in service - I would guess - for another 10 years maximum, and they will always be more expensive to maintain than a modern unit, so anything that substantially adds to the refurbishment cost or shortens their remaining life, will be uneconomic to refurbish. I could quite see that in this instance they would be sent for scrap. 

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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2019, 06:30:47 pm »

For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"

Providing enough capacity will always cost money.

I have no doubt that an HST (High Speed Train) costs more to run than a 4 car voyager, but the HST provides more capacity and should perhaps be compared not to a single 4 car voyager but to a PAIR of 4 car voyagers.

The issue is also the cost of running HSTs compared to Voyagers. I believe this is why XC do no longer make full use of the HSTs they do have (I remember back in 2009 there were 4 diagrams on Mondays to Fridays but now there are only 2/3).  The conversion to power operated doors has of course taken one HST at a time out of service recently but XC reduced the Monday-Friday diagrams quite a few years before that started.

I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

A 4 car voyager has 190 seats. An HST has 542 (varies on configuration - that is a Cross Country figure).  So, yes, the comparison is to a pair, and stepping up to a train with twice the capacity is a massive step.  Let's say 300 travel on a Voyager at 07:53 from Taunton to Bristol each day at the moment.  Not uncommon. Nasty crowded train. Trolley can't get through.  Change to an HST and it's much more comfortable - but it also costs the operator (say) 1.5 times the running cost.   Will the passenger numbers increase to 450?  And how about the train between Leeds (12:00) and Newcastle (13:30) - will numbers on that grow 50% too, especially when it's competing with new TransPennine Expresses which have just had a huge investment?   Even the numbers do grow 1.5, are they "profitable" anyway - or are you just multiplying the number that HMG pays DB» (Deutsche Bahn - German State Railway - about) by that 1.5?

I've talked pure finance there ... but what about the wider economic effect, climate issues, etc.?   I doubt they really come into the sums?   What about government popularity and promises?    Well - the important things there seem to be travel within and across the marginal areas we say swing this week just gone, and journey time, frequency and comfort to London.   Northern Powerhouse has a strong rail voice ... does Western Gateway?   What does the mayor of Bristol say and do about public transport?   What about the mayor of Manchester?

I suspect the skills shortage for engineers is spurious.   With a decent size fleet (and there's nearly a dozen castles which I suspect are not hugely different trains  Grin ) there's enough quantity to have a decent bank of engineers, with more trained if more are needed.   We are a long way from the heritage line nightmare of a fleet of 12 locomotives needing 12 different spare sets and 12 sets of specialists.

With a production line already running to convert trains, yes, more to convert but those skills learned, and it's probably not unreasonable to have something of an attrition rate to get rid of "worst cases".  I am not saying "don't scrap even one" - just I have the uneasy feeling of short term franchise and treasury single term balance sheets taking almost exclusive priority over quality of travel, sustainability, wider area economy, long term direction and costs, etc ... and so much more so in the case of Cross Country that's a franchise its owners want rid of, and doesn't serve the seat of government nor is it the major operator in marginal areas.

A further thought. Looks like I may be in Coatbridge again from 13th January.   Flight up on 12th - £23.99.   Train up £94 (or £189 for a faster journey with changes).  Headline prices - factor in railcard, cost of getting to and parking at the airports, journey times, comfort, etc and the balance perhaps changes - but perhaps with extra HST capacity the railways could start to regain and fill that extra space with good, long distance business.   Should be greener than flying, especially when taking to / from airports into account.   And travel time is no longer wasted time with the ability to work, sleep, relax ... that's if you're not jammed against a bulkhead or next to a fellow passenger who's first class size but jammed into a standard class seat.

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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2019, 01:34:25 pm »

Is it not the case that the best examples of Class 43s and Mk3s have already found new homes? Be that with GWR (Great Western Railway) for their Castle sets, Scotrail for their Inter7City sets, and with EMR» (East Midlands Railway, also known as EMT» (East Midlands Trains - about) (East Midlands Trains) - about) for their stopgap fleet replacing their current non-EA compliant HSTs (High Speed Train).

Even if there are decent examples left that could go to CrossCountry they'd still have to wait some time for them to be converted. Maybe a year or more. Why not wait until 2022 when Avanti West Coast's Class 221 Super Voyagers and EMR's Class 222 Meridians become available? Better that surely than an expensive conversion of 40 year old trains.
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2019, 03:23:39 pm »

I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs (High Speed Train) retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

On that point doesn't Laira maintain the Scot rail HSTs involving long ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) runs?
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paul7575
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2019, 03:30:30 pm »

For years the mantra has been "there is no spare rolling stock" And now that spare stock IS available there is a rush to scrap it so that we may return to the traditional "there is no spare rolling stock"
The issue is also the cost of running HSTs (High Speed Train) compared to Voyagers. I believe this is why XC no longer make full use of the HSTs they do have (I remember back in 2009 there were 4 diagrams on Mondays to Fridays but now there are only 2/3).  The conversion to power operated doors has of course taken one HST at a time out of service recently but XC reduced the Monday-Friday diagrams quite a few years before that started.
I don't remember there ever being 4 diagrams every day.  There may have been "up to 4" diagrams but never 5.

The intention was however to introduce a 4 set service once the power door conversions were finished, along with various timetable changes that were consulted on around 2017, but that's been delayed.

Paul
 
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bignosemac
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2019, 03:31:53 pm »

I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs (High Speed Train) retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

On that point doesn't Laira maintain the Scot rail HSTs involving long ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) runs?

The ScotRail HSTs are maintained at Haymarket (HA (Highways Agency)) depot.
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paul7575
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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2019, 03:33:57 pm »

Is it not the case that the best examples of Class 43s and Mk3s have already found new homes? Be that with GWR (Great Western Railway) for their Castle sets, Scotrail for their Inter7City sets, and with EMR» (East Midlands Railway, also known as EMT» (East Midlands Trains - about) (East Midlands Trains) - about) for their stopgap fleet replacing their current non-EA compliant HSTs (High Speed Train).

Even if there are decent examples left that could go to CrossCountry they'd still have to wait some time for them to be converted. Maybe a year or more. Why not wait until 2022 when Avanti West Coast's Class 221 Super Voyagers and EMR's Class 222 Meridians become available? Better that surely than an expensive conversion of 40 year old trains.
I think you're very likely to have hit the nail on the head.   Suddenly there's going to be Voyagers and Meridians available in similar timescales to the convoluted power door conversions.   I bet with the benefit of hindsight theres's a few TOCs (Train Operating Company) wishing they hadn't gone for 'updated' HSTs at all...

Paul
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2019, 04:58:35 pm »

    I don't remember there ever being 4 diagrams every day.  There may have been "up to 4" diagrams but never 5.

    The intention was however to introduce a 4 set service once the power door conversions were finished, along with various timetable changes that were consulted on around 2017, but that's been delayed.
    There were never 5 in use every day but I do remember 4 at some point around 2009 but this only lasted about a year or so before the reduction to the current level.  I seem to remember the reason stated for the reduction was the cost of running the HSTs (High Speed Train).

    I have just found a post on another forum from 2009 which quotes the diagrams which were listed on the 125 Group website:
    Quote
    17 May 2009 – 12 December 2009

    MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS

    XC801 1V44 0600 LDS-PLY» (Plymouth - next trains), 1S51 1221 PLY-GLC» (Gloucester - next trains), 5S51 22+40 GLC-EC.
    XC802 5V39 04+41 EC-DEE, 1V54 0632 DEE-PLY, 1E73 1721 PLY-LDS.
    XC803 5V46 05+14 NL-YRK, 1V46 0632 YRK-PLY, 1S55 1321 PLY-EDB.
    XC804 1V50 0608 EDB-PLY, 1E63 15:21 PLY-LDS.
    « Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 12:01:52 am by Zoë » Logged
    eightf48544
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    « Reply #13 on: December 17, 2019, 08:35:15 am »

    I think there might also be a looming skills/knowledge crisis as lots of maintenance engineers brought up with the HSTs (High Speed Train) retire early or take redundancy.  Laira has certainly lost a few over the past year.

    On that point doesn't Laira maintain the Scot rail HSTs involving long ECS (Empty Coaching Stock) runs?

    The ScotRail HSTs are maintained at Haymarket (HA (Highways Agency)) depot.

    Apologies I got muddled I believe Laira did some work on the Scot Rail HSfs before they went into service.
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    « Reply #14 on: December 17, 2019, 09:23:34 am »

    Apologies I got muddled I believe Laira did some work on the Scot Rail HSfs before they went into service.
    I believe Laira now look after the XC HST (High Speed Train) fleet.
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