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Author Topic: Ancient rolling stock, or no service improvement?  (Read 6692 times)
Rhydgaled
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« on: May 07, 2012, 06:55:47 pm »

I know some users here are also members of RailUK Fourms, like myself, but I thought posting here might reach a different set of pepole too.

One of the biggest obstacales for anyone campaigning for improved services, be that running more trains or making them longer, on non-electrified routes is shortage of rolling stock.

Here in Wales, our train operating company owns between 16 and 22 mark2 coaches, which I'm told were purchased to relieve overcrowding but never used after the person who made the desision was sacked. Six of these vehicles have since been brought into use to run an additional return trip between Holyhead and Cardiff, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG» (Welsh Assembly Government - about)). However, WAG decided to fund an upgrade to mark3 coaches and divertion via Wrexham from December 2011. Despite being paid, ATW (Arriva Trains Wales (former TOC (Train Operating Company))) has still not implemented this, but when it happens (currently supposed to be September) the full fleet of ATW mark2s will once again be out of service.

With a few heavily overcrowded services, long-distance regional-express runs being operated by surburban trains, desires for additional services and special events which result in crammed 2-car units leaving passengers on platforms, shouldn't these 16/18/22 carriges be used?

According to some, they shouldn't. The logical course of action (though not the cheapest, since two locomotives on each train or hefty refurbishments to long-stored DBSOs (Driving Brake Standard Open (carriage)) would be needed) would be to put some of the loco-hauled stock on the busy Llandudno/Swansea to Manchester services (keeping some in reserve for extra trains during special events). That would put some slack in the class 175 fleet allowing more the existing class 175 services to be 3-car with some 2-car units made available to introduce additional services. Sounds great to me, but others say that you cannot replace class 175 units (which have accessible toilets) with the older mark2 coaches (which don't, and it wouldn't make sense to install them leglislation says mark2s must be gone by 2020). Having to say goodbye to them by 2020 is ok as I see it, since additional class 158 units or mark 3 coaches should be released by electrification to replace the mark2s by then.

So, is a slight reduction in accessible toilets a reasonable price to pay to have more capacity and more services introduced sooner? Keep in mind that the suburban units (class 150s) which already cover some long distance services due to a shortage of 158s and 175s don't have accessible toilets either.
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Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
FlyingDutchman
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2012, 10:42:19 pm »

I know MK2 and coaches are old, but with a make over they can be new. like what they done with the Coaches New Zealand

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NZR_British_Rail_Mark_2_carriage

Guy
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eightf48544
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2012, 07:38:44 am »

Having seen the NZ Mark 2s in Wellington in February I concur with Flying Dutchman that Kiwi Rail has done a great job on them.

However, it was pointed out to me that they are nearly 50 years old.  Does any one what kind of condition the Welsh ones are in?

Another problem is that with 2 locos Network Rails access charges are liable to very high due to rthe  alleged extra wear and tear on the track.
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anthony215
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 04:34:51 pm »

Some of ATW (Arriva Trains Wales (former TOC (Train Operating Company)))'s mk2 's are really only useful for scrap although that said the current rake used on the WAG1 service together with the 3 mk2 carriage's spare at Canton are in reasonable condition although they do require some owrk done on them.

There does also seem to be a lot of MK3 carriages now at canton some of which are supposed to be used on WAG1 this september and possibly a second loco hauled service from Cardiff to Holyhead and back especially with the current Wag2 being scrapped with the class 175 finally being put back on ATW's long distance services and releasing a class 150 for use elsewhere.

There should be at least 20-25 class 158's released by scotrail come 2015/2016 so hopefully the WG will push to get hold of a few although there is likely to be some competition from FGW (First Great Western) & Northern as well as east midlands trains.

Also I did hear a rumour (I stress that it was just a rumour) that scotrail would retain some more class 158's are release a few class 170's instead of course if it does prove to be true perhaps the 4 carriage sets may interest FGW.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 06:22:10 pm »

How are Scot Rail going to be able to release 20/25 158s is this electrification of the main Edinburgh - Glasgow  Line via Falkirk?
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anthony215
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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2012, 08:48:37 pm »

How are Scot Rail going to be able to release 20/25 158s is this electrification of the main Edinburgh - Glasgow  Line via Falkirk?

Yes and a few other lines I believe including the line to Alloa

The qoute of 20-25 units came from another forum and perhaps I should have said this is subject to change
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Rhydgaled
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 09:13:54 pm »

As anthony says, additional 158s could be headed our way in 2015/2016. Whether they do or not, they are at best several years away and at worst not coming at all. A large number of mark3 coaches should become available 2016-2018 though, which would allow any retain mark2 stock to be replaced. Because of this, I don't think it is worth giving the mark2s the kind of heavy refurb the New Zealand stock above posters have pointed out appears to have had (power doors!)

What I'm trying to do is come up with a reasonable stop-gap measure to put to my area's Welsh Assembly Member for use of the mark2s from around December 2013 until they can be replaced by mark3s and possibly 158s. One aim is to provide additional services over the Swansea District Line in Dec 2013. This is to try and ensure Network Rail do not decide to make cutbacks on the route once the Gowerton redouble (happening in 2013) is complete.

The cheap option, since it would not require DBSOs (Driving Brake Standard Open (carriage)) or top&tail locos, would be to introduce the new service using an LHCS (Locomotive Hauled Coaching Stock) set. However, the new services only requires a single class 158, running LHCS with so few coaches is perhaps a bit silly. Deploying the LHCS on busier services could relieve capacity on said busy route by using 5 or 6 of the mark2s in each rake, and release a 158 or 2-car 175 for the new service. Other than the extra locomotives required to use LHCS on the busier routes (because Manchester - Swansea and Manchester - Llandudno don't facilitate run-round), the problem pepole have raised with doing this is the loss of accessiblity features on the currently busy 175-operated services which the mark2s would run.
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Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
Rhydgaled
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 10:38:38 am »

Couldn't decide whether to post here or create a new topic titled: "The West Of Wales". Feel free to create that topic and move this post there if you think that would have been a better idea.

Anyway, update on this topic is that the ATW (Arriva Trains Wales (former TOC (Train Operating Company))) mark2s have been sold off to a charter operator, and there's been no progress on the Swansea District Line (except that reports are that the Fishguard boat train is a class 158 now, sadly I've been too busy to go and see for myself). I don't really have much a clue what I can do to campaign for use of the SDL (other than the YouTube video I made).

The new SWWITCH Rail Strategy Executive Summary (pdf) contains the following table (I've cut it down a bit):
StationTime to Cardiff (rail)Time to Cardiff (road)Time Difference
Carmarthen105mins75mins30mins slower
Fishguard160mins132mins28mins slower
Milford Haven169mins128mins41mins slower
Llanelli77mins71mins6mins slower
Unfortunately, as far as I can see it offers no 'strategy' to solve these issues. They also suggest using class 150s for services west of Swansea, which in my opinion would be a mistake since they are unfit for use on services of over an hour.

Another development is the Cambrian hourly service seems to have taken a huge leep forward. The question is, will additional regional express rolling stock be procured or will the rest of Wales have to suffer inappropriate rolling stock to allow the Camabrian (which requires class 158s, as only they have the necessary signalling equipment) to have it's service improvement?

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Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
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