Locomotive-hauled trains continue Norfolk coast operations
TWO locomotive-hauled trains are currently operating for Abellio Greater Anglia on branch line trains between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft, and will do so until at least September 30.
One set, using top-and-tailed Class 37/4s and Mk 2s hired from Direct Rail Services, has been in place since June 2015 and has been hired until the end of the current Abellio Greater Anglia franchise.
With no new trains to be delivered to the routes until 2019, when Stadler delivers bi-mode FLIRTs to the region ( RAIL 807), it is expected that this locomotivehauled set will remain on hire until diesel multiple units are available to cascade from other franchises where they have been replaced by newer diesels or electric trains.
AGA hires the ‘37s’ and Mk 2s because it is already short of DMUs, with the Department for Transport paying for the train. As well as operating on weekdays, the ‘37s’ are also used on Summer Saturday trains between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, operating four non-stop return trips.
The ‘37s’ replaced ‘47s’ hired from DRS and which have been used on an ad hoc basis since 2011. DRS supplied modified Mk 2s that enabled the ‘37s’ to operate with through wiring, meaning that both locomotives were powering - although this practice has been
stopped in recent weeks to improve performance.
DRS supplies Class 37/4s from its XHAC pool. So far 37405/419/422/425 have been the four used, although the latter has been commandeered in recent months to haul passenger trains on the Cumbrian Coast, where DRS also supplies locomotives and stock for Northern.
Also in the XHAC pool is recently reinstated 37403 Isle of Mull, which has remained in the North West, and soon-to-be-reinstated 37407 Blackpool Tower and 37558 Avro Vulcan XH558. It is understood that 37558 (which will revert to its 37424 identity) will be used in East Anglia when it returns to traffic for the first time since March 2000.
AGA began using ‘68s’ on weekdays from July 11, to cover for three-car 170204 that had been damaged in a level crossing accident near Thetford in April. The DMU will be out of action undergoing repairs until at least April 2017, leaving AGA with a further shortage of trains.
The ‘68s’ haul Riviera Trains Mk 2s that are supplied via DRS. Currently this deal is until September 30, and DRS crews drive the trains. It is expected, but not yet confirmed, that the contract could be extended until December.
The first Class 68s used were 68016 Fearless and 68023 Achilles. However, the latter failed and has been replaced by 68019 Brutus ( RAIL 807).
Right: On August 16, Direct Rail Services 68016 Fearless (left) and DRS 37405 (right) wait at Norwich on the rear of the 1205 to Lowestoft and 1236 to Great Yarmouth respectively. The trains were hauled by DRS 68019 Brutus and 37419 Carl Haviland 1954-2012. The ‘68s’ are not booked to operate that particular train unless there is a shortage of diesel multiple units on the day. Direct Rail Services 68016 Fearless arrives at the idyllic Lingwood station on August 11, with the 1717 Great Yarmouth-Norwich. DRS 68023 Achilles arrives at Reedham on July 4 with a crew training run from Norwich, bound for Lowestoft. This ‘68’ was one of the pair that started the AGA hire contract, but it was replaced by 68019 Brutus following a failure. The sun sets as Direct Rail Services 37405 waits to leave Lowestoft with the 1955 to Norwich on August 16. DRS 37419 CarlHaviland1954-2012 was on the rear.
Class 153: 153306/309/314/322/335 Class 156: 156402/407/409/412/416-419/422 Class 170: 170201-208/270-273 Left: During crew training, DRS 68016 Fearless and 68023 Achilles top and tail a crew training run from Great Yarmouth at Acle, passing the 0836 Norwich-Great Yarmouth with DRS 37422 trailing. DRS 37405 was hauling it. This scene is replicated every weekday. The need for additional vehicles is clear on August 16, as passengers pile onto the 1847 to Norwich at Great Yarmouth. DRS 68016 Fearless will haul the train via Berney Arms, the only time each day that the ‘68s’ operate over that route. The set had arrived in Yarmouth hauled by 68019 Brutus. Anglia DMU fleet