Testing begins, with units due in traffic next September
Commissioning of the Class 385s for passenger service begins in July, Hitachi Rail Europe AT100 & AT200 Programme Manager Andy Radford told RAIL on December 11.
Speaking at the unveiling of 385102 at Glasgow Shields Road, Radford explained how the project will progress. He said that interiors will be finalised in February, and that the first four trains to receive them will be T5 and T6 in Kasado (Japan) and T7 and T8 in Newton Aycliffe. These are the fifth to eighth trains to be built.
He said that 24 trains will be in traffic at the start of the December 2017 timetable, and that initially they will need to operate as sevencar formations. This means that a mixture of three-car ‘385/0s’ and four-car ‘385/1s’ will be delivered.
Radford explained that the plan is for ten seven-car formations and four three-car formations to operate. They have to run as a maximum of seven-car formations until Network Rail extends Glasgow Queen Street’s platforms in 2019.
DB Cargo will carry out the delivery and testing of the trains, with 385102 the first to be used. However, Radford said the test programme began in September: “T1 and T4 are in Velim [385101 and 385002], and in mid-January or February they will move to Germany, where DB will haul them on the German rail network for stability testing.”
In Scotland, testing of 385102 was due to start as this issue of RAIL went to press. It will spend the week beginning December 12 undergoing static testing and crew training at Glasgow Shields Road, before moving to Wemyss Bay the following weekend. It will run in a Signal Protected Zone (with stabling at Gourock) until March, when ‘385s’ will be passed to run normally on the Network Rail system and begin tests during daylight hours. Radford said that the ‘385s’ are contracted to begin running tests on the Edinburgh- Glasgow route in May.
The next ‘385’ to be delivered to Scotland (three-car 385001) will be delivered directly to Craigentinny.
Radford explained that four-car trains T5 and T6 (385103/104) are due to leave Japan in April. T7 and T8 (385003/004) are three-car EMUs, and will be the first to be accepted into traffic.
He said that due to the six-week shipping time, the vast majority of the first 24 units put into traffic will be from Newton Aycliffe. The last ‘385’ is planned for delivery in December 2018.