Four-train ECML plan
Brand new IEP, '91', HST and Flying Scotsman to run side-by-side on East Coast Main Line next month
FOUR generations of iconic East Coast Main Line trains will travel side-by-side in the same direction on April 23, in what Network Rail calls a world first.
This ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity is the brainchild of Network Rail Route Managing Director for London North Eastern and the East Midlands Rob McIntosh, who was also instrumental in the recent ‘Plandampf’ operations on the Settle-Carlisle Line ( RAIL 821).
The Four Trains plan involves A3 60103 Flying Scotsman, a Virgin Trains East Coast High Speed Train, a VTEC Class 91 and a new Virgin Azuma Class 800 (due to be introduced in 2018). Additionally, a Class 55 Deltic will be used to haul the A3 into position.
“I am delighted that we have been able to create such a prestigious and unique event for the people of Yorkshire,” said McIntosh.
“The area has a very proud rail heritage, and by working closely with our industry partners we’ve been able to turn what has been a logistically challenging vision - to create an iconic railway moment on the East Coast Main Line without affecting regular passengers - into what will be a truly special occasion.”
The four trains will run for six miles from Tollerton Junction towards York station in a staggered formation at speeds of up to 25mph. No passengers or media will be allowed on the trains. NR spokesman Toby Higgins told RAIL that the trains will be operating during a possession that is already in place on the ECML that day.
The event is designed to showcase the future of ECML travel (the Class 800). It has been organised by VTEC, Welcome to Yorkshire, NR and the National Railway Museum.
“Just one year on from unveiling our brand new Virgin Azuma trains, we’re delighted to present this unique event that showcases the past, present and future of rail travel in the UK, with Azuma travelling alongside Flying
Scotsman and trains from our current fleet,” said VTEC MD David Horne.
National Railway Museum Director Paul Kirkman said: “The East Coast Main Line has long been famed for speed and style. In the 19th century elegant locomotives were designed to haul trains on this route, cementing its reputation as a railway racing stretch operated by thoroughbred engines.
“The National Railway Museum is proud that Flying Scotsman -a
“With our new Azuma trains entering service next year, this is an opportunity to celebrate the icons of the railways and look forward to 2018, when we’ll usher in a new era for travel on the East Coast route.” David Horne, Managing Director, Virgin Trains
“The four-train line-up epitomises the evolution of the later generation of fast, elegant and stylish trains - all with a shared bloodline - that epitomise the history of the route from the 1850s to today.” Paul Kirkman, Director, National Railway Museum
symbol of engineering excellence, the first steam locomotive to achieve an authenticated speed of 100mph and the first to undertake a non-stop run between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley - is taking its place alongside such worthy successors to its speed and style mantle.”
Hitachi Rail Europe Managing Director Karen Boswell said: “We believe our new British-built Azuma trains will inspire the next generation of rail enthusiasts, and show how investment in new trains will transform passenger experiences on this iconic route.”
Network Rail said the public will be able to witness the event, but stressed that trespassers “put at risk the completion of both this event and any future plans to showcase the route and its iconic locomotives”. More details will be revealed in
RAIL 824, published on April 12.
“This is a major event for Yorkshire and something people will remember for decades.” Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire
On March 10, Virgin Azuma 800101 passes Marholm with a test train. This is the first Virgin Trains East Coast Class 800 to be delivered, and was unveiled at London King’s Cross in March 2016. It will enter traffic next year. Virgin Trains East Coast 43296 races through Finsbury Park on November 30 2016. The High Speed Trains were introduced onto the East Coast Main Line in 1978, and will be replaced 40 years later by VTEC Azumas.
Virgin Trains East Coast 91118 leads the 1100 London King’s Cross-Edinburgh Waverley through Northallerton on March 16. Class 91s were introduced from 1989 onwards, and will be replaced by Azumas.
On May 10 2016, 60103 FlyingScotsman rolls through York. The steam locomotive is one of four East Coast Main Line icons participating in the Four Trains event on April 23.