Network Rail’s rebuilt Class 73s accepted into traffic
TWO Class 73s rebuilt and re-engineered for Network Rail have been accepted into traffic more than two years after work to convert them began.
The locomotives (73951 Malcolm Brinded and 73952 Janis Kong) were rebuilt by LORAM UK at Derby. They have been fitted with Cummins 755hp gen sets, replacing a single 600hp English Electric engine.
They were rebuilt from 73211 and 73104 respectively, and have undergone months of testing before being accepted into traffic. Rail Vehicle Engineering Ltd (which LORAM bought last year) initially proposed the ‘73’ rebuild in 2011.
NR spokesman Dan Donovan told RAIL on March 21 that they completed their first infrastructure monitoring (IM) recording trip in mid-March, at which time they were accepted into service. He said that NR was now carrying out a comprehensive driver training programme.
While the locomotives will be a national resource, Donovan said that initially they will be deployed on NR duties in the Midlands. They have also ventured to the West Country in recent weeks on training runs. The ‘73/9s’ are based at Derby, and were designed to replace NR’s Class 31 fleet.
The infrastructure company has confirmed to RAIL that the ‘31s’ will be withdrawn this month, with the last one (31233) used on the main line before being switched off. NR also owns 31105, which had been used for shunting at Derby, and which is to be sold in due course.
LORAM owns 73101/139. These could be converted into ‘73/9s’, but there has been no confirmation of any new deal.
NR owns a wide range of locomotives including Class 08s, ‘31s’, ‘37s’ and a ‘73/1’. It has also contracted Colas Rail to supply locomotives for its IM operations, and the ‘73s’ will work alongside the Class 37s hired from Colas for these duties. Additionally, NR hires five Class 73/9s from GB Railfreight (73961-73965) for infrastructure duties on the former Southern Region. The GBRf ‘73/9s’ are fitted with 1,500hp MTU engines.
At Derby on March 7, Network Rail 73951 Malcolm Brinded and 73952 Janis Kong top and tail a Derby-Derby test train that ran via the West Midlands. After months of testing, the re-engineered Class 73/9s have been accepted into traffic by NR. STEVE DONALD.