Fixed for­ma­tions stand the test of time

Rail (UK) - - Feature Rolling Stock -

Although it was al­ways in­tended that HSTs would run in fixed for­ma­tions for ease of op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance, it is re­mark­able that some of the trail­ers have stayed to­gether through­out the many fleet reshuf­fles and pri­vati­sa­tion.

How­ever, for those orig­i­nally al­lo­cated to BR’s Western Re­gion, this is likely to end as they are cas­caded to Scot­land fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the In­ter­city Ex­press Pro­gramme trains.

The suc­cess of the orig­i­nal plan can be seen by ex­am­in­ing the notes from my Fe­bru­ary 23 1977 trip. On the day of the jour­ney de­scribed, the out­ward 1115 Padding­tonSwansea was formed with power cars from sets 253011/ 017 (the unit num­bers on the front ends were soon aban­doned be­cause they were mean­ing­less), with 253005 on the re­turn jour­ney from Cardiff to Padding­ton.

Three of the ve­hi­cles listed - a power car and two trail­ers - are among the small hand­ful of the fleet no longer in ex­is­tence, hav­ing been de­stroyed in two of the only three HST ac­ci­dents over the past 40 years.

43011 was the lead­ing power car in the Oc­to­ber 5 1999 tragedy at Lad­broke Grove, two miles out of Padding­ton - 31 peo­ple died and more than 500 were in­jured when a sig­nal was passed at red and the HST struck a Thames Trains com­muter DMU. HST restau­rant car 40213 (ex-40013) was also lost in the same ac­ci­dent.

The col­li­sion be­tween an HST and a car parked at a level cross­ing at Ufton Nervet on the Berks & Hants Line on Novem­ber 6 2004 claimed the lives of seven peo­ple. Trailer sec­ond coach 42017 was one of the write-offs.

In 1977, Western Re­gion HST sets com­prised two power cars and seven trail­ers. There are eight to­day. Although in­tended to be short term, the orig­i­nal for­ma­tion was TF ( Trailer First)+TF+TRUK ( Trailer Restau­rant Kitchen)+TS ( Trailer Sec­ond)+TRSB ( Trailer Buf­fet Sec­ond)+TS+TS.

The guards com­part­ment was in­cor­po­rated in the rear of the power car, but com­plaints of noise and vi­bra­tion later led to the con­struc­tion of an ex­tra ve­hi­cle, the TGS (Trailer Guards Sec­ond), which also added an­other 62 seats.

Be­tween or­der­ing the HST sets in 1974 and their in­tro­duc­tion, it was clear that the Western Re­gion would not re­quire the full at-seat restau­rant ser­vice as well as a buf­fet car, and so quick re­vi­sions were made to re­place the TRUK (which also had meal pro­vi­sion for Sec­ond Class) with an­other Sec­ond Open. A re­vised de­sign - the TRUB (restau­rant/buf­fet) - was al­ready planned for in­tro­duc­tion in 1977, with the re­dun­dant cars dis­placed to the East Coast Main Line.

With the HST mo­nop­oly on the Western now al­most at an end, ScotRail will take 54 power cars and 121 trail­ers to con­vert into 17 five-coach and nine four-coach trains (with two spare power cars), serv­ing the coun­try’s seven cities of Glas­gow, Ed­in­burgh, Stir­ling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and In­ver­ness. En­ter­ing ser­vice be­tween summer next year and May 2019, all will be lim­ited to 100mph.

As well as a makeover for the power cars at Brush, the trail­ers will gain power-op­er­ated doors, a busi­ness coach con­ver­sion, and 15cm more legroom for Stan­dard Class pas­sen­gers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.