Modifications under way on LNER’s ‘ageing’ fleet
RELIABILITY issues are affecting LNER, with its High Speed Trains requiring modifications.
And while LNER’s Public Performance Measurement (PPM) has risen - from 76% of trains on time on its first weekday (June 25) to 86.1% on August 24 - RAIL sources confirmed that the operator is having to use all of its 26 Class 91/Mk 4 sets on 26 available daily duties, while 14 HSTs per day are required from a fleet of 15.
LNER also continues to hire an additional East Midlands Trains HST when required, as well as a set permanently hired from EMT. Class 90s are also hired from DB Cargo to cover for unavailable Class 91s, and while only one was supposed to be in traffic there are regularly two ‘90s’ in use.
LNER spokesman Peter Hess said that the fleet has been “stretched for some time”. He explained that it was ageing and operating at full capacity, while one locomotive (91119) remains out of traffic having been damaged last winter.
To address fleet performance, he said that LNER was carrying out a number of modification programmes. These include replacing HST turbos to manage a spate of early-life failures, while reliability improvements are being carried out to the alternator over the temperature system, with two Class 43s still to be treated.
HST Mk 3s are receiving new inter-car receptacles to reduce the electrical/through control faults.
LNER is also carrying out singlepoint failure risk management on its Class 91/Mk 4 fleet, including Driving Van Trailer traction interlock switch modifications that should mitigate certain door failures, and parking brake isolation switch modifications to enable rapid isolation of the parking brake system.
The operator has a fleet of 31 Class 91s and 30 rakes of Mk 4s, as well as 15 HSTs (one on permanent hire from EMT).
From December 4, Hitachi-built Azumas will enter traffic on trains between Leeds/Hull and London King’s Cross, with trains to York also likely to switch to the Class 800/801 fleet by March when ten sets should be in traffic.
Initially, LNER will return Class 91s and Mk 4s to Eversholt Rail following the introduction of the new trains, with the majority of the HSTs being sent off-lease in the final quarter of 2019.
LNER 91106 races through Marshall Meadows (near Berwick-uponTweed) on August 25 with the 1830 Edinburgh-Newcastle. The operator is suffering from reliability problems on its fleet.