Engine testing about to begin on Flex Class 769s
PRE-PRODUCTION testing of the first Class 769 Flex MAN diesel engine and ABB alternator was due to begin at Wabtec Rail’s Brush Traction Loughborough facility as this issue of RAIL went to press.
This process will allow engineers to discover and remedy any issues before engines and alternators are fitted to the first Class 319 electric multiple units that are at the site.
Testing will be carried out in a bespoke facility adapted for the scheme. The engines and alternators to be tested initially are pre-production samples and will not be fitted to a main line ‘769’. They will remain in situ throughout the conversion process to enable Wabtec, MAN and ABB engineers to assess and rectify any issues found during testing.
Once testing is complete, it is expected that Unit 1 (319456) will be fitted with its components in September or October.
Following a period of static testing at Brush, the train will then move to the nearby Great Central Railway for testing. This will be for drivers as well as for owner Porterbrook, Wabtec and other partners. This is expected in late November.
The ‘769’ will be joined at the Great Central by Unit 2 (319434), to test compatibility and for issues such as working in multiple. Once that is completed, the trains will return to Brush to await approval before moving to their future base at Allerton (Liverpool).
It is planned that all eight will be in the North West by April, ahead of their introduction at the start of the May 2018 timetable.
The first two trains are already at Loughborough, with 319456 fitted with a trial fuel tank by August 15. The tank carries 1,000 litres of fuel and is designed to last for two days in traffic, depending on how economically the ‘769’ is driven and where it operates.
Eight ‘769s’ are destined for Northern, and a further five will be converted for Arriva Trains Wales. The rolling stock operator has not ruled out more conversions, and has spoken with various franchises and franchise bidders regarding the trains.
The Class 319s are being withdrawn by Govia Thameslink Railway, with all removed from traffic by the end of August. This will leave seven with London Midland, although these are also expected to be removed from traffic. ■ A future edition of RAIL will feature an EXCLUSIVE feature on the visit to Loughborough.
Northern 319434 inside Brush Traction, Loughborough, on August 15. This is Unit 2 in the Flex programme.