En­gine test­ing about to be­gin on Flex Class 769s

Rail (UK) - - Network - EX­CLU­SIVE Richard Clin­nick richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk @Clin­nick1 As­sis­tant Ed­i­tor

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.

RICHARD CLIN­NICK.

North­ern 319434 in­side Brush Trac­tion, Lough­bor­ough, on Au­gust 15. This is Unit 2 in the Flex pro­gramme.

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