Im­prove­ments de­manded for Mk 1 com­pli­ance

Rail (UK) - - Network - Daniel Pud­di­combe Con­tribut­ing Writer rail@bauer­me­dia.co.uk

MAIN line char­ter op­er­a­tors must up­grade their rolling stock, so that it con­forms to the same rules as more mod­ern rolling stock when run­ning on the na­tional net­work.

That was the con­clu­sion of HM Chief In­spec­tor of Rail­ways Ian Prosser CBE, speak­ing at the Char­ter In­dus­try Con­fer­ence held at the Na­tional Rail­way Mu­seum in York on Oc­to­ber 24.

The ex­emp­tion al­low­ing Bri­tish Rail Mk 1 coaches to op­er­ate on the main line ex­pires in 2023. While Prosser said he would like to see Mk 1s re­main on the main line be­yond then, own­ers will need to make a num­ber of mod­i­fi­ca­tions in or­der to gain a new cer­tifi­cate of ex­emp­tion.

“Our in­ten­tion is to al­low the use of the ve­hi­cles be­yond 2023. There have to be im­prove­ments be­tween now and 2023 and I’m mak­ing that mes­sage very clear - we are not car­ry­ing on as we are now, there is no such thing as sta­tus quo,” he told con­fer­ence del­e­gates.

“This sec­tor needs to move faster than it has done in the past, and we need to em­brace it. Although many of the ve­hi­cles are her­itage, they can still be mod­ernised.”

He added: “Pac­ers are com­ing to the end, thank God. I was go­ing to ban them any­way at some point, so we do need to move on and treat our pas­sen­gers with re­spect.”

Prosser said that for ve­hi­cles to com­ply, cen­tral door lock­ing will need to be in­stalled, as well as an in­ward door han­dle. This would also re­duce the amount the drop­lights can be opened. At present, Mk 1s

are slammed shut and se­cured via a sec­ondary door bolt.

“Cur­rently, coaches rely on a sim­ple door latch which any adult can op­er­ate, which is not good enough,” he said.

“Cen­tral door lock­ing so­lu­tions have been de­vel­oped for her­itage ve­hi­cles, so that means there is a pre­scient. We ex­pect all pas­sen­ger stock to have cen­tral door lock­ing if it is to be used be­yond 2023, and will not grant any ex­emp­tions for hinged doors be­yond 2023.

“Drop­light win­dows can there­fore have their open­ing re­stricted, and that is go­ing to hap­pen be­cause I don’t want to see some­one with a film cam­era hang­ing out of a win­dow. I am not go­ing to ac­cept it. We need to come into the 21st cen­tury, as these coaches are not toys.”

He added that cor­ro­sion on Mk 1s is also an is­sue that will need to ad­dressed in or­der for ve­hi­cles to con­tinue to run on NR me­tals be­yond 2023.

Fur­ther­more, Prosser said Net­work Rail data sug­gests that twice as many Mk 1s are regis­tered to op­er­ate on the na­tional net­work than have been used in the past three years, and added: “I do not want that to con­tinue. We are only go­ing to ex­empt ve­hi­cles that are fit to run.

“You will need to demon­strate that cor­ro­sion is well-man­aged, as we are go­ing into a place that is pretty much un­known. If you can’t demon­strate the ve­hi­cle is in a fit state, no ex­emp­tion will be pro­vided.”

Prosser added that Mk 1s must not re­lease ef­flu­ent on the tracks, and that the rules will equally ap­ply to her­itage lines that use NR me­tals, such as the North York­shire Moors Rail­way.

“If you op­er­ate on the main line rail­way you have to play by the rules. Ev­ery­one else does,” he said.

“We will sup­port you through the process and work very closely with NR. And we will give you enough time to work on the ex­emp­tions to en­sure the ve­hi­cles can pay for them­selves, as we un­der­stand the eco­nomic ar­gu­ments and busi­ness cases needed to make in­vest­ments.”

JEREMY CALDECOAT.

On Septem­ber 9, pre­served 47580 County of Es­sex hauls a Nor­wich-Ac­ton empty stock move through Lit­tle Thet­ford (near Ely). The fu­ture of rolling stock used by char­ters was dis­cussed at a Net­work Rail con­fer­ence in York on Oc­to­ber 24.

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