When the trains arrive at Edge Hill by road, they are unloaded and immediately coupled.
The trains are then moved into the main shed, where commissioning takes five days. CAF carries out this work, which involves testing equipment including mechanical couplings, air pipes and electrical fittings. Each individual system is also fired up before more testing begins (including on the brakes)
Northern Project Manager Garry Bartie said that type testing will be needed for six trains (three Class 195s and three ‘331s’). This includes load weight tests on the main line at speeds up to 100mph.
Currently they are running between Edge Hill, Warrington and Carlisle. Northern is crewing these with Rail Operations Group providing support and rescue locomotives. So far there have been no failures.
Customer-specified tests are also required, and then fault-free running begins.
Bartie told RAIL that the first three trains of each fleet (‘195’ and ‘331’) must complete 1,500 miles each, with the remaining 92 trains all required to complete 500 miles running. If the trains fail then the clock is reset and they must start again. Bartie said 500 miles is roughly the length of the planned initial rostered duties.