Locomotive-hauled trains to return to north west

Locomotive-hauled Mk 2 coaching stock is to make a return to daily passenger trains in the North West, under a plan to maintain the current service level and capacity on key routes, the Department for Transport announced as part of a rolling stock plan on January 8.

The need for increased capacity on the Cumbrian Coast line – and the cascade of six Class 156 DMUs operated by Northern on a sub-leasing basis to First TransPennine Express means that the 2012 trial of workers’ trains to the Sellafield nuclear site can now be put on a more permanent footing from the May timetable change.

TPE needs the DMUs as a result of losing five of its Class 170s to Chiltern Railways, following a decision made by rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook. It is expected that the remaining four TPE ‘170s’ will move south in 2016.

In addition, a further six Class 319 EMUs for Northern – taking the total up to 20 - will allow for a more speedy roll-out of electric services between Liverpool and Preston from the autumn, as well as for Manchester Victoria and Liverpool route from the May timetable change, allowing for the strengthening of DMU routes operated by Northern.

  • For more on this story, see RAIL 766, published on January 21. 

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  • Richard Pill - 08/08/2015 17:43

    This is a welcome interim step. There is a well known stock shortage and on the Bedford-Bletchley, alias 'Marston Vale Line' passengers had to be turned away due to the single car 153 being full. This on a leisure line with no Bank Holiday or Sunday timetable! I feel that the goal should be a graded optimisation whereby we fill existing trains, move up to consistent 2 or more coach operations (i.e. DMUs or electrification) and then once those are full, locomotive hauled stock with a carriage given over to bikes, prams, luggage and back-packs would in some cases seem like an effort to court 'relevant business on offer'. On the Marston Vale Railway, 4 halts would be needed to be lengthened if 153's were butted together to give more capacity. Alas this is not flavour of the month with the current incumbent TOC, whose Birmingham remoteness begs a call for Micro-franchising out to someone like Chiltern with a new depot at Forders Sidings - an advanced working for either diesel East-West Rail or electrification and integration for Bedford-Watford slows or even Open Access from Leicester-Corby-Watford peak relief services to capture end to end markets and bridge between the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line on a diagonal axis. Even if it were an extra Southern extended to Bedford from Bletchley, electrification means platform lengthening anyway, so common sense to get on with it now right?!

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