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Plans submitted to modify Mk 3s as freight vehicles

Redundant Mk 3 and Mk 4 carriages could potentially be converted into freight vehicles coupled to high-speed passenger services.

InterCity Railfreight  and rail consultancy Intermodality have submitted a proposal to the Government to get the carriages back in service.

Intermodality Director Nick Gallop told RAIL on January 25 that the Mk 3s would be the ideal carriages for the scheme, as they are modern, easily recognisable, and have at least ten years’ life left in them. He said that disused Mk 4s could then be considered if the Mk 3s prove successful.

Mk 3s currently used in High Speed Train formations by Great Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast will be replaced by Hitachi’s Intercity Express Programme Class 800/801s from 2018. IEP will also displace the majority of Mk 4s from VTEC from 2018.

But rather than the carriages then being scrapped, the freight plans could give them a new lease of life, in turn raising revenue for train operating companies (TOCs).

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 793, published on February 3.

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  • FrankH - 01/02/2016 08:52

    Not compatible with anything on the WCML as it is now, with IEP's to be introduced elsewhere I can't see much of a future in the idea.

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    • FrankH - 03/02/2016 00:19

      Going off on a tangent here, refurbed and re geared the class 91's would make a decent freight loco with 6300+ hp.

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 01/02/2016 09:11

    What about having the VT East Coast MK3 carriages with the automatic doors on Abellio Greater Anglia and to replace the current Intercity carriages that could be used for Network Rail and destined to be scrapped as VTEC are getting the new Hitachi Class 800 and Class 801 IEP trains in 2018-onwards.

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    • DavidB_ - 02/02/2016 20:53

      Greater Anglia already use Mk3s, and the HST-spec coaching stock is different electrically.

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      • Andrew Gwilt - 05/02/2016 12:08

        I suppose you are right.

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  • Jim Oates - 01/02/2016 18:30

    A similar system of lightweight containers, as used by airfreight, but built to fit the coaches, might be one way.

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  • Nigel Richards - 01/02/2016 21:08

    thats a bit silly as the mk3s and mk4s could be used on secondary services ie cardiff to portsmouth, cardiff - manchester,

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    • Dave Greenly - 05/02/2016 17:52

      Thats right! Send us in Wales the cast-offs!

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  • Steve Robertson - 01/02/2016 23:01

    Here's a novel idea, keep them as passenger coaches, and use to put on more trains and ease overcrowding at peak times, timetables allowing of course!

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  • Steve Robertson - 01/02/2016 23:04

    Here's a novel idea, keep them as passenger coaches, and use to put on more trains and ease overcrowding at peak times, timetables allowing of course!

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  • Peter Stanton - 02/02/2016 14:50

    These are monocoque vehicles, how on earth could you modify them structurally for freight?

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    • FrankH - 03/02/2016 22:59

      They were designed to haul passenger and freight as built. If they can haul coaches I can't see why not freight unless as you say the body wouldn't take the strain.

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      • FrankH - 03/02/2016 23:03

        Sorry Peter, just realised you were talking about the coaches.

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  • BigTone - 03/02/2016 14:50

    Nothing new. EWS trialled a high speed (90mph with Class 90s) freight service some years ago. Didn't work. Also what happened to the super GUVs?

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  • Lee Lannon - 03/02/2016 22:43

    Why not refurb mk3 & 4's and use on cross country services & use on Southampton-Waterloo, and other over crowded lines.

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    • FrankH - 05/02/2016 11:43

      For XC there arn't the locos available in enough numbers, for Southampton services 3rd rail locos needed, not enough left. Plus they'd have to be able to keep up current schedules. Spare HST sets when they eventually come available might be a XC option.

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  • Manchester Mike - 05/02/2016 13:25

    Why aren't Mk 3s upgraded for use as passenger vehicles? Surely this would be cheaper and there is a dearth of passenger capacity on many lines.

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    • FrankH - 06/02/2016 10:10

      The MK3's carry passengers now, maybe just need a re furb and re jig the seating. Main problem (as above reply) not enough locos with eth to haul them, plus a DVT would be needed as run round facilities at terminal stations now are like hens teeth.

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  • PaulZA - 08/02/2016 14:25

    Lets be really radical and use the mk3 + DVT idea for secondary / x country services. As for motive power a class 56 fitted with ETH could provide the answer. As the Class 57 uses the same alternator, whats to stop the conversion ?

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