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LNER reveals HSTs could stay

High Speed Trains could remain in traffic with London North Eastern Railway beyond December 31 2019.

In an interview with RAIL on July 31, at the launch of the first new Scottish diesel-electric hybrid Azuma, LNER Engineering Director John Doughty said HST withdrawals were to start in mid-November.

However, this was dependent upon Network Rail successfully testing and commissioning a sub-station at Bawtry, near Doncaster. This will be carried out from the August Bank Holiday, with its introduction scheduled for October 22.

Doughty explained that once that happens, a lot more Azumas can be introduced, replacing the HSTs.

He said: “We recognise the risk and have done work to see what would happen if we had to move HSTs into next year. The vast majority of the fleet will be Azuma.”

The HSTs would need a derogation to meet accessibility standards, but Doughty said they would only be needed for a few weeks. He said that as well as the sub-station, another risk surrounds the introduction of ten five-car Class 800/2 bi-modes.

Currently 800201-800206 have been released, but there are issues surrounding materials needed for their kitchens, he said. Type acceptance for the trains is expected in the middle of August, but they will enter service at a later date.

Doughty said that the existing fleet would be sent off-lease as one ‘full-length unit’ (FLU) was introduced. He explained that this could be a nine-car Class 800/1 or ‘801/2’, or two five-car Class 800/2 or ‘801/1’s.

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  • VT Fan 3 - 19/08/2019 10:16

    The idea is to keep and refurbish 7 of the Fourteen HSTs for use on the London to Aberdeen and London to Inverness routes. The other 7 could be transferred to CrossCountry.

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    • Rob m - 01/09/2019 22:16

      Sounds brilliant if some of “125s”are planned to be kept. Because I can see from a mile off the Inverness service needs A powerful engine front and rear for the climb between Blair athol and Aviemore and further North. So keeping HSTS or just a few would make great sense

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 21/08/2019 00:22

    LNER might as well keep some of the Mk3 HSTs and to operate them as short sets on London King's Cross-Middlesborough, York, Leeds, Scarborough, Lincoln, Hull, Stirling, Aberdeen and Inverness (5-Car or 6-Car+2 Power Car).

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    • VT Fan 3 - 21/08/2019 11:01

      I agree, would love to see LNER access Scarborough. However, passenger wise, on routes like Leeds, Aberdeen and Inverness. Short sets wouldn’t be the answer, They would have to stick with the full set. (2 PP + 9 C)

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    • Robert Menzies - 01/09/2019 21:57

      As a plea to LNER just keep about 10 sets for the following services: Northern lights, Highland chieftain and other services to Bradford, Harrogate, Lincoln, and Sunderland, Middlesbrough etc. I mean the Highland chieftain service requires a real Engine with proper horsepower to get over some really high summits between Pitlochry and aviemore in particular. The Azuma has already had major troubles up there because they have half the power than that of the 125. Makes sense to continue to service these magnificent machines and use the Inverness HST service for instance because it’s such a reliable train. Thanks

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