The planned use of Class 68s and Mk 3s by TransPennine Express has been delayed, and will now start in July rather than May.
The initial plan was that they would be used for nine days from May 21 until the start of the Liverpool Lime Street blockade.
It had been intended that two pairs of top-and-tailed ‘68s’ would haul Mk 3s leased from Porterbrook. However, that has been delayed because the stock is not yet ready. Also, not enough staff were trained in time.
TPE plans to use the ‘68’-hauled sets for training purposes, ahead of the introduction of the Mk 5A locomotive-hauled sets from the autumn. They will also be used to boost capacity across the Pennines, and reduce the number of trains formed of three-car Class 185 diesel multiple units.
In a document seen by RAIL, TPE states that two rakes of Mk 3s will be formed of four coaches. There will be one First Class and three Standard Class Mk 3s per set. Of the three Standard Class coaches, one will be a declassified First Class vehicle.
It is planned that each set will use one Open First, one Kitchen Buffet First (RFM) and two Standard Opens (TSO). The spare vehicles will be First Open (Disabled) (FOD) 11048 and Standard Open (Disabled) (TSOD) 12122. The coaches in the sets will be from RFM 10212/229, FO 11007/018 and TSO 12011/078, 12133/138. The RFMs will have the First Class seating, but have no wheelchair or cycle provision.
It is expected that the trains will be used until sufficient Mk 5A sets are in traffic. The sets will run between Liverpool Lime Street and Scarborough, running via Manchester Victoria. They will leave Merseyside at 0556, 0656, 1156, 1256, 1756, 1856, and from Scarborough at 0846, 0946, 1446, 1546, 2050 and 2146. The latter only runs to Manchester Victoria. Arriva TrainCare will maintain the sets at Crewe.
- For the FULL story, and the latest on the Mk 5As for TPE, read RAIL 854, published on June 6, and available now on Android/iPad.