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GWR and DfT discuss ‘revised plan’ after electrification delays

The Department for Transport, Great Western Railway and Network Rail are discussing how they can deliver passenger benefits in the current franchise to mitigate delays in the Great Western Main Line electrification programme.

RAIL understands that the biggest issue is passenger capacity. Without the ability to operate a full electric service on long-distance and commuter services, long-planned cascades of diesel trains - such as the Class 165/166 fleets to Bristol and the South West - may not be able to happen, leading to knock-on effects elsewhere.

GWR has tested short-formation High Speed Trains, and these could potentially be used on longer-distance services currently operated by multiple units, such as Cardiff-Portsmouth and Exeter-Penzance. They could also be used on some of the longer branch lines in the South West, such as Par-Newquay and Exeter-Barnstaple, although neither GWR nor the DfT would confirm this. A potential additional order for bi-mode AT300 hybrid trains could also be under consideration.

  • For more on this story read RAIL 795 published on March 2

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  • BigTone - 29/02/2016 14:18

    I thought AT300s were already on order?

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    • BigTone - 01/03/2016 17:33

      Oops, the proposal is for extra AT300s

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  • Kevin - 29/02/2016 16:01

    I thought Scot Rail were expecting to take on many of the HSTs rendered surplus by GW electrification to use in shorter formations on the Edinburgh/Glasgow to Aberdeen and Inverness routes?

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  • hugo rogers - 02/03/2016 09:45

    how come its taking so long...incidentally how long did it take to do the East Coast up to Edinburgh? I mean wires are still at Airport Junction or have they actually progressed any further than that yet?

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    • BigTone - 03/03/2016 21:00

      As far as the North West goes, I can understand it with the terrain, built up areas and old mine workings (including some that were not mapped). As for the GW, no idea apart from failings in Network Rail (booze ups, breweries...) which is why the Midland Mainline and Trans Pennine North routes when they were un paused, are going to take longer to allow trackwork updates to be done before the wires go up rather than after. eg Midland Mainline, Market Harborough is going to be rebuilt with the curves taken out before the wires arrive

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  • FrankH - 04/03/2016 15:38

    "how they can deliver passenger benefits in the current franchise" Simple, they can't. They'll have to make do with what they have now and gradually use the new trains as the OLE procession progresses towards Bristol. Unless the bi mode trains have about 3-4000 hp of diesel power (highly unlikely) they'll not keep a 125 mph schedule up. The HST's will be on long distance work for some time to come.

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    • BigTone - 04/03/2016 15:53

      I don't know what diesel power the AT300s are rated at but they are being bought to work the Devon banks. Remember these are NOT the IEP bi-mode trains (which have fewer coaches fitted with diesel engines)

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      • BigTone - 04/03/2016 16:07

        Just had a look, the AT300s have 940hp lumps as opposed to 750 hp on the Class 800s. The 5 coach sets have 3 engines while the 9 coach sets have 5 engines. Here's a wiki link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_802

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        • FrankH - 04/03/2016 21:31

          Plenty of grunt then. At 22x5 car units and 7x9 car 802 units plus 36 5 car 800's they seem a bit thin on the ground compaired to the HST's 50 ish sets or 119 power cars.

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          • BigTone - 05/03/2016 00:05

            According to the link, there is the option for thirty more 5 coach units, maybe these are whats being discussed in the article

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            • FrankH - 06/03/2016 17:48

              Beats me why 5 car units, unless the idea is to run 2 units to Bristol then split them for separate destinations. Maybe added flexibility but not going to be quicker than now. If they do that they're relying on the return trips being on time to couple at Bristol. Now that's asking for trouble.

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