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Hitachi converts GWR ‘801s’ to bi-mode operation

800101 inside North Pole on May 5. RICHARD CLINNICK.

Hitachi is to convert 21 Class 801 electric multiple units ordered for Great Western Railway to full bi-mode operation, rather than the straight electric (with auxiliary diesel power) that was originally intended.

The move follows delays in the Great Western Main Line electrification programme, and was announced by Rail Minister Claire Perry in a Commons Written Reply to Bath MP Ben Howlett (Conservative) on May 26.

Perry wrote: “Following the receipt of a formal proposal from Agility Trains West Ltd, the Secretary of State for Transport has now approved the conversion of the 21 Class 801 Intercity Express Programme units scheduled for deployment on the Great Western to bi-mode operation. This will enable passengers in the South West and Wales to benefit as soon as possible from brand new trains which will deliver more capacity and more comfort. The first 36 trains will be bi-mode as planned.”

  • For more on this story, read RAIL 802, published on June 8.
  • For full details on the Intercity Express Programme, read RAIL 800.

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  • BigTone - 01/06/2016 18:09

    Has to be done. The electrification is that far behind. Apparently it is not much of a job to "unconvert" back to 801

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    • FrankH - 04/06/2016 00:08

      They're digging themselves out of a hole doing this. I wonder when they'll change the slogan to "slightly greener trains coming your way soon".

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  • Gizzy - 02/06/2016 16:25

    Having Bi-mode capability could be useful when the OLE fails. ECML has delays today due to the wires being down....

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    • BigTone - 02/06/2016 18:05

      That explains the HST on the Newark - Lincoln line

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    • David - 02/06/2016 19:10

      The 'pure' electric-only Class 801s will retain a single power pack per unit for the purpose of self-recovery - and overhaul of the ECML infrastructure is ongoing.

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      • Gizzy - 02/06/2016 19:33

        I realise the Virgin 801s will have a power pack and the resilience issues on the ECML are being resolved, but having that extra backup has got to be a benefit....

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    • BigTone - 03/06/2016 14:09

      According to Lincolnshire Echo, it was a train fire. Between Peterborough and Grantham

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  • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 06/06/2016 00:41

    Class 800 and Class 801's are Bi-Mode and Class 802's are electric operated only via 25kv overhead.

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    • Gizzy - 13/06/2016 12:00

      802s are Electro Diesels. The 801 is the 25kV variant. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_801

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      • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 14/06/2016 01:42

        Right.

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        • Gizzy - 14/06/2016 09:27

          Whether the GWR conversions will be reclassified remains to be seen. One would have thought that their 801s would become class 802....

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          • Andrewjgwilt1989 - 14/06/2016 10:27

            I understand. Thanks.

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          • BigTone - 17/06/2016 00:10

            I hope the conversion is to 802 rather than 800. Although they are pretty well the same engine, the electronics will give 940 hp rather than 750 hp and are rated for 125 mph on diesel and are better suited to the Devon banks

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  • Nicksy - 25/06/2016 10:05

    We can only pray that whatever is on the roof of a Voyager causing it to either get stranded or be stopped short during stormy weather along the Dawlish seawall isn't a design feature of the new bi-mode 802s. HSTs get through, and if the replacement stock suffers the same problems, then here in the South West we'll be relying on the bus-body-on-freight-wagon Pacers and their vintage resilience. So, has Hitachi/GWR addressed the potential salt water spray problem?

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