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Mk 1 charter row as CET plans a major inconvenience for charter firms

GB Railfreight 73961 and 73964 approach Parson Street, near Bristol, with the Ashford International-Weston Super Mare private charter for GB Railfreight staff on June 18. The train is formed of Mk 1 coaches. MARK PIKE.

Network Rail proposals to cease using coaches not fitted with controlled emission toilets could cripple the special trains industry, charter promoters and operators have warned.

The comments have come in response to an NR consultation on ending the use of rolling stock that drops toilet waste on the track, which the infrastructure company wants to see phased out by December 2019. Franchised services are already due to end the practice over a similar timeframe, and NR has suggested that commitments to making the changes should be incorporated into renewed charter Track Access Contracts from this summer.

Britain’s special trains industry still relies heavily on former BR Mk 1 and Mk 2 coaches that are not fitted with retention toilets, and a cost estimate from NR based on diesel multiple units has put the price of conversion at up to £20,000 per vehicle. In addition to conversion costs, resistance from within the charter market has also centred on the difficulties and expense of servicing the toilets once fitted.

  • For more on this, read RAIL 803, published on June 22.
  • For the impact on the steam market, Read RAIL's sister title Steam Railway, out now.

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  • John Morris - 21/06/2016 06:15

    People could see this coming 20 years ago - and it is a welcome change from spraying punters from passing trains. BR did some rather depressing tests on this - named, I recall 'Tests to determine the viability of airborne faecal matter'. This is one change that shouldn't be disputed. Anyone in the charter business or leascos without retention tanks should have started to make financial provision years ago.

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  • Chris - 22/06/2016 15:06

    There is presumably a financial gain somewhere in the system from not having the output of the current toilets sent directly on to the track. Presumably therefore the infrastructure owner could contribute towards the cost of keeping the infrastructure clean by offering a slightly lower access charge for CET fitted vehicles, thus encouraging fitment. Presumably at the most basic level all that is needed is a robust tank mounted on the underframe, with a suitable socket to allow discharge.

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  • G L Spencer - 23/06/2016 21:16

    Of course all train operators should conform to these basic hygiene standards. It is outrageous that this disgusting practice has been allowed for so long. when last did households empty their similar waste into the street below? Sonning Cutting

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    • FrankH - 24/06/2016 22:58

      The last of the sprinter dmu's will have cet's fitted by the end of 2017 if all goes to plan. The pacers will continue without until they are withdrawn.

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      • FrankH - 25/06/2016 00:08

        Just adding a bit more information, Porterbrook to fit cet to their class 150's by 2020, I presume other lessors will follow suit if there are any. MK 3 coaching stock arn't fitted (I didn't know that) but by 2020 there won't be many left which just fits in snugly with NR proposals doesn't it. Very few if any franchised operators will be affected leaving the charter people up the swanney river. NR estimates dmu cet conversion at £20,000 per vehicle which I presume to mean per toilet. Then you have storage at depot costs (tanks) and removal costs to add. Charter firms may as well wait until they are forced to convert then just shut up shop and jack in. The coaches they use MK1 and 2 wont last long enough for them to even cover costs even if they charge £20 a trip extra. If the custom was there for 3-4 days a week use maybe but it's not.

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