Talks continue on Cumbrian Coast Line traction

Discussions regarding the reliability of locomotive-hauled trains on the Cumbrian Coast are ongoing, with no decision made as to their replacements.

There had been suggestions that Direct Rail Services would supply top-and-tail Class 68s to replace the Class 37/4s on the route. The ‘37s’ operate in push-pull mode with Driving Brake Standard Opens, but there have been several failures, caused by both the locomotive and the DBSO. 

DRS is contracted to supply Northern with two sets of locomotives and coaches until January 6 2019, the deal having started in 2015 as part of a Department for Transport-funded scheme to cover for a cascade in diesel multiple units (RAIL 767).

DRS spokesman Rachael Storey told RAIL: “We are looking at a range of solutions in partnership with Northern to improve the performance of the service.”

Northern spokesman Glyn Hallam said: “Talks are ongoing at the moment to look at the issues, but no decision has been made at this stage.”

Currently DRS has allocated 37401-403/424/425 to the XHCC pool for Cumbrian Coast services.

  • To read more on this, read RAIL 844, published on January 17, and available on Android/iPad from January 13.


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  • FrankH - 01/01/2018 15:07

    With the Blackpool - Preston line closed until May Northern should have DMU's to spare. Why have a couple of sets as hot spares ready to go. Or T+T with 37's (I thought Harry Needle had re-worked them) if there's enough of them. Northern probably wouldn't like the extra cost though.

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    • BigTone - 07/01/2018 02:49

      Indeed Frank, also two 158s (From Scotland) and one 150/1 (From GWR) have already transferred to Northern

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    • Neil - 05/01/2019 10:59

      Northern couldn’t run a bath,please note most of the slagging created about class 37 issues was down to staff issues at Whitehaven and further up to Carlisle along with maintenance issues reported by drivers being ignored?

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  • Todd Cunliffe - 14/03/2018 02:54

    When this service runs as it should it's a much nicer ride than it is for local commuters to be stuck on a 142 pacer or a doubled up 153 even the 156 as far as the operator is concerned is the niche stock on this route but in reality the mk2 coaches other than performance wise r kings of the coast if 68's r hauling I think it's money well spent still think u will attract "spotters" as its unconventional in respect of the rest of the network with the comfort value and reliability for the workers of sellafield

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