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GWR to lease ‘tri-mode’ class 769 multiple units from Porterbrook


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I do wonder how many of the converted, still being converted and stored awaiting conversion 319's will actually see passenger service.  If the 442's can be written off at a stroke despite millions having been spent on them and having not carried a single passenger in their re-engineered form, the same could happen again.

 

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I've just checked - the first unit delivered to Northern was in December 2018, 6 months after their first planned entry to service date for Northern.  So only 3 years behind for Northern at the moment, and potentially the last fleet to enter passenger service at this rate! 

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2 hours ago, brushman47544 said:

Does anyone know what the traction “rules” will be for the North Downs line? Presumably the 769s will work off the juice between Reading and Wokingham and Reigate and Gatwick, but what about between Aldershot South Jct and Shalford Jct? Can the trains change power system on the move?


Hi,

 

I know that this is still being developed by GWR, the Power Change Over design team in Reading (me and another) have been approached to possibly look at developing the line side stuff for it.

 

Simon

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8 hours ago, John M Upton said:

I do wonder how many of the converted, still being converted and stored awaiting conversion 319's will actually see passenger service.  If the 442's can be written off at a stroke despite millions having been spent on them and having not carried a single passenger in their re-engineered form, the same could happen again.

 

 

Rather different situation

 

SWR were about to dump a vast quantity of newish units (the 485s) with wide doorways and modern traction packages so keeping some of them probably makes more financial sense than the 442s, most of which have yet to have the new traction packages fitted and which will still suffer from some undesirable elements even after all the money spent on them, e.g. narrow doorways etc.

 

The 319 conversions on the other hand will displace DMUs - which not only have a sensible door arrangement for local / commuter work but are far more flexible in terms of use not needing an external power supply so are easily reusable elsewhere in the country (unlike a DC or AC EMU). The 319 tri-modes also allow for more through services to Oxford rather than the need to change at Didcot which has to happen now due to electrification of the GWML being scaled back.

Edited by phil-b259
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8 hours ago, surfsup said:

From the video's I've seen of the Welsh fleet, they do seem rather lethargic travelling up the Valleys.

 

Maybe but the reports from TfW are that the performance is much better than expected and has surprised them.

 

8 hours ago, surfsup said:

Has it ever? How many years late are we now with the Northern units and still none of theirs are in service. For something that was billed as a quicker and cheaper alternative to buying new Hybrid units, Stadler seem to have been able to knock Porterbrook out of the park with this one. 

 

They may not have turned out to be quicker (and some of that is Covid related - particularly at Northern) but it is reported that they are still a lot cheaper than new builds with one quote that "the cost is a drop in the ocean compared with a new fleet".  Whilst the Stadler fleets may come good eventually they have not exactly been an unqualified success so far. 

 

8 hours ago, John M Upton said:

I do wonder how many of the converted, still being converted and stored awaiting conversion 319's will actually see passenger service.  If the 442's can be written off at a stroke despite millions having been spent on them and having not carried a single passenger in their re-engineered form, the same could happen again.

 

If I were a betting man then my money would be on all of them seeing service.  As I mentioned above TfW have been pleasantly surprised by the performance which suggests the basic concept is sound so once the nagging issues are ironed out it seems probable that they will prove to be useful units.  If anything I can see more of them being done if that initial TfW impression is confirmed by wider operational experience.  

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31 minutes ago, DY444 said:

 

 

They may not have turned out to be quicker (and some of that is Covid related - particularly at Northern) but it is reported that they are still a lot cheaper than new builds with one quote that "the cost is a drop in the ocean compared with a new fleet".  Whilst the Stadler fleets may come good eventually they have not exactly been an unqualified success so far. 

 

 

Which is a key point.

 

Put it this way were the Government in the business of re-letting the grater Anglia franchise / management contract now, then I bet the only new stock which would have been included would have been something to replace the class 90 & Mk3s! Everything else (the 321s, 360s, sprinters, turbostars) would have been kept on.

 

The same would have been true over on SWR, with the previous suburban fleets retained rather than ordering new stock.

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11 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Which is a key point.

 

Put it this way were the Government in the business of re-letting the grater Anglia franchise / management contract now, then I bet the only new stock which would have been included would have been something to replace the class 90 & Mk3s! Everything else (the 321s, 360s, sprinters, turbostars) would have been kept on.

 

The same would have been true over on SWR, with the previous suburban fleets retained rather than ordering new stock.

This is my concern, that enormous amounts of money are spent on new trains to replace mid-life (or even nearly new) trains, then later anti-railway politicians can use this to claim that railways are very expensive and poor value for taxpayers' money.  When the decision was the government's own (via the DfT's own policy).

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6 minutes ago, Northmoor said:

This is my concern, that enormous amounts of money are spent on new trains to replace mid-life (or even nearly new) trains, then later anti-railway politicians can use this to claim that railways are very expensive and poor value for taxpayers' money.  When the decision was the government's own (via the DfT's own policy).

 

Yup, but as usual we got told how it was all wonderful for the tax payers rather ignoring the fact that trains are not the same as baked beans or shares on the London stock exchange...

 

Again it rather undermines the case for nationalisation which seeks even more ministerial / civil service medaling.

 

While it admittedly had its own issues, there was much to be said for the way privatisation initially sidelined the influence of Whitehall via a powerful independent regulator etc...

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10 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Rather different situation

 

SWR were about to dump a vast quantity of newish units (the 485s) with wide doorways and modern traction packages so keeping some of them probably makes more financial sense than the 442s, most of which have yet to have the new traction packages fitted and which will still suffer from some undesirable elements even after all the money spent on them, e.g. narrow doorways etc.

 

The 319 conversions on the other hand will displace DMUs - which not only have a sensible door arrangement for local / commuter work but are far more flexible in terms of use not needing an external power supply so are easily reusable elsewhere in the country (unlike a DC or AC EMU). The 319 tri-modes also allow for more through services to Oxford rather than the need to change at Didcot which has to happen now due to electrification of the GWML being scaled back.

 

Regarding the 442s, 11 of the units have received the new traction packages, with 4 nearly complete at Wolverton at the moment, leaving 3 to go. At least 2 units had received the new cab desk fitment as well, with a 3rd undergoing replacement at the moment. From the tests conducted so far, They were exceeding what was required of them with the new traction equipment and braking systems, enough that it had to be reigned back to bring it to how SWR had wanted. 

 

The Stadler's may be far more expensive than the 769 conversion may be turning out to be, but I do wonder when the railways will reach the point of, Is it worth spending all this money on expired equipment, as the situation with the 442's are  now turning out to prove. The Stadlers will certainly outlive the 769s, and as 319s from Thameslink, they were pretty tired units in their final years of that. The 458s, in my opinion, were never the best of the post millennium new 3rd rail EMU fleet - they leak (both from the window's are the ceilings), the PA is rubbish, the toilets are rubbish, they are sluggish, they are very tetchy in damp weather, and this further conversion is only expected to give them another 5-6 years in (leased until 2027). I also understand that Porterbrook were more than happy to offer them a far substantially lower lease than Angel was offering with the 442s, as with no other interest from any other TOCs, they were facing a future involving a visit to Newport. 

 

Oxford might be a nice idea, but they wont be heading up there. Their planned routes are the North Downs, Basingstoke, Henley and to Bourne End in the peaks, so the Didcot for Oxford change will still continue to happen for the foreseeable.  

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25 minutes ago, surfsup said:

Oxford might be a nice idea, but they wont be heading up there. Their planned routes are the North Downs, Basingstoke, Henley and to Bourne End in the peaks, so the Didcot for Oxford change will still continue to happen for the foreseeable.  

 

That's a pity, but was not the plan at one time to run through Oxford/Reading/Gatwick services ?

 

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4 hours ago, caradoc said:

 

That's a pity, but was not the plan at one time to run through Oxford/Reading/Gatwick services ?

 

 

I thought so too. Indeed, I seem to recall there were a few through services when the 165/166s were first deployed to the North Downs line. Presumably they didn't last very long.

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I believe that as part of the tendering documents, especially with Greater Anglia that fleet renewal was one of the conditions.  I believe that the Class 707’s weren’t widely welcomed at SWT and like Greater Anglia’s Class 379’s, expensive to lease.

 

I think the pandemic has caused all sorts of problems for TOC’s with passenger numbers falling and revenue in free fall, so a reassessment of fleet requirements are hardly surprising.  You have to remember that the Class 442’s are a small class and even though serious money has been poured into the refurbishment, their long term future may have already been shaky. 

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On 08/04/2021 at 12:05, surfsup said:

 Their planned routes are the North Downs, Basingstoke, Henley and to Bourne End in the peaks, so the Didcot for Oxford change will still continue to happen for the foreseeable.  

 

It occurs to me that there will be precious little need for the units' 25kV capability ! Just for ECS moves between Reading Depot/station/branch junctions, and through trains between the branches and Paddington (if indeed there still are any ?). 

 

 

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The DC will be more useful if those are the only routes they're regularly seen on. Oxford would make sense, but I suppose that would make the 387s essentially redundant (you don't need many for Newbury - Reading). Not that cutting the Oxford branch from the scope was a big if a false economy or anything...

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There is a video on youtube of 1 of yhe GWR units on test.

 

As it went passed the camera I noticed it is fitted with 3rd rail shoes on the 2 driving coaches but unlike on the original class 319 set up where the shoes were on the outer and inner bogies, in the video they are only fitted on the inner bogies of the driving coaches

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5 hours ago, 313201 said:

As it went passed the camera I noticed it is fitted with 3rd rail shoes on the 2 driving coaches but unlike on the original class 319 set up where the shoes were on the outer and inner bogies, in the video they are only fitted on the inner bogies of the driving coaches

 

319s have only ever had shoes on the leading bogie

 

2511-L.jpg

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