MORE SERVICES and extra capacity on Britain’s main line from London St Pancras to Sheffield and Nottingham are planned for this summer. From the May timetable change the first 10 of 17 two-car Class170/1 Turbostar diesel multiple-units will join Midland Mainline’s 13-strong High Speed Train fleet as the workhorses of the National Express-owned franchise. At the same time eight three-car Class 170/2 sets will augment the Anglia Railways electric fleet on the London - Norwich route.

An MML Class 170 car was displayed at the Railtech 98 exhibition in Birmingham at the end of November. Derived from the earlier Class 168s for Chiltern Railways, the Adtranz-built units are powered by an MTU engine under each car driving through a Voith hydrodynamic transmission and ZF final drive to give a top speed of 160 km/h. Up to six sets will be able to run in multiple, but there are no gangways between sets.

The 23m welded aluminium alloy bodyshells have bolt-on steel ends. Mounted on Adtranz bogies with rubber chevron primary and secondary air suspension, they have dampers from Mannesmann-Sachs, BSI couplers, electric plug doors from IFE and 2+2 seating from Grammer-Lazzerini.

Two classes of air-conditioned operation are provided, first being in 12-seat saloons at the outer end of each car. One of the two toilets per set is wheelchair accessible, and disabled people travel in the adjacent ’utility zone’ with limited fold-down seating. Standard class seats are arranged at tables and face to back, but the pitch is inexplicably short, to the point where tall passengers will suffer discomfort. Luggage stacks are fitted at the end of each main saloon, and provision is made for trolley catering.

Class 170 data table

Overall car length mm 23000

Body width mm 2700

Roof height over rail top mm 3783

Floor height over rail top mm 1157

Nominal engine rating 315 kW @ 1900 rev/min

Maximum speed km/h 160

Seating per two-car set: Standard 97

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CAPTION: Finished in the striking Midland Mainline livery, the Class 170s will provide inter-city services between London, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham, dovetailed with the company’s 200 km/h HSTs