INTRO: Roger Ford reviews progress with the renewal of Britain’s rolling stock fleet
WHEN THE FRANCHISING of British passenger Train Operating Companies began in 1995-96, several successful bids included commitments to new trains with optimistically short delivery times. As a result, several operators have been penalised for late deliveries.
During the 1064-day hiatus in orders following the announcement of privatisation, both domestic builders, Adtranz and Alstom, began developing new multiple-units for the emerging market, with standard bodyshells, traction packages and modular interiors.
Adtranz offered the 23m Turbostar DMU with an MTU engine and Voith transmission, and the 20m Electrostar EMU with the Macs Icon IGBT three-phase drive. Both designs have mechanically-fastened aluminium bodyshells.
Alstom initially concentrated on the EMU market with its 20m Juniper design, using its Onix IGBT three-phase drive. Assuming that demand for DMUs would be small, Alstom decided to leave this niche to Adtranz. But separation of responsibility for trains and track made the go-anywhere capability of the DMU more attractive both operationally and financially in terms of residual value. Alstom introduced a 23m Cummins-powered Coradia DMU, which like the Junipers has a steel body.
Most successful of the new designs has been the Adtranz Turbostar (Classes 168/170), now in service or on order with six operators.
Alstom offered two versions of its Coradia, for 160or 200 km/h. Only 10 of the slower Class 175s are in service, and Alstom will be pushed to deliver the full fleet by the end of this year. First Great Western’s 200 km/h Class 180 Coradia was rolled out in March but has yet to turn a wheel on the main line (RG 9.00 p512). British Rail made a commitment not to carry passengers in a leading car at over 160 km/h. Testing, even at 160 km/h, cannot start until Railtrack’s acceptance body and HM Railway Inspectorate have approved mitigation measures.
But these problems are minor compared with the EMU acceptance saga. Both suppliers have experienced problems meeting Railtrack’s electrical safety case requirements. For example, the LTS Rail commitment was to have 44 four-car Electrostars in service by November 1999. None were ready, and a year on Railtrack will only accept 20 eight-car units on the 25 kV AC electrified route. Twelve-car operation has still not been cleared.
On 750V DC routes south of the Thames the Alstom Juniper obtained a safety case for passenger operation in February. But approval issues plus quality problems meant that only four units, two on SWT and two on Gatwick Express, had entered regular passenger service by mid-October. Alstom has had to retrofit electric filters to its AC electric traction package to overcome resonance problems with Junipers in Scotland, while Adtranz has yet to obtain a safety case for main line testing with its DC Electrostar. One estimate puts the value of the electric trains currently standing idle at £500m.
Siemens and CAF are optimistic that they will meet the franchise commitment for Northern Spirit’s Class 333s, having had the advantage of safety case experience with Heathrow Express.
Virgin Trains placed the largest of the post-privatisation orders for its Alstom/Fiat Pendolinos and Bombardier Voyager DEMUs. Both are experiencing production delays, with Alstom recently making a public commitment to have 29 Pendolini in service by June 2002 compared with the original promise of 53.
Bombardier should have had 10 DEMUs in service in January, but track testing of the first unit had yet to start by mid-October. Approval for leading-coach passengers at over 160 km/h and Railtrack requirements for the ETCS-based Tilt Authorisation & Speed Supervision system threaten further delays.
TABLE: Table I. Status of orders and projected orders for new passenger traction and rolling stock
Class Operator Franchisee FC Owner Cars Value Builder Traction Ordered Service date Service
Diesel multiple-units úm contract commitment status
168/0 Chiltern Railways M40 Trains yes 1 Porterbook 20 17 Adtranz MTU/Voith 11/9/96 10/99 5/98 2 Fleet
168/0 Chiltern Railways M40 Trains no Porterbrook 10 10 Adtranz MTU/Voith 4/99 9/00 - Fleet
168/0 Chiltern Railways M40 Trains no HSBC Rail 9 7 Adtranz MTU/Voith - - - n/a
170/1 Midland Main Line National Express yes 3 Porterbrook 34 - Adtranz MTU/Voith 14/10/97 4/99 5/99 Fleet
170/1 Midland Main Line National Express no Porterbrook 10 10 Adtranz MTU/Voith 19/4/00 Early 2001 - n/a
170/2 Anglia Railways GB Railways yes 4 Porterbrook 24 - Adtranz MTU/Voith 3/98 5/99 10/00 Fleet
170/5-6 Central Trains National Express no Porterbrook 26 - Adtranz MTU/Voith 30/3/98 6/99 - Fleet
170/5-6 Central Trains National Express no Porterbrook 50 48 Adtranz MTU/Voith 9/98 6/00 - Fleet
170/4 ScotRail National Express yes 5 Porterbrook 45 - Adtranz MTU/Voith 30/3/98 - 31/3/00 Fleet
170/4 ScotRail National Express no HSBC Rail 27 - Adtranz MTU/Voith 3/99 During 2000 - Fleet
170/3 South West Trains Stagecoach yes Porterbrook 16 - Adtranz MTU/Voith 10/00 Early 2001 - n/a
175/0-1 North Western FirstGroup yes Angel Trains 70 78 Alstom Cummins/Voith 1/5/98 31/5/00 31/12/00 5 x two-car
180/0 * Great Western FirstGroup yes - 40 36 Alstom Cummins/Voith 1/5/98 31/6/01 - Awaiting T
180/0 * Great Western FirstGroup yes - 30 - Alstom Cummins/Voith - - - n/a
220 * CrossCountry Virgin Trains yes Lom/Halifax 6,7 136 407 Bombardier Cummins/Alstom 3/3/98 7/02 5/02 Awaiting T
221 * CrossCountry Virgin Trains yes Lom/Halifax 6,7 216 - Bombardier Cummins/Alstom - 7/02 5/03 -
- Midland Main Line National Express yes 8 - 127 - - - OJEC - - -
- Anglia Railways GB Railways no - 10 - - - OJEC - 5/01 -
- Hull Trains GB Railways no - 20 - 50 - - - OJEC - 5/02 -
- Chiltern Railways M40 Trains yes - 109 - - - OJEC - 3/04 -
- Thames Trains Go-Ahead no - 20 (max) - - - OJEC From 9/00 - -
332 Heathrow Express BAA n/a BAA 56 68·8 CAF Siemens pre privatisation - - Fleet
333 Northern Spirit Arriva yes Angel Trains 48 55 CAF Siemens - - 12/00 Testing
333 Northern Spirit Arriva no - 8 - CAF Siemens - - - -
334 ScotRail National Express yes HSBC Rail 120 100 Alstom Alstom 30/5/98 - 31/3/00 Testing
357 LTS Rail (c2c) Prism yes Porterbook 176 130 Adtranz Adtranz 3/97 - 11/99 8 x four-car
357 LTS Rail (c2c) Prism yes 9 Angel Trains 112 92 Adtranz Adtranz 1/00 - 30/6/02 n/a
375 South Eastern Connex Rail yes HSBC Rail 120 - Adtranz Adtranz 6/97 10/00 10/00 Testing
375 South Eastern Connex Rail no HSBC Rail 90 - Adtranz Adtranz 9/98 10/00 - n/a
375 South Eastern Connex Rail no - 120 - Adtranz Adtranz 02/7/99 During 2001 - n/a
376/1 South Central Connex Rail no - 120 - Adtranz Adtranz 18/4/01 From 2001 - n/a