New, but maybe not better. Northern's new trains

kevsmith Feb 9, 2020

  1. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    New, not necessarily better. Pacers V Civities


    So the embattled U.K Northern Rail franchise passes back into government control on March 1st after a catalogue of delayed, cancelled and overcrowded trains finally proved too much. Arriva will be stripped of the franchise early after chaos following the introduction of the new timetables.


    Now Northern covers a huge area of the North of England and its trains call at 528 stations, 476 of which Northern control. In 2016 it handled 97million passenger services so is one of the biggestv players in public transport.

    The group was given 500 million at the award of the contract to purchase 101 new trains split between diesel multiple units, the 'Class195,' and electric multiple units using the same bodyshell and running gear, the 'Class 331s'. This was supposed to allow the withdrawal of the venerable but much derided Class 142,143 and 144 Pacers.


    A new 331 on at raining run passes an old 142 heading out of Blackpool South at Kirkham and Wesham
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    These had been introduced as a stop gap measure from 1985 onwards and were basically Leyland bus body components on a modified long wheelbase wagon chassis powered by a Cummins engine. Rough riding and prone to horrendous flange squeal on tight curves nobody anticipated they would still be holding down important traffic flows in 2019! The driver for their introduction was to eliminate the hundreds of first generation Diesel railcars that were still vacuum braked and well past their sell by date in the 1980's

    A Class 108 introduced in 1958 leaves Worksop station for Sheffield

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    A class 144 and a 142 seen at Skipton in 1991

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    and one of the rarer 143s. You can see how primitive the underframe is

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  2. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Now I basically quite like the Pacers so long as I don't have to ride one but the poor commuters who had to endure daily trips on them into Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle etc were desperate to se them go so the introduction of the new CAF built stock was eagerly awaited.


    I photographed my first 195 in May last year on a driver training trip out of Barrow and my first 331in September on my way to Fleetwood model railway exhibition that's how new they are.


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    Now they are packed full of electronics as all modern trains now are and on my first ride on a 195 things did not go well. I was heading to a conference in Manchester and as usual caught the Manchester Airport train at Dalton which is now a 195 turn. Quite pleasant inside with USB charging points and information screens but rather upright firm seating. Quiet as well, compared to the 156s and 158s that were the norm.


    Things first went awry as we slowed for Ulverston station where the display screen advised passengers to exit to the left. Ulverston is an island platform and on the left is a four foot drop onto the ballast!


    Worse was to come as we headed into Manchester where before we had reached Salford Crescent the screen said the next stop was the Airport. This caused the other passengers to get a bit nervous as the three main Manchester city stops Deansgate, Oxford road and Piccadilly had dropped off the screen. I put there mind at rest on that one.

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    The other day a report landed on my desk on reliability figures and failure rates. Guess what? the much derided four wheeled Pacers were showing one failure every 7884 miles, the Civities 2877 miles. The main issue is that the 'analogue' Pacers just keep going when they have minor faults where the new trains, stuffed full of computers stop themselves every time they think they are showing a fault and ask the driver to do a reboot! We had the same issue at work where the 'Analogue' Hunslet shunters, if the engines were worn, would tell you the oil pressure was low on tickover by the oil warning light flickering. Loco 4, kitted out with a full electronic driver display unit, sees the warning and shuts the engine down.


    New, not better?

    Kev
     
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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    What caused all of those small dents on the nose of this unit. Some sort of equipment frequently bouncing up and hitting it?
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Computers can eliminate the human ability to use common sense in handling a situation.
     
  5. kevsmith

    kevsmith TrainBoard Member

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    Now this is interesting.
    I had a look at the rest of the 108 pictures I've got and found this unit a couple of weeks later where they have had the same damage and done a bit of rudimentary touching up

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    I'm wondering if it is a legacy of the removal of the headcode indicators fitted from new that were eventually plated over. In this atmospheric shot taken at Woodhouse station on the great Central main line you can see how tidy they were when new. The WD 2-8-0 on the other platform wil shortly set back into the extensive Woodhouse sidings to pick up a coal train' I going to ask the foamers on one of the U.K forums about the DMU, one of them is bound to know



    [​IMG]

    Kev
     
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