ORR gives green light for LNER ‘801s’ to enter traffic

Class 801 electric multiple units have received authorisation from the Office of Rail and Road to enter passenger traffic.

The authorisation, granted on March 27, allows LNER’s 12 five-car Class 801/1s and 30 nine-car Class 801/2s to be put into service as they are accepted following commissioning and mileage accumulation. They will be able to operate in five, nine and ten-car formations.

In its letter to Hitachi, which built the trains, the ORR states: “For LNER bi-mode or electric Class 800/801 trains placed into traffic before modifications are implemented to address inter-car surfing and climbing risks, the manufacturer must reach agreement with the operator, LNER, on a time-bound plan which provides details of how these risks will be effectively managed and mitigated in the interim whilst modifications are implemented. This condition applies to both trains in service and those in service or stabled.”

The manufacturer must also record harmonic footprints for each train prior to them entering service, while LNER must complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the risks related to platform stepping distances in all locations they will serve before putting them in traffic.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 877, published on April 24, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from April 20.

TfL agrees £1 billion sale and leaseback deal for Elizabeth Line trains

Transport for London (TfL) has agreed a £1 billion 20-year sale and leaseback deal for its 70 Class 345 electric multiple units being delivered by Bombardier.

The trains will be leased from 345 Rail Leasing – a consortium comprising Equitix Investment Management Ltd, NatWest and SMBC Leasing. There is an option for TfL to purchase the fleet at the end of the initial lease term. The deal was approved by TfL’s Finance Committee in December, and the £1bn will be reinvested in infrastructure across the capital’s transport network including the new Piccadilly Line trains to be built by Siemens.

Simon Kilonback, Chief Financial Officer at Transport for London said: “As is standard practice across the rail industry, we have been looking to sell and lease back our Elizabeth line rolling stock. This will help us purchase new trains on London Underground’s Piccadilly line, where there is a clear need for a modern fleet.

“This is a positive deal for London, releasing almost a billion pounds of funding for TfL which can be immediately reinvested into delivering transport improvements, while still allowing us to operate these trains on our network.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 876, published on April 10, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from April 6.

Great Western Railway calls time on long-distance HSTs

GREAT Western Railway has confirmed that May 18 will be the final day of its long-distance High Speed Train operation.

It is expected that the 1803 London Paddington-Penzance will be the last regular passenger service operated by the full-length HSTs on the route. Introduced in 1976, HSTs have operated on the Great Western route ever since, but have been replaced by Hitachi-built Class 80x Intercity Express Trains on an ongoing basis since October 2017.

GWR is currently winding down its HST operations as more IETs are delivered, and with only two nine-car Class 802/1s left to arrive in the UK as this issue of RAIL went to press, GWR will soon have all 93 brand-new trains in traffic.

The operator is also planning that tours to commemorate the departure of the HSTs from its long-distance operations, and it’s likely that 43002 Sir Kenneth Grange and 43185 Great Western will be used on these. GWR spokesman Dan Panes also told RAIL that it was possible the final day could also see an HST diagrammed to visit all the destinations they have served since their introduction.

Already 54 power cars have transferred to ScotRail, while eight power cars have been sent off-lease with seemingly no future (43017/053/069/070, 43174/193/195/197). Of those, 43195 was damaged when it hit a tree at the start of 2018 and has been stripped of components, and is likely to be scrapped.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 875, published on March 27, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from March 23.

First of Greater Anglia’s new 12-car EMUs arrives at Norwich

Greater Anglia’s first 12-car Stadler electric multiple unit (EMU) arrived at Norwich Crown Point on February 28, for testing and commissioning.

The Class 745/1 (745104) is the first of 20 Class 745s to be delivered to the UK from Switzerland. GA has ten ‘745/0s’ on order for its Norwich-London Liverpool Street route and ten ‘745/1s’ for its Stansted Express operations.

The first four Class 745s to be delivered will be Stansted units, followed by all ten ‘745/0s’ for the Great Eastern Main Line. The latter will be replacing Class 90-hauled Mk 3 sets that must be withdrawn by the end of the year because they do not meet accessibility standards being introduced from January 1 2020.

The Class 745/1s are replacing pairs of four-car Class 379s dating from 2011. Unlike the GE sets, they do not have First Class or a cafe-car, but are fitted with plug and USB sockets, air-conditioning, and fast, free WiFi as well as improved passenger information screens.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 874, published on March 13, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from March 9.

EXCLUSIVE: ECML go-ahead for Azumas, but modifications still needed

LNER Azumas have been granted approval to operate on the East Coast Main Line in passenger service.

They are expected to enter service in the coming weeks. The authorisation is for Class 800/1 and ‘800/2’ bi-modes, with no details released regarding authorisation for Class 801 electrics.

In a letter to Hitachi Rail Europe (seen by RAIL), the Office of Rail and Road lays out a number of terms and agreements that must be resolved within a specified timeframe.

These include that before entering traffic, Automatic Selective Door Opening (ASDO) must be proven on the ECML on operational routes where they will be used. European Train Control System (ETCS) must not be enabled other than to support functionality.

The trains have been assessed and passed for 125mph running, and can run in either five, nine or ten-car formations. They will run initially between London King’s Cross and Leeds/Hull.

Regarding the inter-car connectors that prevented authorisation last year (RAIL 863), sources suggest Hitachi will make the engineering modifications to the LNER fleet within a year of authorisation.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 873, out now.

ScotRail receives more Class 385 EMUs

Almost half of ScotRail’s Class 385 electric multiple units are now north of the border, after four-car 385116 was delivered to Craigentinny on December 14.

That makes 33 EMUs now in Scotland, from an order of 70. To meet SR’s new December timetable plans, 31 of the Hitachi sets needed to be available.

Five of the 24 four-car EMUs on order are still to be delivered, with 385119-121 still at Newton Aycliffe, while 385101/102 are in Pistoia (Italy).

Still to come from Newton Aycliffe, as well as the four remaining four-car sets, are 30 three-car sets (385012/013/017-030/032/034-046), while 385001/002 are still in Pistoia.

A Hitachi spokesman told RAIL that the four Class 385s in Italy are having interiors installed at the facility, as well as post-production work. They had been used for network compatibility testing and type testing, with 385001 and 385102 used in Scotland, while 385002 and 385101 underwent tests in Velim (Czech Republic) and Germany.

Two of the EMUs will return to the UK at the start of February, while the other two will arrive in March. They will be the last to enter traffic.