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LIFE WITH STEAM HEAT PANDORA SURVEY Which locos are still capable?

A fascinating account of working on board the former video survey unit

Essential reading for today’s rail enthusiast

THE ‘BINLINER’ STORY ■ An in-depth look at four decades of traffic flows, locomotives and wagons


An exclusive peek inside this landmark relic


OF MODELLING ■ ‘OUR’ LOCO IN ‘OO’ Making 57002 Rail Express

■ ‘PENDOLINO’ IN ‘N’ How does it shape up?

■ CLASS 22 IN ‘O’

Little Loco’s ‘Baby Warship’

Issue No. 262 March 2018


FIRST RUN FOR TPE ‘68’: TransPennine Express-liveried No. 68019 hauled a rake of four ex-‘Pretendolino’ Mk.3s from Crewe to Preston and back on February 6, the first time one of the new-look locos has worked a train – albeit empty stock. The workings were the 5Z08/10.00 northbound and 5Z09/12.02 return, the latter seen ready to leave Preston. It is believed this loco will soon head to the Czech Republic for trials with the new TPE stock being built by CAF. Jack Taylor





TWO ZULU ZERO TWO Life aboard the former Class 121 video survey unit Pandora by one of its technical crew.


LOADS OF RUBBISH An in-depth look at the locations, locos and wagons used for transporting household waste.


THE ‘SHENFIELD SHARK’ A unique view from inside this famous relic.


0-60: GREAT WESTERN HST Are they better or worse than diesel IETs?


MOMENT IN TIME: CLASS 58 It is now 15 years since the last of the class ran under its own power in Britain.


TIME TRAVELLER Looking back 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.


EXPRESS MAILBAG More Cargowaggon uses; MGR ‘50’ poser solved.


REVIEWS A selection of recent modern traction books.

M24 SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS The best ways to get Rail Express every month.

MODELLING The main feature complements our look at ‘Binliner’ traffic with details of the wagons used. Then reviews include a Class 390 in ‘N’ gauge and Mk.3s in ‘OO’, plus there is news of a new Class 22 in ‘O’.

HEADLINE NEWS DMU derailed near Glenfinnan; TSGN ‘not value for money’; First look at GA bimodes as Mk.5s enter Britain and a Class 801 debuts; Carillion failure highlights outsourcing weakness; Boden Rail moves to Nottingham; East Coast franchise to end ‘shortly’; Northern’s Class 331 unveiled; Threat to freight paths; New trains to get longer numbers.



71 LU WORLD Class 345 sell-off to fund new Tube trains.

72 RAILTOURS UK Railtours cancels Northern Belle trips.

74 PRESERVATION Glorious to run again; DMUs up for sale; Class 40 to have extended stay at SVR; Swanage main line shuttle trial paused; Steam heat survey – which locos have working boilers?

80 POWER BY THE HOUR Former Grand Central HSTs move to new homes; renumbered ‘66s’ enter traffic with GBRf.

82 POWERSCENE Our round-up of key workings.

90 UNITS GWR ‘150s’ move to Northern.

93 SHUNTERS Hunslet Class 08 goes for scrap.

94 COACHES More HST stock on the move; Barriers for sale.

95 WAGONS New tanks arrive for Heathrow fuel train.

96 IRISH ANGLE NIR ballast rehabilitation project recommences.

EWS-liveried ‘Bone’ No. 58049 passes Denchworth, west of Didcot, with a Calvert to Bath empty ‘Binliner’ on April 9, 1997. We feature the household waste traffic on page 22, plus focus on the wagons used on page M51. DC Collection


Newstrade & distribution Marketforce UK Ltd, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU. 0203 787 9001 Printed by William Gibbons and Sons, Wolverhampton Published Monthly This issue February 16, 2018 Next issue March 16, 2018 Advertising deadline February 28, 2018 ISSN No 1362 234X

Paul Bickerdyke Rail Express Editor

Finding the sweet spot


VEN the most die-hard supporter of a fully nationalised railway must secretly realise there’s very little prospect now of us ever going back to a British Rail-style era. More than 20 years on from privatisation, the franchising structure has brought many benefits – such as record numbers of passengers, service frequencies to the point of capacity on many lines, and arguably a much younger fleet nationally than we would have had with BR. But privatisation has not been perfect either, nor has the franchising system given us the best possible railway we could have had – especially as operators, like BR before them, are still not free from Government interference. Take Great Western electrification, for example. Long overdue, it finally got the political green light in 2009, only to be scaled back in subsequent years. This meant orders for new electric trains had to be changed to bi-modes which, when running in diesel mode, have yet to show they can match the performance of the 40-year-old HSTs they are replacing.

Now we are told (see Headline News) that the Thameslink Southern & Great Northern contract is flawed, that outsourcing firms like Carillion have to bid too low to secure work, and East Coast operator VTEC is pulling out only three years in to its eight-year franchise as it cannot meet its promised premium payments. The East Coast news also comes as the same Stagecoach/Virgin partnership has been given a two-year extension to its West Coast operation – so it’s no wonder the general public think our railways are in a much worse state than they actually are, or why they get a mauling in the national press. BR wasn’t perfect; privatisation isn’t perfect. But there must a sweet spot somewhere that taps into the best of both. Let’s hope someone finds it soon. Paul Bickerdyke

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Simon Bendall Editor Rail Express Modeller

David Russell Preservation Units Coaches

Power by the Hour Shunters Name Game Spectrum

Gareth Bayer Wagons

Christopher Westcott

David Rapson

LU World (with Piers Connor)


William Watson Irish Angle (with Alan McFerran)

‘Industry Witness’ News Writer

HIGHLAND DERAILMENT: DMU No. 156458 was derailed by a landslide near the eastern end of Loch Eilt on January 22 as it formed the 06.03 Mallaig to Fort William and Glasgow. Five passengers and two crew were aboard at the time, but none was said to be injured. The remote location hampered the recovery and repair in which more than 1,000 tonnes of material was estimated to have slipped down the hillside. The unit was eventually dug out and rerailed before being dragged away by West Coast Railway’s No. 37516 on January 26 and the line reopened to traffic on January 29. Extra drainage was also installed in the area to secure the slope above the line. All photos by Network Rail

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Report finds TSGN ‘not value for money’ Government auditor finds Govia Thameslink Railway has failed to deliver for passengers. By ‘Industry Witness’ THE design of the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise has resulted in a negative impact on service quality and a failure to deliver value for money for rail users. These are the conclusions of an investigation by the National Audit Office. The NAO also identified that the specified timetable was not seen as workable by Network Rail and this continues to be the situation as implementation of the intended higher frequency train service has been pushed back from May 2018 to December 2019. At the time the Invitation to Tender was issued in September 2013, a timetable specification was issued even though it had not been agreed with NR and, when the five bids received were analysed, a number were considered to be completely unworkable. The successful Govia Thameslink Railway bid was not placed in that category, but was judged to be non-compliant with timetable planning rules and the need for possessions to undertake infrastructure maintenance. Timetable planning rules exist so that operational performance can meet the target Public Performance Measure and cover such things as rolling stock characteristics that meet section pathing times, headways at junctions, and a minimum turnround time at destinations. The GTR issues were not

to do with the 24 trains per hour that will use the core central Thameslink section through Blackfriars, but with the potential for disruption elsewhere.


It is worth reflecting that the LNER Shenfield electrification scheme, which was completed under British Railways ownership in September 1949, provided a twominute headway that allowed 25 trains per hour to be operated at peak hours into the terminus at London Liverpool Street. The route was carefully engineered, including a flyover built at Ilford to separate the services from other Great Eastern Main Line operations, but automatic train control was not provided. The weakness in the Thameslink project is the variety of destinations served, which demands punctual running to use a dedicated slot for the run through the core section. To take one example of the issues, current trains running from Peterborough are regulated by up to five minutes if main line services are running late to prevent further delay to long distance trains. It is unlikely this practice will continue once the new through services to Horsham, which will serve Gatwick Airport, start in May. So it

can be expected that VTEC, Grand Central and Hull Trains’ PPM (public performance measure) will worsen, as without regulation of Thameslink services more minutes will be lost on the two-track section between Peterborough and Huntingdon. It is known that leading industry figures favour the expansion of metrostyle services, and there are benefits from this type of operation in terms of service simplicity and a high utilisation of traincrew and rolling stock. But in the case of GTR, the operational principles are lost when a delay far from London at the likes of Littlehampton, Brighton or Peterborough will impact on the presentation of trains on the core twotrack section.

“The weakness in the Thameslink project is the variety of destinations served”


Away from the operating issues, finances have also come under scrutiny. The Government took the view that because of the disruption to services caused by the rebuilding of London Bridge, a contract would be offered based on the projected operating costs alone, with revenue risk removed from the franchise holder. The NAO investigation found that, in the three years between September 2014 and August 2017, the Department for Transport received

passenger revenue of £3.6 billion and paid GTR £2.8 billion to run the services. In the context of the contract, there was the expectation that GTR would make a profit of £130 million in this period, whereas Govia has actually shouldered a loss of £5.25 million because it has not secured the expected efficiency savings. These should have included the widespread introduction of driver only operation and the closure of ticket offices. There was also the promise that many stations would have a 24-hour staff attendance, a commitment that has been quietly dropped. The Transport Select Committee, which is made up of members of parliament, also reflected that the interest of passengers was far from the heart of DfT decision-making, that protecting GTR from any financial consequence of a failure to run trains was wrong, and that this form of contract must not be repeated. A break-up of the franchise has been promised, but whether the current structure will remain until 2021 – when the franchise is scheduled to end – is unclear. A format based on trains that make up the Thameslink pattern of services, with a separation of both Great Northern and Southern combined with Gatwick Express, is the most obvious solution. The boundaries of Thameslink operations could also be reduced to lower the risk of unplanned service disruption. E

FIRST LOOK AT GA BI-MODES: The first of the new Greater Anglia fleet is taking

FIRST MK.5 SLEEPERS ARRIVE: The first of Caledonian Sleepers’ new vehicles

shape at Stadler’s factory in Bussnang, Switzerland. These carriages will form part of the 38-strong Class 755 fleet, which are three and four-car bi-mode units for use on regional routes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and North Essex from 2019. Stadler is also building a further 20 12-car electric-only versions for GA, which will become Class 745 for inter-city routes and the Stansted Express. Greater Anglia

arrived at Polmadie on January 16, having been hauled north from Dollands Moor the day before by No. 37884 – pictured here at Sevenoaks. The five vehicles (Nos. 15001/002/101/301/302) are the ones that recently underwent testing at Velim in the Czech Republic, and have yet to be fitted out. It is now expected that the first Mk.5 Sleepers will enter service in October, rather than spring as previously planned. Leo Martin


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BLACKPOOL LINE UPDATE: Services resumed between Preston and Blackpool South on January 29 after completion of the first phase of the Fylde line upgrades that began on November 11. Seven miles of track has been upgraded and electrified (pictured left), while new signalling controlled from Network Rail’s rail operating centre in Manchester has been installed to replace the previous manual signalboxes and semaphores. Work continues on the section between Kirkham & Wesham and Blackpool North (pictured right), which should reopen in spring. Until then, an hourly shuttle is run between Preston and Blackpool South, calling at all intermediate stations. Northern, Freightliner

Carillion failure highlights outsourcing weakness

BURIED deep in the South Western Railway franchise agreement is a proposal to investigate conversion of its Class 158 and 159 DMUs to bi-modes. The TOC is obliged to commission a study to look at first converting the units from diesel-hydraulic to diesel-electric transmission, and then from diesel-electric to third-rail bi-mode. If the results look technically and financially viable, then the Government will ask for a test vehicle to be developed.

HOMECOMING FOR APT CAR JANUARY saw the National Railway Museum put APT-P power car No. 49006 up for sale in a tender document. However, it is understood that this was part of the regulatory disposal process that will see the vehicle removed from the closed Electric Railway Museum at Coventry to a new home at Crewe Heritage Centre. Expected to move north this month, the vehicle will be reunited with the other surviving Class 370 cars.


Contractors must balance bidding too low against securing the work. By ‘Industry Witness’ THE collapse of Carillion with debts of £2.2 billion will have a significant impact on the rail industry as it was one of Network Rail’s largest suppliers and a future contractor for building HS2. The root cause of the collapse is that firms who provide outsourcing services are under great pressure to submit bids that sustain a pipeline of work, and the temptation is to set prices below the cost of delivering the required outputs. This problem has been seen previously, as Jarvis acquired a number of the original rail infrastructure renewal and maintenance companies but, like Carillion, fell victim to poor cost estimation as work expanded. At the time of privatisation in the mid-1990s, it was decided that Railtrack, the infrastructure owner, would contract out renewal and

CLASS 801 DEBUT: No. 801101 made its debut on the national network on January 29, pictured at Darlington after arriving with the 5X10 from Doncaster Carr depot. Class 801 is the electric-only version of Hitachi’s IEP design – 12 five-car sets (Nos. 801101-112) and 30 nine-car sets (Nos. 801201230) are being built for use on the East Coast Main Line. An order for the Great Western was switched to bi-mode Class 800s instead after the scope of new electrification was scaled back. Gareth Jones

maintenance services in the belief that costs would be reduced. But the major flaw was that little engineering expertise was retained in Railtrack to specify what the contractors were required to deliver. The weakness in the structure was exposed at the Hatfield crash on October 17, 2000, after which it was found there was a lack of training for patrolmen plus poor monitoring and record keeping. Another accident at Potters Bar on May 10, 2002, occurred when stretcher bars attached to facing points failed as a result of poor maintenance standards.


Railtrack’s successor Network Rail judged that the cost of paying contractors had proved more expensive than doing the work in-house. As a result, 16,500 track maintenance staff became directly employed in 2003, although this did not prevent another

derailment at Grayrigg on February 23, 2007 when the stretcher bar on a facing point was found to have missing bolts. In response, NR introduced national standards for training and patrolling, as well as asset management processes that included the introduction of design improvements to provide a tubular stretcher bar. Network Rail decided it would continue outsourcing infrastructure renewals and project work, with Carillion as one of its largest contractors. The firm had been created in 1999 following a demerger of the Tarmac business, and in 2001 acquired the 51% of GT Rail Maintenance that it did not already own, thereby creating Carillion Rail. There were further acquisitions of Mowlem in 2006, Alfred McAlpine in February 2008 and the facilities management business of John Laing in 2013. An attempt to purchase Balfour Beatty in 2014 was unsuccessful.

THE Stratford 47 Group’s preserved Type 4 No. 47596 Aldeburgh Festival was spotted at Dereham, Mid-Norfolk Railway, on February 5 sporting this snazzy new livery at the head of matching Mk.2s. It is believed the new look is part of a filming contract for a new BBC television series. (Photo: Adam Oakes)

FAR NORTH SCOTTISH SLEEPER MOVES A STEP CLOSER THE Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans) has backed a study looking into the business case for a new sleeper train operation between Edinburgh and Thurso, according to a report in the Aberdeen-based newspaper The Press and Journal. The proposed service would comprise two sleeper and two seated coaches leaving Thurso at 19.30 and travelling via Inverness and Aberdeen to arrive in Edinburgh at 05.30. The northbound service would leave the Scottish capital at 23.50 to reach Thurso at 10.30, replacing the existing 07.02 departure from Inverness. It could prove a valuable link between Orkney, the northern Highlands and Scotland’s central belt.

GOBLIN REOPENS LONDON Overground’s Gospel Oak to Barking line (GOBLIN) fully reopened on January 15 as the delayed electrification of the line nears completion. Contracts for the work were awarded in 2015 with work getting underway the following summer – however, incorrect designs and late delivery of materials put back completion until spring 2018, when new four-car Class 710 EMUs should take over from the current two-car Class 172 DMUs.

March 2018 RAIL EXPRESS 9

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Boden Rail moves to Nottingham The doomed Washwood Heath depot in Birmingham has been vacated to make way for the construction of HS2. By Simon Bendall THE long-expected exodus of locomotives from Washwood Heath finally occurred during January, ahead of the former Alstom site being handed over to HS2 for redevelopment, the land eventually being destined to house the high speed route’s Birmingham depot. As a result, Boden Rail has now transferred its maintenance and overhaul activities to Nottingham Eastcroft, where the company will share the site with incumbent user East Midlands Trains. The former track machine maintenance buildings will house Boden’s operation with investment expected in the site in order

to improve facilities. The first convoy of locos arrived on January 16, when Nos. 50017 Royal Oak and 50050 Fearless ‘top and tailed’ Nos. 37418, 37521 and 56049 from Washwood Heath. The three locos continue to undergo preparations for a return to main line use with Colas Rail, No. 37521 having received the orange and yellow colours just prior to leaving Washwood Heath. Later that day, the two ‘Hoovers’ took the Type 3 duo onwards to Barrow Hill, where their repairs and modifications will be completed by HNRC, which will also include a repaint for No. 37418. Meanwhile, No. 56049 was left at Eastcroft to be finished, it

having still to work under its own power since reinstatement last year. The Boden-owned Class 50s returned to the Nottingham depot on January 29 with the second and last convoy, this time escorting three Colas Class 56s. While operational No. 56087 had been present at Washwood Heath for maintenance, its two classmates Nos. 56051 and 56090 are still in the course of lengthy repairs to return them to service. No. 56090 is expected back this year, but No. 56051 – although newly repainted in Colas colours – is a long way from completion and was running unbraked for the transfer with a brake pipe threaded

through the inside of the loco. Earlier in the month, the two BARS/ RMS Locotec-owned Class 31s still at Washwood Heath were both removed by road to join their classmates at Wolsingham on the Weardale Railway. Both equally unserviceable, No. 31454 was the first away on January 14, followed by No. 31601 nine days later. The last loco to depart the Birmingham depot was RMS Locotec’s former Class 600 Dutch shunter No. 690, this heading for the Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway in the final week of January.

Nos. 50017 and 50050 ‘top and tail’ Nos. 56049, 37521 and 37418 at Stenson, south of Derby, with the 0Z56/13.06 Washwood Heath to Nottingham Eastcroft move on January 16. Note that No. 37521 is now in Colas livery. Steve Donald

East Coast franchise to end ‘shortly’

NORTHERN’S NEW EMU UNVEILED: The first of 43 new Class 331 EMUs for Northern was shown off at manufacturer CAF’s plant in Zaragoza, Spain, on January 31. The 31 three-car and 12 four-car units will start arriving in spring to enter service between December 2018 and February 2020. CAF is also building 55 Class 195 DMUs for Northern, based on essentially the same bodyshell. Northern

10 RAIL EXPRESS March 2018

TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that the East Coast rail franchise is to end much earlier than planned, with Virgin Trains East Coast continuing to run the intercity services from King’s Cross to the North and Scotland for “a small number of months”. The franchise – which began on March 1, 2015 – was originally due to run until 2023, but at the end of last year this was cut back to 2020 as the operator admitted it would not meet its premium payments target. The Government said the operator had “got its numbers wrong”, and that it was set to lose about £200 million. Martin Griffiths – the chief executive of Stagecoach, which owns 90% of VTEC – said: “While passengers and taxpayers have benefited hugely from our management of the East Coast railway, an unprecedented combination of circumstances mean our financial plans have not worked out. “There are many reasons for that. We’ve had the impact of a weak economy

and huge political uncertainty. On the railway itself, we’ve suffered from on-going unreliability of the track and signalling that our trains use. And across the UK rail network, growth rates in the past two years have been amongst the lowest in two decades.” The Government is now looking at options for a temporary operator until the new EC Partnership begins in 2020, but Grayling said the day-to-day operation of services would be unaffected. Options include paying another operator to run the services on a not for profit basis, or taking it back under state control. The failure follows that of other East Coast franchisees, GNER in 2007 and National Express in 2009. Meanwhile, Stagecoach/Virgin have been given an extension to their West Coast franchise from April until the end of March 2020, when the new West Coast Partnership franchise is due to begin. Stagecoach is also one of the bidders in a joint venture with Alstom for the next South Eastern franchise.


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‘OLIVe’ RETURNS TO MIDDLETON: Bodywork repairs to former Woodhead line inspection vehicle No. DB998901, which was severely damaged in an arson attack in February 2016, have been completed by the Vintage Carriages Trust at Ingrow on the Keighley & Worth Valley railway. ‘OLIVe’ returned to the Middleton Railway by road on January 29, but before it is able to return to service, an internal rebuild needs to be carried out and the EM2 Loco Society is appealing for funds to help complete the restoration. To make a donation, please visit No. DB998901 is pictured at Ingrow being shunted by former Mersey Docks & Harbour Board shunter No. 32 Huskisson before its move on January 29. Ben Bucki

12 RAIL EXPRESS March 2018

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