Ex LNER Mark 4 sets for TfW

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A rescue loco couldn't sit at Chester. There is simply no room in the platforms or even parcels, and no Chester crew sign it to keep it in the nearly constantly used yard.

No other depot signs Chester yard, or even the shunts. Same for Abbey Foregate, Salop crew only.

IF and that's a big IF they decide to use more of these, then the most sensible option would be to train a small amount of Chester drivers on them. It would then have proper resilience covering all routes across the Coast, Crewe, and Salop. You realistically could have two drivers (Cardiff/Chester) covering the entire route. It could even have specials running from Liverpool through to Cardiff on sporting events.

Salop and Crewe drivers don't cover the coast, Junction and Holyhead don't cover Crewe-Salop and most don't cover Chester/Salop

The traction learning cost would be prohibitive, but it would make the services much more reliable. It's not going to happen because of the cost, but it would be the most beneficial.

I imagine that's correct RE: Chester although there would be the other cost obstacles anyway that would make sticking a thunderbird there unlikely. If it wasn't the case then either training would have to be undertaken on the sidings or you are reliant on the non passenger bay near the entrance at the Crewe end being free as that's part of the station infrastructure and units go in overnight. Equally likely you'd have a Crewe or Shrewsbury option anyway if you were having a thunderbird in the central parts of where a train might ever need a rescue. As said in my other post I suspect cost would prevent it. Having a second spare loco at Holyhead rather than just the Canton one would seem more likely.
 
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Southern Dvr

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What I can't understand is that these sets will only have 2 standard class carraiges per set. Hardly a capacity upgrade for standard class passengers over a 3 car 175.
One and a half first class carriages seems overkill compared to just two standard.
Depends on the number of seats within the carriages.
You must remember that its got nothing to do with the number of carriages, it's about how many seats.
 

ainsworth74

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Depends on the number of seats within the carriages.
You must remember that its got nothing to do with the number of carriages, it's about how many seats.

Indeed though whilst @Cardiff123 got the wrong end of the stick regarding the SV vehicles (as they're standard not first class) it is a fair point that the originally proposed formations (assuming that @43096's source pans out!) do have less capacity in standard class than a 3-car 175. From what I can find a 3-car 175 is around 190 seats whilst the proposed Mk4 sets would have 170 seats (with four additional tip up seats in the wheelchair spaces). Of course that is a fair bit more than the 2-car 175s and overall there are more seats on the train as you gain the 40-odd first class seats as well (so total seats are somewhere north of 200). But it is fair to say that standard class passengers lose out.

Of course if the formations are going to have three full Mk4s to go with the SV and the first class vehicle then that is a capacity gain overall (and a fairly substantial one at that).
 

Cardiff123

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Depends on the number of seats within the carriages.
You must remember that its got nothing to do with the number of carriages, it's about how many seats.
Ok, but whether it's 2 or 2.5 standard class carriages, that's still a downgrade from the 3 standard class carriages there were on the previous Mk3 loco hauled north - south services. TfW should be all about upgrading capacity wherever possible, especially as passengers won't be keen on being packed in crowded trains when people start travelling regularly again. Let's hope that the speculation that the Mk4 sets will have 3.5 standard carriages now is true.

Out of interest, does anyone know how busy did the half carriage first class dining used to get on the Mk3's? Is there going to be enough demand for a full first class carriage?
 

Southern Dvr

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Mark IVs don't have SDO do they?
So they can't just add vehicles to the sets and make them longer which is unfortunate.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Out of interest, does anyone know how busy did the half carriage first class dining used to get on the Mk3's? Is there going to be enough demand for a full first class carriage?
In my disjointed experience, it didn't get busy.
I've never seen more than a handful of diners on the southbound service, can't say for the northbound.
Seated premier class diners were supplemented by a steady flow of take-aways from standard (very good value).
The overall passenger numbers were typically less than 50 southbound, peaking into Chester and then Shrewsbury.
Northbound in the Cardiff peak would be very different, of course, as far as Hereford at least, then very quiet.
 

nedchester

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In my disjointed experience, it didn't get busy.
I've never seen more than a handful of diners on the southbound service, can't say for the northbound.
Seated premier class diners were supplemented by a steady flow of take-aways from standard (very good value).
The overall passenger numbers were typically less than 50 southbound, peaking into Chester and then Shrewsbury.
Northbound in the Cardiff peak would be very different, of course, as far as Hereford at least, then very quiet.
I used the dining service (both ways) about 5 times between December 2019 until March 2020 (just before Covid struck). Southbound you'd get about 50% in dining but the Northbound was pretty much 100% with little space for those turning up at the last minute.

To be honest it was very good high quality food and the staff fantastic. Hopefully, when we get back to normal I can sample it again.
 

Nym

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Mark IVs don't have SDO do they?
So they can't just add vehicles to the sets and make them longer which is unfortunate.
No. They do not.
And SDO in the basic form is not looked on well by the ORR now. They much prefer ASDO or CASDO systems, which are, well, expensive compared with standard SDO. Which on a Mk.4 is car by car, not door by door, oh and with the added complexity of the SV being backwards.
 
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What I can't understand is that these sets will only have 2 standard class carraiges per set. Hardly a capacity upgrade for standard class passengers over a 3 car 175.
One and a half first class carriages seems overkill compared to just two standard.

Is that definitely what it’ll be?

I assumed it was three standard and one for first and the Buffett/kitchen.
 

Bletchleyite

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Ok, but whether it's 2 or 2.5 standard class carriages, that's still a downgrade from the 3 standard class carriages there were on the previous Mk3 loco hauled north - south services. TfW should be all about upgrading capacity wherever possible, especially as passengers won't be keen on being packed in crowded trains when people start travelling regularly again. Let's hope that the speculation that the Mk4 sets will have 3.5 standard carriages now is true.

Out of interest, does anyone know how busy did the half carriage first class dining used to get on the Mk3's? Is there going to be enough demand for a full first class carriage?

I must admit I found it strange that they didn't change the buffet to a buffet first, which would be more in line with demand. Surely with so many Mk4s going for scrap picking up some spare seats to convert the FO to a TSO and the buffet standard to a buffet first wouldn't have been costly.

On the other hand, perhaps they will offer some excellent value upgrades to fill it?
 

craigybagel

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A rescue loco couldn't sit at Chester. There is simply no room in the platforms or even parcels, and no Chester crew sign it to keep it in the nearly constantly used yard.

No other depot signs Chester yard, or even the shunts. Same for Abbey Foregate, Salop crew only.

IF and that's a big IF they decide to use more of these, then the most sensible option would be to train a small amount of Chester drivers on them. It would then have proper resilience covering all routes across the Coast, Crewe, and Salop. You realistically could have two drivers (Cardiff/Chester) covering the entire route. It could even have specials running from Liverpool through to Cardiff on sporting events.

Salop and Crewe drivers don't cover the coast, Junction and Holyhead don't cover Crewe-Salop and most don't cover Chester/Salop

The traction learning cost would be prohibitive, but it would make the services much more reliable. It's not going to happen because of the cost, but it would be the most beneficial.
For what it's worth, all Crewe drivers (just under half of whom sign 67s) all sign Abbey Foregate as well (on paper at least).

I think the whole Thunderbird thing is vastly overblown though. For years the long distance Welsh routes have gotten by with a mixture of Sprinters, 175s and loco hauled stock - all incompatible with each other. If anything having a few more locos running around will improve things since if one fails there should be another set within 2 hours of it!

In terms of training, I think that's going to come down to what route they go on. If the extra sets go on Holyhead, it does seem likely that one link at Chester will probably get them. If they go on Swansea - Manchester, it's more likely they'll up the number of drivers in the loco link at Crewe. Some changes would be need to done on the guards side as well of course, but given its a 3 day course for guards and 3 weeks for a driver from scratch and there's already a load of training to be done at both depots, it's hard to see anything concrete happening any time soon. But then officially we don't know that the sets are actually coming anyway yet!


I used the dining service (both ways) about 5 times between December 2019 until March 2020 (just before Covid struck). Southbound you'd get about 50% in dining but the Northbound was pretty much 100% with little space for those turning up at the last minute.

To be honest it was very good high quality food and the staff fantastic. Hopefully, when we get back to normal I can sample it again.
Indeed, it was pretty common for it to be full on the evening run, there was definitely room for expansion there.


No. They do not.
And SDO in the basic form is not looked on well by the ORR now. They much prefer ASDO or CASDO systems, which are, well, expensive compared with standard SDO. Which on a Mk.4 is car by car, not door by door, oh and with the added complexity of the SV being backwards.
And whilst the current formation of 4 passenger carrying vehicles will fit everywhere on the Cardiff - Holyhead route (and everywhere except Whitchurch and Wem and the request stops for Swansea - Manchester), with the DVT and/or loco overhanging in some cases, 5 cars are too long for Abergavenny (down), Leominster (both), Ludlow (down), Chirk (both), Ruabon (both) and Nantwich (both). Not an easy fix.


Is that definitely what it’ll be?

I assumed it was three standard and one for first and the Buffett/kitchen.
That's how the layout is at present anyway.
 
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Caaardiff

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Is it confirmed that they will be running Swansea - Manchester?
Given that the proposed Swansea - Manchester isn't actually the start/end route, it's just the attaching/detaching point for one of the units which is where they will be 5 car to/from.
If it is Swansea then that makes crewing it more difficult as well given that Carmarthen train crew do a fair bit of the Cardiff - West services.
Also how will the Milford Haven services run? Part of the Franchise requirement is a certain number of direct Cardiff - Milford Haven services, which will be reduced if the Loco's take over to Swansea. That will mean changing other Cardiff - West Wales services, possibly extending some of the Cardiff - Swansea services. Seems a bigger change and more complicated than people might be thinking.
Given that one of the Loco's used to run peak Holyhead - Manchester services it would make more sense to use them on the North Wales coast. It can be confined to Chester, Junction and Holyhead train crew rather than involving Crewe and Shrewsbury.
Also surely any spare loco could be stored at DB Crewe or LNWR which is where they are normally based?

For simplicity it would make sense to confine the loco's to the routes they used to operate, just in higher frequency.

Indeed though whilst @Cardiff123 got the wrong end of the stick regarding the SV vehicles (as they're standard not first class) it is a fair point that the originally proposed formations (assuming that @43096's source pans out!) do have less capacity in standard class than a 3-car 175. From what I can find a 3-car 175 is around 190 seats whilst the proposed Mk4 sets would have 170 seats (with four additional tip up seats in the wheelchair spaces). Of course that is a fair bit more than the 2-car 175s and overall there are more seats on the train as you gain the 40-odd first class seats as well (so total seats are somewhere north of 200). But it is fair to say that standard class passengers lose out.

From the fleet information I have there's 220 Standard class seats and 19 First class seats. The Mk3's had 210 standard and 18 First. By comparison a 2 car 175 has 118 seats and 3 car 186 seats.

In my disjointed experience, it didn't get busy.
I've never seen more than a handful of diners on the southbound service, can't say for the northbound.
Seated premier class diners were supplemented by a steady flow of take-aways from standard (very good value).
The overall passenger numbers were typically less than 50 southbound, peaking into Chester and then Shrewsbury.
Northbound in the Cardiff peak would be very different, of course, as far as Hereford at least, then very quiet.

Which perfectly explains what some don't seem to want to believe about the type of passengers that TfW carry. Lots of regional commuter passengers, more so than long distance end to end passengers.
 

Rhydgaled

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Is it confirmed that they will be running Swansea - Manchester?
It doesn't sound like it; I'm not sure if it's even been confirmed that TfW will take more than 3 mark 4 sets.

Given that the proposed Swansea - Manchester isn't actually the start/end route, it's just the attaching/detaching point for one of the units which is where they will be 5 car to/from.
If it is Swansea then that makes crewing it more difficult as well given that Carmarthen train crew do a fair bit of the Cardiff - West services.
Also how will the Milford Haven services run? Part of the Franchise requirement is a certain number of direct Cardiff - Milford Haven services, which will be reduced if the Loco's take over to Swansea. That will mean changing other Cardiff - West Wales services, possibly extending some of the Cardiff - Swansea services. Seems a bigger change and more complicated than people might be thinking.
In the last few years, politicians seem to have finally started taking an interest in the Swansea District Line with a Morriston Parkway station. If Cardiff - Milford Haven becomes a fast service via the Swansea District Line then it would make alot of sense to me to have a 5-coach LHCS doing Manchester-Swansea.
 

Caaardiff

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It doesn't sound like it; I'm not sure if it's even been confirmed that TfW will take more than 3 mark 4 sets.

In the last few years, politicians seem to have finally started taking an interest in the Swansea District Line with a Morriston Parkway station. If Cardiff - Milford Haven becomes a fast service via the Swansea District Line then it would make alot of sense to me to have a 5-coach LHCS doing Manchester-Swansea.
It has become a very strong rumour around the patch.

There is a lot of talk of the Swansea metro which is probably several years down the line. I can't see any Loco stock being a long term addition, especially when TfW have been pushing the "more efficient" new fleet. Any Cardiff - Milford via SDL also cuts out Neath, Skewen, Llansamlet and Swansea where I imagine a lot of people will want to travel West.
For simplicity it would make much more sense to use them on all Cardiff - Holyhead which if there's any spares above that requirement then use them on Holyhead - Manchester, freeing up some 175's. The 175's can then cover 1 on Chester - Crewe, 1 on Chester - Liverpool and 1 or 2 in West Wales, all freeing up 150's and 153's for the Valleys. But also lets not forget the Cardiff - Holyhead services have been running from Shrewsbury - Holyhead since Covid yet there has still been ongoing 150 shortages for the Valleys.
 

krus_aragon

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For simplicity it would make much more sense to use them on all Cardiff - Holyhead which if there's any spares above that requirement then use them on Holyhead - Manchester, freeing up some 175's.
I agree that Cardiff-Holyhead would be the likely destination for any additional rakes. Any use of LHCS on Holyhead (Bangor) to Manchester services would depend on what happens in the latest Castlefield timetable fix: adding new LHCS services to the Castlefield corridor probably wouldn't go down too well, but that may not be an issue if TfW services get diverted.

Edit: actually, with the expected Bangor-Manchester services, there may be issues with terminating LHCS at Bangor. The track layout requires changing ends in Belmont tunnel, but the tunnel is no longer an authorised walking route, from what I understand. (This is why Bangor-terminating Avanti services have to be operated by single Voyagers.)
 
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PHILIPE

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I think stories of them working between South Wales and Manchester is just wibble, probably suggested and started by somebody and spread and believed. The obvious route to work is between Cardiff and Holyhead over which the drivers Depots involved are Holyhead, Crewe and Cardiff although not all links. It is better to stick with the Depots who are already conversant in view of the additional training and the length of time that would take, and would be required so why move them from Holyhead when their drivers already have knowledge. Drivers with 67 knowledge can be precious at times so why move them away from Holyhead.
 

Southern Dvr

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Who did the Manchester Holyhead Mark 3 set work?
Would they not be able to work South Wales-Manchester?
I have no knowledge of who signs what up that part of the world.
 

craigybagel

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Is it confirmed that they will be running Swansea - Manchester?
It's not even been confirmed that they're coming, never mind what route they're running on.
Given that the proposed Swansea - Manchester isn't actually the start/end route, it's just the attaching/detaching point for one of the units which is where they will be 5 car to/from.
If it is Swansea then that makes crewing it more difficult as well given that Carmarthen train crew do a fair bit of the Cardiff - West services.
Shouldn't be too hard, there's quite a few at Cardiff who will sign it once all the training is complete.
Also how will the Milford Haven services run? Part of the Franchise requirement is a certain number of direct Cardiff - Milford Haven services, which will be reduced if the Loco's take over to Swansea. That will mean changing other Cardiff - West Wales services, possibly extending some of the Cardiff - Swansea services. Seems a bigger change and more complicated than people might be thinking.
The whole timetable is getting recast anyway. I'm not saying I think it's going to happen, just that it might not be as hard as you expect.
Given that one of the Loco's used to run peak Holyhead - Manchester services it would make more sense to use them on the North Wales coast. It can be confined to Chester, Junction and Holyhead train crew rather than involving Crewe and Shrewsbury.
Crewe will need to sign them regardless to work the Cardiff - Holyhead services, so there's no extra cost really there.

With the door positions and slower acceleration at lower speeds they're not really suited to the Manchester route anyway. At the time they were put there it was the simplest option, rather then being a route they could actually be useful on.
Also surely any spare loco could be stored at DB Crewe or LNWR which is where they are normally based?
Yup. All the drivers at Crewe who sign the loco sign both ATC (formerly known as LNWR) and the ETD (DBC depot).
I think stories of them working between South Wales and Manchester is just wibble, probably suggested and started by somebody and spread and believed. The obvious route to work is between Cardiff and Holyhead over which the drivers Depots involved are Holyhead, Crewe and Cardiff although not all links. It is better to stick with the Depots who are already conversant in view of the additional training and the length of time that would take, and would be required so why move them from Holyhead when their drivers already have knowledge. Drivers with 67 knowledge can be precious at times so why move them away from Holyhead.
I suspect there's a lot of truth in this.
Who did the Manchester Holyhead Mark 3 set work?
Would they not be able to work South Wales-Manchester?
I have no knowledge of who signs what up that part of the world.
A Crewe driver and Shrewsbury (latterly Llandudno junction) guard brought it from ATC Crewe through to Chester in the morning. From there it was worked by various Holyhead drivers and Llandudno Junction guards through till it got back to Chester in the evening, where the same guard and a Crewe driver took it back to Crewe and on to the depot.

At the moment there are no guards who sign both Crewe - Manchester and loco stock.
I think only the Crewe drivers signed the 67s/DVT.
All Holyhead drivers, and one link of each of Crewe and Cardiff drivers.
 

wobman

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With the huge training backlog at TFW, there needs a situation were as little training as possible is required. More seats will be this summer on most routes, so more units will be needed.

There's talk of buses situated at busy stations to take the overflow of passengers on the N Wales coast !

The extra MK4 sets would help take the pressure off the mad summer period on the N Wales coast plus logistically it would make Sence to use them in that route.
 

Flying Snail

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Is that definitely what it’ll be?

I assumed it was three standard and one for first and the Buffett/kitchen.

There are several reasons why it will be kept as is, with the buffet/standard and separate 1st class coach.

The Mk4 buffet has less seating space than the Mk3 previously used, potentially only 17 seats and 1 wheelchair space. As others have mentioned the evening service was often pretty full with a larger capacity than that.

The Mk4 buffet has a small toilet, not disabled, maybe someone can confirm but I assume the corridor past the buffet is to narrow to allow access to Std class disabled toilet for many wheelchairs. Even if it is physically possible to get through there will also be people at the buffet counter to get past.

The Mk4 buffet is configured with the retail counter towards the (currently Std class) seats and kitchen access facing the gangway, flip it around and the 1st class service would have to be passed across the counter or carried down the narrow corridor past queuing customers. Neither of those options are practical or safe so the buffet/kitchen would potentially have to be ripped out and re-built.

I do agree that 2.5 Std class is too low capacity and 3.5 is needed which leaves the SDO issue and the usual ridiculously OTT safety nonsense the British railways seem to love putting in its own way.
 

Envoy

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Regarding the door issue where not all coaches fit platforms: I travelled on an HST down the South Pembrokeshire line; at places like Narberth and Saundersfoot, they simply announced that passengers for these stations should make their way to coach ? to disembark. Now that worked OK even though many of the passengers were not regulars. Presumably the ‘regulars’ at the ‘short platforms’ would not use any coach that was not going to land at platform at destination.
 

Nym

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Regarding the door issue where not all coaches fit platforms: I travelled on an HST down the South Pembrokeshire line; at places like Narberth and Saundersfoot, they simply announced that passengers for these stations should make their way to coach ? to disembark. Now that worked OK even though many of the passengers were not regulars. Presumably the ‘regulars’ at the ‘short platforms’ would not use any coach that was not going to land at platform at destination.
Indeed.
But SDO is not tenable to the authorities and the automatic versions are, expensive.
 

Nym

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Is local door permitted these days?
Last time I looked into it, grandfather rights hold but anything that depends on operators getting the door right isn't permitted in a new design. Or at least the ToCs don't want to take the hit on their licences if anything goes wrong.
 

wobman

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Indeed.
But SDO is not tenable to the authorities and the automatic versions are, expensive.
On the TFW DMU's local door operation is used regularly on stations such as Llanfair PG & Valley in pre covid times, it's baffling how it's fine on a 158 but not a HST.

Going back to the mk4's there's been no official announcement regarding getting more stock by TFW, let's hope they get them soon ready for the summer workings.
 

OrangeJuice

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Given 5 car trains are planned to run between Manchester and Swansea, would it not be worthwhile to extend those 4 car platforms anyway? (I realise that's a more long term task than getting the Mk4's in)

Or are the Civities going to have ASDO which is more fondly looked on than standard SDP
 

wobman

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Given 5 car trains are planned to run between Manchester and Swansea, would it not be worthwhile to extend those 4 car platforms anyway? (I realise that's a more long term task than getting the Mk4's in)

Or are the Civities going to have ASDO which is more fondly looked on than standard SDP
It's the same for ruabon & Chirk stations they can only fit 4 car sets but have large areas overgrown that just need clearing
 

Nym

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On the TFW DMU's local door operation is used regularly on stations such as Llanfair PG & Valley in pre covid times, it's baffling how it's fine on a 158 but not a HST.

Going back to the mk4's there's been no official announcement regarding getting more stock by TFW, let's hope they get them soon ready for the summer workings.
They can get them as soon as they like, the carriages will still need a long list of work doing to them before being compatible with a 67 and ready to work. Maybe summer next year...
 

wobman

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They can get them as soon as they like, the carriages will still need a long list of work doing to them before being compatible with a 67 and ready to work. Maybe summer next year...
I know the 67's need interlock facilities & signal buzzers fitting plus the transponder equipment. Knowing the railways it will take at least 12 months to do it ! It's a shame as this summer is when they are needed
 

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