Northern Unit Refurbishments

py_megapixel

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Incidentally some of the paint being on the refurbs doesn't seem to be the highest quality - see the attached photos, which shows grab rails with the relatively new yellow paint already starting to chip off!
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skyhigh

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Probably sounds a bit of a pedantic question, but is the existing PIS being updated with Northern's voice recordings or is it being replaced with TrainFX like the rest of the fleet? If TrainFX do you happen to know if it's the scrolling LED screens, or the LCD ones that display the text in yellow on blue?

Also, are the additional larger advertising screens at the ends of the carriages (as seen on some of the Sprinters) being fitted?
It'll be TrainFX to match the rest of the fleet. Not sure on which style internal screen. I believe the advertising screens will be fitted. There's a couple of technical details to be finalised before it can be installed on both the 170s and 333s
 

Ben Anslow

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It'll be TrainFX to match the rest of the fleet. Not sure on which style internal screen. I believe the advertising screens will be fitted. There's a couple of technical details to be finalised before it can be installed on both the 170s and 333s
Explains the lack of announcements still on 170s
 

158752

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Incidentally some of the paint being on the refurbs doesn't seem to be the highest quality - see the attached photos, which shows grab rails with the relatively new yellow paint already starting to chip off!
View attachment 97823View attachment 97824
There are many issues with the quality of finish on 323s that returned from Wolverton which I am surprised weren't flagged on their handover to Northern. Every single unit has issues which should've been picked up by whoever signed them off as complete.
 

LowLevel

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It'll be TrainFX to match the rest of the fleet. Not sure on which style internal screen. I believe the advertising screens will be fitted. There's a couple of technical details to be finalised before it can be installed on both the 170s and 333s

The TrainFX plague spreads ever further. The worst system ever fitted to a train and a borderline safety hazard. Utter rubbish.
 

skyhigh

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The TrainFX plague spreads ever further. The worst system ever fitted to a train and a borderline safety hazard. Utter rubbish.
Absolutely, I can't stand it. For what it's worth, I think 170s on Northern currently have an almost perfect setup - visual screens that normally work to provide passengers with the calling pattern and stop we're approaching, no auto announcements but a PA handset at every guard panel so that wherever you are you can make any required announcements. Out of interest, do you know what EMR's 170s are fitted with?
 

py_megapixel

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There are many issues with the quality of finish on 323s that returned from Wolverton which I am surprised weren't flagged on their handover to Northern. Every single unit has issues which should've been picked up by whoever signed them off as complete.
Definitely. If I recall there was something of a rush to shove them through the refurb program before their PRM derogation expired, with some original parts being left in on the first few units to go through the process simply because there wasn't enough time for them to be ordered and delivered.

Non-exhaustively, issues I've personally noticed - and this is just as a passenger, I imagine there are many more as staff! - include:
  • The aforementioned paint chipping off the grab rails
  • The ends of the grab rails in the doorways are not terminated properly, making it easy to catch items on them when boarding and alighting
  • Insufficient padding has been used in the new upholstery so you can feel the metal seat frame when seated
  • The seat covers seem to be an absolute magnet for hair and dust, and the material feels generally very low quality
  • Arguably the use of TFX should be considered a quality issue in its own right, but even more so when seemingly nobody has given any thought to its configuration - the screens arbitrarily split sentences across pages making it hard to follow, and the messages have spurious '>' characters in them for - who knows what reason...
  • The positioning of the screens is daft - they're in the doorway, meaning that they are in the easiest position to bash your head on them, and that from some seats they are obstructed by bulkheads/partitions (a particularly acute issue under the pantograph, where there are only a few seats where you can actually read them from!)
  • Some of the information decals have been applied in the wrong place. I was on a 323 a few weeks ago where a "This seat is reserved for a person accompanying a wheelchair user" sticker was at the opposite end of the wheelchair space to the wheelchair companion seat. I'm sure there are more examples.
In my opinion what they should have done is what they did with many of the Sprinters towards the end of the deadline - send them for the bare minimum PRM mods to make them compliant, then do the rest of the refurb in a less rushed manner at a later date.
 

LowLevel

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Absolutely, I can't stand it. For what it's worth, I think 170s on Northern currently have an almost perfect setup - visual screens that normally work to provide passengers with the calling pattern and stop we're approaching, no auto announcements but a PA handset at every guard panel so that wherever you are you can make any required announcements. Out of interest, do you know what EMR's 170s are fitted with?

EMR 170s have the as built system for now as per other 170s. Hopefully it'll stay that way but I'm not holding my breath!
 

Jamesrob637

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There are many issues with the quality of finish on 323s that returned from Wolverton which I am surprised weren't flagged on their handover to Northern. Every single unit has issues which should've been picked up by whoever signed them off as complete.

And if they'd retrofitted the 323s with air-conditioning as per some 321s, you'd have a train fit for at least a further 20 years. Mozt 323 routes have 331s as an alternative which I'd go for any day between April and October. 319s are fit only for the bin, and the jury's still out on 769s.
 

js1000

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There are many issues with the quality of finish on 323s that returned from Wolverton which I am surprised weren't flagged on their handover to Northern. Every single unit has issues which should've been picked up by whoever signed them off as complete.
The 323s refurbishment was/is very disappointing. I've been saying for years there should be extremely strict criteria for refurbishments because the quality between units and franchises is bewildering. Attention to detail was clearly lacking in who whoever was charge of the design and works. I know people are talking about the paint on the handrails by the doors peeling. My beef is that the handrails are overly clunky. The top of them should be terminated in a way not to be a snag hazard. I was amazed they got away with that and no one at Northern or the company contracted to undertake the works didn't at least ask the question "what happens if someone leans on the side of the door opening button, disembarks and snares their bag on the top of the handrail?" And don't get me started about the dust absorbing seating. Bizarre.
 
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ic31420

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Incidentally some of the paint being on the refurbs doesn't seem to be the highest quality - see the attached photos, which shows grab rails with the relatively new yellow paint already starting to chip off!
View attachment 97823View attachment 97824

To be fair to the painters (or powder coaters) that's always going to happen there as they clobbered with bags, prams, wheelchairs, false legs etc. It's effectively being scraped off. The unfinished stainless steel poles were far more practical if not DDA compliant.

I was on 331001 a few days ago and noted th paint has been scraped off and wear is showing around the guards key hole. That's only ever going to get worse and was always going to happen it'll be a pain to fix each refurb.

It should have been drawn with an escutcheon of some sort. Our hire vans used to have them to save the paintwork and those keyholes got used a whole lot less.

Could the door controls be done without a cover is another question, afterall a key is needed for the CAF units once the cover is open.
 

skyhigh

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Could the door controls be done without a cover is another question, afterall a key is needed for the CAF units once the cover is open.
Not as things stand - the PA handset is also under the cover. I can't think of any stock that doesn't have the door controls protected, to be honest.
 

ic31420

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Not as things stand - the PA handset is also under the cover. I can't think of any stock that doesn't have the door controls protected, to be honest.
AHH yes I'd forgotten about the karaoke system.

The only other door systems I'm familiar with are 142s and 150/156s... Did / do you need a key to operate them beyond opening the cover?
 

_toommm_

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AHH yes I'd forgotten about the karaoke system.

The only other door systems I'm familiar with are 142s and 150/156s... Did / do you need a key to operate them beyond opening the cover?

Yeah you do.

142s were a flippy-up panel above the doors nearest the cabs. Local door operation opened literally just one half of the door.

150s (at least at Northern) have the door controls in the non-public parts of the train, and are behind a swing-out panel IIRC.

156s have a panel that swings down in the vestibule.

PA for all of those is in the cab IIRC.
 

ic31420

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Yeah you do.

142s were a flippy-up panel above the doors nearest the cabs. Local door operation opened literally just one half of the door.

150s (at least at Northern) have the door controls in the non-public parts of the train, and are behind a swing-out panel IIRC.

156s have a panel that swings down in the vestibule.

PA for all of those is in the cab IIRC.

Fair nuff...

Was that a propper key or the same square key as what you open the panel with?
 

skyhigh

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150/1 control panels don't have covers, or so I believe.
True, but as @Neptune says they're in a non-public area (the vestibule door should be locked). On a 150/2 the vestibule can be used by passengers when it's not a driving end so the controls are secured behind a cover. It's the same as how 170 and 32x door controls in the cab aren't covered up.
 

jonesy3001

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I personally think the 323 refurbishment was rushed as northern decided to keep them at the last minute in favour of the 319s with them being replaced by more 323s from WMT depending if it's 17,26 or any other number.
 

py_megapixel

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I personally think the 323 refurbishment was rushed as northern decided to keep them at the last minute in favour of the 319s with them being replaced by more 323s from WMT depending if it's 17,26 or any other number.
It very much was rushed - as mentioned before the first few units left Wolverton with the old lighting and door controls simply because there wasn't time for them to arrive
 

diligentdave

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Not exactly correct. The door controls were on a very long lead time which basically meant that the first units would have to be retro fitted. As for the LED lighting, well, Gemini were the overhaulers of the units, forgetting to order the materials before it starts is a bit of a faux pas.
 

py_megapixel

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The door controls were on a very long lead time which basically meant that the first units would have to be retro fitted.
Which is exactly the point. If more time had been available then they could have waited for the door controls to be ordered, produced and delivered before sending the first ones for refurb.

As for the LED lighting, well, Gemini were the overhaulers of the units, forgetting to order the materials before it starts is a bit of a faux pas.
I don't believe that they actually "forgot" to order the parts. Surely they must have some kind of inventory tracking system which works these things out automatically?
 

diligentdave

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Which is exactly the point. If more time had been available then they could have waited for the door controls to be ordered, produced and delivered before sending the first ones for refurb.


I don't believe that they actually "forgot" to order the parts. Surely they must have some kind of inventory tracking system which works these things out automatically?
Waiting for parts like the door controls to be delivered before finishing the first unit is not a factor. Work is bid for and all these sorts of issues are taken into account. Units have to be completed in a set time as per the agreed contract, if a part isn't available until, say, 4 units into the program, the program will not be held up waiting (you're talking about a delay of around 4 months, you won't hold a unit for that length of time when items can be retro fitted at a later date at depot).

And yes, believe what you like, but they did forget to order the LED lights.

There are many issues with the quality of finish on 323s that returned from Wolverton which I am surprised weren't flagged on their handover to Northern. Every single unit has issues which should've been picked up by whoever signed them off as complete.
The issues that you see as of today were certainly not there when they were signed off. Before each unit is output they are inspected by both Northern, Porterbrook and Gemini for defects and everything is highlighted. At times there were over 50 snags raised on each vehicle. These are then put right before being inspected again for completion and then the units are released.

Looking at some of the items posted on here, it's correct, time hasn't been long since overhaul and the standard of paint (on grab poles and the likes) hasn't worn well, just depends on the process used (and the quality of the supplier).

Other issues raised such as grab rail termination, these have been on the units since build and won't have been changed during refurb, simply powder coated. The positioning of the TFX displays have all been done with PRMTSI regulations in mind so are in the correct positions.
 
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317 forever

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I rode 2 158s in the Newcastle area earlier this week. They both had ironing board seating. This may well have been mentioned here before, but I was expecting better from 158s as they of course never had ironing board seating when new.
 

158752

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Waiting for parts like the door controls to be delivered before finishing the first unit is not a factor. Work is bid for and all these sorts of issues are taken into account. Units have to be completed in a set time as per the agreed contract, if a part isn't available until, say, 4 units into the program, the program will not be held up waiting (you're talking about a delay of around 4 months, you won't hold a unit for that length of time when items can be retro fitted at a later date at depot).

And yes, believe what you like, but they did forget to order the LED lights.


The issues that you see as of today were certainly not there when they were signed off. Before each unit is output they are inspected by both Northern, Porterbrook and Gemini for defects and everything is highlighted. At times there were over 50 snags raised on each vehicle. These are then put right before being inspected again for completion and then the units are released.

Looking at some of the items posted on here, it's correct, time hasn't been long since overhaul and the standard of paint (on grab poles and the likes) hasn't worn well, just depends on the process used (and the quality of the supplier).

Other issues raised such as grab rail termination, these have been on the units since build and won't have been changed during refurb, simply powder coated. The positioning of the TFX displays have all been done with PRMTSI regulations in mind so are in the correct positions.
I beg to differ on many of the comments here. The units were pushed back in to service with a multitude of deficiencies after their 'improvement' works. From missing panels to poorly affixed panels, missing door stops, thin paint application to name but three. PRM requirements dictated entire replacement of the doorway grab rails which are the area many have alluded to as being one of the most obvious poorly fabricated items with potential for becoming caught up on. It genuinely disapoints me that if it is correct the units were inspected and signed off as acceptable the delegated person from Northern apparently didn't know the unit well enough to know what is correct as I can categorically state the units returned from 'improvement' works with Gemini with issues which weren't there previously
 
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Andy Pacer

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I rode 2 158s in the Newcastle area earlier this week. They both had ironing board seating. This may well have been mentioned here before, but I was expecting better from 158s as they of course never had ironing board seating when new.
indeed, some of the Northern 158's had incredibly comfortable seats before refurb!
 

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