Alstom celebrating 20 years anniversary of Voyager's introduction

pj13

Member
Joined
27 Oct 2020
Messages
7
Location
basingstoke
I'm certain at my parents I have the original flyers that Virgin gave out for the introduction of the new fleet.

As said, the XC interiors are looking a bit tired and worn out; here's hoping for a refresh.

As they're probably now at mid life, that means when a replacement is due I'll be in my 50s :(
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

DB

Guest
Joined
18 Nov 2009
Messages
5,036
I'm certain at my parents I have the original flyers that Virgin gave out for the introduction of the new fleet.

As said, the XC interiors are looking a bit tired and worn out; here's hoping for a refresh.

As they're probably now at mid life, that means when a replacement is due I'll be in my 50s :(

Likely to be beyond mid-life, given that they are nearly 20 years old, and there is a push to phase out diesel. Ten years or so more would seem a reasonable assumption.
 

Bayum

Established Member
Joined
21 Mar 2008
Messages
2,459
Location
Leeds
I don’t mind voyagers especially the avanti ones. However, in the last month or so, I have been on 4 double voyagers which have had tilt faults from the start of the journey/ the faults occurred throughout the journey. On 3 occasions we lost 8-10 minutes as a result, the other one we were 55 minutes late, we ground to a halt and was told it was an issue with the tilting system.


Also had my first 390 with a tilt fault last week, which was my first in 5 years of regular use.

They have certainly been a lot more reliable in recent years, especially the engines. And those 4 trips with tilt faults have been the first in many years and all within the last few months. Although speaking to a driver recently, she said they throw up TMS level 3 alarms frequently and then disappear without the driver getting to see what the fault is.

I do wonder, not sure if anyone can answer, if a tilt fault arises when the trains on the move, does it need to be stopped or does the driver just drive at non EPS speed limits?
I was under the impression tilt was disabled/removed on the voyager fleet…
 

Ken H

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2018
Messages
3,082
Location
N Yorks
I don’t mind voyagers especially the avanti ones. However, in the last month or so, I have been on 4 double voyagers which have had tilt faults from the start of the journey/ the faults occurred throughout the journey. On 3 occasions we lost 8-10 minutes as a result, the other one we were 55 minutes late, we ground to a halt and was told it was an issue with the tilting system.


Also had my first 390 with a tilt fault last week, which was my first in 5 years of regular use.

They have certainly been a lot more reliable in recent years, especially the engines. And those 4 trips with tilt faults have been the first in many years and all within the last few months. Although speaking to a driver recently, she said they throw up TMS level 3 alarms frequently and then disappear without the driver getting to see what the fault is.

I do wonder, not sure if anyone can answer, if a tilt fault arises when the trains on the move, does it need to be stopped or does the driver just drive at non EPS speed limits?
When they were developing APT, the thing they were scared of was a wrong side failure of the tilt. So when the requirement the coach would tilt to the left it would tilt to the right, putting it out of gauge. I dont know if that is a possible failure on pendos/voyagers. there was also another failure mode when the carriages could flop around unpowered.
but the big problem was that the tilt system needed advance warning it was going to need to tilt. so the sensors in each coach managed the tilt in the coach behind. Again, i dont know if that was needed on pendos/voyagers.
 

Ceat0908

Member
Joined
10 Jul 2020
Messages
103
I was under the impression tilt was disabled/removed on the voyager fleet…
Not avantis.

When they were developing APT, the thing they were scared of was a wrong side failure of the tilt. So when the requirement the coach would tilt to the left it would tilt to the right, putting it out of gauge. I dont know if that is a possible failure on pendos/voyagers. there was also another failure mode when the carriages could flop around unpowered.
but the big problem was that the tilt system needed advance warning it was going to need to tilt. so the sensors in each coach managed the tilt in the coach behind. Again, i dont know if that was needed on pendos/voyagers.
I’ve always wondered this. I know a pendolino failed not all that long ago with a “hard tilt fault” and I presumed that’s what that was. In which case, seems scary!
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
15,978
Location
Mold, Clwyd
I disagree. You’re telling me Virgin/Dft put out a tender and said “crucial trains have no more than 62 seats per carriage”? Or did Bombardier chose to meet the spec by designing the train like that?

Well, someone signed off on it. Bombardier built what was agreed.
Reputedly, Virgin would have ordered an Alstom design for XC (like the Pendolinos) but commercially decided to split the combined WC/XC order so that Bombardier got to build the diesel share of the order so they weren't dependent on a single supplier.
Presumably an Alstom solution would have been a Coradia version (180-type) rather than Voyagers.
DfT had little to do with rolling stock orders in the first round of franchises, beyond accepting the need for full fleet replacement at XC (first) and then at WC, both with 15-year franchises.
The Virgin XC franchise was terminated early, with Arriva winning the new bid (and Birmingham-Preston-Scotland staying with Virgin).
A shared fleet across 2 franchises would not have worked on later franchises, either, as the DfT insisted on full commercial separation.
Virgin did insist on certain Alstom content on the Voyagers, for commonality of operation and maintenance with the Pendolinos and of course for tilt control (TASS).
 
Last edited:

Ken H

Established Member
Joined
11 Nov 2018
Messages
3,082
Location
N Yorks
Reputedly, Virgin would have ordered an Alstom design for XC (like the Pendolinos) but commercially decided to split the combined WC/XC order so that Bombardier got to build the diesel share of the order so they weren't dependent on a single supplier.
Presumably an Alstom solution would have been a Coradia version (180-type) rather than Voyagers.
DfT had little to do with rolling stock orders in the first round of franchises, beyond accepting the need for full fleet replacement at XC (first) and then at WC, both with 15-year franchises.
The Virgin XC franchise was terminated early, with Arriva winning the new bid (and Birmingham-Scotland staying with Virgin).
A shared fleet across 2 franchises would not have worked on later franchises, either, as the DfT insisted on full commercial separation.
Virgin did insist on certain Alstom content on the Voyagers, for commonality of maintenance with the Pendolinos and of course for tilt control (TASS).
Of course virgin never owned any trains. they were all leased. One wonders what the finance guys thought about residual value risk.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
68,705
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
There was no real need to replace most of the fleet at that time - it was just Virgin wanting to make their mark. What would have been more sensible would have been to retain them and get on with electrification, then look at replacement.

There really was, the Mk2s were knackered. The HSTs were OK but that was less than half the fleet.
 

O L Leigh

Established Member
Joined
20 Jan 2006
Messages
4,838
Location
In the cab with the paper
There was no real need to replace most of the fleet at that time - it was just Virgin wanting to make their mark. What would have been more sensible would have been to retain them and get on with electrification, then look at replacement.

Except that electrification, and particularly large schemes such as the XC network, do not fall under the scope of the TOCs. As I mentioned in the parallel thread in the Speculative Ideas section, you make a decision based on what you have in front of you now not on what might happen however many years down the line. Therefore Virgin XC could not have planned for an electric fleet.

And as it turns out, they were right. The only parts of the XC network that I am aware of getting wires since the introduction of Voyagers are Barnt Green to Bromsgrove, Westerleigh Jn to Stoke Gifford and Didcot Parkway to Reading.
 

DB

Guest
Joined
18 Nov 2009
Messages
5,036
Except that electrification, and particularly large schemes such as the XC network, do not fall under the scope of the TOCs. As I mentioned in the parallel thread in the Speculative Ideas section, you make a decision based on what you have in front of you now not on what might happen however many years down the line. Therefore Virgin XC could not have planned for an electric fleet.

And as it turns out, they were right. The only parts of the XC network that I am aware of getting wires since the introduction of Voyagers are Barnt Green to Bromsgrove, Westerleigh Jn to Stoke Gifford and Didcot Parkway to Reading.

And that could well be a chicken and egg situation - XC already has relatively recent trains not due to for replacement, so that could well make it less of a priority for electrification.
 

O L Leigh

Established Member
Joined
20 Jan 2006
Messages
4,838
Location
In the cab with the paper
And that could well be a chicken and egg situation - XC already has relatively recent trains not due to for replacement, so that could well make it less of a priority for electrification.

I think it's more the case that the XC network would come under the heading "in-fill". You'd need to wire other parts of the network first to make it a contender.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
68,705
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
The other context back then was that the wires were out of favour and diesel was the future - how things change! Chris Garnett at GNER had even seriously proposed de-electrification of the ECML.

An entirely different culture to today.
 

LNW-GW Joint

Veteran Member
Joined
22 Feb 2011
Messages
15,978
Location
Mold, Clwyd
And as it turns out, they were right. The only parts of the XC network that I am aware of getting wires since the introduction of Voyagers are Barnt Green to Bromsgrove, Westerleigh Jn to Stoke Gifford and Didcot Parkway to Reading.
Manchester-Preston has been wired, and was once run by Voyagers to Scotland - now in the hands of TPE 397s.
On the other hand XC now runs Edinburgh-Carstairs-Glasgow with Voyagers instead of EC's electric 225s.
Barnt Green-Bromsgrove wires are no use to XC with the fast lines not being wired north to Kings Norton.
 

Skie

Member
Joined
22 Dec 2008
Messages
586
Not avantis.


I’ve always wondered this. I know a pendolino failed not all that long ago with a “hard tilt fault” and I presumed that’s what that was. In which case, seems scary!
I’ve been on a 390 that suffered a tilt failure as it went through the curves at Rugby. Immediate loss of tilt, with us being whacked back ‘level’ which destabilised anyone standing and then a severe brake application made for a dramatic few seconds.

Resumed the journey at reduced speed after a few minutes sat still and only added ~10 minutes delay.
 

Journeyman

Established Member
Joined
16 Apr 2014
Messages
6,278
There really was, the Mk2s were knackered. The HSTs were OK but that was less than half the fleet.
People really seem to be in denial about the state these coaches had got into by then, and what a maintenance nightmare they were.
 

73128

Member
Joined
8 Dec 2019
Messages
202
Location
Reading
Except that electrification, and particularly large schemes such as the XC network, do not fall under the scope of the TOCs. As I mentioned in the parallel thread in the Speculative Ideas section, you make a decision based on what you have in front of you now not on what might happen however many years down the line. Therefore Virgin XC could not have planned for an electric fleet.

And as it turns out, they were right. The only parts of the XC network that I am aware of getting wires since the introduction of Voyagers are Barnt Green to Bromsgrove, Westerleigh Jn to Stoke Gifford and Didcot Parkway to Reading.

actually also down to Reading West and Southcote Jn. as well. And work in underway between Leeds and York on a short section initially
 

aleandrail

Member
Joined
8 Jun 2013
Messages
83
There is that, but the unit I was sat in this morning was shaking pretty horrendously at every moment in Idle, not making for a comfortable experience. Certainly compared to other underfloor engine DMUs at least, the 22X seems pretty poor in that regard.



Funny enough I’m travelling on the unit now, tarted up is a bit strong. Cleaned maybe, but it’s still looking fairly tatty.
they changed the cab fronts especially for the occasion at central rivers
 

mmh

Established Member
Joined
13 Aug 2016
Messages
2,948
That's essentially the issue. I'm not sure a successful bi-mode train could have been delivered at the time.

I'm sure it could have been. In the grand scheme of things very little has changed in decades. DEMUs are not a new concept. Class 73s have been around a long time. Nobody asked for a bi-mode train, so nobody got one.
 

trebor79

Established Member
Joined
8 Mar 2018
Messages
3,146
The other context back then was that the wires were out of favour and diesel was the future - how things change! Chris Garnett at GNER had even seriously proposed de-electrification of the ECML.

An entirely different culture to today.
Crikey! That's mental. What was his reasoning? Avoiding the relatively freuquent dewiring delays from the cheap and nasty ECML electrification specification?
 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
8,628
I'm sure it could have been. In the grand scheme of things very little has changed in decades. DEMUs are not a new concept. Class 73s have been around a long time. Nobody asked for a bi-mode train, so nobody got one.
Bi-mode multiple units were still very novel 20 years ago and I certainly don’t think that there had been any 125mph-capable bi-modes at that time.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
68,705
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Bi-mode multiple units were still very novel 20 years ago and I certainly don’t think that there had been any 125mph-capable bi-modes at that time.

Bi-modes were one of the many things that people shouted about being impossible/impractical until, er, they happened.

They certainly were a thing, though not common. Hamburg for instance had some bi-mode units operating on the AKN routes which allowed them to run through onto the S-Bahn (very similar to the theoretical idea of running from Wrexham onto Merseyrail). No 125mph ones, but no real practical reason why not. There just wasn't a view that running diesel under wires was a problem, because diesel was the clean wonder-fuel.
 

ajrm

Member
Joined
1 Feb 2019
Messages
101
I suspect even if Litchuich Lane and Bombardier had been one and the same then the 22xs would still have been built abroad. Aside from the bodyshells, I seem to remember Derby having order books full of Turbostars and Electrostars, and I think it's a bit harsh to expect the builders to forward plan to incorporate possible body changes due to the unexpected removal of the shops.

The suggestion that they were 'built abroad' ignores the fact that the final assembly of at least some of the fleet took place in the UK:

 

D365

Established Member
Joined
29 Jun 2012
Messages
8,628
Bi-modes were one of the many things that people shouted about being impossible/impractical until, er, they happened.

They certainly were a thing, though not common. Hamburg for instance had some bi-mode units operating on the AKN routes which allowed them to run through onto the S-Bahn (very similar to the theoretical idea of running from Wrexham onto Merseyrail). No 125mph ones, but no real practical reason why not. There just wasn't a view that running diesel under wires was a problem, because diesel was the clean wonder-fuel.
There was a very practical reason; the technology wasn’t ready to make it possible in the UK until circa ten years ago.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
68,705
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
There was a very practical reason; the technology wasn’t ready to make it possible in the UK until circa ten years ago.

Yes it was. The technology is not complex. It is no more complex than a dual-power EMU - you are simply switching between two power sources in the same box, the on-board generator and the one in a power station. You could even have done it in the simplest manner - a rake of coaches with an electric locomotive on one end and a diesel locomotive on the other, with each able to control the other (a bit like the temporary 91 + 43 mash-ups you got on the ECML before the Mk4s were ready), or a Class 150 with a Class 319 power car shoved in the middle and a clutch arrangement to isolate the diesel drivetrain when not in use.

Nobody had actually built one, but they easily could have done. The reason they didn't is that diesel under the wires was not considered a problem, so people felt that dragging around an unused transformer (when on diesel) or an unused engine and fuel (when on electric) was wasteful.
 

TRAX

Established Member
Joined
2 Dec 2015
Messages
1,411
Location
France
Yes it was. The technology is not complex. It is no more complex than a dual-power EMU - you are simply switching between two power sources in the same box, the on-board generator and the one in a power station. You could even have done it in the simplest manner - a rake of coaches with an electric locomotive on one end and a diesel locomotive on the other, with each able to control the other (a bit like the temporary 91 + 43 mash-ups you got on the ECML before the Mk4s were ready), or a Class 150 with a Class 319 power car shoved in the middle and a clutch arrangement to isolate the diesel drivetrain when not in use.

Nobody had actually built one, but they easily could have done. The reason they didn't is that diesel under the wires was not considered a problem, so people felt that dragging around an unused transformer (when on diesel) or an unused engine and fuel (when on electric) was wasteful.
To be honest the UK was one of the rare places where bimode trains took off so late.
 

RailWonderer

Member
Joined
25 Jul 2018
Messages
529
Location
All around the network
The broader climate change agenda only took off in the last decade or even less, Labour were encouraging people to buy diesel cars in the 2000s. Electrification beyond the WCML, ECML, Yorkshire Electrics, Strathclyde electrics, and the busier parts of Network SouthEast was long seen as unnecessary.

Regarding the spec of the Voyagers, the SRA more or less left Virgin to spec what they liked contrary to today where the DfT meddle incessantly with specs i.e. Thameslink, GWR and the then Virgin Azumas. Having a certain number and type of seats, disabled facilities, etc, is a very post PRM TSI attitude that certainly did not exist back in the turn of the millenium. Some people have short memories.
 
Last edited:

Top