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Class 175 future speculation

Snow1964

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GWR are making a business case with the DfT for additional rolling stock / replacement of the final HSTs which if approved will go to the market for procurement. The fleet likely to be the strongest candidates are the 175s but there’s a lot of hoops for GWR to jump through first!

It is also worth noting GWR lost a lot of rolling stock that was in the plan 5 years ago (some of the short HSTs, the 769s, three 387s etc). Obviously covid and changed travel patterns played a part.

It is also known (from recent ORR passenger figures) that GWR has seen growth in last year or two. And although numbers overall are nearer 80% of 5 years ago, average journey length has increased by something like 13%, however vehicle km has not kept up with passenger km (which means trains are on average busier)

The business case is therefore on paper stronger than when the IETs were ordered (from a demand led basis, passenger km vs vehicle km, or in plain English, point where more capacity is needed). What GWR are having to do is convince DfT that there is need in 2024 that meets DfT economic thresholds. The ORR data has already shown that capacity is squeezed compared to when new or extra GWR trains were last approved.
 
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The exile

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It is also known (from recent ORR passenger figures) that GWR has seen growth in last year or two. And although numbers overall are nearer 80% of 5 years ago, average journey length has increased by something like 13%, however vehicle km has not kept up with passenger km (which means trains are on average busier)
How much of that drop to 80% is accounted for by loss to the Elizabeth Line? Even if that’s not in the figures, I suspect that that overall drop masks a geographical shift - most of the fall-off in the Thames Valley but capacity now being stretched elsewhere (West and Southwest).
 

HamworthyGoods

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It is also worth noting GWR lost a lot of rolling stock that was in the plan 5 years ago (some of the short HSTs, the 769s, three 387s etc). Obviously covid and changed travel patterns played a part.

It is also known (from recent ORR passenger figures) that GWR has seen growth in last year or two. And although numbers overall are nearer 80% of 5 years ago, average journey length has increased by something like 13%, however vehicle km has not kept up with passenger km (which means trains are on average busier)

The business case is therefore on paper stronger than when the IETs were ordered (from a demand led basis, passenger km vs vehicle km, or in plain English, point where more capacity is needed). What GWR are having to do is convince DfT that there is need in 2024 that meets DfT economic thresholds. The ORR data has already shown that capacity is squeezed compared to when new or extra GWR trains were last approved.

It is however worth noting the 3 x 387s were released by the Full Crossrail timetable starting.
 

fgwrich

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I have heard that some 175s have been hauled to GWR territory - any truth in this or just a rumour?

No units in GWR land yet, but I’ve heard the training documents have been sent over to some GWR depots, which gives a pretty strong indication of their future.

It is also worth noting GWR lost a lot of rolling stock that was in the plan 5 years ago (some of the short HSTs, the 769s, three 387s etc). Obviously covid and changed travel patterns played a part.

It is also known (from recent ORR passenger figures) that GWR has seen growth in last year or two. And although numbers overall are nearer 80% of 5 years ago, average journey length has increased by something like 13%, however vehicle km has not kept up with passenger km (which means trains are on average busier)

The business case is therefore on paper stronger than when the IETs were ordered (from a demand led basis, passenger km vs vehicle km, or in plain English, point where more capacity is needed). What GWR are having to do is convince DfT that there is need in 2024 that meets DfT economic thresholds. The ORR data has already shown that capacity is squeezed compared to when new or extra GWR trains were last approved.

Having spent most of the last week in the very SouthWest, they (or cascaded 158s from Bristol should the 175s end up at that end) will certainly be more than welcome. Even post half term, services were considerably busy.

It was also easy to understand why IET reliability is taking a hit at the moment - one service I had out of Penzance was, barring St Bedeaux, Keyham, Dockyard, Devonport and Pilning, all stations from Penzance to Cardiff Central.
 

JonathanH

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It was also easy to understand why IET reliability is taking a hit at the moment - one service I had out of Penzance was, barring St Bedeaux, Keyham, Dockyard, Devonport and Pilning, all stations from Penzance to Cardiff Central.
Are IETs actually uncapable of working stopping services? I understand that some types of rolling stock haven't been well suited to working stopping services in the past but do IETs fall in that category? Is a Penzance to Cardiff Central service actually taxing for them in terms of stop start.

Actually, do 175s fall in the category of units that don't like stop-start operation?
 

craigybagel

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Actually, do 175s fall in the category of units that don't like stop-start operation?
Mechanically, they cope absolutely fine. Despite being geared for 100mph, they accelerate better than any sprinter, and the brakes are great. Never known any issues with stop start work on them.

They do struggle on dwell time however with single leaf doors at each end of the carriage, and a reluctance among passengers to move down the aisle.
 

anthony263

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Mechanically, they cope absolutely fine. Despite being geared for 100mph, they accelerate better than any sprinter, and the brakes are great. Never known any issues with stop start work on them.

They do struggle on dwell time however with single leaf doors at each end of the carriage, and a reluctance among passengers to move down the aisle.
The 3 carriage 175s performed better when used on swanline services compared to the 2 carriage units. It wasn't unknown for a 3 carriage unit to get neath about 2-3 minutes early same with arriving into Bridgend
 

fgwrich

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Are IETs actually uncapable of working stopping services? I understand that some types of rolling stock haven't been well suited to working stopping services in the past but do IETs fall in that category? Is a Penzance to Cardiff Central service actually taxing for them in terms of stop start.

Actually, do 175s fall in the category of units that don't like stop-start operation?

Certainly more time spent running on diesel mode than envisaged, and one of the factors which may be why more units seem to have GUs switched off out of use at the moment*. They don’t seem particularly great with the Cornish mainline gradients and dwell time doesn’t help either. They are also an intercity train being used on something previously operated with a 150 - with some considerable stop start stop start + short platforms to throw into the mix.

Mechanically, they cope absolutely fine. Despite being geared for 100mph, they accelerate better than any sprinter, and the brakes are great. Never known any issues with stop start work on them.

That’s good to hear, and they’d certainly be more suited to some of the duties presently carried out by the mix of IET / HST / 158. At least passengers in the South West will be used to stock with end doors now.

*speaking of which, there does seem to be an issue with certain units and certain radiators at the moment. I travelled in one 9 car last week which left Penzance on 4 engines. A number of resets were attempted enroute but after revving loudly for about a minute, the whole coach would just shake, engine went blurgh, and gave up again.
 

craigybagel

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The 3 carriage 175s performed better when used on swanline services compared to the 2 carriage units. It wasn't unknown for a 3 carriage unit to get neath about 2-3 minutes early same with arriving into Bridgend
The 3 cars were noticeably quicker to accelerate than the 2 cars, that's true. But even a 2 car was still quicker than any other unit in the TfW fleet at the time.
That’s good to hear, and they’d certainly be more suited to some of the duties presently carried out by the mix of IET / HST / 158. At least passengers in the South West will be used to stock with end doors now.

*speaking of which, there does seem to be an issue with certain units and certain radiators at the moment. I travelled in one 9 car last week which left Penzance on 4 engines. A number of resets were attempted enroute but after revving loudly for about a minute, the whole coach would just shake, engine went blurgh, and gave up again.
The 175s don't perform as well in summer either to be fair, and they especially struggle in late spring with pollen clogging the radiators. That said I never found it anything more than a minor annoyance, occasionally you'd lose an engine but mostly it was just a slight reduction in power.
 

Snow1964

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The 175s don't perform as well in summer either to be fair, and they especially struggle in late spring with pollen clogging the radiators. That said I never found it anything more than a minor annoyance, occasionally you'd lose an engine but mostly it was just a slight reduction in power.
Although the SW mainline generally sees different vegetation to Welsh borders. In Cornwall it more wooded valleys, and in Devon and Somerset more arable pastureland due to the soil types. Rather less fields of cereals and rapeseed with their fluffy pollen drifting around.

But it is one of those things that when known about can (in theory) be managed anyway. If you can vacuum the carpets, then no reason why can't use different nozzle and vacuum the radiators.
 

Lurcheroo

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The 175s don't perform as well in summer either to be fair, and they especially struggle in late spring with pollen clogging the radiators. That said I never found it anything more than a minor annoyance, occasionally you'd lose an engine but mostly it was just a slight reduction in power.
That’s interesting, you don’t notice it as much on other stock ?

Any engine produces less power during the summer months as the air is warmer and subsequently less dense and has less oxygen in it.

I know 158’s will overheat and revert to idle during hot weather when going up Tallerddig bank.
 

craigybagel

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That’s interesting, you don’t notice it as much on other stock ?

Any engine produces less power during the summer months as the air is warmer and subsequently less dense and has less oxygen in it.

I know 158’s will overheat and revert to idle during hot weather when going up Tallerddig bank.
All units have their good and bad moments but the 175s seemed to be more susceptible to it. That said, it might be because we spent so much time on them compared to the rest of the fleet it was easier to notice differences like that.

158s can be temperamental all year long - amount other issues they have a strange tendency for the power selected by the driver to not necessary reflect what the engine delivers - but thankfully I never signed Tallerdig so that was one issue I haven't had to deal with!
 

Lurcheroo

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All units have their good and bad moments but the 175s seemed to be more susceptible to it. That said, it might be because we spent so much time on them compared to the rest of the fleet it was easier to notice differences like that.

158s can be temperamental all year long - amount other issues they have a strange tendency for the power selected by the driver to not necessary reflect what the engine delivers - but thankfully I never signed Tallerdig so that was one issue I haven't had to deal with!
Oh interesting! That’s very possible.
We only sign 158’s so nothing to compare too sadly, I do wish i’d gotten to drive a 175 and not just the sim! Perhaps I’ll have to go to GWR land if they do end up down there haha!

I notice even with very few driving hours done, power selected vs power delivered varies quite a bit unit to unit.

Talerddig certainly presents some challenges, summer you can struggle with overheating, autumn not only is it very steep but it’s well known for low adhesion due to all the foliage about.
Further to that, if you travelling up Tallerddig bank (to Shrewsbury) there’s a block marker about 3/4 of the way up and if that’s closed and you have to stop there when it’s slippy, it’s incredibly difficult to get going again.
Line speed is 95 KMH (about 60mph) and even in notch 7 you will see the that the speed is still coming off ever so slightly (which I suspect is part of the reason they may overheat during summer, having to be flat out on power going up).
I’ve seen the 97’s also overheat and get stuck going up there pulling the logs.
I’m told the 197’s absolutely fly up there and your shutting off power so may very well see the end of the problem for passenger trains.
 

craigybagel

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Oh interesting! That’s very possible.
We only sign 158’s so nothing to compare too sadly, I do wish i’d gotten to drive a 175 and not just the sim! Perhaps I’ll have to go to GWR land if they do end up down there haha!

I notice even with very few driving hours done, power selected vs power delivered varies quite a bit unit to unit.

Talerddig certainly presents some challenges, summer you can struggle with overheating, autumn not only is it very steep but it’s well known for low adhesion due to all the foliage about.
Further to that, if you travelling up Tallerddig bank (to Shrewsbury) there’s a block marker about 3/4 of the way up and if that’s closed and you have to stop there when it’s slippy, it’s incredibly difficult to get going again.
Line speed is 95 KMH (about 60mph) and even in notch 7 you will see the that the speed is still coming off ever so slightly (which I suspect is part of the reason they may overheat during summer, having to be flat out on power going up).
I’ve seen the 97’s also overheat and get stuck going up there pulling the logs.
I’m told the 197’s absolutely fly up there and your shutting off power so may very well see the end of the problem for passenger trains.
I've replied on the 197 thread about their performance. All I'll add here for the 175 speculation thread is that if they do end up at GWR, I have no doubt they'll be able to match 158 timings quite easily, even in places like Devon & Cornwall where the extra 10mph top speed wont be of much use.
 

twpsaesneg

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All seems very quiet on this. A poster on the Railways in South Wales Facebook group has stated that these units will definitely not now be going to GWR though - any other rumours?
 

baza585

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Agree with this. Everything pointing to 175s coming to GWr land.
Good. They are desperately needed.

I'm concerned about what sort of state they are in and how long it will take to get them fit for service, however, plus all the training required..
 

warwickshire

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Has, this actually been confirmed, or is it just Gwr messroom gossip still. Because one minute it's happening the next minute it's not, Just like the mk5 rumours on Chiltern Railways.
Unless all are not are going to Gwr, Maybe some 175 are Chiltern bound as well, heard that due to cost reasons Chiltern are also after some 175, due to Mk5 having very high costs, from local sources in the Chiltern lines area as well.
 

HamworthyGoods

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All seems very quiet on this. A poster on the Railways in South Wales Facebook group has stated that these units will definitely not now be going to GWR though - any other rumours?

It hasn’t gone quite, just dft approval doesn’t happen overnight
 

Snow1964

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Would the election purdah have any influence on the approvals and related announcements?
Approvals no effect in theory, although ministers out on campaign trail might mean no one around to sign it off. It is operational (reallocating existing resources) which is ok to progress, but convention is don't instigate a change of direction policy during a campaign.

Announcements probably wouldn't happen, and would be instruction not to give external update, just quietly prepare in background.
 
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twpsaesneg

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Did they say why not/give a reason?
No, which is why I thought I'd ask if any other rumours were circulating. :)

It hasn’t gone quite, just dft approval doesn’t happen overnight
With respect, it has, it's nearly been a month since the last update. I'm well aware of the joy of the DfT approvals mill, I was only asking if there was any more rumour. No need to snap!

As other posters have confirmed there still seems to be mess room chunter going on which seems good news. :)
 

Energy

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(reallocating existing resources)
TfW isn't under the DfT so it may not be existing resources, and I'd assume the DfT will take the opportunity to negotiate a lower price with Angel.
Maybe some 175 are Chiltern bound as well, heard that due to cost reasons Chiltern are also after some 175, due to Mk5 having very high costs, from local sources in the Chiltern lines area as well.
It seems unlikely to me. The 175s alone aren't enough for GWR with the metrowest improvements so a few additional 3 car units (probably 165s from Chiltern) would be needed.

There are too many 175s for only Chiltern 68 replacement and not enough for full 68 and 168 replacement. Splitting the 175 fleet isn't ideal as you'd end up with training/depot costs at both Chiltern and GWR.

If the mk5s are too expensive at Chiltern I'd expect them to sweat the mk3s for a few more years and get new build.
I guess GWR will get more 158s and 150/2s. I notice the first Exeter Penzance yesterday was a 158 usually a 150.
The 150/2s are in terrible condition and will be scrapped. Northern is more likely to get the 158s than GWR as they'd struggle to introduce the 175s into their operations.
 

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