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Class 701 'Aventra' trains for South Western Railway

Domh245

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What is the significance of Worksop, or is it simply that it has more unelectrified siding space than say Feltham depot, or something nearer like the military sidings near Andover

That's where Alstom (formerly Bombardier) will have a contract for storage - the units there are all 'undelivered' and would have normally been stored at Litchurch lane prior to delivery to TOCs.
 
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43096

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I'm not sure if Feltham is available yet. Going past it for the first time for several months last week I was surprised at how unfinished it still looked.

Obviously security is the key with the storage.
In any case Feltham is a SWR depot. As these units haven’t been handed over they’re unlikely to be stored at an SWR facility.
 

Snow1964

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That's where Alstom (formerly Bombardier) will have a contract for storage - the units there are all 'undelivered' and would have normally been stored at Litchurch lane prior to delivery to TOCs.

Surely they would want to deliver them, or at least get them to the point where they become the customers ownership (LeaseCo) so they get paid for.

I don’t get why a manufacturer would build them, and create a stockpile as they are a specific order and not built for stock. My only thought is they have been built early to smooth production run (but as all we’re supposed to be in service months ago, not early), so baffled as to commercially why Alstom wants to delay delivery further.
 

Domh245

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Surely they would want to deliver them, or at least get them to the point where they become the customers ownership (LeaseCo) so they get paid for.

I don’t get why a manufacturer would build them, and create a stockpile as they are a specific order and not built for stock. My only thought is they have been built early to smooth production run (but as all we’re supposed to be in service months ago, not early), so baffled as to commercially why Alstom wants to delay delivery further.

I'm sure Alstom would rather get them off their books and accepted by ROSCOs/TOCs as soon as they can, but between training issues, disputes, and whatever else the TOCs/ROSCOs aren't accepting them yet, and Alstom can't force them to accept them either.

They've built them because like you say they had orders to fulfil (with parts being delivered from suppliers that they won't have been able to delay, assembly staff to keep busy, etc) but if the TOCs aren't able to accept them then they'll need to store them somewhere until they can be delivered. I think it's safe to say that Alstom aren't the ones delaying the deliveries, and I wouldn't be particularly surprised if the TOCs/ROSCOs are having to contribute to the storage costs
 

43096

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I'm sure Alstom would rather get them off their books and accepted by ROSCOs/TOCs as soon as they can, but between training issues, disputes, and whatever else the TOCs/ROSCOs aren't accepting them yet, and Alstom can't force them to accept them either.

They've built them because like you say they had orders to fulfil (with parts being delivered from suppliers that they won't have been able to delay, assembly staff to keep busy, etc) but if the TOCs aren't able to accept them then they'll need to store them somewhere until they can be delivered. I think it's safe to say that Alstom aren't the ones delaying the deliveries, and I wouldn't be particularly surprised if the TOCs/ROSCOs are having to contribute to the storage costs
A big part of the issue with the entire Aventra platform has been the software and inability of Bombardier (now Alstom) to get the units into a fit state for customer acceptance. If you've still got trains coming through off the production line they have to go somewhere as there's not enough space at Litchurch Lane. Those build issues will have made a significant contribution to Bombardier's financial issues as suppliers will still have to be paid, but with no cash coming in because the customers won't accept defective trains.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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A big part of the issue with the entire Aventra platform has been the software and inability of Bombardier (now Alstom) to get the units into a fit state for customer acceptance. If you've still got trains coming through off the production line they have to go somewhere as there's not enough space at Litchurch Lane. Those build issues will have made a significant contribution to Bombardier's financial issues as suppliers will still have to be paid, but with no cash coming in because the customers won't accept defective trains.
The 720's are flowing through to GA without issue now so it must be an issue with SWR or is the builder obliged to run them for fault free mileage before they can be offered for delivery?
 

43096

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The 720's are flowing through to GA without issue now so it must be an issue with SWR or is the builder obliged to run them for fault free mileage before they can be offered for delivery?
They will have to run fault free mileage. Also worth considering how many technicians the builder has to support new train introductions - there may not be enough to do several fleets in parallel.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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They will have to run fault free mileage. Also worth considering how many technicians the builder has to support new train introductions - there may not be enough to do several fleets in parallel.
Bombardier did reorganise Litchurch Line into six production lines to speed up delivery so you would have thought they would have organised the support staff for fault free mileage accumulation and technical support as well. Clearly coronavirus complicates things but GA have successfully navigated those hurdles so why SWR not moving forward very fast remains unclear.
 

Goldfish62

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They will have to run fault free mileage. Also worth considering how many technicians the builder has to support new train introductions - there may not be enough to do several fleets in parallel.
Looking back at the Class 720 introduction:
March 2020 - start of mainline testing
August 2020 - start of crew training
November 2020 - entry into service

The Class 701 mainline testing started in June 2020, so if based one the 720 schedule crew training should have started in November 2020 and entry into service in February, with a steady stream of new units entering service thereafter.

Even discounting the suggestion from some people that none might enter service this year things seem to be slipping somewhat!
 

Snow1964

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Looking back at the Class 720 introduction:
March 2020 - start of mainline testing
August 2020 - start of crew training
November 2020 - entry into service

The Class 701 mainline testing started in June 2020, so if based one the 720 schedule crew training should have started in November 2020 and entry into service in February, with a steady stream of new units entering service thereafter.

Even discounting the suggestion from some people that none might enter service this year things seem to be slipping somewhat!

Compared to the class 720, is there anything that a 701 has, that 720 doesn’t. Presumably if it has nothing new or extra, it should work as well out of box as most recent 720.

I’m aware there is consideration of having automatic door release Richmond /Wimbledon inwards etc. But is that actually active (trackside equipment operational), or is it something to be turned on sometime in future (If it ever happens)
 

Roger B

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How can it be if none of the units have handed over to SWR yet?
I read on another thread that staff representatives (unions, etc) had some insight into the cab layout for that fleet, and that this is fairly common practice, to try to avoid situations where trains are delivered, and then drivers are reluctant to use them because they're too cramped, have poor visibility (especially relating to signal sighting), or other issues (eg those caused by the erstwhile curved windows on the front of the 385s).

Usually a compromise will be reached on comfort, although this can be a case of who blinks first! Perhaps in this instance SWR's assumption of what a reasonable compromise would look like are way off the mark, as far as ASLEF, etc, are concerned - hence the impasse.

Either way it'll probably be expensive, in terms of redesigning, building, testing revised cab layout and/or new trains sat around unused, whilst the trains they are to replace are promised elsewhere (eg 707s) or incur additional costs to keep them running beyond what was their expected withdrawal dates.

This is likely to endear the railways even less to the Treasury - everyone could end up losing, as they did in other industries.
 

Goldfish62

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I read on another thread that staff representatives (unions, etc) had some insight into the cab layout for that fleet, and that this is fairly common practice, to try to avoid situations where trains are delivered, and then drivers are reluctant to use them because they're too cramped, have poor visibility (especially relating to signal sighting), or other issues (eg those caused by the erstwhile curved windows on the front of the 385s).

Usually a compromise will be reached on comfort, although this can be a case of who blinks first! Perhaps in this instance SWR's assumption of what a reasonable compromise would look like are way off the mark, as far as ASLEF, etc, are concerned - hence the impasse.

Either way it'll probably be expensive, in terms of redesigning, building, testing revised cab layout and/or new trains sat around unused, whilst the trains they are to replace are promised elsewhere (eg 707s) or incur additional costs to keep them running beyond what was their expected withdrawal dates.

This is likely to endear the railways even less to the Treasury - everyone could end up losing, as they did in other industries.
Yet the GB Railfreight drivers who drive them day in, day out for testing and fault-free mileage accumulation don't appear to have issues with them.

I remember the complaints about the 458 cabs when they were introduced. Nonsense about the border of the bonded windscreen distracting drivers.

If SWR drivers don't want them perhaps send them to SE in exchange for Networkers (tongue in cheek...).
 

TEW

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How can it be if none of the units have handed over to SWR yet?
ASLEF representatives were shown mock ups of the cab and found several parts of the design to be unacceptable. Unfortunately that was probably later in the process than should have been the case and as a result the units initially delivered did not have the redesigned cab. SWR can't start any training with the units with the original cab design. I don't know if any units with the modified cab have actually been delivered yet.
 

Bigfoot

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The difference between the 701 and all other aventras is the cabs are completely different in size. This is the main sticking point, plus covid/training issues for introduction.
 

Goldfish62

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ASLEF representatives were shown mock ups of the cab and found several parts of the design to be unacceptable. Unfortunately that was probably later in the process than should have been the case and as a result the units initially delivered did not have the redesigned cab. SWR can't start any training with the units with the original cab design. I don't know if any units with the modified cab have actually been delivered yet.
Thanks.

I wonder how WMT will get on with the 730s, which the same shortened cab, but with a gangway stuck on it.
 

Goldfish62

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At a recent presentation by WMT on the class 730 their speaker described how the drivers' representatives had been involved all the way though the cab design process.
Well, they're not going to say they didn't bother involving them.

My point was that if the 701 cabs are too cramped the 730 cabs will be even more cramped.
 

DennisM

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Yet the GB Railfreight drivers who drive them day in, day out for testing and fault-free mileage accumulation don't appear to have issues with them.

I remember the complaints about the 458 cabs when they were introduced. Nonsense about the border of the bonded windscreen distracting drivers.

If SWR drivers don't want them perhaps send them to SE in exchange for Networkers (tongue in cheek...).

GB Railfreight are only driving them for a short testing period. SWR drivers at London depots will spend 30+ hours a week in the cab for the next 20+ years.
I think it’s quite reasonable that the union they pay hundreds of pounds a year to represent them make sure these brand new trains (built to their own spec) provide at the very least an adequate work environment.
People working in offices get huge amounts spent on the likes of standing desks, highly adjustable monitors and chairs with every bell & whistle imaginable, but as usual if a train driver wants something more than a wooden stool they’re simply militant in their unreasonableness! :|
 

Goldfish62

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GB Railfreight are only driving them for a short testing period. SWR drivers at London depots will spend 30+ hours a week in the cab for the next 20+ years.
I think it’s quite reasonable that the union they pay hundreds of pounds a year to represent them make sure these brand new trains (built to their own spec) provide at the very least an adequate work environment.
People working in offices get huge amounts spent on the likes of standing desks, highly adjustable monitors and chairs with every bell & whistle imaginable, but as usual if a train driver wants something more than a wooden stool they’re simply militant in their unreasonableness! :|
If you think that about your typical office I'm afraid you're sadly mistaken. :D
 

AlexNL

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If you think that about your typical office I'm afraid you're sadly mistaken. :D
Really depends on the employer! I've worked for a company where you could get a standing desk if you requested one, requesting other office stuff was very easy as well.

I once requested a whiteboard so me and a colleague could brainstorm, and within 36 hours a brand new whiteboard got stuck to the wall behind our desks. :D
 

Goldfish62

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Really depends on the employer! I've worked for a company where you could get a standing desk if you requested one, requesting other office stuff was very easy as well.

I once requested a whiteboard so me and a colleague could brainstorm, and within 36 hours a brand new whiteboard got stuck to the wall behind our desks. :D
Yes, it's true that that exists in places, but in general I'd say it's atypical. In some places you're lucky if the table you're working at has more than three legs. :D
 

samuelmorris

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I've worked for companies that represent both ends of that spectrum in a particular sector. The difference is, with private sector jobs you can usually find someone else to work for nearby if you're employer's unpleasant to deal with, there are only so many TOCs and depending on where you're based, only one may be local to you. Staff retention is still somewhat important in the railway industry.
 

Peter Sarf

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Yes, it's true that that exists in places, but in general I'd say it's atypical. In some places you're lucky if the table you're working at has more than three legs. :D
Oh golly... I have only two legs :D.
I've worked for companies that represent both ends of that spectrum in a particular sector. The difference is, with private sector jobs you can usually find someone else to work for nearby if you're employer's unpleasant to deal with, there are only so many TOCs and depending on where you're based, only one may be local to you. Staff retention is still somewhat important in the railway industry.
There seems to be a shortage of drivers at most TOCs and drivers are expensive and time consuming to train with skills like route knowledge that cannot be transferred in from another industry. So it makes sense to keep drivers happy and besides an uncomfortable driver might not be able to concentrate which in a safety critical role is rather important.
 

spark001uk

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5Q10 Derby LL - Eastleigh should be running tomorrow, 47727 + 701xxx.
Not sure the significance of the 5Q, maybe a unit that's already been down, 002 perhaps?
 

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