Networker Project - how far would it have gone?

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LE Greys

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This is a bit of a 'might have been' scenario. From here and other sources, we know that the Networker project was going to go a lot farther than the five classes we ended up with. It's just general curiosity, coming from a post in a previous thread (which I'm too lazy to find). I hope it's in the right section, moderators please feel free to move it if need-be.

The 165s ended up on Chiltern and Thames Valley services, while the 166s were exclusively Thames Valley and Cotswold Line. I've always thought they were hopelessly inadequate as replacements for the 50s and MkIIs that used to work the Cotswold, but that's just an opinion. There was also a Class 167 on order, which eventually turned into the 168s. Would they have been more comfortable and faster? Would they have spread to the Cotswold, releasing stock to replace the Thumpers?

On our line, we ended up with 365s, they were a spin-off from the 465s. Originally, it was going to be a batch of 371s, also intended for Thameslink with the two sectors merging when Thameslink 2000 was complete. Presumably, there would have been enough to replace the 317s on all Great Northern services, thus freeing them up for a cascade somewhere else. Ilford still had a batch of 312s at the time, so that's possible, but LTS seems far more likely, I reckon. The 319s would also have been freed up to go somewhere.

The 465s and 466s were direct replacements for the ageing EPB stock on Kent Link. I don't think they would spread to the other sectors, 455s and 456s were still fairly new. However, the NLL is a possibility, since I reckon they could be fitted for dual-system working.

There was also the 381 'Universal Networker'. This was mostly a CIG/VEP replacement (basically, something like the 377 and 450) but would have been dual-system, giving the option of putting it on the WCML, freeing up the 321s for cascade. Again, Ilford and East Ham seem the most likely places for them to end up (looks like Great Eastern and LTS end up as a retirement-home for old stock).

Finally, there was the 471 'Main Line Networker', a CEP replacement for the Kent Coast. This seems like a direct replacement (like the 375) and would not cause any kind of cascade. I presume they would have complimented the 442s fairly well, but probably would not be as good.

Not forgetting the 341s for Crossrail and the 342s for the CTRL (100 mph commuter EMUs mixing it with Eurostars on a dedicated high-speed line :shock: ). Presumably, that would result in a cascade of 165s and 166s, with the 315s being scrapped. So some nearly-new DMUs to go somewhere.

There also might well be a derivative for Regional Railways, perhaps a 168 with a 165's body and a 471's gangwayed cabs. That sounds like a good idea, the question is where it would have gone.
 
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route:oxford

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There was also a Class 167 on order, which eventually turned into the 168s. Would they have been more comfortable and faster? Would they have spread to the Cotswold, releasing stock to replace the Thumpers?
I could imagine a 110mph 6-car "inter-city" 167 being introduced on XC & Transpennine routs.
 

sprinterguy

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The 165s ended up on Chiltern and Thames Valley services, while the 166s were exclusively Thames Valley and Cotswold Line. I've always thought they were hopelessly inadequate as replacements for the 50s and MkIIs that used to work the Cotswold, but that's just an opinion. There was also a Class 167 on order, which eventually turned into the 168s. Would they have been more comfortable and faster? Would they have spread to the Cotswold, releasing stock to replace the Thumpers?
I can't imagine that the 168s would have been much different if they had been delivered under a nationalised jurisdiction. Given that the Turbostars can trace their lineage back to the Network Turbos.

There was, however a class 171 long distance diesel Networker planned that as far as I know would have been a diesel version of the electric 471, which itself looked similar to a 442 based on the mock-ups that were produced. They were intended for use on the Waterloo to Salisbury & Exeter services to replace the class 50s and mark 2s, but cost cutting meant that that route got cast-off Regional Railways 158s instead that became the 159s.
 

LE Greys

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I can't imagine that the 168s would have been much different if they had been delivered under a nationalised jurisdiction. Given that the Turbostars can trace their lineage back to the Network Turbos.

There was, however a class 171 long distance diesel Networker planned that as far as I know would have been a diesel version of the electric 471, which itself looked similar to a 442 based on the mock-ups that were produced. They were intended for use on the Waterloo to Salisbury & Exeter services to replace the class 50s and mark 2s, but cost cutting meant that that route got cast-off Regional Railways 158s instead that became the 159s.
Interesting. Sounds as if there might have been a possibility for the 159s to head somewhere else later on.
 

HSTEd

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And then there is the "Networker Classic" project, although that apparently appeared after privatisation as far as I can tell it certainly fits in with the Southern Region/NSE ethos of reuse everything so I think it would have happened either way.
 

sprinterguy

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Interesting. Sounds as if there might have been a possibility for the 159s to head somewhere else later on.
If Regional Railways hadn't decided that it had more 158s than it needed after cutting a number of routes from those intended to receive 158s, then it is likely that the 159s never would have come about at all: I think the idea was, although I have no way of knowing, that the 50s and mark 2s would have had to hang on for a couple of years longer (Or the 50s might have been replaced by 47/4s: If it was known that NSE wouldn't be able to barter any 158s from Regional Railways, then there were plenty of "generators" going spare and being withdrawn in 1989/1990 thanks to the Sprinter programme) before 171s were brought in to directly replace them.
 

jopsuk

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if NSE had had the money and authority to keep going with the Networkers, then I'd have thought that RR would have been able to keep going with "Sprinters"- there were still log distance loco hauled routes that the 158s that became 159s could have gone onto.

I'm pretty sure Chris Green would have happily seen every "slammer" replaced with some form of Networker, maximising the benefits of the common design platform. in NSE, I'd reckon the only non-Networker classes that would have ultimately survived would have been the Mark 3 based units (455/456/317/319/322 and possibly 442), as the AC/DV ones would have been too numerous to have found useful homes at Regional Railways/Scotrail and the DC ones not much use elsewhere, but I could envisage that the "PEP" classes may have had shorter lives than they've wound up having (I'm sure a "reduced profile" Networker could have been built to get to Moorgate)
 

NIMBUS

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The 165s ended up on Chiltern and Thames Valley services, while the 166s were exclusively Thames Valley and Cotswold Line. I've always thought they were hopelessly inadequate as replacements for the 50s and MkIIs that used to work the Cotswold, but that's just an opinion. There was also a Class 167 on order, which eventually turned into the 168s. Would they have been more comfortable and faster? Would they have spread to the Cotswold, releasing stock to replace the Thumpers?
Either way (and Wikipedia is wrong to include them), classes 165 and 166 were not part of the Networker project. They preceded it. The first Networker design was class 465, followed by class 365, the Networker Express. This was made crystal clear at the time. The correct term for 165s and 166s is Network Turbo. A minor point but an error that seems to have been compounded over the years by later documenters who, presumably, were in their prams at the time - not that any of this affects the validity of the OPs question.
 

LE Greys

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Either way (and Wikipedia is wrong to include them), classes 165 and 166 were not part of the Networker project. They preceded it. The first Networker design was class 465, followed by class 365, the Networker Express. This was made crystal clear at the time. The correct term for 165s and 166s is Network Turbo. A minor point but an error that seems to have been compounded over the years by later documenters who, presumably, were in their prams at the time - not that any of this affects the validity of the OPs question.
Now that's an interesting point. Similarly, 150s, 317s and 455s look similar, but the technology under the body is very different. I can only presume that that is where the confusion occurred.
 

LE Greys

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if NSE had had the money and authority to keep going with the Networkers, then I'd have thought that RR would have been able to keep going with "Sprinters"- there were still log distance loco hauled routes that the 158s that became 159s could have gone onto.

I'm pretty sure Chris Green would have happily seen every "slammer" replaced with some form of Networker, maximising the benefits of the common design platform. in NSE, I'd reckon the only non-Networker classes that would have ultimately survived would have been the Mark 3 based units (455/456/317/319/322 and possibly 442), as the AC/DV ones would have been too numerous to have found useful homes at Regional Railways/Scotrail and the DC ones not much use elsewhere, but I could envisage that the "PEP" classes may have had shorter lives than they've wound up having (I'm sure a "reduced profile" Networker could have been built to get to Moorgate)
A little bit of extra electrification might well have happened. I can certainly see one class heading up to Yorkshire (probably 321s, they already had some up there) to replace the 308s on the Airedale/Wharfedale routes, plus probably the 322s to replace 304s on the North Berwick branch (which happened anyway). 341s sound like a reasonable 313 replacement, to maintain commonality with Crossrail, something that might happen in the real world with 345s (or so I hope).

I'd be interested to see if Chris Green has ever written a book about his time at NSE.
 

Helvellyn

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A little bit of extra electrification might well have happened. I can certainly see one class heading up to Yorkshire (probably 321s, they already had some up there) to replace the 308s on the Airedale/Wharfedale routes, plus probably the 322s to replace 304s on the North Berwick branch (which happened anyway).
WYPTE wanted to order 323s for the Airedale/Wharfedale electrification, which would have tied in with Regional Railways moving to a common a.c. unit, at least in England. Not sure if the 321/9s would have remained for Leeds-Doncaster, or possibly gone to NSE or ScotRail (North Berwick).

In a world where BR continued in the 1990s, I've often wondered what would have replaced the 303s in use on Strathclyde PTE services.
 
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