Northern 323s refurbishment and cascade

6026KingJohn

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Sorry if bit off topic but from what I last seen believe from December they will route the Crewe to Birmingham round the Darlaston way but call at Tame Bridge Parkway before the new stations open by 2022. Would make sense the 323s being kept for the local services between Wolverhampton, Walsall and New Street. Would save the messy arrangement currently whereby we have LNWR units operating West Midlands Railway services.
Technically, Birmingham - Crewe via Stoke, and Birmingham - Rugeley are West Midlands services. Perhaps the 323s could be used on those? Maybe nine units are not enough though.
 
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ForTheLoveOf

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365s?
Similar performance and interior layout to a 323, already fitted with air cooling, and stuck off lease at Crewe so probably available to lease pretty cheaply
Only one problem - training up the crew. Doable, sure, but adding on more to a 'known quantity' class (e.g. the 350/2s that are going off lease) is going to be much more attractive especially given the massive disruption that has been caused by introducing new fleets elsewhere.
 

py_megapixel

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Only one problem - training up the crew. Doable, sure, but adding on more to a 'known quantity' class (e.g. the 350/2s that are going off lease) is going to be much more attractive especially given the massive disruption that has been caused by introducing new fleets elsewhere.
I heard Porterbrook wanted to hike the lease costs on the 350/2s which is why it was decided to replace them.
 

43096

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I heard Porterbrook wanted to hike the lease costs on the 350/2s which is why it was decided to replace them.
That sounds like a story about the original 350/2 lease that got mangled. I’m not even convinced the original story is true, given that the 172s were bought at the same time, by the same ROSCO and they are not being replaced.
 

py_megapixel

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That sounds like a story about the original 350/2 lease that got mangled. I’m not even convinced the original story is true, given that the 172s were bought at the same time, by the same ROSCO and they are not being replaced.
I really don't know... but it doesn't make sense to me that WMT would choose to get rid 37 of 87 of some of the most reliable EMUs in the country, and even if that can be explained it makes even less sense that the choice to replace the subfleet which happens owned by a different ROSCO would be a complete coincidence.

One possible solution (and this is speculation!!!) is that Porterbrook thought they could persuade either SWR or TPE to lease them at a higher cost than London Midland were before and order fewer new-build trains, in a similar way to the stunt they tried to pull with the 323s a few years ago. However the 172s would be less attractive because the only other operator of them is Chiltern, and they weren't/aren't looking to expand their fleet. If this is the case then maybe they'll come whimpering back to WMT and offer them back...
 

bramling

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I agree. They've gained a reputation for being simple, no-nonsense units which are very well suited to the routes they serve and by EMU standards they're a long way from life-expired. I hear they're also quite well-liked by traincrews.
They also have a benefit in having a very high searing capacity for a 3-car unit, which is useful for the routes they work.

I’d agree with the general view that these units will very likely be around for a long while.
 

mcnw35282

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I apologise if this has been answered before...but are the 323s not cleared for use on the St Helens Central branch? Might be confused...but I’m sure I read about them being tested for use on this route?
 

_toommm_

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Are they cleared to Blackpool? I’ve always maintained they have no booked work to or from there, but there’s been other posters who say they do.
 

py_megapixel

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Are they cleared to Blackpool? I’ve always maintained they have no booked work to or from there, but there’s been other posters who say they do.
I have definitely seen then on Hazel Grove services; they may not be booked for it but they do occasionally make it onto the diagrams.
 

Bow Fell

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They may be cleared but there is no booked work and they definitely haven’t made unplanned appearances.

They may have been on Man Picc-Hazel Grove services, but zero chance of them going to Blackpool or Preston via Chorley only Piccadilly and Liverpool sign 323’s (for now) and only Piccadilly Drivers (not guards) sign Preston-Hazel Grove in its entirety + 323’s. Liverpool only sign the Preston-Blackpool + 323 combo section.
 

_toommm_

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[/QUOTE]
I have definitely seen then on Hazel Grove services; they may not be booked for it but they do occasionally make it onto the diagrams.
They may be cleared but there is no booked work and they definitely haven’t made unplanned appearances.

They may have been on Man Picc-Hazel Grove services, but zero chance of them going to Blackpool or Preston via Chorley only Piccadilly and Liverpool sign 323’s (for now) and only Piccadilly Drivers (not guards) sign Preston-Hazel Grove in its entirety + 323’s. Liverpool only sign the Preston-Blackpool + 323 combo section.

Thank you guys, I thought as much,
 

Jamesrob637

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Are the 323s still doing all Stoke work, or have 331s started getting a stab at it too?
A Saturday Manchester to Stoke has been 6-car according to Journey Check so unless 323s can go in multiple I'd say that's been a pair of 331s: possibly off a Blackpool turn.
 

BigGB

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A Saturday Manchester to Stoke has been 6-car according to Journey Check so unless 323s can go in multiple I'd say that's been a pair of 331s: possibly off a Blackpool turn.
Ahh, the most hated headcode at my depot - 2K14! It's a double set 323 believe it or not, they can indeed work in multiple.
 

py_megapixel

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Ahh, the most hated headcode at my depot - 2K14! It's a double set 323 believe it or not, they can indeed work in multiple.
Of course 323s go multiple (otherwise London Midland were doing something miraculous for the entire length of their franchise) but surely 6-car without SDO causes issues terminating at Stoke, as well as possibly some other platforms along the route?
 

BigGB

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Of course 323s go multiple (otherwise London Midland were doing something miraculous for the entire length of their franchise) but surely 6-car without SDO causes issues terminating at Stoke, as well as possibly some other platforms along the route?
Why would it cause issues terminating at Stoke? Platforms 1 and 2 are plenty long enough to accommodate a 6-car 323. Only (potential) issue is Kidsgrove, due to the mid-platform signal however if its showing a proceed aspect the driver pulls to the end of the platform to fully accommodate the train.

Even if it were a 6-car 331 with ASDO it couldn't terminate in the bay, as the guard having to travel in the rear set wouldn't have a local door on the platform.
 

Jamesrob637

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Of course 323s go multiple (otherwise London Midland were doing something miraculous for the entire length of their franchise) but surely 6-car without SDO causes issues terminating at Stoke, as well as possibly some other platforms along the route?
Aye I meant Northern ones. Not sure if LM have something in place that NT don't but BigGB has clarified the situation. Welcome to the forum BigGB, by the way.
 

py_megapixel

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Why would it cause issues terminating at Stoke? Platforms 1 and 2 are plenty long enough to accommodate a 6-car 323. Only (potential) issue is Kidsgrove, due to the mid-platform signal however if its showing a proceed aspect the driver pulls to the end of the platform to fully accommodate the train.

Even if it were a 6-car 331 with ASDO it couldn't terminate in the bay, as the guard having to travel in the rear set wouldn't have a local door on the platform.
I was under the impression that the timetabling of long-distance services prohibited terminating the stopper other than in the bay.
 

jonnyfan

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I was under the impression that the timetabling of long-distance services prohibited terminating the stopper other than in the bay.
During the day it would cause problems, but currently the only 6-car Northern formations to Stoke are the last of the evening 2K14 service (Saturdays only) which then runs empty back towards Manchester, and also a service first thing which starts at Stoke and heads on to Blackpool North (a 6 car 331)
 

Mordac

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A Saturday Manchester to Stoke has been 6-car according to Journey Check so unless 323s can go in multiple I'd say that's been a pair of 331s: possibly off a Blackpool turn.
They can and do - here in Brum pretty much all services have been six car sets since lockdown.
 

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