- 30 Oct 2017
No. GWR had to take on the IET fleet as specified by H.M UK Government. The original plan seemed to be to keep on some HST's for the Penzance route, but then GWR procured the Class 802's. If GWR had really thought they needed offloading - why did GWR then spend millions converting a few sets into the 4-car 'Castle' sets.Maybe Great Western knew the right time to offload them?...
And at the moment - it appears the Castle sets are settling in quite well and delivering better reliability than the last days of GWR's HST fleet. They appear to be receiving the same treatment as Scotrail's refurbished units except for the interiors. Unless someone knows something that I haven't seen in the public domain, mechanically the Scotrail and GWR Castle power cars are identical. So there has to be another reason as to why availability is lower than GWR 'castle' and referred sets.
All the drivers I have spoken to claim to be mechanically sympathetic to these machines and keep reminding me they are 50 years old and need to be driven gently. What is more, the schedules don't currently demand hard running and can be easily substituted for a 158 - which has nowhere near the same performance! People talk about LNER power cars having so much more money and maintenance thrown at them, but people forget that East Midlands trains with the older VP185 engines and no cab or electronics rewiring were also achieving some great respectable reliability figures - if I am not mistaken ..more than Scotrail and GWR added together.....or the newly trained up HST drivers are a bit rough on them, or drive them by the book as if they were new?