Wales: facing a looming DMU crisis (esp. on the Valleys)

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gareth950

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So it appears that the Welsh Government STILL has no rolling stock strategy to deal with the fact that by 2020 ALL of the DMU’s currently operating on the Valley lines will become illegal and will have to be withdrawn. The electrification of the Valley lines, the first phase South Wales Metro, if work ever finally gets the go ahead to start, now isn’t due to be completed until 2023 at the earliest, meaning the existing DMU’s in use by ATW WILL need modification work to get them past the 2020 DDA deadline.

It's also quite worrying that the ATW 150’s that have gone away for exterior re-paints and interior refreshes (as part of their C6 overhauls?) have come back with no modifications at all being made to them. As Northern have secured the 150/1s going off lease from GWR, the only stock available to ATW to help them past the 2020 will be the remaining 143s, 144s, and 153s, providing they are made DDA complaint of course.

This is the latest article on the issue:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/three-quarters-ageing-wales-borders-10520645

Three-quarters of ageing Wales and Borders trains will need to be modified by 2020

There are fears that rail passengers face a “looming crisis” because the Welsh Government has rejected advice to develop a rolling stock strategy.

Three-quarters of the ageing Wales and Borders train fleet will need to be taken out of service temporarily for modifications by January 1, 2020.

After that deadline, every passenger train on Britain’s rail network must meet European standards on accessibility – introduced seven years ago – with wheelchair-accessible toilets and features to help visually impaired passengers.

Two years ago (in 2013) Welsh ministers were advised to produce a rolling stock strategy urgently to minimise the cost of modifying trains and the disruption to passengers during the process.

The government says this is a matter for bidders for the next franchise, which is due to take over from Arriva Trains Wales just 14 months before the deadline.

Any hopes that electric trains would replace the old Valley Lines diesel units before the 2020 deadline have probably been dashed by last week’s revelation that electrification from Cardiff to Swansea – ahead of the Valley Lines in the queue – has been deferred to the 2020s.

'Stretched to its limit'

Compressing the modifications work into 14 months would involve taking several trains out of use at the same time, but the fleet of diesel units is already stretched to its limit because it has not been enlarged for eight years – despite major growth in passenger numbers and services.

Options would include buses replacing some rail services for more than a year, shortening certain Valley Lines trains or reducing the frequency of services.

Overcrowding could result, especially given that rail passenger numbers are likely to increase further by 2019.

The Assembly’s business and enterprise committee received evidence in 2013 from companies which own the train fleet and lease it to ATW.

One of them said 73% of the trains would be unable to operate after 2019 without modifications and warned that ATW had no obligation, under its franchise contract, to do any of the work.

“You will not be able to make all of these trains compliant in that 14-month period,” it warned.

The committee advised the government to “develop and publish a rolling stock strategy as a matter of urgency … to ensure pressing decisions on rolling stock compatibility for electrification and accessibility legislation are taken in good time to avoid the increased cost and disruption associated with delay”.

Asked for an update on the subject, a Welsh Government spokesman said: “Ministers have made it clear that the specification of the next franchise will require bidders to meet all applicable legislative requirements.

“It is up to Arriva Trains Wales to appropriately manage capacity requirements for the current franchise.”

Shadow transport minister and Conservative AM William Graham said: “We have long been aware of the need for significant upgrades to the rolling stock in Wales, and to find that very little progress has been made to date is extremely disappointing. Whilst modifications have been underway in England for some time, the Welsh Government has sat on its hands.

'A ticking timebomb'

“The forecasts suggest further growth of around 30% in the number of passengers using the transport network, and we know that it is already buckling under pressure.

"It’s a ticking timebomb and the Welsh Government needs to work proactively to ensure that the Welsh train network has enough rolling stock to head off this looming crisis.”

Rail expert Ian Walmsley, who managed the Valley Lines fleet in the 1980s, said the government should come clean on not meeting the due date.

“The problem is a direct result of the delay in electrification, but if that delay gives time for the Welsh Government to catch on to tram-trains it will be a blessing in disguise,” he said.

Mr Walmsley and others have argued that tram-trains would suit the Valley Lines for several reasons, including cheaper electrification costs and their ability to extend services beyond the existing rail network by using tram tracks in streets.

Also interesting is this document from Porterbrook, (which I can't copy and paste). The last page that sets out the DMU options for the valleys. Unfortunately at the moment it seems that the WG has the 'no contingency plan' option. :|
http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s36168/EBC4-04-15 p.2 Porterbrook submission.pdf

Pretty grim reading and whilst Carwyn Jones is posturing over the M4, I'm amazed that none of the opposiition parties (esp. Plaid) are using the fact of this looming DMU crisis on the valleys as a political issue. Maybe the EU referendum is getting in the way.
 
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aformeruser

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The ePacer (currently with Northern) is permitted to be used after 2019. It doesn't fully meet all the post-2019 requirements but has been given dispensation for minor infringements. Porterbrook could bring all the 143s and 144s up to the same standard - or they could do a cheaper refurbishment which leaves them with no toilets.

Currently being released with no future operator confirmed are:
* 79 x 142s (almost certainly being scrapped)
* 23 x 144s (including 10 x 3 car sets)
* 153s - Northern and GWR are releasing all theirs. LM are set to take on some of them.
* 5 x 156s from Scotrail (10 are being released and 5 are confirmed as going to Northern.)
* 8 x 172s
* 22 x 185s
 

DarloRich

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edit: my post doesn't imply that there is no need for a replacement strategy ( there obviously IS) but simply that the lack of one at this stage it isn't as diabolically terrible as suggested, especially with the promise of electrification.
 

physics34

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are all the thames turbos accounted for when they are replaced by 387s?
 

swt_passenger

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are all the thames turbos accounted for when they are replaced by 387s?

Yes - they are all staying with GWR by being transferred to other parts of their network, Bristol based mainly. GWR then release a proportion of the older stuff they don't need.
 

PHILIPE

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ATW are faced with a DMU availability crisis NOW never mind 2020. ATW Twitter full of daily complaints of severe overcrowding and pictures of passengers standing all down the aisles being posted. 2 Car Sets on the Marches is a particularly problem and a picture is also painted of 2 Car trains being useless on many routes at peak time and if any special events are taking place.
There is the stock answer re DFT allocating units but that there nonre spare in the UK at the moment, but should be the proverbial "jam tomorrow" at some time in the future relying on electrification and cascades.. The present franchise, which expires in 2018, was lat in 2003 on a no growth basis but that has turned out to be a load of cobblers. Passengers are now getting fed up with these stock replies and, rightly, in their opinion, tell the TOC that they deserve better in return for the fares they pay to ATW. These passengers don't understand the no growth forecast and the bean counters who worked on it. Admittedly, ATW are caught in the middle between the DFT and the Welsh Government who have transport reponsibility devolved.
 

Bletchleyite

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ATW generally might benefit from more use of LHCS on the North Wales Coast, releasing DMUs for where LHCS isn't practical.

Couple that (ha!) with D-trains on the Conwy Valley, Valley Lines and other branches, and there'll then be plenty of Sprinter-generation DMUs for the longer-distance stuff.
 

Starmill

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I've always wondered if the Gerald set could continue West, perhaps to Carmarthen, to release part of a 175 diagram for strengthening elsewhere? A third set is probably not beyond the bounds of possibility - if someone will agree to fund it.

Can the 67 work to Milford Haven? Could it work the 1004 Cardiff Central to Milford Haven and 1308 back arriving 1547? Could the 175 usefully achieve something else in 6 hours if so?
 
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61653 HTAFC

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The 144s go off lease from Northern in spring 2019, if one of the first few to be stopped is 012, that could go straight to Wales to release one of the 143s for a similar refurb. If RVEL can be working on 2 at a time they could convert one of the standard Northern units at the same time, which then release 2 more 143s to undergo the refurb. Once all the 144s (and the GWR 143s) are done, that pushes the 142s out and gives a modest increase in capacity.
 

gareth950

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ATW are faced with a DMU availability crisis NOW never mind 2020...................These passengers don't understand the no growth forecast and the bean counters who worked on it. Admittedly, ATW are caught in the middle between the DFT and the Welsh Government who have transport reponsibility devolved.

The Welsh Gov't don't have power over railways devolved to them YET (see the political wringing over the Wales Bill) so they are passing the buck back to Westminster, who are in turn passing the buck back to Cardiff Bay. ATW aren't interested in doing anything as we all know.
By the time the next franchise is organised in 2018, what are the chances of the off-lease 153s being poached by another TOC and a large order for D-trains being confirmed to go elsewhere as well? Vivarail won't want to wait for this farce in Wales to be sorted out before accepting an order.

Neil Williams said:
Couple that (ha!) with D-trains on the Conwy Valley, Valley Lines and other branches, and there'll then be plenty of Sprinter-generation DMUs for the longer-distance stuff.

Even if Wales does get a large D-trains order, they will only be suitable for the core Valleys through Queen St due to the 60mph speed limit surely? That also doesn't address the issue of the large number of 150s that ATW currently rely on almost everywhere across Wales that will need upgrades on mass in 2019 when the new franchisee takes over, who it seems according to the WG will wave a magic wand and sort the mess out!
 
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aformeruser

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That also doesn't address the issue of the large number of 150s that ATW currently rely on almost everywhere across Wales that will need upgrades on mass in 2019 when the new franchisee takes over, who it seems according to the WG will wave a magic wand and sort the mess out!

The ROSCOs will be sorting out post-2019 upgrades like accessible toilets, CIS and new destination displays for all the 150s. One of the Northern 150s got a new accessible toilet while bidding was taking place for the new franchise.

Here's proof as Angel Trains have gone through all the accessibility requirements and idenified what needs to be done to the ATW 150s by 1st Jan 2020:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...016/angel-class-150-compliance-assessment.pdf
 
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PHILIPE

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I've always wondered if the Gerald set could continue West, perhaps to Carmarthen, to release part of a 175 diagram for strengthening elsewhere? A third set is probably not beyond the bounds of possibility - if someone will agree to fund it.

Can the 67 work to Milford Haven? Could it work the 1004 Cardiff Central to Milford Haven and 1308 back arriving 1547? Could the 175 usefully achieve something else in 6 hours if so?

This suggestion re Gerald has been posted on the Forum several times before but is impracticable as the LHCS has to use it's time at Canton for Maintenance or any swapping vehicles in or out.
 

Rich McLean

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I suspect the 22 x 185s will end up with ATW (despite the costs, if they are available, they will have to take them) which will help with matters, and 230s will be used on the valley lines (and possibly HoW if they are cleared). As long as mods start on the 150s before the deadline, they should get a derogation.

If they don't and derogation is not achievable, it will be Bustitutions
 

61653 HTAFC

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Even if Wales does get a large D-trains order, they will only be suitable for the core Valleys through Queen St due to the 60mph speed limit surely? That also doesn't address the issue of the large number of 150s that ATW currently rely on almost everywhere across Wales that will need upgrades on mass in 2019 when the new franchisee takes over, who it seems according to the WG will wave a magic wand and sort the mess out!

Looking at the Valley Lines network, the routes where 230s low speed limit might be an issue are Maesteg (if run via the main line rather than via Rhoose) and Cardiff to Ebbw Vale, along with Gloucester services if these are interworked. If 230s were used on those routes that are suitable then some diagrams might need to be altered to avoid them getting in the way of faster services but I wouldn't have thought that was insurmountable. There should be enough 75mph stock to cover routes such as Maesteg, Ebbw Vale and Swanline.

Much as the new Northern franchise is a far better deal than the previous one, hopefully the next Wales and Borders franchise will also be an improvement.
 

The Ham

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One "problem" is that until other franchises are let then it's not known what DMU's will be available. Unlikely as it is, there could be a surplus of DMU's if lots of franchises opt for new trains (or at least significant numbers of D-trains).

You could find that the SWT franchise ditches its 158's and 159's for a new uniform fleet of 5 coach DMU's suddenly releasing loads of units for other TOC's to use (that's not saying that it is likely, rather something that could be possible that makes the problem of pacers being used post 2019 go away, either directly or indirectly).

It depends on how long the franchises are and how much leasing the existing trains are compared with new trains (new trains have higher leasing costs but lower maintenance requirements and therefore costs, for instance the Desiro Cities have a significantly lower maintenance cost, IIRC by about 1/3, than the original Desiros).
 

Clip

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Will the Vivarail unit production per month be sufficient to meet the needs in Wales, if they also have other orders placed from other TOC?

There are no orders Paul,as you well know but yes its possible as they envisage 75 full trains to be produced but you know that as you have read and been involved in the class 230 thread heavily, with your aversion to them
 

LNW-GW Joint

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This suggestion re Gerald has been posted on the Forum several times before but is impracticable as the LHCS has to use it's time at Canton for Maintenance or any swapping vehicles in or out.

Monday's Manchester LHCS turned up as 2x150, so the barrel is well and truly being scraped already.
Plus the shortage of 175s.
 

158722

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One "problem" is that until other franchises are let then it's not known what DMU's will be available. Unlikely as it is, there could be a surplus of DMU's if lots of franchises opt for new trains (or at least significant numbers of D-trains).

You could find that the SWT franchise ditches its 158's and 159's for a new uniform fleet of 5 coach DMU's suddenly releasing loads of units for other TOC's to use (that's not saying that it is likely, rather something that could be possible that makes the problem of pacers being used post 2019 go away, either directly or indirectly).

It depends on how long the franchises are and how much leasing the existing trains are compared with new trains (new trains have higher leasing costs but lower maintenance requirements and therefore costs, for instance the Desiro Cities have a significantly lower maintenance cost, IIRC by about 1/3, than the original Desiros).

That is only true up to a certain point - as Jcollins posted, there is already quite a bit of DMU stock expected to become available under currently known plans.

* 8 x 143s from GWR
* 23 x 144s (including 10 x 3 car sets)
* 22x 153s from Northern and GWR - excluding what is expected to move to LM (9) and EMT (1).
* 5 x 156s from ScotRail
* 8 x 172s from LOROL
* 22 x 185s

You are quite right with other upcoming franchise renewals - one being Anglia, which would be the obvious destination for the ScotRail 156s freeing up their 5 153s or could we see a surprise with new units to see off all the 153s and 156s? SWT and LM are others which could (or not!) spring a few surprises, as could the West Coast - 221s displaced by IEPs or Pendos could set off any number of cascades.

As regards Wales though, that list of 143s, 144s and 153s is more than enough to give a significant boost to capacity in the short term up to 2020 - perhaps longer if they all get some level of PRM treatment as a stop-gap prior to electrification. Whether that would be politically acceptable is however another matter! I'd suggest only the 185s would satisfy that latter criteria, but they alone might not be enough to see off the 15 ATW 142s and give the capacity boost that is neccessary.
 

gareth950

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The ROSCOs will be sorting out post-2019 upgrades like accessible toilets, CIS and new destination displays for all the 150s. One of the Northern 150s got a new accessible toilet while bidding was taking place for the new franchise.

Here's proof as Angel Trains have gone through all the accessibility requirements and idenified what needs to be done to the ATW 150s by 1st Jan 2020:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploa...016/angel-class-150-compliance-assessment.pdf

If that's the case then why have the ATW 150s that have been away for their exterior re-paints and interior overhauls, which has included new seats and seat covers, flooring, panelling, hand rails and a very deep clean, including in the toilets, been coming back with no PRM mods at all to them? The refreshed 150s do look 'like new', yet no PRM work has been done.

The original article that I posted seemed to suggest that it was the responsibility of either ATW or the Welsh Govt to organise with the leasing companies to get PRM work done (or more to the point, to organise who will pay for the work), and as the WG is saying that "that is a matter for ATW or the next franchise holder in 2018", no agreement has currently been reached. So no work will take place before 2018, leading to the crisis in 2019 when the new franchise suddenly has just over 12 months to get most of it's fleet upgraded.
 

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Are LHCs cleared for West Wales? Using those between Carmarthen and Pembroke would free up a 153 or two.
 

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* 8 x 143s from GWR
* 23 x 144s (including 10 x 3 car sets)
* 22x 153s from Northern and GWR - excluding what is expected to move to LM (9) and EMT (1).
* 5 x 156s from ScotRail
* 8 x 172s from LOROL
* 22 x 185s

I suppose the 185s, if doubled up, might do well for long-distance services on the North Wales Coast, thus allowing a cascade of other types to other services?
 

Class 170101

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Are LHCs cleared for West Wales? Using those between Carmarthen and Pembroke would free up a 153 or two.

HSTs are.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I suppose the 185s, if doubled up, might do well for long-distance services on the North Wales Coast, thus allowing a cascade of other types to other services?

North Wales Coast seems a good use for these trains but would consequential displacement of 175s lead to any improvements in the Welsh Valleys? I can't see either 175s or 185s being suitable for the metro services around Cardiff.

185s would be to heavy in the valleys anyway and NR would probably slap heavy speed restrictions upon them to prevent their viable use.
 

158722

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I suppose the 185s, if doubled up, might do well for long-distance services on the North Wales Coast, thus allowing a cascade of other types to other services?

185s, remaining based in Manchester, covering principal services from there to Holyhead and Cardiff, plus Holyhead to Cardiff, alongside 175s would seem logical. Some 2-car 175s used to displace 150s and 153s from North Wales with the 150s heading to the Valleys and no longer seen on any long distance services, for which they are not suited. 175s on the Bidstons might seem a bit of a waste, but it would keep the Chester-based 175s up north and eliminate the need to have some north-south services with 150s in order to get them up there. 175s replacing 158s on the Brum-Holyheads would allow for more capacity on the Cambrian and perhaps 158s on the Central Wales line, which would be covered by these Mach/Shrewsbury based units as opposed to the current CF 150/153s.
 

Bletchleyite

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North Wales Coast seems a good use for these trains but would consequential displacement of 175s lead to any improvements in the Welsh Valleys? I can't see either 175s or 185s being suitable for the metro services around Cardiff.

No, but could you do something like the following:

185s doubled up on all North Wales Coast services, perhaps with one engine permanently removed as it's not that hilly. This would provide more than adequate capacity compared with the too-small 2s and 3s in use at present.

This would release 175s and 158s.

175s to be used, in 3 and 4-car formations, on other Welsh express services except the Cambrian Coast where 158s would have to remain, but could be beefed up by a couple more to allow all services to be 6-car (2 to Pwllheli, 4 to Aber, or even reform them into 3s and send 3 each way which would avoid the need to fit any new ETCS installations - or permanently coupled 4s with the ETCS-fitted coaches outwards) which should again beef up capacity to reasonable levels.

Remaining 175s and 158s to Northern in exchange for 150s.

150s to the Valleys.
 
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PHILIPE

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Are LHCs cleared for West Wales? Using those between Carmarthen and Pembroke would free up a 153 or two.

LHCS were working in West Wales long into the last century. 153s no longer work the Pembroke Docks except in case of short notice substitution due to factors such as failures. They are worked by 150s and a Pacer has a job on a Saturday. 158s and 175s have odd workings but 150s are the normal diet.
 

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I know this is a long shot, but let's say that the 22 class 185's join the class 175's doing the express services in Wales replacing the class 158's. Could the class 150's/143's etc... be replaced by adding extra trains to the new CAF built DMU's being built for Northern?
 
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