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WHL Scenic 158s

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MrJay

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Scenic 158s? Is this a joke? This is the best they could come up with for one of the worlds most scenic lines? STILL no 1st class accommodation or luggage space!

Its a disgrace. The 37s/LCHS should NEVER have been removed from the lines in preparation for privatisation. After 25 almost 30 years of sprinters we get yet more sprinters. Cant we have "scenic" 5 car HSTs with a buffet car, maybe even a scenic Class 68 with some MK3 stock possible even with a DVT at the other end. Consider this Class 68, 4 x Standard Mk3, Mk3 Bar/Buffet, 1 Mk3 First Composite, DVT forth mountains of luggage/Bikes/Golf gear etc people have on these routes.

I cant understand why that given there will be new MK5 coaches built for the sleeper we couldn't have made an order for a fleet of Mk5 scenic coaches designed for the WHL/Far North this surely would have cut costs down instead of procuring a true scenic DMU.

This routes is literally hoaching in the summer with tourists, backpackers, bikers still being stuffed on clapped out old 156s that should never have been used on this line in the first place. Many, many times I have heard all kinds of passengers muttering about the quality of rolling stock in use for such a journey not to mention the locals. I know this is going to hurt all the 156 fans out there but you try traveling regularly for 20 odd years on 3hrs 30min journeys or worse still 5 hrs for Fort William on a 156. Its a horrendous and tedious experience and I for one am sick of it.

Suggestions?
 
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Bletchleyite

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I'm not sure of the problem, really. Some Swiss style new build scenic LHCS would be nice, but if there isn't the money the Class 158 is a very good quality long distance medium speed unit, and if you've ever been on an Inverness based one the layout will be similar to these - decent seats, reasonable spacing, window alignment (the original, remember, has 100% window alignment) etc.

The only modification they could do with making to the original plan is more bike space, really. Allegedly it will be only 2 per unit.

As for 1st, I'm really not sure that it is all that significant for the passenger profile of the line. Though it could I suppose be a money spinner for tourists.
 

43096

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Suggestions?
You take a course in finance...

Given that lines like the West Highland cost vastly more than they earn, getting expensive new stock is just out of the question. A change from 156s to 158s is very definitely an upgrade. In my view the 158s are just about the best DMUs we've ever had, and I'm not the only one with that opinion - Ian Walmsley suggested the same in Modern Railways recently.
 

DarloRich

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Scenic 158s? Is this a joke? This is the best they could come up with for one of the worlds most scenic lines? STILL no 1st class accommodation or luggage space!

Its a disgrace. The 37s/LCHS should NEVER have been removed from the lines in preparation for privatisation. After 25 almost 30 years of sprinters we get yet more sprinters. Cant we have "scenic" 5 car HSTs with a buffet car, maybe even a scenic Class 68 with some MK3 stock possible even with a DVT at the other end. Consider this Class 68, 4 x Standard Mk3, Mk3 Bar/Buffet, 1 Mk3 First Composite, DVT forth mountains of luggage/Bikes/Golf gear etc people have on these routes.

I cant understand why that given there will be new MK5 coaches built for the sleeper we couldn't have made an order for a fleet of Mk5 scenic coaches designed for the WHL/Far North this surely would have cut costs down instead of procuring a true scenic DMU.

This routes is literally hoaching in the summer with tourists, backpackers, bikers still being stuffed on clapped out old 156s that should never have been used on this line in the first place. Many, many times I have heard all kinds of passengers muttering about the quality of rolling stock in use for such a journey not to mention the locals. I know this is going to hurt all the 156 fans out there but you try traveling regularly for 20 odd years on 3hrs 30min journeys or worse still 5 hrs for Fort William on a 156. Its a horrendous and tedious experience and I for one am sick of it.

Suggestions?

buy a car ;)

The 158's Scotrail use on the Kyle line seem really pleasant and they have first class. I will swap you those units for the Northern ones. I would love to say bring back proper trains on these lines but it just wont add up financially. Now if you and the good people of the highlands want to pay extra for them via your council tax that might be an option.
 
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Bletchleyite

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You take a course in finance...

Given that lines like the West Highland cost vastly more than they earn, getting expensive new stock is just out of the question. A change from 156s to 158s is very definitely an upgrade. In my view the 158s are just about the best DMUs we've ever had, and I'm not the only one with that opinion - Ian Walmsley suggested the same in Modern Railways recently.

The Jacobite aside, I have wondered if a premium-fare tourist service like the Bernina Express would pay on one or more of the lines.
 

D1009

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Scenic 158s? Is this a joke? This is the best they could come up with for one of the worlds most scenic lines? STILL no 1st class accommodation or luggage space!

Its a disgrace. The 37s/LCHS should NEVER have been removed from the lines in preparation for privatisation. After 25 almost 30 years of sprinters we get yet more sprinters. Cant we have "scenic" 5 car HSTs with a buffet car, maybe even a scenic Class 68 with some MK3 stock possible even with a DVT at the other end. Consider this Class 68, 4 x Standard Mk3, Mk3 Bar/Buffet, 1 Mk3 First Composite, DVT forth mountains of luggage/Bikes/Golf gear etc people have on these routes.

I cant understand why that given there will be new MK5 coaches built for the sleeper we couldn't have made an order for a fleet of Mk5 scenic coaches designed for the WHL/Far North this surely would have cut costs down instead of procuring a true scenic DMU.

This routes is literally hoaching in the summer with tourists, backpackers, bikers still being stuffed on clapped out old 156s that should never have been used on this line in the first place. Many, many times I have heard all kinds of passengers muttering about the quality of rolling stock in use for such a journey not to mention the locals. I know this is going to hurt all the 156 fans out there but you try traveling regularly for 20 odd years on 3hrs 30min journeys or worse still 5 hrs for Fort William on a 156. Its a horrendous and tedious experience and I for one am sick of it.
Someone else who hasn't got over the end of regular loco hauled operation or privatisation:roll:
 

DarloRich

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Someone else who hasn't got over the end of regular loco hauled operation or privatisation:roll:

I don't actually disagree that a LHCS train would be a more pleasant journey experience. Sadly the costs wont ever add up so either Scotgov agree to fund a loss maker (a la the Gerald) or they use the best stock available.
 

MrJay

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You take a course in finance...

Given that lines like the West Highland cost vastly more than they earn, getting expensive new stock is just out of the question. A change from 156s to 158s is very definitely an upgrade. In my view the 158s are just about the best DMUs we've ever had, and I'm not the only one with that opinion - Ian Walmsley suggested the same in Modern Railways recently.


So its not worth subsiding then as we do with many methods of transport in this country? then lets not forget Cal Macs operating costs which i'm sure far exceed the lines budget? A 158 on the E&G I can handle, on a WHL journey no thanks!

Missing the point on the whole point of a tourist line here I think.
 

Bletchleyite

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I've done some very long distance journeys on 158s, including Inverness to Wick on an Inverness 158, which is a refurbishment of a *very* high standard indeed, similar to that which will be used on the scenic lines.

I still fail to see the problem. Swap you for a Pendolino?
 

MrJay

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buy a car ;)

The 158's Scotrail use on the Kyle line seem really pleasant and they have first class. I will swap you those units for the Northern ones. I would love to say bring back proper trains on these lines but it just wont add up financially. Now if you and the good people of the highlands want to pay extra for them via your council tax that might be an option.

A car? Thanks for suggestion Dr Beeching ;)

I don't live in the Highlands actually but I would gladly pay extra for a bit of comfort on a long journey which is ultimately an Intercity one!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Someone else who hasn't got over the end of regular loco hauled operation or privatisation:roll:

No... more like sick to death of stagnant progress/quality or even declining quality of rail services on the WHL. Whats has changed since 1990? ......Absolutely nothing. :cry:
 

Bletchleyite

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I don't live in the Highlands actually but I would gladly pay extra for a bit of comfort on a long journey which is ultimately an Intercity one!

The Inverness style Class 158 interior is in my view superior to all of the following (in Standard):-

1. The Pendolino
2. The Mk4
3. The GW HST (actually very similar, but 158s ride better than HSTs, and the 158s have almost full window alignment too)
4. The Voyager

Have you actually been on one?

tn_gb-scotrail-class158-refurb-interior.jpg

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
(note on window alignment: it appears the scenic 158s are using a layout very similar to the original, which means it will remain good)
 

MrJay

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The Inverness style Class 158 interior is in my view superior to all of the following (in Standard):-

1. The Pendolino
2. The Mk4
3. The GW HST (actually very similar, but 158s ride better than HSTs, and the 158s have almost full window alignment too)
4. The Voyager

Have you actually been on one?

tn_gb-scotrail-class158-refurb-interior.jpg

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
(note on window alignment: it appears the scenic 158s are using a layout very similar to the original, which means it will remain good)

Honestly Neil no I haven't but are you telling me a 158 is more suitable for 3hrs and above journeys than a Mallard Mk4?

I've seen the coach layouts of the "scenic" 158 Í'm not impressed in the slightest to be honest.
 

Bletchleyite

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Honestly Neil no I haven't but are you telling me a 158 is more suitable for 3hrs and above journeys than a Mallard Mk4?

Yes, absolutely. Mk4s ride like a cart and the seating is awful.

I've seen the coach layouts of the "scenic" 158 Í'm not impressed in the slightest to be honest.

What would impress you? Decent seating near enough[1] fully aligned to the windows. What more would it take?

[1] Because of how priority seating is specified in law it can't be perfect, sadly. I do wish they would change that law based on my observation of typical priority seat users, who often don't *want* more legroom because it makes it difficult to sit down holding the seat back in front.
 

krus_aragon

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Honestly Neil no I haven't but are you telling me a 158 is more suitable for 3hrs and above journeys than a Mallard Mk4?

They are quite suitable for five hour journeys from Birmingham down the Cambrian Coast. That gets pretty scenic too.

The only DMU I'd personally rate above a 158 for long journeys is the 175. (Slightly better soundproofing, more reliable air-con, but no power sockets until their mid-life refurb.)
 

Bletchleyite

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They are quite suitable for five hour journeys from Birmingham down the Cambrian Coast. That gets pretty scenic too.

Indeed. Notably, the ScotRail ones will have a lower seating density - though those are still not bad.

The only DMU I'd personally rate above a 158 for long journeys is the 175. (Slightly better soundproofing, more reliable air-con, but no power sockets until their mid-life refurb.)

Terrible ride, and rattly panels - nowhere near the build quality of the 158 - but in principle not bad.
 

route:oxford

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Honestly Neil no I haven't but are you telling me a 158 is more suitable for 3hrs and above journeys than a Mallard Mk4?

I've seen the coach layouts of the "scenic" 158 Í'm not impressed in the slightest to be honest.

You've never been on one, yet throwing a tantrum and making demands based on perception...

Quite frankly, being up to 3 hours from the nearest depot and rescue loco, I'd much rather be on a reliable DMU with built-in redundancy to provide hotel services and distributed traction to cover for failed engine than an elderly 37 and slam-door Mk2s.

Indeed, I'd happily take a standard Scotrail 158 from Kings Cross to Edinburgh in lieu of a Mk4.

For every tourist willing to pay for First Class service and luxurious hotel, there's at least another 50 booking advance purchase tickets and hotel rooms, or staying in bothies, YHA and tents.
 

MrJay

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Yes, absolutely. Mk4s ride like a cart and the seating is awful.



What would impress you? Decent seating near enough[1] fully aligned to the windows. What more would it take?

[1] Because of how priority seating is specified in law it can't be perfect, sadly. I do wish they would change that law based on my observation of typical priority seat users, who often don't *want* more legroom because it makes it difficult to sit down holding the seat back in front.

Comfortable seating is a must! Proper amounts of luggage space (the number of times I've seen people trying to stow golf clubs in the over head rack is nuts) Buffet area along the lines of the Ex Hull trains 170 ScotRail had a while back but never used. 1st class seats even limited amounts, and yes I know many that will pay for it.

There is a market for such a train even if only run as a limited service. ScotRail are already planning steam excursions. Think of rail tour traffic in the summer, its always popular! Run from Glasgow QS this would be a popular train. Even in the winter months it gives people the opportunity to see the Line in the snow which is just a beautiful as it is in summer.
 

krus_aragon

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Terrible ride, and rattly panels - nowhere near the build quality of the 158 - but in principle not bad.

I can't say I've found 175s panels to be particularly rattly: I find the 158's engine noise to be more intrusive myself. I do sometimes wish the tables were secured to the walls as well as the floor, though. They don't rattle, but they wobble a little bit.
 

MrJay

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You've never been on one, yet throwing a tantrum and making demands based on perception...

Quite frankly, being up to 3 hours from the nearest depot and rescue loco, I'd much rather be on a reliable DMU with built-in redundancy to provide hotel services and distributed traction to cover for failed engine than an elderly 37 and slam-door Mk2s.

Indeed, I'd happily take a standard Scotrail 158 from Kings Cross to Edinburgh in lieu of a Mk4.

For every tourist willing to pay for First Class service and luxurious hotel, there's at least another 50 booking advance purchase tickets and hotel rooms, or staying in bothies, YHA and tents.

Guess you dont travel the line much? Would you be happy after such a long period of stagnation to be greeted with yet another sprinter with "upgraded" seating? We shall see about the reliability on the WHL given the 158s notorious braking issues in cold conditions.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The 180s have a much nicer internal layout and would suit well on the WHL in that regard although do they have enough power for the gradients?
 

Philip Phlopp

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Guess you dont travel the line much? Would you be happy after such a long period of stagnation to be greeted with yet another sprinter with "upgraded" seating? We shall see about the reliability on the WHL given the 158s notorious braking issues in cold conditions.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The 180s have a much nicer internal layout and would suit well on the WHL in that regard although do they have enough power for the gradients?

I would like Class 37s and Mark 2 coaches back too.

It was always enjoyable waiting in sub-zero conditions for a rescue locomotive to arrive, having to scrape the ice of the windows, trying not to let the drafts coming in the stock freeze your feet and legs, avoiding condensation soaking your rucksack, worrying about the lighting flickering on and off, and awaiting the rescue locomotive coming to assist the rescue locomotive which itself has shut down.

The Class 156 was a major step forward, in terms of reliability and flexibility, and the Class 158s will provide another step forward. They've got the best ride of any unit in service today, the P4/T4 bogies are the pinnacle of BREL's ride and track force work, they're reliable (with a bit of effort by ScotRail to get close to SWT's figures, they'll be phenomenal) and with the refurbishment they're getting, they're going to be the best all round diesel unit in service.

Think positive, wait until you've sampled them, and then get back to us.
 

MrJay

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Funny I remember the 158s cough cough 'scuds' being notoriously unreliable. I was even on one or two that had to be rescued by smelly old 37s. I distinctly remember the 156s coming they were hated even back then. ScotRail got so much bad press they brought back the 37s and Mk2s at weekends aka The Young Explorer trains from QS lower level then pulled them before national express took over.

Whats wrong with the Class 68 idea?
 
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sprinterguy

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Refurbished 158s will be, in my opinion, superb long distance rural units on the West Highland line: The Inverness 158s have been ably serving the Kyle and Far North lines in a similar capacity for a decade and a half now.

The 158s prove themselves to be eminently flexible units on a daily basis with Arriva Trains Wales and East Midlands Trains, offering the ability to form a range of different formation lengths and to join and split en route, both of which are important facets of day to day operation on the West Highland line with the current 156s.

158s have air conditioning, excellent ride qualities and good soundproofing within the passenger saloon. They also have good fuel efficiency, are reliable and pretty easy to maintain from a mechanical perspective and a fairly low axle weight, reducing track maintenance costs and avoiding potentially prohibitive speed restrictions en route (as experienced by the class 67s).

The 156s that currently operate the route are dated due to being in largely original condition (barring changes in carpet and seat moquette) and hence are a poor alternative, as well as being slower due to the circuitous route taken by the WHL, to the modern Scottish Citylink buses that ply the route between Glasgow and Fort William, but can still be a very good rural unit.
 
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Bevan Price

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You take a course in finance...

Given that lines like the West Highland cost vastly more than they earn, getting expensive new stock is just out of the question. A change from 156s to 158s is very definitely an upgrade. In my view the 158s are just about the best DMUs we've ever had, and I'm not the only one with that opinion - Ian Walmsley suggested the same in Modern Railways recently.

Seems more like a downgrade to me, since a Scotrail Class 158 has about 25 fewer standard class seats than a Class 156 - a recipe for even worse overcrowding in summer. And you getter better views of scenery out from a Class 156.
 

sprinterguy

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The 180s have a much nicer internal layout and would suit well on the WHL in that regard although do they have enough power for the gradients?
They have 750hp engines, so would have no problems with gradients. They would, however, be hopelessly uneconomic on fuel usage on a rural route and would demand a far higher track access charge due to their heavier axle loadings.

With five carriage trains where would be no possibility of pairs of units running as far as Crianlarich to serve both Oban and Fort William, either: As mentioned above, an important facet of West Highland line operation for the past twenty five years.

Similar limitations (fuel usage, axle weight, track access costs, joining/splitting) would also face five or six carriage loco hauled formations, with the added need to keep an additional loco at Crianlarich to take one portion forward.

I wouldn't say no to a buffet on a three carriage unit, as per the former Hull Trains 170s, though.
 
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cjmillsnun

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So its not worth subsiding then as we do with many methods of transport in this country? then lets not forget Cal Macs operating costs which i'm sure far exceed the lines budget? A 158 on the E&G I can handle, on a WHL journey no thanks!

Missing the point on the whole point of a tourist line here I think.

Do you know how much the Scottish Government is spending on subsidies on the railways? Cal Mac is a necessary service. A LHCS service on a railway line when DMUs are cheaper is not. Like it or lump it the Scottish Government has to balance its books. So make your choice. LHCS or student fees. LHCS or prescription charges. It really is as simple as that.
 

Emblematic

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I'll concur with Mr Phlopp on this one. WHL in the days before Sprinters was pretty grim, seemed to have an air of imminent closure about it. The views were the only plus point. And painfully slow - completely uncompetitive with road, which would also be the case with 68 haulage today - worse if anything. At the moment you have trains that are (relatively) swift, comfortable and reliable, and with good views, for those with journeys to make; and slower excursion trains for tourists. Where's the problem?
 

MrJay

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The line deserves better than what is being planned. Its a big tourist draw not only a rural service. Europe as with everything has us beat in this regard. ScotRail/SCottish government should be looking at what they have in Switzerland. If we're upgrading the sleepers then lets the scenic lines right for a change. Mk5 WHL coaches and Class 68s.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Do you know how much the Scottish Government is spending on subsidies on the railways? Cal Mac is a necessary service. A LHCS service on a railway line when DMUs are cheaper is not. Like it or lump it the Scottish Government has to balance its books. So make your choice. LHCS or student fees. LHCS or prescription charges. It really is as simple as that.

Its a tourist attraction that isnt being used to its true potential. Ill quite happily make the choice ;)
 

cjmillsnun

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Honestly Neil no I haven't but are you telling me a 158 is more suitable for 3hrs and above journeys than a Mallard Mk4?

I've seen the coach layouts of the "scenic" 158 Í'm not impressed in the slightest to be honest.

I've been on a 158 from Portsmouth to Cardiff many times. It's not too bad at all. On a par with a Mk3 LHCS in terms of ride and the engine noise when they get up to speed isn't bad. I'd much prefer that to a Voyager or a Pendo. OK they aren't a patch on the quality of the 442s in their prime but really not much was.
 
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