Why do Chiltern and Southern have 4 car 170s and XC et al do not?

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Bayum

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Surely it would make sense to have a longer 170 variant, even on some of the routes the turbos first started on? I know ‘hindsight’ is a big thing but was there any reason other than cost that they weren’t ordered?
 
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JonathanH

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Surely it would make sense to have a longer 170 variant, even on some of the routes the turbos first started on? I know ‘hindsight’ is a big thing but was there any reason other than cost that they weren’t ordered?
They were initially ordered 20 years ago.

The orders reflected what the operators thought would be needed at the time which was 2-car and 3-car units.

It should be noted that Chiltern extended many of their 168 units as demand grew.
 
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PHILIPE

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Surely it would make sense to have a longer 170 variant, even on some of the routes the turbos first started on? I know ‘hindsight’ is a big thing but was there any reason other than cost that they weren’t ordered?


Chiltern haven't got any 170s but what they have got is 9 x 2 Car 168/3 which were modified and re-classified from 170s on transfer from Trans Pennine Express approx 4 years ago. They have also a fleet of 4 Car 168s though. Those with Southern are classified as 171 and not 170s
 
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Bevan Price

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They were initially ordered 20 years ago.

The orders reflected what the operators thought would be needed at the time which was 2-car and 3-car units.
Or what DfT (and hence the treasury) told them how many they could get. (In the same way that TPE got fewer 185s than it wanted.) ???
 

JonathanH

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Or what DfT (and hence the treasury) told them how many they could get. (In the same way that TPE got fewer 185s than it wanted.) ???
Most of the 170s were ordered even before the days of the Strategic Rail Authority, well before the 185 episode (which I acknowledge is reported to have been DfT meddling).
 

DanNCL

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Surely it would make sense to have a longer 170 variant, even on some of the routes the turbos first started on? I know ‘hindsight’ is a big thing but was there any reason other than cost that they weren’t ordered?
I think it was a mix of cost, expected demand at the time they were ordered, lack of planning for future demand increases (a common issue with new stock orders in the first decade of franchising) and possibly platform lengths at stations in the Midlands and the North (was selective door opening in widespread use back then?)

Chiltern haven't got any 170s but what they have got is 9 x 2 Car 168/3 which were modified and re-classified from 170s on transfer from Trans Pennine Express approx 4 years ago. They have also a fleet of 4 Car 168s though. Those with Southern are classified as 171 and not 170s
This is a bit pedantic. The only difference between 168s (apart from the 5 168/0s), 170s and 171s are the couplers, everything else on them is the same. Referring to them as 170 variants is equivalent to referring to classes 801/802/803 as 800 variants which nobody objects to.
 

PHILIPE

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This is a bit pedantic. The only difference between 168s (apart from the 5 168/0s), 170s and 171s are the couplers, everything else on them is the same. Referring to them as 170 variants is equivalent to referring to classes 801/802/803 as 800 variants which nobody objects to.
Hardly pedantic when I'm trying to explain in detail although it might come across like that perhaps.
 

TT-ONR-NRN

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Hardly pedantic when I'm trying to explain in detail although it might come across like that perhaps.
It does, a little :) The point is that while Chiltern and Southern have a fairly good size fleet of four-carriage turbostars, the other operators, etc, have two and three carriage trains despite operating very busy routes.
 

JonathanH

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It should be noted that a lot of 170s did represent a growth build relative to what went before. You can hardly blame the operators for not specifying 4-car units which would have been useful in the 2020s when ordering them in the early 2000s.

The Midland Mainline 170s (initially 17 2-car units) were for a brand new service - when these proved insufficient for demand, 10 extra centre cars were built
The Anglia 170s (8 3-car units) were for extra through services (although some were subsequently away from the mainline when they weren't sufficient)
The Anglia 170/2s were 2-car units for a brand new Norwich to Cambridge service.
The SWT 170s (8 2-car units) were for additional services on the Waterloo to Salisbury route and Reading to Brighton
The Scotrail 170s (initially 24 3-car units, but later 31 further 3-car units) replaced 2-car 158s, with more units built later, displacing 2-car 150s and 156s.
The Central Trains 170s (23 2-car and 10 3-car units) were part of an uplift in services which enabled 3-car 158s and strengthening of services in Birmingham
Hull Trains later got its own fleet of 4 3-car units.
 

Mugby

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Presumably, production of Class 170 type vehicles ended some time ago and it's no longer possible to order any extra cars?
 

JonathanH

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Presumably, production of Class 170 type vehicles ended some time ago and it's no longer possible to order any extra cars?
It does seem unlikely as the payback period on putting brand new coaches into 20 year old stock doesn't work. What has happened instead is that 170s have been cascaded to lesser work, replaced by new trains - eg Scotland to Northern and West Midlands to the East Midlands. The sticking point is Cross Country where they are still used on services that need more capacity.

However, XC managed to get six coaches to extend 170s from 2-car to 3-car and can double up some of the the remaining 2-cars (although low availability appears to be preventing this). It really is a case of trying to best allocate what there is.
 
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JonathanH

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Chiltern were/are going to re-jig them into 3 car sets last I heard.
That story has been around for ages and it hasn't happened. Surely a mix of 2-, 3- and 4-car units is more flexible given a lot of the 2-cars run about in pairs and they have 10 4-cars?
 

Mollman

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It should be remembered that XC didn't order the 170s they were a mixture of Central Trains and ex-Midland Mainline units. With the 2007 major re-jig of franchises which saw XC take on former Central Trains Cardiff / Birmingham - Nottingham and Birmingham - Leicester / Stansted services which had been operated by a mix of 150s, 156s, 158s and 170s; all ex-Midland Mainline 170s were allocated the XC along with some of the Central Trains units, the rest going the London Midland. 170s had also appeared on Central Trains routes that were allocated to EMT but they only received sprinters.

'No Growth' was the phrase for 2007 franchises with XC taking on spare HSTs to provide extra capacity on NE-SW routes, in an ideal world London Midland should have ordered more 172s for the West Midlands freeing up more 170s for XC but that didn't happen. Extra cars for XC wouldn't have been possible as the 170 production had finished in 2006.

Southern's 171s are a mixture of 2 and 4 car with the latter used on services into London Bridge replacing 3 and 4 car Thumpers. Chiltern 168s have grown over time with some orders including extra centre cars but Chiltern as a franchise is quite different to the rest.
 

BRblue33

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Southern 171's 4 car set's now run on the Ashford/Eastbourne . since covid 2 car set's now used on the Uckfield/London bridge with the odd 4 car set.
 

Mikey C

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It should be noted that a lot of 170s did represent a growth build relative to what went before. You can hardly blame the operators for not specifying 4-car units which would have been useful in the 2020s when ordering them in the early 2000s.

The Midland Mainline 170s (initially 17 2-car units) were for a brand new service - when these proved insufficient for demand, 10 extra centre cars were built
The Anglia 170s (8 3-car units) were for extra through services (although some were subsequently away from the mainline when they weren't sufficient)
The Anglia 170/2s were 2-car units for a brand new Norwich to Cambridge service.
The SWT 170s (8 2-car units) were for additional services on the Waterloo to Salisbury route and Reading to Brighton
The Scotrail 170s (initially 24 3-car units, but later 31 further 3-car units) replaced 2-car 158s, with more units built later, displacing 2-car 150s and 156s.
The Central Trains 170s (23 2-car and 10 3-car units) were part of an uplift in services which enabled 3-car 158s and strengthening of services in Birmingham
Hull Trains later got its own fleet of 4 3-car units.
The Chiltern ones too. During most of the 90s, the 165s were the only stock they had
 

paul1609

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Southern 171's 4 car set's now run on the Ashford/Eastbourne . since covid 2 car set's now used on the Uckfield/London bridge with the odd 4 car set.
Because of the sequence of platform lengths on marshlink a 4 car unit has to be 1 x 4 car rather than 2 x 2 car. The conductor needs to be in coach 3 at some stations to close the doors and coach 1 at the next station to open them.
 
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