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ROGER CARVELL'S

EAST COAST MAIN LINE NEWS

 October/November/December 2019.

The East Coast Main Line (ECML) is a 393-mile long (632 km) major railway link between London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster,
Wakefield, Leeds,York, Darlington and Newcastle, electrified along the whole route. Services north of Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness use diesel trains.
 The main franchise on the line is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

The route forms a key artery on the eastern side of Great Britain and is broadly paralleled by the A1Trunk Road. It links London, the South East and
 East Anglia, with Yorkshire, the North East Regions and Scotland. It also carries key commuter flows for the north side of London.

 It is important to the economic health of several areas of England and Scotland.

 It also handles cross-country, commuter and local passenger services, and carries heavy tonnages of freight traffic.

 Roger Carvell is a rail enthusiast who contributes much of the local content to this website. He now lives in Biggleswade, near the ECML, but 
on this page he reports on news and movements on this historic line, close to his home and heart.

*ALL PHOTOS ARE BY ROGER CARVELL UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

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COMPILED AND EDITED BY GEOFF POOLE.
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December 5th 2019.

 I bet Greater Anglia would like its older dmus back!
 Look East has just shown the cancellations list for today - a very long list, the company admitting ‘defects’ with its old and new stock.
 Oh dear, lots of people late for work and missed appointments.



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December 3rd 2019.


MAJOR DISRUPTION: Delays at York


National Rail announced yesterday that some of the electric wires in the York area had been damaged and was causing significant disruption for passengers passing through the station.

Passengers were warned that train services may be cancelled, delayed by up to 70 minutes or revised because of this damage, causing delays throughout the country.


Here is the latest travel advice from the rail operators:

CrossCountry

CrossCountry passengers may use their tickets on the following train services:

Northern on any reasonable route
LNER on any reasonable route
Virgin Trains services between Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Central and Edinburgh
Transpennine Express between Leeds and Edinburgh
East Midlands Railway on any reasonable route.

LNER
LNER passengers may use their tickets on the following train services:

CrossCountry between Leeds / York and Wakefield
Northern between Leeds / Doncaster and Sheffield
TransPennine Express between Leeds and York
Virgin Trains between London Euston and Scotland
East Midlands Railways between London St Pancras and Sheffield with a change for Doncaster

CREDIT : RAIL ADVENT.




UPDATE BY ROGER CARVELL

 I now hear that a cable broke first and the 91 ran into it, pulling it all down. An Arriva Cross Country Voyager also ran into the damage and
 got damaged itself - now dumped in the middle repair road at York station awaiting a gang of fitters.

 The 91 and its train were dragged up to London by the blue Arriva Wales 67002.

 Just another day on the ECML!



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December 2nd 2019.

Below is 6233 Duchess of Sutherland!
Train ‘1Z41’ York to Ealing Broadway return charter calls at Stevenage to set down passengers.
 The train was delayed coming up but no time could be booked against 6233. She, as always, has steam to spare.
 A magnificent, powerful locomotive. Saturday, November 30 2019.









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November 28th 2019.


WEST COAST TRAIN SERVICES TO BE REBRANDED WITH AVANTI LOGO.



Virgin Trains’ new operators to rename service ‘ready and fit for the future’ Avanti.






The trains, the staff and the entire management team may be staying the same, but passengers on intercity west coast mainline services will next month no longer be boarding a
 Virgin train but riding on a rebranded, “ready and fit for the future”, Avanti.

The name Avanti, according to new operators FirstGroup and Trenitalia, “embodies progress and forward movement”, and is Italian for “forward” and “let’s go”.

Avanti is already a popular company name in the UK, for firms including tax accountants, numerous Italian restaurants, a hazardous waste collection
 business and a purveyor of urinal floor mats and jumbo toilet rolls.

Avanti West Coast will also have a new logo: an orange triangle. According to the train operators, the triangle was designed by an independent creative team of more than
 100 people working in two locations: an old pickle factory in London and a theatre in Amsterdam.

The triangle, First Trenitalia said, symbolised how their train service will bring communities across England, north Wales and Scotland closer together.

The trains will be painted green and white. The tilting Pendolino trains will be refurbished and and older Voyager models phased out from 2022 to be replaced by a new fleet.

First Trenitalia said there would also be 263 more trains a week, as well as new stops along the 400-mile route that takes in major cities including
 London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Steve Montgomery, the managing director of FirstGroup’s overall rail division, said the rebranding marked the start of “a new era in
 high-speed rail services – one that will generate national prosperity and pride”.

• This article was amended on 28 November 2019 because an earlier version said that Pendolino trains were going to be phased out from 2022.
 In fact it is older Voyager models that will be phased out. This has been corrected.

Gwyn Topham - The Guardian November 27th 2019




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November 27th 2019.

 First Azuma run from Aberdeen to King’s Cross yesterday (26/11/19). Crossing the mighty Forth Bridge.
 Via LNER Twitter.








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November 25th 2019.

Ex-Greater Anglia Class 170s move to TfW from Norwich where they have been popular dmus for many years.

 Certainly had good, comfortable rides in them from Cambridge to Norwich.



 Transfer of their Class 170 dmu fleet to TfW from Norwich.

01/09/19 - 170 201
11/09/19 - 170 270
23/09/19 - 170 272
05/11/19 - 170 273
11/11/19 - 170 202 and ‘204
14/11/19 - 170 206
18/11/19 - 170 201 and ‘208.

That is the chronology of their transfer westwards from East Anglia to Wales.
 They are some of the best dmus on the system, comfortable seats and have less of a ‘tube’


Here's a pic of a Greater Anglia Class 170 arriving at Cambridge from Norwich.
 Dated 12/01/2019 effect like the interiors of the Class 175.
Info from ‘Anglia Gen’






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November 24th 2019.

 At Peterborough last night (23/11/2019). DCR’s newly-commissioned 60046 ‘William Wilberforce’ came down from Angerstein Wharf (south London) with a
load of London spoil for Scunthorpe.

 Here he is at Peterborough, changing drivers. Hard to believe but this loco had been stored for ten years until sale by DB and overhaul.








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November 23rd 2019.





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November 20th 2019.


61306 did turn up on Sunday!
This was ‘1Z71’ Ealing Broadway to York steam charter.
Here is 61306 ‘Mayflower’ approaching Biggleswade on the outward run, a rather quiet approach but just after he passed me the safety valves blew! Made me jump.
WCRC 47804 was on the rear to assist and bring back the train to London in the evening.
61306 stayed overnight at York NRM and came back during the day from York to Southall, via Lincoln, its BSK coach in tow.



Approaching Biggleswade - fast line! Well, it was Sunday when things are quieter. Ealing Broadway to York charter, with 47804 on
 rear to help and later bring the charter back. Sunday Nov 17th 2019.










In bright sunshine 61306 arrives at Peterborough on Monday 18th 2019, for a pre-arranged water stop by the station car park.






A group of well-wishers soon gathered and some managed to cab 61306.







Taking water.









Soon, the loco got the peg, the water tanker drove off, and ‘Mayflower’ was on her way again up to west London.

61306 below at Peterborough, departing for Southall via ECML and North London Line. Nov 18th 2019.







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November 17th 2019.

Yesterday I went out to record the first Hull Trains Class 800 bi-mode delivery run.
 Here is 802301 in base First Group Hull Trains livery heading down to Doncaster from Eastleigh Works.
 Hull Trains will call them ‘Paragons’ after Hull’s big terminus.
I wish a spot of yellow paint at the front was added - the black and blue looks sombre.








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November 14th 2019.


SERIOUS SHUNT ACCIDENT LAST NIGHT.



43300 at Neville Hill after the collision described below.



There was a serious train ‘shunt’ at Neville Hill depot in Leeds last night. An LNER HST rammed a brand new Azuma at the back.
 Happily no injuries, but the entire Azuma had jacknifed off the track, at the entry to the depot.

 I Suspect the two trains were under permissive block working, which at night, calls for extra vigilance. The Azuma must have stopped ahead without
 the hst driver noticing it in time.

Permissive block is used if, with permission, a train needs to follow a preceding one, following a signal failure or loss of contact with next signaller along the route;
 either to push, couple up or assist in a preceding train in emergency.
In these cases, signals can be passed at danger with full authority of the signaller but the train, on public lines, must not exceed 20mph and be able to stop on time.
It is used widely in the USA but less so in Europe.
Even in permissive block in an access road to a depot the following train cannot pass a shunt or calling on signal at danger until the signal clears.


The orange hard hats must have been all over it today. That means LNER has ‘lost’ two hst power cars in three weeks!




 43300 ‘Craigentinny 100’ (the culprit) seen in ECML action last year. Won’t be running again, sadly.




43300 has severe damage to the lower nose. The cab fitment is made of fibreglass and a stock of spares was held.
  Luckily the upper half of the moulding didn’t deform and the driver’s window held in place.
 No injuries happily. As the LNER HST fleet is being stood down shortly, there will be doubt if 43300 is to be worthwhile in repairing.



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RAIL ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION  BRANCH - INITIAL FINDINGS.


The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its initial findings after the LNER Azuma crash, detailed above, into an LNER HST in Leeds.

At about 21:40 on Wednesday 13 November 2019, an empty passenger train, a Class 800 Azuma, which was approaching the depot at Neville Hill in Leeds, caught up
 and collided with the rear of another empty passenger train, a Class 43 HST, moving into the depot on the same track.

The low-speed movement of trains close together is permitted by the signalling system at this location.

The leading train was travelling at around 5 mph and the colliding train at around 14 mph. No one was injured in the accident.

The colliding train was a 9-coach class 800 train. Its leading end suffered significant damage during the collision.

The second train was a Class 43 High Speed Train set comprising 9 coaches and a class 43 locomotive at each end.
 The trailing class 43 locomotive on this train also suffered significant damage.

As a result of the collision, the trailing bogie of the second and third coaches and the trailing axle of the fourth coach on the
 class 800 train, derailed to the right in the direction of travel.

The RAIB will be carrying out a thorough investigation and will identify the sequence of events which led to the accident and the factors that
 contributed to its consequences. The investigation will consider:

the actions, training and competence of the staff involved the design and validation of the class 800 train, including the
 ergonomics of its cab, its crashworthiness performance and its resistance to derailment in collision scenarios any underlying factors



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November 12th 2019.



Retired Great Northern emu drivers look through some 1976 BR press handouts pics of the Class 313 units. The Class 313 sign off tour (22/10/2019) raised
 £10,000 for rail charities, a most enjoyable tour.
 Only the two 313s used on the tour now remain at Hornsey depot. The last but two were dragged away to Newport SIMS Metals yesterday.
 These chaps had much to say about life at the front end! All good humour.









‘Network South East’ 313064 at Hertford North on ‘Gerry’s Farewell’ on October 22nd 2019 and the last public run of a Great Northern Electrics (1976 branding) Class 313.

 Brand new Siemens Class 717, 717011 has arrived on its timetabled 13.17 all stations to London Moorgate, a duty the dual-voltage 313s have done for no less than 43years.








 The difference in design is startling but 313064’s seats are, or were, more comfortable. ‘064 was the last 313 built, at York.
 The very similar Class 507/8s of Merseyrail are next in line for replacement: the first Swiss Stadler emu for Merseyrail should by now be in the UK.
In Scotland, the Scotrail Class 314s and in Greater Anglia or Transport for London Class 315s (four-car emus) are also going to the breakers, replaced by newer designs.
 That only leaves Southern with former Great Northern Class 313s (pantographs removed) to carry on until 2021 with examples of BR’s first examples of second generation emus.


Comparisons at Hertford North on October 28th 2019.






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November 7th 2019.

 Another everyday railway station scene that is soon to vanish with the withdrawal of hst's with slam doors.

A lady door ‘attendant’ with Right Away (RA) baton, about to shut the door but push up the drop light beforehand, at Doncaster in June 2019.

 LNER hst's are due to finish on December 8th 2019.





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November 6th 2019.

While I was away last week a very strange and extremely rare hst working took place almost the full English length of the ECML.
An ‘0Z43’ headcode appeared on railway data feeds.
 
Owing to a ‘bad shunt’ at Bounds Green LNER depot involving power car 43313, a call to Heaton depot, in Newcastle led to
 43309 being summoned south to replace 43313.

 The damaged power car cannot be repaired in time before the entire LNER hst fleet is handed back to the leasing company in December.




Below is 43309 heading light engine, up to Bounds Green passing Hitchin, Oct 31st. Pal Mike Trigg was on hand to record the very rare event of
 a solo power car making its way along the ECML. Nobody I know, railway staff included, can remember a ‘Class 43’ doing a stand alone turn on the ECML.





43309 at Hitchin- note numberplate on door (collector’s item?) and small offside red light.






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October 27th 2019.

 We are on holiday in Lancashire at the moment and did it rain for nearly two days!

While up here in Clitheroe, I made a dash home on Tuesday afternoon (22/10/2019) to Great Northern land to take part in an unusual
 sell-out railtour to mark the end of 43 years of the dual-voltage Class 313 on Great Northern metals.

At 10.00am on Wednesday (23/10/2019) Class 313s 313064 (part restored to Network South East livery) and 313134 ‘City of London’ set off to cover all the lines served by the Class 313.



'Gerry's' Farewell' headboard (Hertford North)







Welwyn Garden City terminus of Class 313's for 43 years. 313134 heads for Royston.







 First non-stop to Welwyn Garden City and then Royston where there was a ‘personal needs break’ or ‘pnb’ in railway speak; then a
 fast run to Hertford North for another ‘pnb’ and food from the local chippy.


The new catches up with the old - Hertford North with a new 717arriving alongside 313064 (and 313134 behind).







 There are no toilets on the Class 313, being an inner-suburban design and you had to organise your own food supplies - talk about an unusual charter!






Relics to be on-train auctioned - I didn't win!





Drivers "office" of  313134 (with permission) simple non-digital controls.






Bodyside of 313064. Slogan perhaps inspired by Northern with their Pacers' retirement media opportunity.









After nearly an hour’s break at Hertford - stock ecs to sidings - we set off for Hornsey emu depot, being promised the first public train to pass through the large emu depot.

 Well, we got put in, off the main line, and outside a vast new Siemens shed we stopped, standing time.
 We got no further inwards to the depot and at scheduled 14.16  we set off out the depot for the very last visit to London Moorgate.


Arriving for the very last time at London Moorgate.
1976 till 2019.










 At Drayton Pk station (close to Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium) the pantograph dropped and we engaged third rail power for the trip through the tunnel of
 what was once the isolated (from LT) Northern and City branch, of the Northern Line, until 1976 when BR took over with the new 313s.

We retraced our steps and arrived at Ferme Park Yard where the whole train saw a GBRf 66, 66762, shunt, with some apparent difficulty, recently
 redundant remaining Mk2 lounges and Mk3 sleeping cars of the WCML’s Caledonian Sleeper.



Meanwhile our tour 313 driver and traction manager trod the ballast and walked towards the London-end of our train, 313064, and we set off
 back, over the non-public Harringay flyover which takes freight and empty passenger trains over the ECML and down onto the up side towards London.

 The track bashers were very pleased with this move, a rare line for their yellow or red mapping biros.



We arrived at King’s Cross suburban Platform 11, right time, at 15.25. Normal passengers were puzzled at why so many cameras were aimed at a
 humble, ordinary, electric train but I put them right and they went away enlightened.









313134 and 313064 left ecs at 15.35, horn blaring all over King’s Cross in farewell, Long live the 313!







There were many railwaymen, active and retired,  on the tour and to listen to them about running the railway was very educating.
 The tour was named ‘Gerry’s Farewell’ after Fleet Director Gerry McFadden, who had, since 2006, overseen the introduction of 1400 new
 coaches for Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern and Thameslink the constituent companies of the Govia empire.



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October 16th 2019.

Now definitely not to be seen ever again on my patch of the ECML is Trans-Pennine Express! (TPE)

On September 24th, Two new Hitachi bi-mode Class 802s moved from Eastleigh Works, up the South Western Main Line to the London area, stopping at Acton, before
heading over the  North London Line to gain the East Coast Main Line and then fast down to Doncaster Carr depot for further acceptance work.

Here are the two, approaching Sheep Walk foot crossing, Biggleswade, one in base TPE colour and the following one in full Trans Pennine
Express 'dazzle' livery. Numbers are 802211 and 802206 (in full TPE livery).

Trans Pennine Express will receive 19 Class 802 bi-modes and the first went into service on September 28th, between Newcastle and Liverpool.
 TPE refer to the 802s as 'Nova 1'.










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October 13th 2019.

 I was on the train to Hitchin on Thursday (10/10/2019) and there was a bridge strike there - all trains to a stand, then proceed at walking pace.

 This Azuma, shown below, crept past so I couldn’t resist a quick snap through the window. Strange, I caught someone’s face in the reflection!

 We did move after ten mins but annoying delay. Nowt wrong with bridge - it has very strong steel bars across before the bridge which took the impact.

 Years ago, a double-deck bus - not a local one, got stuck underneath but without damage.

 As the traffic built up on both sides someone had a ‘light bulb’ moment - they let the tyres down! Bingo!







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October 5th 2019.

 Against all expectations of finding an immediate buyer for high-speed electric locomotives, Europhoenix
have acquired two redundant ex-LNER Class 91s.

The online railway groups got well and truly excited this week because observers had reported  that two Class 91s, inside LNER's Bounds Green
depot in North London, were being re-vinyled into the dramatic Europhoenix livery. The story was true.

A path was put in on Saturday morning for an '0Z91' Bounds Green to Leicester LIP move on. Sure enough the two 91s, 91117 and 91120 were dragged down the
ECML by GBRf's 66786, diverging from the ECML just north of Peterborough to travel through the Midlands, via Oakham and Melton Mowbray, to
Leicester, not a place that had seen 91s before.




My understanding is that both 91s will be used, under test, on the electrified part of Midland Main Line, south of Leicester, before export to
 either Bulgaria or Hungary, where quite a few ex-BR built locos have found useful employ, mainly on freight traffic.

Quite what these two 91s will do in eastern Europe is unclear, but as 'greyhounds' they will have to be re-geared for slower, heavier freight work.




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The ECML said 'goodbye' (a farewell railtour is pending) to the inner suburban Class 313 dual-voltage emus on Monday, September 30th, ending over 40 years
of standard-class only Class 313s faithfully plying the slow lines along the ECML north of Finsbury Park to Welwyn Garden City and also
along the Hertford branch, running an interval service of 30 mins, or less in the peak, to London Moorgate from both destinations.

 The type also reached Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth, but the 313 was rarely seen further eastward in Great Northern land towards Royston or
Cambridge, although, in emergencies, the dual-voltage units did reach both locations.

The majority of the Great Northern Class 313s have now been taken to either South Wales or South Yorkshire for scrapping.
 On the September 30th, there was only one all day diagram left for the few survivors.

RIP to the Great Northern's Class 313. BR-built at York, in 1976 they owe the railway not a penny. None moved in public service on Tuesday October 1st.
 The Great Northern 313s have been replaced by the new Siemens-built Class 717 six-car units, dual voltage.

At least 20 earlier-build Class 313s, second-hand from the Great Northern, continue in service with Southern, used between Portsmouth,
Brighton and Seaford. Their no-toilet status has not gone down well in West and East Sussex!

This view below is of 313037 calling at Hatfield, with the 15.39 service from Welwyn Garden City to Moorgate, as a down Azuma races
past with a King's Cross to Glasgow Central LNER service, on September 25th.313037 was withdrawn just a
 few days later and quickly taken away to South Wales.


 





This view below shows the front end of the 15.39, arriving at Hatfield with 313051.








This view below shows how deplorable the external condition of the 313s got to, the worst in the UK.  Once the trains had been vandalized by 'paint artists' the cleaners
 rubbed off not only the paint but also the vinyl underneath. No attempt was made to make good the vinyl.

 313041 at Hitchin in 2017.







A rather worse image of the Class 313 in their last days. Unit 313051 at Hatfield, Sept 25th. Disgraceful. Old BR fleet managers must be spinning in their graves.







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