Saturday, January 19, 2013

Class 67 Problem Tonight at Bicester

Traction power for the Chiltern Railways Silver Trains(and for the old Blue and Grey set) is provided by Class 67 Locomotives.

Tonight the 1706 Silver Train from London Marylebone left London three minutes late. It trundled through North West London and even took the scenic route around the South Ruislip Loop.

The train was booked to run non-stop to Bicester North, before calling at principal stops to Birmingham Snow Hill. The train is then supposed to run empty from Birmingham to the depot at Stourbridge Junction, arriving there just after 2000.

Well, tonight the train eventually limped into Platform 1 at Bicester North just before six o'clock with a technical fault, and the service was then cancelled. Northbound passengers were transferred to either the following Statford-upon-Avon service which left Bicester at 1824 or the next Birmingham service which left at 1837.

Neither the original driver, a replacement driver or a fitter sent to repair the problem were able to fix the train, so Platform 1 (the Northbound platform) at Bicester North was blocked for some hours. Fortunately the track and signal layout allows trains to use platform 2 in either direction, so that is what happened for every Northbound train until just before eleven o'clock this evening.

Eventually a rescue locomotive was sent up from Wembley Depot, attached to the front of the broken down engine, and the train was hauled up to Banbury, leaving Bicester at about 2150.

Apparently DB Schenker who lease the engine are to send a couple of engineers down tomorrow to try to fix the problem, hopefully in time for the start of the working week on Monday.

So, currently there is a set of Silver Train carriages not where they should be (though they could be en-route to Stourbridge, I don't know). There is a Class 67 locomotive out of action, and the Blue & Grey set of carriages sat at Wembley without an engine.

It'll be interesting to see what Monday morning brings.


Anonymous said...

Every week I see a failed 67 at Marylebone - or is it the coaching stock? Why so much unreliability on the loco hauled services? Was never like that under British Rail!

Central User said...

Some of the Class 67 departures do actually sit at Marylebone for quite some while:

0845 Dep arrives 0825 from PRR
1015 Dep arrives 0903 from SBJ
1315 Dep arrives 1234 from BMO
1647 Dep arrives 1432 from BMO (afternoon nap)
1715 Dep arrives 1508 from BMO (another nap)
1750 Dep arrives 1727 from Depot (Blue & Grey)
1815 Dep arrives 1742 from BMO

So, for a good chunk of a weekday afternoon, two platforms will usually be occupied by Silver Trains.

They are however the least reliable type of train in the Chiltern fleet - I would be interested in seeing the 'miles per failure' comparatives for the four classes of train that run out of Marylebone.

From what I hear, root causes of the class 67 failures are varied. However many now have a fitter traveling shotgun - not a sign of great confidence!