Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Use the resources!!

Posted in Great Britain, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 22 January 2010

Since the big announcement that the Great Western Main Line is to be electrified, the government have announced further, smaller schemes to fill in currently unelectrified parts of the network between major electrified stretches, which will mean the wasteful practice of operating diesel trains “under the wires” can be stopped for longer journeys. Most of these new schemes are in the north-west of England, with the most recent being a plan to electrify the stretch between Preston and Blackpool North. This will have the benefit of allowing through travel using electric trains from London to Blackpool, a route that has not been operated since 2003 when Virgin withdrew services that used its Class 220 and Class 221 Voyagers and High Speed Trains (all diesel). Of course, just electrifying the route doesn’t mean that Virgin will be of a mind to reintroduce through services. The excuse it gave for the withdrawl was that the rolling stock was needed elsewhere. So, obviously providing the paths were avaialble, that would potentially allow an open-access operator to step into the breach. And, with the upcoming replacement of the Mallard units on the East Coast Main Line, any potential operator would immediately have access to full up express trains capable of matching Virgin’s Pendolinos, at least on the straight stretches. Indeed, even if they were limited to less than 125 mph, they would still be a match in terms of comfort and ride. Were an open-access operator to do this, no doubt that would make Virgin sit up and take notice.

“Service will not be back on track”
“Railway lines being electrified in £200m scheme”

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