Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

IEP on the sly

Posted in Customer service, Great Britain, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 10 August 2010

Exactly one month ago, I posted about the plan to store the 106 new Class 390 vehicles that had been purchased to extend part of the fleet to 11 cars each, which encompassed a total of four new trains plus 62 trailer vehicles for lengthening 31 existing sets. The plan that the DfT had was to store the new vehicles until the start of the new West Coast franchise in 2012. Now though, in the first piece of breaking news I’ve been privy to via Twitter, Captain Deltic posted this:

Breaking story that DfT is planning to add a Glasgow-Kings Cross Pendolino return service to the Eureka timetable.

Seemingly, presumably to reduce the level of ire that emanated when the story broke of the reduction to just one train per day from Kings Cross to Glasgow, this new Pendolino service will be in addition to the already advertised train written into the current Eureka timetable. Of course, it is certainly good that the new sets will get some use prior to 2012, if this is to be believed (and Captain Deltic is not one to go public with stories like this unless he’s sure of his sources). But what’s going to happen when the new West Coast franchise does start, and the Pendolino sets have to be returned? By then, if East Coast have been running the service as part of the timetable for a year, they’ll either have to source new stock for it, or stop running it. Sourcing new stock would be problematic, as it would be a 125mph service, and there’s little to no 125mph capable stock anywhere, let alone any electric stock. But if they stop running it, then passenger groups, unions and no doubt the Scottish Government will be up in arms proclaiming “service cuts” and how terrible the passengers and the workers of Scotland are treated. Now, if this is true and not simply a rumour from the DfT, they will need to be extremely careful as to what they do, because they will, for certain, end up pissing someone off, whether it’s the West Coast franchise bidders for nicking “their” trains, or the stakeholders in the new service should they pull it. This story potenially has disaster written all over.

Something that Captain Deltic tweeted to me was the idea of calling it “Intercity Eastcoast Pendolino” or IEP. I laughed at that.

GNER Pendolino – we never saw this, but could we soon see a Class 390 in the silver and purple livery of East Coast?

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