Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

On the right lines

Posted in Europe, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 4 November 2010

Eurotunnel announced yesterday that they were purchasing two more diesel locomotives to supplement their existing Class 0001 fleet in the “Thunderbird” role (i.e. rescuing failed trains). These two locomotives will be ex-DB Schenker Nederland Class 6400s, which are similar both mechanically and in appearance to the Class 0001s. Now while this is certainly a good thing, especially given the difficulties suffered last winter by Eurostar, which showed that the emergency procedures in place for rescuing failed trains was inadequate (and perhaps showed that Eurostar was short-sighted in getting rid of its Class 37s and 73s), is it right to purchase more diesel locomotives for use in this role? The failure last winter wasn’t to do with the power supply, and so it would have been entirely possible for electric locomotives to operate into the tunnel. And it just so happens that Eurotunnel owns seven Class 92s, which are dual voltage, extremely powerful and already capable of running on High Speed 1. While it is true that they have been purchased to operate freight services for Europorte (a subsidiary of Eurotunnel), unless this is so solidly booked with work that it is impossible to even contemplate setting locomotives aside, then I feel sure one or two could be spare for Thunderbird duties. This would ensure that an instance such as happened last year (when a pair of Class 0001s hauled a failed Class 373 all the way to St Pancras) wouldn’t happen again, given that diesel stock is banned from the main trainshed to ensure the roof isn’t damaged by diesel fumes (which is why the East Midlands Trains platforms are under the extension).

“Eurotunnel buys more rescue locomotives”

Europorte has seven Class 92s - could they not be employed on Thunderbird duties if the wires are up and powered?

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