Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

This is the End…?

Posted in Customer service, Ireland, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 7 June 2011

As has often been the case, finding out news regarding what is going on in Northern Ireland is extremely difficult; Translink seem loathe to release any kind of information to the wider world. One can only speculate therefore as to whether Railway Herald know something the rest of us don’t when they publish a brief story in the most recent issue of their online journal stating the following:

On 5th June, NIR transferred seven of the refurbished 80 Class vehicles to Ballymena for storage and eventually scrapping

Does this then mean that the disposal tender, for the Class 80 sets at least, has been for them to be broken up with no opportunity for them to perhaps gain further use by another operator? If this is the case, what is the fate for the Class 450 trains, the tender for which was issued at the same time as that of the Class 80? Does this mean that SWIFFT will lose out on what, to me at least, is the only realistic source of inexpensive, immediately available rolling stock that they can use in their efforts to start their own services on the Waterford-Rosslare line? The loss of these units to the cutting torch does not mean there are no trains available, as there will always be rolling stock that can be obtained somewhere. But, any that they are able to obtain will have to be shipped to Ireland, as well as likely converted to Irish gauge (owing to the lack of areas that utilise 5ft 3in), which will add to the start up cost of the service. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but (and I say but, as I have no proof that NI Railways’ trains are heading for their fate at a breaker’s yard) one wonders whether pressure has been applied to NI Railways to accept any reasonable offer from a scrapper over that of selling on their redundant rolling stock to a potential competitor.

A derelict Class 80 vehicle in storage – what fate awaits them after this? Will the dream of open access passenger rail in Ireland end with these trains being cut up?

Edit: I’ve had this response from the people at SWIFFT:

 Translink is moving the old coaches for storage due delivery of new coaches to make room. Translink has not yet responded to those who expressed an interest. At least 3 expressions of interest involved reuse in public or semi public service…. Easy guess two of those, the third is surprising.

Many of the class 80 units have serious mechanical problems blown engines and so on, whereas all 9 class 450 units are still in full working order and are also cleared to operate on Irish Rail plus they are much more accessible.

It certainly makes sense that vehicles need to be moved to make room for the delivery of the Class 4000 units, as until the new depot being built next to Adelaide station is complete, NI Railways will be pressed for space. That being said, I’m still surprised that Translink has not said a thing about the ultimate destination of its redundant trains, given that the final date for submission of bids was the 28th April, and we’re now into June.


2 Responses

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  1. River said, on 15 October 2011 at 11:45 pm

    A sad end to the DEMU era on UTA/NIR.Unspectacular,but reliable,they’ll probably go the same way many of the Irish designs did l suspect.Seems a shame that probably none will be preserved,the lrish DEMUs were often in my thoughts when we had our old Hastings,Hampshire,Berkshire,and Oxted units here in England on the old BR Southern Region,at least some of ours escaped the breakers and are out to grass and well thought of.

  2. […] innocently, used an explicitly copyrighted photograph in a post I made some time ago, specifically this post from June 2011 regarding the beginning of the withdrawal process of NI Railways’ Class […]

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