Wednesday, 11 August 2010

More on the Barbie-lino

Much excitement following Sir Humphrey Beeching's revelation yesterday that the DfT plans to run a Pendolino on the ECML between Glasgow and London.

Eye reader and uber-blogger Tom Harris MP has submitted the following parliamentary question:

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his department has to use Pendolino rolling stock for service on the East Coast main line and if he will make a statement?

Expect a statement from either the Department or state owned East Coast today.

UPDATE: And here it is...


Directly Operated Railways Limited, the company established by the Government in 2009 to manage Train Operating Companies that come back to the public sector, today announced that it is in discussion with industry parties concerning the possibility of commissioning a new 11-car Pendolino train on the East Coast Main Line.

Elaine Holt, Chairman and Chief Executive of Directly Operated Railways, and Chairman of East Coast, said:

“I’m very pleased that East Coast has been asked to commission the new Pendolino on the East Coast Main Line. Whilst a final decision has not yet been made, if it goes ahead, the train would add extra capacity to our fleet – and we’re sure our customers would appreciate the comfort and facilities that the new Pendolino has to offer.

“We’re currently talking with the manufacturers Alstom, and other key industry partners to understand the challenges and opportunities involved in the commissioning and certification of the Pendolino on East Coast.”

Under the plan, East Coast Main Line Company Limited (East Coast), the publicly-owned company which operates Anglo-Scottish services on Britain’s premier long-distance rail route, would take delivery of the new train in July next year. East Coast would operate the Pendolino in daily passenger service, principally between London and Edinburgh, for a period currently estimated to be nine months.

The new 11-car Pendolino Class 390 – which is being built by Alstom at its facility in Savigliano, Italy – forms part of an order for four such train-sets. Alstom started work on the new order in early 2009. The units will be very similar to the 52 Pendolino Class 390s, each of 9 cars, currently in service on the West Coast Main Line.

These train-sets were built by Alstom between 2001 and 2004 and are capable of speeds of up to 140 miles per hour*.

The 11-cars of the new Pendolino will be only slightly longer than trains in the existing East Coast fleet, enabling all current station stops to be utilised by the train without the use of Selective Door Operation.

Whilst the new 11-car Pendolino is being commissioned with East Coast, it would be fully integrated into the East Coast fleet and timetable – and would be maintained by the Alstom train care centre at Polmadie, in Glasgow.


Note to editors:

*Speeds are limited to 125 miles per hour on both the East and West Coast Main Lines, due to infrastructure constraints.

UPDATE: This from The Shunter...

Someone must be having a laugh - this has disaster written all over it.

East Coast can't even manage their current fleet at the moment - judging by PPM and the fact they've had to hire in an HST set from EMT.

So what happens when the Barbie-lino fails on the ECML - what will East Coast use to rescue it?

UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...

If the service ever gets off the ground it will be interesting to see whether a Pendolino, no doubt with riding techie monitoring every thyristor through a lap top and tilt switched out, can match IC125 reliability on the same route.

Period 4 NFRIP results: East Coast IC125 27,000 miles per casualty. Class 390 fleet, er, almost exactly half that figure.