British Rail Class 170

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British Rail Class 170 Turbostar
Newport railway station MMB 02 170104.jpg
CrossCountry 170104 at Newport, on a journey to Cardiff Central from Nottingham
In service 1998 - Present
Manufacturer ADtranz / Bombardier
Family name Turbostar
Constructed 1998 - 2005
Number built 122 trainsets
Formation 2 or 3 cars per trainset
Operator CrossCountry
First ScotRail
First TransPennine Express
London Midland
Greater Anglia
Specifications
Car body construction Welded aluminium. Steel ends.
Train length 2 car: 47.22 m (154 ft 11 in)
Car length 23.62 m (77 ft 6 in)
Width 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in)
Height 3.77 m (12 ft 4 in)
Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h)
Weight Varies between 90.41 t (88.98 long tons; 99.66 short tons) (170/1 2 car) to 135.31 t (133.17 long tons; 149.15 short tons) (170/1 3 car)
Engine(s) One MTU 6R 183TD13H diesel per car
Power output 315 kilowatts (422 hp) at 1,900 rpm
Transmission Voith Hydraulic T211rzze to ZF final drive
2 axles driven per car
Bogies Powered: BREL P3-23 Unpowered: BREL T3-23
Braking system(s) Disc brakes
Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS
Coupling system BSI[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 170 "Turbostar" is a British diesel multiple-unit (DMU) train built by Bombardier Transportation (and previously ADtranz) at its Derby Litchurch Lane Works. Introduced after privatisation, these trains have operated regional as well as long-distance services, and to a lesser extent suburban services. 122 units have been built.

Design[edit]

Driving cab of a 170

The class is a development of the design used in the British Rail Class 165, 166 and 168 DMUs known as the Networker Turbos which were built by BREL and later ABB Transportation Ltd before that company became part of Bombardier.

Notable features shared are the aluminium alloy frame and Voith transmission as well as the general body shape (the cab ends are similar to those of the Class 168, but not Class 165/166), interior design and door fittings. The final drive is sourced from ZF instead of Gmeinder and the diesel-engine supplier changed to MTU.[2]

The engine and transmission are under the body; one bogie per coach is powered, the other unpowered. All coaches in the set are powered (there are no unpowered trailers). The units can work in multiple with trains in the 15X series, i.e. Sprinters, and with other units of the same class. They are unable to operate in multiple with units in the 16X series due to different wiring arrangements.[3]

Seating arrangements are of both 2+1 (first class) and 2+2 (standard class) formation, and give a seated passenger capacity of between ~100 and ~200 per three-car set (depending on the specifications of the operator).[4] 2-car sets are also operated.

Subclasses[edit]

Class 170 units have been categorised into six sub-classes; the basic specifications remain the same (engine, length, transmission, etc.), the differences being the seating arrangements specified by the different operators. Because of the different interior fittings the sub-classes differ in weight from one another by a small amount, up to ~2 tonnes.[3]

All the subclasses were built at Derby works either under ADtranz or Bombardier Transportation ownership.[3]

Operations[edit]

Most units are owned by Porterbrook, although units 170 416–424 are owned by Eversholt Rail Group.[5] They are leased to the train operating companies.

Scotland[edit]

Dundee-bound 170428 at Markinch.

First ScotRail is the largest operator of the Class 170, with a fleet comprising 59 3-car sets. Originally, 34 of these had first-class accommodation. They are mainly used on Edinburgh-Glasgow (Queen Street), Inverness-Glasgow/Edinburgh and Aberdeen-Glasgow/Edinburgh services.

An additional nine units were ordered and operated by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) and painted in the Strathclyde maroon-and-cream livery; these now operate under the direction of Transport Scotland, which has authority over the entire ScotRail area.

Additionally, four 3-car sets fitted with 'mini-buffets' were obtained from Hull Trains. These have since been refreshed with the Transport Scotland ScotRail branding, however the buffets remain out of use.

All units are allocated to Edinburgh Haymarket depot.

In September 2008 the Scottish Government's agency Transport Scotland announced that all ScotRail trains (including from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport) would eventually be repainted in a new blue livery with white Saltire markings on the carriage ends.[6] The first unit to get the livery was 170434, unveiled to the public at Glasgow Queen Street on 22 September 2008.

In December 2008, half the standard-class-only units, 170450 - 170455, were fitted with first-class sections.

170 456 and 170 457 were fitted with first class in December 2011. When working on a diagram without first-class provision, the first-class areas may be declassified at the discretion of the on-train staff.

Northern England[edit]

First TransPennine Express Class 170/3 at Huddersfield on 13 March 2007

First TransPennine Express operates nine Class 170s, used on the Manchester to Hull route. Originally Class 185s were set to operate the route but a combination of weight-restriction problems on the Selby to Hull line and the government reducing the amount of money available to First Transpennine Express for new trains resulted in Class 170s coming into service.

From 9 September 2009, two Class 170s are used Sundays to Thursdays on the Cleethorpes-Manchester Airport service.

First TransPennine Express received eight Turbostars from South West Trains, 170 301-170 308 at the end of 2006 and the start of 2007, as well as 170 399 from Central Trains in November 2007, which was re-numbered 170 309.

The units are maintained by Bombardier Crofton. The 170s have since been fully refurbished to include CCTV, power sockets throughout, replacement carpets and seat covers and the removal / declassification of one of the two first-class sections, providing more seats. The work was carried out by Transys at Clacton-on-Sea.

However in March 2014 it was revealed that the nine Turbostars will move to Chiltern Railways.[7] MP Stephen Hammond revealed on 12 March 2014 that all the class 170/3s will remain with First TransPennine Express until the May 2015 timetable change and talks relating to First TransPennine keeping some of the 170/3s until the May 2016 timetable change are currently on-going.[8] This was then followed by an announcement by the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee saying that "Members were pleased to note that DfT had confirmed that the proposal to relocate Class 170 diesel units from the north of England to the south east would not now take place."[9]

Hull Trains[edit]

Hull Trains Class 170

Hull Trains began its London King's Cross to Hull services using Turbostars, initially with four sets on short-term lease from Anglia Railways. In 2004, it received four of its own 3-car Class 170/3 units, and returned the original units to Anglia.

In 2005, following its acquisition by FirstGroup, Hull Trains received four new Class 222/1 Pioneer units and transferred the Turbostars to its sister company First ScotRail.

The Midlands[edit]

Midland Mainline Class 170/1, nos. 170 110 and 170 117 at Derby on 18 September 2003, during service to London St. Pancras. These units are now operated by CrossCountry.

Midland Mainline (MML) was the first operator to order Turbostars, the first being introduced in MML's green and tangerine livery in 1998. The Class 170/1 were built immediately after the Class 168/0 were built for Chiltern Railways. MML ordered a fleet of seventeen 2-car Class 170 units, although the first ten were subsequently made-up of 3-cars each instead. These were numbered from 170 101 through 170 117. The units were introduced on stopping services from London St. Pancras to Leicester, Derby and Nottingham. Some were also used on summer Saturday-only services from London to York, which later became a year-round service with summer extension to Scarborough.

Central Trains Class 170/5, no. 170 518 at Peterborough on 3 June 2004, on a run to Birmingham. This unit is now operated by CrossCountry.

Central Trains had a fleet of 53 Class 170 units from various subclasses.

In 1999, Central received its first batch of twenty-three 2-car Class 170/5 and ten 3-car Class 170/6 units. These were used to replace Class 156 units on long-distance "Citylink" services. These units all carried the Central Trains livery of green, blue and yellow.

From late 2004, Central also took three Class 170/3 on lease from Porterbrook. Units 170 397 and 170 398 are 3-car units and 170 399 is a 2-car unit. The units originally carried a white livery with purple doors (the colours of owners Porterbrook). All three of these units contained first-class accommodation, which was declassified (allowing standard-class use throughout the train), as first-class travel was not provided on Central Trains services. The two 3-car units' interiors were of Central Trains style, except the MML-style first class, and the 2-car unit had a South West Trains interior.

In 2004, Midland Mainline introduced new Class 222 "Meridian" units, which started to replace the Turbostars. As a result, the fleet was transferred to brother company Central Trains. Ten units (170 101-110) are 3-car units, and the remaining seven units (170 111-117) are 2-car units. As with the three spot-hire units from Porterbrook, these 17 units had first-class accommodation, which was declassified.

All Class 170 units in service with Central were used on a variety of services (mostly long-distance) including:

Class 170 units have been replaced by Class 350 "Desiro" units on Birmingham-Liverpool services.

When Central Trains lost its franchise in 2007, 23 of Central Trains' units were transferred to London Midland, which took over the West Midlands franchise and continues to use Class 170s for services on the Chase Line, Birmingham to Hereford via Bromsgrove Line and Shrewsbury services. 29 out of the other 30 (including all the ex-Midland-Mainline units, and two of the 3 spot-hire units) were transferred to CrossCountry and are used on the Cardiff - Birmingham - Nottingham and Birmingham - Leicester - Stansted Airport services. The Class 170 were refurbished in 2008 with the three-carriage units repainted at Marcroft Engineering, Stoke on Trent, the two-carriage units at EWS' Toton depot and the interiors done by Transys Projects, Clacton-on-Sea including the fitting of first class seating to the Class 170/5s and 170/6s.[10][11]

One of Central Trains' 170s (170399) went to First Transpennine Express and was subsequently renumbered 170309; East Midlands Trains did not receive any, despite taking over the previously Class-170-operated Liverpool to Norwich route. This route is now operated by refreshed Class 158 units.

Class 170 in CrossCountry livery, departing Cambridge. It is operating a service from Stansted Airport to Birmingham New Street, a service inherited from Central Trains

Eastern England[edit]

Anglia Railways ordered two batches of Turbostars. The first batch of eight 3-car Class 170/2 units were built for London Liverpool Street to Ipswich, Norwich, Lowestoft and Bury St. Edmunds services. These supplemented the existing Class 86 locomotive-hauled trains from London to Norwich. Four of these units were later hired to Hull Trains from 2002–2004, before that company acquired its own Turbostars.

Other units, including the spot-hire set no. 170 399, were used on Anglia's short-lived Norwich to Basingstoke 'London Crosslink' service. In 2002, Anglia introduced a new Cambridge to Norwich direct service, and acquired four two-carriage units dedicated to working these services.

CrossCountry heads through the snow towards Ely on a service from Stansted Airport - Birmingham New Street

In 2004 the Greater Anglia franchise was won by the National Express Group subsidiary 'one', rebranded as National Express East Anglia in 2008, and passed onto Greater Anglia in 2012. Since then, two-carriage Turbostars have been used for the Cambridge to Norwich route, and also on new through services including Peterborough and Lowestoft to London Liverpool Street via Ipswich, although with a new timetable all Class 170 London services have ended, in favour of connecting branch line trains with GEML expresses.

The three-carriage trains used to include a buffet and larger first-class area, but because more seating was needed, the buffet area has been removed and the number of first-class seats reduced.

South-West England[edit]

South West Trains (SWT) acquired a fleet of eight 2-car Class 170/3 units in 2000(later to 9 units supplemented by Ex Southern 170392), to supplement its existing Class 159 fleet. Units operated on London Waterloo to Salisbury, Reading to Brighton, Southampton local services, and occasionally on services to Exeter St Davids, though this was not a regular route for these units, as they do not feature end gangways, making it difficult to provide trolley services, and they lacked selective door opening for the short platforms at stations on the route west of Salisbury. All but one of these units were transferred to First TransPennine Express at the end of 2006, in exchange for some Class 158 Express Sprinters. Unit 170 392 was transferred back to its original intended operator Southern and has since been reclassified and renumbered from 170 392 to 171 730.

Southern England[edit]

Southern obtained six two-car Class 170/7 units, along with six four-car Class 171/8 units, in 2003 to replace its ageing Class 205 and Class 207 units on services on the Marshlink Line and Oxted Line to Uckfield.

Southern later fitted these units with the Dellner type coupler used on its Class 171s, reclassifying its two-car units as Class 171/7, replacing the standard BSI coupler fitted to Class 170s.

Southern later acquired 170 392 from South West Trains, which became its 10th two-car, 171 730. This unit had already carried Southern livery, being ordered as an add-on to a Southern order to save costs, and was delivered accordingly in Southern livery as 170 727. It was renumbered and reliveried at Ashford Chart Leacon Works before entering traffic.

Current fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 170/1 CrossCountry 17 1998–1999 3 170 101 - 170 110[12]
2 170 111 - 170 117[12]
Class 170/2 Greater Anglia 12 1999 3 170 201 - 170 208[12]
2002 2 170 270 - 170 273[12]
Class 170/3 First TransPennine Express 9 2000 2 170 301 - 170 309[12]
First ScotRail 4 2004 3 170 393 - 170 396[12]
CrossCountry 2 2002 3 170 397 - 170 398[12]
Class 170/4 First ScotRail 24 1999–2001 3 170 401 - 170 424[12]
10 2003–2004 3 170 425 - 170 434
12 2004–2005 3 170 450 - 170 461[12]
2 2001 3 170 470 - 170 471[12]
7 2004 3 170 472 - 170 478[12]
Class 170/5 London Midland 17 1999–2000 2 170 501 - 170 517[12]
CrossCountry 6 1999–2000 2 170 518 - 170 523
Class 170/6 London Midland 6 2000 3 170 630 - 170 635[12]
CrossCountry 4 2000 3 170 636 - 170 639[12]

References[edit]