Rail Industry Focus

01.07.12

Refurbishing the Mk IIIs

Source: Rail Technology Magazine Jun/Jul 2012

Chiltern Railways Mk III coaches, designed in the 1970s, are among British Rail’s best-regarded engineering accomplishments – and a refurb project that has involved replacing their slam-doors with power sliding plug doors should see them in service for decades to come. Adam Hewitt reports.

The first set of Chiltern Railway Mainline Silver coaches re-entered service on May 28, following an extensive refurbishment.

The most complex aspect of the work was replacing the slam-doors with power operated sliding plug doors – a project which required the roof of each carriage to be raised slightly to allow room for the new doors. Both ends of each car body were removed and reconstructed.

The mechanism used is tried-and-tested, being the same as that created by Siemens for its Class 444 DMUs. It brings the door operation of Chiltern Railways’ Mk III coaches into line with its Class 168, 165 and 172 DMU stock.

Passenger benefits

The new doors meet all relevant standards, improve passenger safety and provide easier access for all passengers, especially disabled people.

The wider doors required more vestibule space, necessitating the removal of some toilets and luggage racks, and the remaining toilets have been upgraded with storage tanks. The doors are also taller than the previous slam-doors.

All the remaining toilets have been upgraded to controlled emission, meaning they have been fitted with storage tanks, and they are also compliant with PRM TSI (the technical specification for interoperability relating to people with reduced mobility).

There are power sockets at each seat, and the lighting in each coach has also been improved. Chiltern says this helps the trains feel even more spacious.

Flexibility and simplicity

In total, 20 Mk III coaches are being upgraded by Wabtec Rail Doncaster, with the rest of the fleet expected to be refurbished and in service by the end of this year. The next set of coaches is expected to be ready in July.

Wabtec is also performing corrosion repairs, while the door system itself is by Rail Door Solutions.

Chiltern Railways described the coaches’ history and the need for improvement by saying: “The coaches were widely recognised at the time as one of British Rail’s greatest engineering achievements, due to the excellent ride, air conditioned environment, flexibility of design and simplicity of maintenance.

“However, the coaches do not meet the needs of the modern day passenger so Chiltern Railways have been revolutionising the Mk III coach.”

The operator’s engineering director, Kate Marjoribanks, said: “This really does prove that you can deliver a first class service utilising older rolling stock. The new power doors and additional features allow us to increase capacity and at the same time meet the needs of our passengers.

“Work continues to take place to deliver three more trains in 2012 and we are currently considering further opportunities for future fleet growth.”

Extensive testing on a prototype coach featuring the new door system showed only slight wear at the end of 20 years of use, Chiltern Railways’ engineers said. The loco-hauled Mk IIIs are used on the operator’s London to Banbury and Birmingham service. This has freed up Class 168s which the operator hopes to use on its proposed Oxford- London Marylebone via High Wycombe service, following track and station upgrades as part of Evergreen 3.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

17/01/2017Rising to the digital demand

The countdown is well and truly on for this year’s UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), and the whole RTM team is looking forward to welcoming you to the fourth edition of this event on 9 February.  Held once again at Battersea Evolution, the prestigious awards ceremony promises to be an extraordinary evening, celebrating some of the major achievements of the industry in the last year. You can see the awards shortlist on pages 27-29, and read more details at ukria.com. If... read more >

last word

Making rail fares simpler

Making rail fares simpler

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, explains how a number of initiatives over the next 12 months aim to make rail fares simpler. By the end of 2017, we hope passengers will see fairer and simpler fares.  Two recent initiatives should help achieve this.  One initiative was a response to our four-year cam... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about ... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

06/01/2017Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

A commuter organisation looking to take the DfT to court over its handling of the Southern rail crisis have said that their legal challenge is almost ready. The Association of British Commuters (ABC) hopes to submit its full application calling for a judicial review by the end of this month, after initially raising funds for the challenge... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Exhibitors prepare for France’s rail technology showcase

20/01/2017Exhibitors prepare for France’s rail technology showcase

Florence Gaidet from Mack Brooks gives RTM an update on what people can expect from SIFER 2017, France’s showcase for railway technology, p... more >
The data-driven railway

20/01/2017The data-driven railway

RTM speaks to James Dean, Network Rail’s director of route asset management (DRAM), LNW, about the work the infrastructure owner is carryin... more >
Achieving efficiency through standards

17/01/2017Achieving efficiency through standards

Vaibhav Puri, head of standards policy at the RSSB, attempts to bust the myths around standards, and argues that they will be vital to the tradin... more >
A digital railway for a modern Britain

17/01/2017A digital railway for a modern Britain

David Waboso CBE, managing director of Group Digital Railway, discusses using digital technology and how we must work together better as an indus... more >