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First TPE modified Class 68s sent to Spain for initial testing

The first TransPennine Express (TPE) Class 68 modified locomotive has been shipped to Northern Spain.

The stock is part of a fleet of new trains consisting of CAF’s Mk5A carriages pulled by the modified TPE locomotives.

In May this year, Robin Davis, head of new fleet at TPE, confirmed to RTM that work on the first 14 Class 68s would be being completed in Crewe.

After being united with the Mk5As in Spain, the plan is to ship the completed units to the Czech Republic for dynamic testing.

They will eventually be introduced through Summer until the end of 2018 on TPE services between Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough.

Following today’s announcement, Davis commented: “We are happy that the first of our modified Class 68 locomotives is now en-route to Northern Spain.

“Upon arrival, it will begin testing with the first of our Mk 5A coaches ahead of introduction which begins in autumn 2018. We are committed to delivering more seats as soon as possible to customers across the North.”

The main development on the new carriages is increased seating, with Davis saying the 291-seaters would provide more of everything, from toilets and tables to luggage and leg space.

An interview with Davis on the progress of TPE’s new rolling stock fleet will also appear in Dec/Jan edition of RTM, hitting desks from 12 January 2018.

Top image: TransPennine Express

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Andrew Gwilt   01/12/2017 at 10:32

The only thing I like about is the livery. It’s quite a nice livery. Compare to the other Class 68’s that are being used on Chiltern Railways and ScotRail.

Huguenot   01/12/2017 at 11:50

Why is the loco going to Spain by road, and not being hauled through the Channel Tunnel?

Lutz   01/12/2017 at 13:59

@Huguenot: It is probably going by road for transshipment at a sea port. Questions arising: Were these units not built in Spain? If so, why are they being shipped back to Spain? Would it not have been easier to do any necessary modifications at the Spanish manufacturing plant (if they were built in Spain)?

Walace58   01/12/2017 at 14:03

With all the new trains, locos etc being ordered for use in the UK is it not about time we improved/ built better testing facilities?

Geordie   01/12/2017 at 14:58

Why aren't the Class 68s not being used as far as Newcastle? Are we stuck with the present overcrowded three car arrangement forever then?

Martin   01/12/2017 at 15:16

Is it summer (paragraph 5) when the trains will be introduced - useful, for example, where the Scarborough-bound service is crammed full with standing passengers after York - or autumn (paragraph 7)?

John Webster   01/12/2017 at 16:35

Martin - Services are due to start Autumn 2018 as in text. They will undergo testing and training from late Spring onwards!

Andrew JG   04/12/2017 at 00:46

Some of the Class 68's could of stayed with Greater Anglia for another year before the Stadler Class 755's Bi-Mode units that are to be manufactured in Switzerland will soon be transported to East Anglia to replace the older DMU stocks and the Class 68's that were hired with Greater Anglia would of been transferred to TPE once the Class 755's are in service that they will start operating on rural lines in East Anglia in 2019.

DP   04/12/2017 at 08:15

Geordie - Newcastle will be served by the Class 68s and then the Class 802/2 which come online in 2019, with some services extended to Edinburgh as part of the new franchise. Looking at the numbers of new rolling stock ordered though, it looks like the 185s will still have a presence at Newcastle for the foreseeable future. Completely agree though, I get a 185 every day and they're completely unsuitable for some of the services they do.

David   04/12/2017 at 14:28

Andrew, the TPE Class 68s have not operated with Greater Anglia - the GA locomotives were from the original batches. And why do you say the only thing you like is the livery?

Mark Hare   05/12/2017 at 14:12

David - on this rare occasion, Andrew is right. Most, if not all of the 68s destined for TPE have worked on services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth / Lowestoft.

David   05/12/2017 at 18:30

Apologies, I had the wrong locomotive numbers down. Does this make them the first to have their yellow panels removed in mainline service?

Mark Hare   06/12/2017 at 12:46

The first locomotives so treated, yes I believe so, due to their high-intensity headlights meeting the appropriate group standard. Of course the Crossrail Class 345 EMUs are also devoid of any yellow on the front ends.

Chris M   06/12/2017 at 21:14

The class 68s in Anglia finished their push-pull duties with mk2 coaches because the accident damaged class 170 they replaced has now been repaired. They were never going to continue for another year.

John Webster   07/12/2017 at 12:46

It now seems as the Class 68 hauled Trans Pennine Services will not enter PUBLIC service until December 2018!

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