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European Railroad Discussion > Something old, Something new....

Date: 11/24/20 01:49
Something old, Something new....
Author: 86235

Last Monday Transport for Wales (TfW) introduced their "new" class 769 DEMUs, almost two years after the first units were delivered to Cardiff Canton depot. Anyone who lived / travelled through London in the 1990s and early 2000s will recognise them as class 319 25kV / 750v DC EMUs which operated the cross-London Thameslink services from their inception until displaced by the introduction of class 387s and class 700s in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Still sound mechanically the 319s owner, Porterbrook, together with Brush Traction came up with what seemed like a good idea, convert them to bi-mode units by slinging a modern emissions compliant diesel under the floor and having it power the existing electric motors when away from the 25kV or 750 DC, and so was born the 319 Flex, now class 769. It took much longer than expected to perfect the transition to a bi-mode unit, hence the delay in them entering service and in fact TfW's nine units are DEMU only, there's no wiring or third rail on the Valley Lines on which they operate, and so the pantograph and 750v DC shoegear have been removed. I used to travel in the 319s extensively when I commuted to work, they weren't the most comfortable of units, cramped 3+2 or 2+2 seating, seats which didn't align to windows, noisy and rough riding in the motor car (the car with the pantograph) but pretty speedy (max 90 mph on 750v DC / 100 mph on 25kV AC), typical of MUs derived from the Mk 3 body shell which BR turned out in their hundreds during the 1980s.

They've been refreshed for TfW with an electronic scrolling PIS and USB charging points, new flooring material and seat covers but other than that are still pretty much bog standard Thameslink. Last Wednesday wasn't the best weather wise, but I thought I ought to record their first days in passenger service as their arrival, and the pending arrival of other DMUs cascaded from elsewhere, will see the end of the Pacer railbuses in the next few months. 

1: This is the 11:14 Rhymney to Cardiff Central leaving Caerphilly, the second of two round trips the units are currently rostered for.
2: TfW continue to run other units both to accumulate mileage before entering service and to train staff, this was the 5Z43 11:53 Cardiff Canton to Bargoed test run. It's leaving Caerphilly Tunnel.
3: The unit in the first picture returned from Cardiff Central as the 12:38 to Rhymney, which I rode three stops from Caerphilly to Llanbradach, where it passed the returning 5Z44 from Bargoed, in a scene which will become routine once all nine are in service between Rhymney, Cardiff and Penarth.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/20 08:56 by 86235.

Date: 11/24/20 02:43
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: exhaustED

Nice shots, very atmospheric also!

Date: 11/24/20 03:32
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: gbmott

Very nice, shows how colors can really stand out when it's a generally gray day.  Also a good report of the 319's transformation, something I had missed.


Date: 11/24/20 07:50
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: dwatry

Nick - nice shots. I always like a good rainy day photo. So much more mysterious than a sunny day! Did you scratch any graffiti onto the seats while commuting that might still be there?

Posted from iPhone

Date: 11/24/20 08:53
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: 86235

dwatry Wrote:
> Did you scratch any graffiti onto the seats
> while commuting that might still be there?

Not that I remember, it wouldn't have been polite if I had.

Date: 11/24/20 09:50
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: dwatry

It would seem out of character!

Date: 11/24/20 14:28
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: ironmtn

A nice set, Nick. Good use of the rainy day to add atmosphere to the scenes.

Date: 11/24/20 15:35
Re: Something old, Something new....
Author: 55002

Good to see these in service, Nick. A painful birth, maybe they should have got the circuit diagrams out from the original Thumpers! Chris uk.

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