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European Railroad Discussion > Goodbye Heathrow Express


Date: 12/08/20 13:14
Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: 86235

Today two Heathrow Express class 332 units, just 22 years old had a one way ticket to Sims in Newport Docks to be turned into razor blades. Non standard and not owned by a conventional Rolling Stock Leasing Company (Rosco), it's still a surprise to see these relatively new units being sent to the knackers yard whilst older (and more utilitarian) units are re-purposed as bi & tri mode DEMU / EMUs. Here they are passing through Newport this afternoon. I know that they have been worked pretty hard and I've also heard that they suffer from bodywork corrosion issues as a consequence of running in the tunnels under Heathrow. But they do have cousins (class 333) working in West Yorkshire so I wouldn't have thought it was beyond the wit of man to make further use of them. But no, the scrapyard beckons for the entire fleet. They are being replaced by a sub class of class 387s, Bombardier electrostars, which Great Western use on their suburban services from Paddington.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/20 00:15 by 86235.




Date: 12/08/20 13:37
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: dwatry

That is a surprise to see them getting hauled off so soon. 



Date: 12/08/20 16:21
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: krm152

Excellent record photo of an interesting event.
ALLEN



Date: 12/08/20 18:23
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: railsmith

86235 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> But they do have cousins (class 333)
> working in West Yorklshire so I wouldn't have
> thought it was beyond the wit of man to make
> further use of them.

That's what I would have expected.

I've ridden trains in 10 countries and my ride in a first-class solo seat in a 332 is by far the most comfortable I've ever had, albeit one of the shortest.

 



Date: 12/08/20 20:07
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: tq-07fan

I took pictures of the 332 I rode in 2014. Out of everything I rode 2014 that would not have been the one that I would have guessed to be first to become completely extinct.

Jim



Date: 12/09/20 03:11
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: 55002

The scrapping of these units is nothing short of criminal. It does make you wonder if the people now in charge actually know anything about railways. Here in West Yorkshire, it was commented some time ago about bringing these up here, and standardise the fleets. But oh no, let's buy the latest gee whizz CAF trains , the 331s.  chris uk



Date: 12/09/20 09:14
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: 86235

55002 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The scrapping of these units is nothing short of
> criminal. It does make you wonder if the people
> now in charge actually know anything about
> railways. Here in West Yorkshire, it was commented
> some time ago about bringing these up here, and
> standardise the fleets. But oh no, let's buy the
> latest gee whizz CAF trains , the 331s.  chris uk

It does seem an extraordinary waste although I've been reliably informed that they are riddled with corrosion on account of spending so much time in the tunnels under Heathrow, something to do with the dampness of the tunnels themselves and the contrast between the warm humid climate in the tunnels and the normal air temperature outside. I didn't know but they're also not fitted with TPWS apparently, being a self contained service their ATP was deemed to be sufficient for the Paddington to Heathrow run. But even if the physical structure of the units makes rebuilding an overly expensive option you could at least recycle things like the seats, which aree a damn sight more comfortable than the Fainsa ironing boards specified by DafT in some recent MUs.



Date: 12/09/20 11:28
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: nm2320

Perhaps Sims will dismantle and sell certain parts, such as the seats, to others or their dismantling contract has them removing and returning certain components to someone? As these rolling stock transactions are financially complex, perhaps there is a financial reason that scrapping is the best financial solution? Maybe some components were removed before being sent to Sims?

Another (off topic) situation: Airbus A380's less than 10 years old being dismantled. 



Date: 12/09/20 15:11
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: railsmith

86235 Wrote:

> But even if the physical
> structure of the units makes rebuilding an overly
> expensive option you could at least recycle things
> like the seats, which aree a damn sight more
> comfortable than the Fainsa ironing boards
> specified by DafT in some recent MUs.

When I had my first ride in a 332 solo seat, as described in an earlier reply, I thought how much I'd like to have that seat in my car.



Date: 12/10/20 09:35
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: PHall

nm2320 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Another (off topic) situation: Airbus A380's less
> than 10 years old being dismantled. 

That's because Airbus didn't read the market correctly. The A380 was designed to fly from hub to hub.
But the airlines have gone away from the Hub and Spoke system and that left them with a big monster that was too big.
Same reason the B-747 passenger aircraft sales went away. But the big Boeing makes an excellant freighter, the big Airbus, not so much.



Date: 12/15/20 08:06
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: Hartington

I would suggest that the reason for scrapping is largely financial combined with the change in franchse terms from purely financial to "quality". The current financial situation has led to incredibly low lease rates so that it can be as cheap to lease brand new trains (seen as "better quality") as old ones. Even when that wasn't true it took some very clever thinking (and salesmanship) to combine the Gatwick Express sets with 458s so that the fleet went from 4 to 5 car and they also gained some sets - both "Junipers" under their "clothing". These HeX units and their cousins in Yorkshire are two small fleets that probably don't make financial sense to combine and that would probably be true even if lease rates were higher.

 



Date: 12/15/20 08:37
Re: Goodbye Heathrow Express
Author: 86235

You are probably right that being a small bespoke fleet makes refurbishing less worthwhile.



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