‘323’ sander contract awarded

AB Rail (part of AB Hoses & Fittings Ltd) has been selected to fit Dual Variable Rate Sanders (DVRS) to Class 323 EMUs.

The order comes from the fleet’s owner Porterbrook and has been funded by Network Rail. Multiple sanders will be fitted per train, which AB Rail says will deliver sand at higher and variable quantities, replacing the 20-year-old fixed rate sanders with only one per train. The full fleet fit will be completed for autumn 2023, when all the ‘323s’ will be operated by Northern; currently 26 are with West Midlands Trains, but a transfer is planned once WMT has introduced its new Alstom Class 730 EMUs. AB Rail says many new jobs will be created within the East Midlands, both at the company and within the local supply chain.

The DVRS concept was developed following an RSSB-led trial on a Class 387 at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre at Melton, which demonstrated improvements in braking performance at times of low adhesion. AB Rail subsequently fitted a system on two ‘323s’ as a further trial, but as explained last month there was initially some difficulty in agreeing a contract for a full fleet rollout.