REBRANDING EXERCISE FOR TFW FLEET
TRANSPORT FOR Wales Rail Services is required to rebrand all of the ex-Arriva Trains Wales fleet by 31 March 2021, recently published contract documents reveal. The Pacer fleet should be rebranded by April this year.
The Pacers will be rebranded at Cardiff Canton depot. A spokesman explained: ‘Pacers will have some mini-wraps put on them to act as moving billboards and communicate the exciting changes going forward, including the end of Pacers in Wales by the end of 2019’.
Rebranding of the units of Classes 150/2, 153, 158, 175 and 769 with the full TfW livery is a more time-consuming process. Interiors and exteriors will be rebranded by 2021.
The first Welsh Class 150/2 unit to receive PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility) modifications returned to service in early January (without TfW branding). The ‘150s’ will receive £10 million of improvements. The contract requires installation of wheel slip protection (WSP) equipment by the end of December. However, the Welsh Government has promised that all units will have WSP by autumn 2019, to prevent a repeat of the severe disruption to services last autumn.
The Pacers will not receive PRM modifications. Their withdrawal is scheduled for the end of this year, the deadline for PRM compliance. However, the contract commits TfW Rail Services, owned by KeolisAmey, to installing power supply sockets for passenger use in the Pacers. The ‘milestone delivery date’ for this expenditure is 1 January 2020 – one day after the deadline for removing all Pacers from the train plan! A performance improvement programme for the Class 153 units is due to be completed by the same date, as are installation of power supply points at Class 153 bay seats and at every seat on Class 158s and Class 175s. The legacy fleet must also have an interior refurbishment by the end of this year.
TfW Rail Services should introduce three sets of Mk 4 coaches by the end of the year, but this is ‘subject to the release of the cascaded rolling stock’ by LNER. The coaches, along with 12 cascaded Class 170 units, should receive interior refurbishment by April 2020, which is also the deadline for introducing the ‘170s’ into service in Wales. The Class 67 locomotives currently used with Mk 3 stock between Holyhead and Cardiff are allowed to continue until the end of 2028, the deadline for replacing them with ‘locomotives that produce less emissions’.
The contract also specifies that Keolis will move its UK headquarters to Wales by the end of this year, followed by the headquarters of its Global Rail Division by the end of 2021.
The grant agreement documents include infrastructure works which TfW Rail Services will deliver. These are not confined to the Core Valley Lines, which are due to transfer from Network Rail to Welsh Government ownership by the end of this year for electrification under TfW Rail Services’ supervision.
By the end of 2023, the operator will invest in the installation of an intermediate block signal between Wrexham General and Gobowen. This will break up a 12-mile block section to facilitate the introduction of services between Cardiff and Liverpool. By the end of 2022, beacons for selective door opening will be installed at stations to enable operation of four-car and five-car trains between Manchester and West Wales via Cardiff. New trains will be introduced from 2022.
A new station is due to be delivered at Crwys Road, between Cardiff Queen Street and Heath High Level, by December 2022. A new station at Gabalfa, between Cathays and Llandaff North, is planned by April 2027. The operator is required at all times to co-operate ‘fully and effectively’ with third parties, including local authorities, in the development and implementation of proposals to enhance stations or open new routes or stations. Rhodri Clark