Grand Central 108114 is back in service having had European Train Control System installed. This was the prototype installation for the Class 180’s ready for when Network Rail commission in cab signalling on the southern part of the East Coast Main Line sometime in the next decade. However its return has not been without electrical problems resulting from the enhancement work which have contributed to recent availability problems. Meanwhile 108108, the set that was acquired from First Great Western and ran for a while in blue livery, has gone to Arriva Train Care for a complete refurbishment – toilets, roof panels, seats, carpets – in fact everything.
The remaining four 108s to come from FGW are expected to arrive in January to replace the three HSTs which go off lease on 31st December. Meanwhile with the power cars for one HST being on extended maintenance, the opportunity has been taken to use four standard class coaches from that set to increase the length of the other two to eight coaches to cope with the expected demand over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Northerrn now have three refurbished 156 Sprinters operating from Heaton in place of three 142 Pacers. Look out for them on the Coastline.