Grand Central has now received 180108, the first of five former First Great Western Class 180s destined for the fleet. This is currently in service in its previous operators blue livery, to cover for 180114 which is at Arriva Train Care’s depot in Eastleigh being fitted with ETCS (European Train Control System) equipment by Alstom. This equipment forms the on-train part of the new signalling system that Network Rail plan to implement on the ECML (East Coast Main Line) in the future. The aim will be to fit this to all of the Class 180s, where possible during a refresh, to ensure that GC are best prepared for when Network Rail look to implement it. The new equipment, which involves a new cab layout, additional underframe equipment and a new electronics cubicle in the passenger saloon, will all be switched off in the meantime.
Once 108114 returns, 180108, will go to Eastleigh at the start of July for refurbishment. This will last approximately two months and include a full interior and exterior repaint, overhauled seats, new flooring and catering modifications.
The next meeting of the Coastliners Rail User Group will take place on Thursday 22 June 2017 at 7.15pm in the Reading Room of The Athenaeum Club, Church Street, Hartlepool. Though the meeting will be expected to close by shortly after 9.00pm we will be welcome to use the bar until 10.30pm.
The guest speakers will be Mr Mike Paterson, Regional Director at Northern Railway (North East) and Mr Pete Myers, Stakeholder Manager at Northern Railway (North East). Pete is well known to Coastliners but this will be Mike’s first visit to the Group.There is clearly much to discuss on 22 June … what has transpired during the first year of the ‘new’ franchise and what is in store during the next few years.
Two weekends in May saw the replacement of the 2010 Tall Ships artwork on the wall of the disused platform at Hartlepool with a new set of artwork depicting Hartlepool’s attractions. Sponsored by Hartlepool Borough Council and Grand Central Rail in conjunction with Cleveland College of Art & Design, the artists were Abigail Taylor & Owen Smith. All the pictures are in the fashion of bygone railway posters.
At the same time the Friends of Hartlepool Station took advantage of the opportunity of access to the platform offered by Hartlepool BC and Network Rail to clear the weeds and generally tidy up.
Pictures by Vic Branfoot