Chiltern Railways is to significantly expand its loco-hauled operations from the May 22nd timetable change by returning a number of the redundant Wrexham & Shropshire Mk3 sets to use.
Recent weeks have seen driver training in progress on the Chiltern Line, many of these runs using the WSMR stock, in part to keep it in serviceable condition. Removal of the Wrexham & Shropshire brandings has also commenced on the class 67s with all vehicles expected to be re-branded with Chiltern Railways logos in due course.
From the new timetable, the following weekday trains are due to be class 67 operated:
05:43 Birmingham Moor Street - Marylebone (as currently)
06:53 Banbury - Marylebone (as currently)
06:14 Birmingham Moor Street - Marylebone
10:55 Birmingham Moor Street - Marylebone
15:55 Birmingham Moor Street - Marylebone
08:20 Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street
13:20 Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street
16:30 Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street (as currently)
18:06 Marylebone - Banbury (as currently)
18:30 Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street
The sets are to remain in service until Chiltern has enough of its own heavily refurbished and power door equipped Mk3s available for traffic.
Modifications are also in progress on Mk3b DVT 82304 to equip it with a diesel generator set and compressor. Moved north from Wembley to Wabtec, Doncaster by 67014 on February 14th the vehicle was subsequently removed by road to Brush, Loughborough on March 2nd. The generator, which will be fitted in the van area and encased in an acoustic enclosure, will be used to provide both electrical power and an air supply to the Mk3s. This will allow the class 67 to be shut down during station layovers.
Chiltern Railways has also embarked on a £800,000 refresh of its class 165 fleet, the work including new seat covers, replacement of scratched windows and damaged panels, heavy cleaning, toilet improvements, repainting of yellow warning panels, and application of anti-graffiti coatings to interior panelling. The operator has scrapped two of its class 121 "bubble cars" following the completion of spares recovery. Formerly in sandite use and previously owned by Network Rail, 977723 (55021) & 977866 (55030) were cut up on site at Aylesbury TMD on April 2nd and 3rd.