Posted: Fri 3rd Mar 2023

Transport for Wales ‘short of rolling stock’ as class 175 trains taken out of service for safety checks

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 3rd, 2023

Transport for Wales (TfW) has temporarily withdrawn some of its class 175 trains from service due to safety concerns while “enhanced maintenance” is carried out.

This move will leave TfW “short of rolling stock”, according to a statement by Jan Chaudhry-Van der Velde, the Chief Operations Officer at TfW.

However, Mr Chaudhry-Van der Velde reassured passengers that the situation would gradually improve over the next few days as the trains go through the maintenance program and are returned to passenger service.

While the TfW boss did not provide details on why the trains were being taken out of service for enhanced maintenance, there have been three fires involving class 175 trains in recent weeks.

Firefighters were called to Wilmslow Station on March 1 after smoke was seen coming from below a carriage of a train on the platform.

On February 22, fire crews were also called out to Wilmslow station to reports of a fire on a class 175 unit, which was extinguished using hose reel jets.

Additionally, on February 8th, a class 175 travelling from Holyhead to Cardiff caught fire near Wrexham, prompting a large emergency service response and causing traffic chaos due to the nearby A483 being closed.

Firefighters used breathing apparatus and hose reel jets to control the fire in the undercarriage of the train, passengers were unharmed in all the incidents.

It is understood that the fires were caused by oily crud and dried leaves building up on hot engine parts.

In his statement, Mr Chaudhry-Van der Velde emphasised that safety is TfW’s top priority for both customers and colleagues.

“We have to take some of our class 175 trains out of service while we run some enhanced maintenance routines on them for safety reasons,” he said.

“Now, this is going to leave us a little short of rolling stock for a few days while we put all the trains through this enhanced maintenance.”

“But as the trains go through the program, they’ll return to passenger service, and so the rolling stock situation will gradually get better over the next few days.”

The entire class 175 fleet was temporarily withdrawn from service for safety checks in February 2018 after further investigation found that a track fault between Newport and Cwmbran had caused wheel damage to several trains.

The class 175 trains, which are diesel multiple units built by Alstom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, are the backbone of express services operating across the Wales and Borders network through South, North, and West Wales.

TfW has asked passengers to check their website or the journey check website to make sure their train is running as normal. During this period, passengers are advised to plan their journeys accordingly and bear with TfW as it prioritises safety.

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