Class 220 testing and operations

During 2001 and 2002 the class 220 Voyagers underwent test and commissioning running on the Monk Bretton branch near Wakefield and on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

The  class 220 units were built by Bombardier at their Horbury (Wakefield) and Bruges (Belgium) plants and consisted of 4 cars each having an underslung 750HP Cummins QSK19 engine with alternator and two longitudinally mounted traction motors driving one axle on each bogie via final drives and cardan shafts. The units also featured rheostatic and friction braking.

The class 220 units are known as Voyagers and are non-tilting but have the same tapered body profile as the tilting class 221 Super Voyagers .

Serco staff were involved with all the initial test running under a specially written Class 220  Railway Safety Case on the Monk Bretton branch and the ECML. The units were delivered by rail from Horbury to Crofton Depot which used to be a track assembly depot. Bombardier spent a lot of money upgrading the facility with two portable train sheds and pit roads, Portakabins etc.

The depot is still in use today servicing Class 170's and 222's as well as Voyagers and latterly the class 180's. Horbury Works has now closed.

Serco undertook all the formal Acceptance Testing and a multitude of train operations on the class 220 fleet including commissioning runs on every unit.

 Here are a selection of photos of the class 220 units in action and some of Horbury Works and the Crofton facility.

Click on the picture for a bigger image - all photos are the authors unless otherwise credited

Crofton Depot & Horbury Works

Crofton depot is now used as a servicing and stabling point by CrossCountry Trains. Horbury Works is now closed.

The crossing gates at Crofton protected the line between Wakefield and Goole. The depot is on the other side of the tracks to the LHS (off screen) on this picture taken in January 2003 The view from the main line approaching from Monk Bretton/Oakenshaw direction - the sheds of the depot can be seen on the left through the trees - trains had to reverse in a headshunt to enter the depot. Note the white 'calling on' lights on the signal post.

The view from the cab of a train in the headshunt looking towards the depot. The main line and connection on the left and depot entrance on the right 221114 stands in front of the sheds at Crofton

221106 inside the shed at Crofton on 21st January 2004 - one of our last jobs off Crofton 221111 in the bottom yard at Horbury on 21st January 2003
220 Horbury A class 220 on a very wet day in the yard at Horbury Works 221117 awaits departure from the yard at Horbury on 29th January 2003

View out of the cab windscreen when traversing the sheds within Horbury Works

Monk Bretton testing

Monk Bretton was just around the corner from Crofton - Oakenshaw signal box controlled access to and from the line although it has now closed. The line was only used by a sand train which travelled to Redfearn's glass works at the end of the line once or twice a week. The line was originally part of the route between Leeds and Derby and was laid in part with CWR on concrete sleepers - although it had a 40 mile/h limit when we were there.

Although it had no signals (except the protecting exit signal for Oakenshaw) the line was fitted with Tilt And Speed Supervision (TASS)  balises for test purposes.

220 003 Monk Bretton

Unit 220003 is pictured undergoing commissioning tests on the Monk Bretton branch in the spring of 2001

Author's collection

An unidentified 221 at Monk Bretton on a sunny day - note the unit number written on a piece of A4 paper Sellotaped to the valance
On 16th January 2003 unit 221109 is pictured heading for Oakenshaw Another view of 221109 - the branch was a bleak and windswept place in January!

ECML testing

In addition to the slow speed running on the branch the trains also ran between York and Darlington where they were put through their paces. This was the same route where the prototype HST was tested 30 years before.

220019 Darlington Unit 220119 sits in the bay at Darlington after a high speed run from York on 13th June 2001
220019 Darlington Another view of 220119 at Darlington
220 030 Newcastle 220030 on a test train pictured in the sunshine at Newcastle in December 2002

In service

Near Duffield An unidentified class 220 heads towards Derby and passes under the road bridge just south of Duffield station on 22nd April 2004 Near Milford An unidentified class 220 pictured between Belper and Milford Tunnel on 6th May 2004
Bullbridge Another unidentified unit on a Down service at Bullbridge, north of Ambergate on 25th May 2005 Wingfield Tunnel A 220 pictured north of Wingfield Tunnel on 13th July 2005
Derby 220018 enters Derby station on 8th February 2006 Carlisle 220009 arrives at Carlisle with an Up service on 1st June 2006
Pink doors! Under new ownership - 220028 in XCT livery enters Derby on 12th July 2008

Further testing

In April 2008 trials were undertaken utilising a class 220 to assess new brake pad material for both the 220's and 221's. The pads had already been proven on the dynamometer rigs at the manufacturers and the on-track testing was to validate their performance in traffic.

The trains were once again based at Crofton Depot, Wakefield which was very convenient for the ECML.

Here we are again! I was back at Crofton after an absence of over 5 years, where 220002 awaits a test run to Darlington on 23rd April 2008 in connection with tests on new brake pads.

More pictures will be added as time permits  


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