Class 175s needing maintenance

The Class 175s have been the mainstay of long distance services from Manchester to South Wales for a very long time. The plan is that they are phased out in mid 2023, replaced with the new Class 197s.

However the gremlins have struck. Following three “thermal events” in quick succession, TfW has taken the bulk of the units out of service since early March pending inspection.”Thermal  event” means a fire, in this case in the engine compartment.

We see reports that the problem is a build up of debris. But it is taking time to get the inspection of the sets completed, and we have no doubt that more needs to be done, being the nature of things on these old stock.

It is not helped because the maintenance for these sets, is mainly done in Chester. The contract and the site was taken from the builders Alstom and given to CAF in preparation for the future 197 stock..

TfW have been using the excuse for 175s of ‘more trains than usual requiring repair’ for some time. This is nonsense of course. It translates into “we cannot keep up with the necessary maintenance.”

The sets that were damaged in the fires are 175008, 175101, and 175007.

In the meantime TfW are using the even older 150, 153 and 158 units for the services, including the long distance Manchester to Caramarthen etc. services.

TfW continue to run some Mk4 coach services from Cardiff to Manchester. There is no sign of the 197s our our route. The next timetable change comes in late May, and no doubt there will be more changes.


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