TfW are in trouble with rolling stock

Last week was a gruesome week for TfW. We spent some time looking at the RealTimeTrains web pages for our route, and extracted the information from last weeks working.

There are 56 services each day and 16 of these we would recognise as shuttles from Crewe to Shrewsbury and return.

40 are intercity train, with 16 ‘booked’ as Mk4 coach trains. The highest number of services operated by Mk4s was Friday when it was 5. Mostly it is only one or two each day. The replacement stock provided on these services is two car 150 or 2x153s. Generally 175s are not used as replacements.

Of the 40 daily intercity services (including those for Mk4 trains) the number operated by 150/153 and 158 is 30% to 40%. This is not a rare occurrence. It’s a bit of let down if you are expecting a plush Mk4 coach to find that TfW have provided a 150 of 153. And they told us that they would only use these sets on long distance as a last resort.

Counting Crewe and Shrewsbury stops for all trains (56×2) generally about 12-15% of stops were late (more than 5 minutes). Probably a reasonable performance.

Thursday was a very bad day because of signal problems on the line and not TfW’s fault. Most of the shuttle services were cancelled, and intercity trains mostly delayed by one hour. A number of trains did not get to Manchester but were turned back at Wilmslow to save some time. More than 40% of stops were late (more than 5 minutes).

There were very few cancelled trains last week, except on Thursday. So generally the trains got there, some a bit late.

Of those trains very late, it is difficult to tie in the reasons. But we note than many of the longer delays (setting aside signal failures) are because the train leaves its origin late, and cannot recover time.

The shuttle was operated by 2 car trains except for Monday when it was a single 153, see the picture.

The table of data is attached. This is read like a timetable with trains listed in sequence of departure from Crewe station. TfW trains that are Crewe Manchester are not included.


What does it mean? TfW are in trouble with rolling stock. The Mk4 roll out is slow and Cardiff Canton are using any 150 and 153’s to fill in when they are not available. 175s are not so reliable, (TfW say more trains are needing repair etc) and TfW use 2 car sets to replace 3 cars, and then fall back on 150’s and 153s.  The 197s are not yet deployed. We only see them on training runs on our line, though they are operating limited numbers out of Chester.

We will look again a the performance in February to see if things are improving. We hope that the use of the Mk4 trains ramps up quickly now, as this will ease the pressure on older stock.

What can you do? If you are on an intercity train and it is not a 175 or Mk4 coach train, then complain to TfW. It is unacceptable that we have to ride on these old 150 and 153 trains on long distance services.

If you are riding on a shuttle service with a single carriage, complain. We were long ago promised 2 car trains on the shuttle, so complain.

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