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Rescuing trains gets easier

6 June 2013  •  Author: Network Rail

Adaptions have been made to Network Rail’s fleet of Class 57s in the south to allow them to rescue failed electric multiple units.

Testing of the six 57/3 locomotives is now complete following a modification of the brake interface units. This will allow the drivers to operate their brakes and those of the failed train together. The brake interface unit also operates the safety interlocks on most units, which means broken-down units can be removed at normal line speed.

Mick Stewart, senior fleet engineer, National Delivery Service, said: “We can now quickly move units that are stranded – for example, when the third rail network is disabled, if there’s snow and ice, or where there’s been a mechanical failure.

“The 57s are also powerful enough to haul a 12-car EMU – another EMU wouldn’t be able to do that.

“Before, failed units had to be rescued using whatever train was available, powerful enough, and that could be coupled to the unit.

“Route controls would have to source the rescue vehicle, find competent fitters and get them to the depot to collect the emergency adaptor coupler before the recovery train could go out – all of which took valuable time.”

A rescue involving one of the modified class 57s would involve its driver, the driver of the failed unit, plus competent staff, such as a maintenance operations manager or a train operating company fitter, on either side of the coupling. This can be achieved in 15 minutes – a large time saving over previous procedures.

Other possible uses for the class 57s include routinely moving EMUs between works for servicing.

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