EMR and Porterbrook salute iconic HSTs

©East Midlands Railway
  • HSTs will be retiring in May 2021, after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line
  • Record breaking Power car repainted in its legacy colours 
  • The Power Car will be preserved by the National Railway Museum in York

East Midlands Railway and Porterbrook are paying tribute to the iconic HSTs by painting power car 43302 into the Intercity Swallow livery and reinstating its original number 43102. 

©East Midlands Railway

Operated by East Midlands Railway (EMR) and owned by Porterbrook these much-loved trains will be retiring after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line, making way for newer fleets to join EMR in time for the May 2021 timetable change.

©East Midlands Railway

Power Car 43102 famously broke the Intercity World Speed Record in November 1987 when it reached 148.5mph between Northallerton and York during a test a run. Although it was formally renumbered to 43302 by its previous operator, today it regains its original number 43102 and the livery it carried when it broke the record.

©East Midlands Railway

To this day the HST remains an iconic piece of British engineering and a much-loved part of the railway while continuing to serve passengers on the Midland Main Line. It remains a true testament to TCB Miller and his design team at the BR Railway Technical Centre in Derby, who took the train from concept to working prototype in 2 years.

©East Midlands Railway

Upon its retirement in May, after 43 years’ service, this Power Car will be donated by Porterbrook to the National Railway Museum in York, joining power car 43002 which carries the name ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’.

©East Midlands Railway

Neil Bamford, Fleet Director for EMR said: “The team at our Neville Hill depot in Leeds have been working hard behind the scenes to strip unit 43302 of its current livery, repaint it in its legacy colours and reinstate its original number in homage to the ‘end of the HST’ era.”

“What an incredible way to pay tribute to the HSTs and the magnificent efforts from all our staff, who have operated and maintained the fleet over the years.

“I personally remember as a 19-year-old, way back in 1980, going on HST commissioning runs from Derby to Darlington, putting the trains through their paces and doing various tests before they entered into service, such happy memories.

“This is a fitting way to recognise the end for this iconic machine; a massive slice of railway heritage and history.”

Neil Foster, Fleet Services Director for Porterbrook said: “EMR and Porterbrook have worked closely together for many years to collaboratively manage the iconic HST fleet, these trains are much loved by the millions of passengers they have carried over the decades.

“Today’s event was a great way to mark the role played by HSTs in transforming the Midland Main Line into one of Britain’s premier rail routes. With their reputation for comfort and speed these icons of British engineering re-invigorated rail travel between Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London.

“Celebrity power-car 43102 will proudly display its original livery whilst it continues to serve EMR passengers, before undertaking its next journey to a new home at the National Railway Museum to be reunited with Sir Kenneth Grange.”

Railcam Sheffield is LIVE!

We are delighted to reveal our latest installation, Railcam Sheffield.

For the last 10 months Covid-19 has limited us to very few installs and upgrades, dodging between lockdowns and travel restrictions, we have struggled to keep up with the mountain of locations we have to install with brand new cameras, or upgrade existing equipment.

One shining light has been the small number of hosts who are able to self install pre-configured equipment, and our host at Sheffield is one of those.

Shipped just last week, our host has got the equipment set up in his office window in no time, and we now have a stunning overview of the north end of Sheffield station, which has the added bonus of the Sheffield SuperTram thrown in for good measure.

Due to the camera being inside, we unfortunately can’t offer audio, but the PTZ (Pan, Tilt & Zoom) functionality of the camera gives us the option of the stunning images displayed below,

Railcam Sheffield will be available to Railcam Supporters from 10am on Friday 29th January.

Fancy becoming a Railcam Supporter?

For £4 a month or as little as £23 for the entire year, you can take advantage of many addition features, including Live Signalling Diagrams, addition Premium Cameras, Schedule information and much more…..

Find out more at https://railcam.uk/whatyouget.php

East Midlands Railways unveils newly designed seats for state-of-the-art Aurora fleet

  • Completely unique seats offering enhanced comfort 
  • Seats easier to clean, maintain and more durable 
  • Every passenger has access to power and USB point

Passengers travelling on East Midlands Railway’s (EMR) Aurora trains will be able to sit back and relax thanks to unique seats specifically designed for the company’s new fleet.

Working closely with Derby-based design firm DGDESIGN, EMR has taken the proven product of a FISA Lean seat and refined it to offer enhanced comfort and support. It has also improved the appearance to match what they believe customers expect from an InterCity service seat.

The seat rework has included increasing the size of cushions, headrests and armrests and making sure that high quality durable materials are used throughout, such as a wool-rich moquette and leather.

At the same time, EMR has also ensured the seats include all the practical and technological features that customers require, such as power and USB points, generous legroom, coat hooks , well-sized seat-back tables for all airline seats and space to stow a cabin-bag under each seat.

Rachel Turner, Head of New Trains at East Midlands Railway, said: “We know the FISA seat has a good level of comfort, but we wanted to further enhance this by providing additional support in key areas, developing something that looks comfortable, inviting, and unique to EMR. All this has been done whilst ensuring we still meet the latest seat safety standards.

“Our customers are used to large comfortable seats, as found in our Meridian trains, so we wanted to maintain this character but go even further.

“It has taken a lot of work but we are delighted with the final product, not only are they comfortable to sit in and look refined, but they are also easy to keep clean and include all the features passengers should expect from a new generation of trains.”

David Gordon, Director at DGDESIGN, said: “After safety and punctuality, seat comfort is probably the most important customer requirement and therefore a key focus for our interior design work, with every effort being made to optimise the at-seat experience by further enhancing an already proven seat system.

“Headrests have improved lateral support for added comfort and privacy, cushions have been widened, armrests are softer and deeper, additional privacy screening has been introduced and upholstery detailing has been refined to improve aesthetics and cleanability.”  

EMR’s new InterCity fleet, which will be able to run on electricity and diesel, will be built by Hitachi Rail in County Durham and financed by Rock Rail East Midlands.

Mike Kean, Chief Originations Officer at Rock Rail, said “Comfortable seating plays a key part in delivering great passenger travelling experiences. We are delighted that the new Aurora seats will help transform passenger journeys together with the many other improved passenger, operational and environmental features of this state-of-the-art fleet.”

Amy Webb, Head of Programmes – Commuter, Hitachi Rail, said: “Hitachi is excited to be working with EMR to deliver the new Aurora Fleet for its passengers. As today’s announcement underlines, Aurora passengers can expect to benefit from a comfortable journey, with more capacity and a new, modern interior.

“The manufacturing of the trains is also benefiting over 75 suppliers across the UK – a number that will continue to rise – and will also support hundreds of jobs at Hitachi Rail’s factory in County Durham.”

When it enters service in 2023, Aurora will offer significant advances on the existing fleet, with passengers benefiting from more seats and modern interiors.

The trains will also include features that passengers have said they want to see, including air conditioning, free WiFi throughout, plug sockets and better passenger information screens.

EMR pioneer unique driver training techniques to introduce new trains

East Midlands Railway has successfully delivered unique driver training programmes to allow the introduction of 2 new trains into the EMR fleet.

EMR resumed their driver training programme in August after being forced to stop due to Covid-19 earlier in the year. Since the training resumed, EMR have aimed to train 4 drivers per week on Class 170’s at both Derby and Nottingham, with an additional 4 drivers on Class 180’s at Derby. The latter allowing the first of the Class 180s to enter service, as planned, on Monday 14th December.

Due to the impact Covid-19 had upon training, new agreements were forged in collaboration with EMR union colleagues to ensure training could be delivered safely.

As a business, EMR had never attempted to train so many drivers on different fleets, across multiple locations simultaneously, yet they have done so, whilst also adapting to the restrictions put in place by Covid-19. Typically, driver training involves more than one person in a confined drivers cab for extended periods of time. This had to be adapted due to Covid-19.

To keep the teams safe during the pandemic, all of the ‘close contact’ training requires Drivers to enter into Covid-secure training bubbles. Every Instructor and Trainee takes a Covid-19 test every week, prior to training. This, alongside daily safety declarations and temperature checks, are proving vital to ensuring the teams can continue to train safely.

EMR Driver Instructors, Driver Managers and the Learning & Development team created training materials based on information gathered from other train operating companies. This involved bringing in an instructor from Hull Trains for training on the Class 180 trains and for the Class 170 units, EMR looked to its sister train operator, Scotrail for support with the training programme.

EMR’s Driver Instructor teams are going above and beyond to provide high quality, consistent training for all of the Drivers. They have moved the training around the network to suit the availability of the new fleet, developing a full catalogue of training materials and even learning sections of new route so that they can train using the paths allocated for each course.

The courses deliver two new traction types across four locations simultaneously to recover time lost due to Covid-19. EMR Mainline drivers at Nottingham, alongside Depot drivers from Eastcroft, have learned Class 170 units, whilst Mainline drivers at Derby and Depot drivers at Etches Park have learned both Class 170 and Class 180’s. 

The Class 170 project saw 3 trains enter passenger service yesterday (December 14th), alongside the timetable change, serving the Robin Hood Line. The training programme will continue until August 2021, when EMR will have trained over 265 Drivers on the new fleet across four locations.

The Class 180’s also entered into service yesterday on the Midland Mainline and are operating on EMR’s Intercity route. The 180’s will be in service until EMR’s new Aurora fleet will be introduced in 2023.

Chris Fairclough, Driver Depot Manager for Nottingham, Boston, Lincoln and Norwich EMR, said: “The Driver Training Programme had to be adapted quickly due to Covid-19. With social distancing measures in place, we have worked harder than ever to ensure we could train as many drivers in the safest and quickest way possible. 

“Safety is always kept at the forefront of our operations and everyone has worked tirelessly to ensure that is the case.  

“With new style trains coming into use, which requires our drivers to re-train on the new models, the pressure has been on to learn everything about how the new fleet operates; from rules and regulations to fire safety, it has not been easy, but I am incredibly proud of all the work that has gone into the Driver Training Programme.

Designed in Derby – East Midlands Railway team up with city firm to create new train interiors

East Midlands Railways (EMR) has chosen to work with a Derby supplier to create the interiors for its new Aurora fleet.

DGDESIGN, which is based at Friar Gate Studios, provides design services to companies all over the world and has worked with many of the world’s leading rail manufacturers and operators on products ranging from award-winning high-speed trains to innovative automated people movers. 

EMR chose the local company to make sure the Aurora fleet offered passengers a calm, comfortable and accessible environment to enjoy their journey on the Midland Main Line when they enter service in 2023.

Rachel Turner, Head of New Trains at East Midlands Railway, said DGDESIGN were the perfect partners to help EMR ensure the Aurora fleet has market-leading interiors that customers will love to relax or work in.

She said: “We are really excited to be working with DGDESIGN on this project and are eager to show our customers what exceptional ideas they have developed, in conjunction with Hitachi Rail. We are sure their combined expertise will mean our passengers will find travelling on our new Intercity fleet is as comfortable, calm and accessible as possible.

2020-10-12 EMR Scenic CL810

“We always try to work with local companies and support business in the regions we serve. We considered lots of companies when choosing our interior partner and it is great to work with one on our doorstep, in a city that has such a proud rail heritage.”

David Gordon, Director and owner of DGDESIGN, said he was delighted that they were selected to support East Midlands Railway in designing and developing its Aurora Fleet. 

He said: “Having the opportunity to work with our local rail operator is a rare privilege and brings added excitement and pride, given that we have a more tangible connection to the positive impact that the end product can bring to our community.  We are very aligned with EMR’s initiative to champion the regions and to work with local suppliers wherever possible, which brings direct added benefit to the region and showcases its capabilities to a wider national audience.

“I live and work in Derby so I will be using the new Aurora trains for business and leisure trips. It will be very exciting to take my family on the trains when they come into service and show them the train interiors that I helped design.”

EMR’s new Intercity fleet will be built by Hitachi Rail in County Durham and financed by Rock Rail East Midlands. Aurora will offer significant advances on the existing fleet, with passengers benefiting from more seats and modern interiors. The trains will also include features that passengers have said they want to see, including air conditioning, free WiFi throughout, plug sockets and better passenger information screens.

East Midlands Railway introduces first of new regional train fleet

East Midlands Railway (EMR) has introduced the first train of its new regional fleet.  

The Class 170 “Turbostars”, which will initially run on the Robin Hood Line, offer EMR Regional customers a more modern and reliable unit with free WiFi. They are also the first trains on the EMR network to use the permanent, East Midlands Railway livery. 

With a different design to the Class 15x fleet that they replace, the Class 170 trains offer wider doors, closer to the middle of the carriage making it easier to enter and exit for passengers and offer a more accessible layout while also providing a choice of table seats.

The Class 170’s are also due to be significantly refurbished, to include various upgrades including the introduction of power sockets, improved CCTV, enhanced information systems and better toilet interiors.

To recognise the contribution from EMR colleagues, as well as those in the wider transport sector and all other key workers keeping Britain moving, EMR has named the first Class 170 to enter passenger service, ‘The Key Worker.’ 

Will Rogers, Managing Director of East Midlands Railway, said: “The introduction of our first 170 is an exciting milestone for us and a real boost for EMR Regional. They offer passengers significant improvements and benefits and will make journeys more comfortable and convenient.

“It is fitting to name the first train into service as ‘The Key Worker’ in honour and to say thank you to everyone who has worked so tirelessly in recent months to support us all.”  

The Key Worker-2

Andrew Pritchard, of Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM), said: “We welcome the introduction of newer and better quality trains to the East Midlands and naming the train “Key Worker” values the front line staff across the region who have worked tirelessly and kept delivering.” 

The first 170 train will be joined by a further two in early December. These units will be operating initially on the Nottingham to Worksop route before being rolled out more generally as part of our plans for 2021.

170 - The Key Worker

A new dawn! East Midlands Railway new Intercity fleet to be named Aurora

East Midlands Railway’s new Intercity fleet will be known as Aurora after the name was chosen from more than 2,000 competition entries.

The Aurora fleet includes Japanese bullet-train technology and will provide fast, comfortable and state-of-the-art journeys between London, Sheffield and Nottingham from 2023.  

Aurora appealed to the judges who were won over by the name’s two meanings which mirror the ethos and technological advancements of the new trains.

Aurora is the name of the Roman goddess of the dawn, representing the new start Aurora provides for the railway serving the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. It is also inspired by the Northern Lights, created by the transfer of the sun’s solar energy – matching Aurora’s ability to run under electric power.

The new state of the art Aurora trains, are financed by Rock Rail East Midlands and will be built by Hitachi Rail UK in County Durham. They have the ability to run using electric overhead lines wherever possible, taking advantage of the £1.5 billion Midland Main Line Upgrade and will ultimately replace the diesel train fleet. 

As a result, they are quieter and greener, meaning lower carbon emissions and a better environment for passengers, stations and communities along the route. Passengers will also see major improvements, including more seats and fresh, modern interiors alongside air conditioning, free WiFi, plug sockets and better passenger information screens.

Construction is due to start later this year with the first units due to start Main Line testing in mid-2022, with the first entry into passenger service due in early 2023. 

Will Rogers, Managing Director at East Midlands Railway, said everyone at the company was delighted with the reaction of the public to the competition.  

He said: “It’s fantastic to see the level of excitement that surrounds the introduction of the Aurora fleet to the region. We love the winning name as it really fits the project and its aim to bring a new start for the Midland Main Line and our passengers.

“We know our passengers are looking forward to the introduction of the Aurora fleet and the modern, comfortable and greener journeys they will provide.”

Jim Brewin, UK Country Lead, Hitachi Rail, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a high level of engagement in East Midlands Railway’s competition to name the new fleet. The ‘Aurora’ is a brilliant winning name, and well suited to the fleet that is being delivered – the latest model of our new intercity trains.

“The new trains will benefit 65 suppliers across the UK including a number in the East Midlands and will be built at our factory in County Durham, supporting hundreds of jobs in the region. We look forward to delivering the Aurora Fleet, providing fast, efficient and environmentally friendly journeys for its passengers.”

Mark Swindell, CEO Rock Rail and Director Rock Rail East Midlands, said “Rock is delighted that the new and aptly named Aurora fleet is set to transform the journeys for passengers along the routes between London, Sheffield and Nottingham.

“Together with our institutional investor partners we are committed to supporting more sustainable travel and the Aurora’s greener credentials will help the UK’s drive towards reducing carbon and other harmful emissions.”

Four EMR stations make shortlist in public vote to find Britain’s favourite railway station

Four East Midlands Railway stations have made it through to the finals in the World Cup of Stations. Leicester, Nottingham, Bottesford and Spalding will battle it out on Twitter this week to secure their place in the final on Friday 16th October.

Spalding

With sports fans having been denied their usual fix during much of the COVID 19 pandemic, the World Cup of Stations, returning for its second year, will give EMR passengers a chance to cheer on their local station as it competes in the top-flight of social media polling.

The national competition is organised by the Rail Delivery Group, who represent train operators and the wider rail industry and will see 48 stations large and small representing each region of the country competing in a series of online polls starting today.

Leicester

Regional and national heats are sure to stoke rivalries. By Friday, the competition will have been whittled down to a final four with one of Britain’s 2,579 railway stations named the nation’s favourite on Friday evening.

The competition comes as stations up and down the country welcome more people back to the railway supporting communities and local businesses as Britain continues to learn to live with COVID-19. Station staff are working hard to ensure stations can play their full role supporting Britain’s recovery from COVID, keeping people connected and boosting regional economies.

Leicester and Nottingham are two of EMR’s largest stations, providing EMR Intercity services to and from London St Pancras International. Bottesford and Spalding may be smaller regional stations but they are important parts of their local community and well cared for by their station adopters.

Bottesford

Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director for EMR said: “We are delighted that four of our stations have made it to through to the finals of the World Cup of Stations.

“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Team EMR has worked tirelessly to keep services running and make our environments safe for passengers and colleagues. 

“We encourage our passengers to vote for their local station through our social media channels.”

Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions for the Rail Delivery Group, which is organising the competition said,

“The World Cup of Stations is about celebrating the thousands of stations across the country many of which have been at the heart of their communities for more than a century. It’s also about recognising the friendly local faces who have kept key workers moving throughout the pandemic. As Britain gets moving again, their role in supporting local businesses and spreading opportunity is more important than ever.”

Railcam to celebrate Midland Mainline HSTs with #HSTonMML

**POSTPONED**

© @HiPa_IC125_

Who doesn’t love a HST? No, I didn’t think there would be many hands raised to that question. Well, this Saturday, 3rd October, Railcam will be celebrating the iconic High Speed Train. We plan to head out to the Midland Mainline, between Leicester and Derby/Nottingham to feature a number of live streams of these famous beasts in action via our YouTube channel.

We also plan to feature live photos across our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, but we need your help! Throughout the day we would like to see your own historical photos of HSTs working on the Midland Mainline, alongside the hashtag #HSTonMML.

Along with the hashtag, we would also ask that you tag Railcam, East Midlands Railway and We are EMR across any of the platforms you choose to post to. We will like and share as many as we can throughout the day.

That’s it, it’s that simple……

Despite the wet forecast, we still plan to head out and cover as much as we possibly can. With that in mind, here are the scheduled* HST workings for Saturday 3rd October (* Subject to change)

SET 1 – 5B23, 1B23, 1D28, 1B48, 1D53, 1B73, 1F77, 5F77.

SET 2 – 5B28, 1B28, 1D33, 1B53, 1D58, 1B78, 1D81, 5D81.

SET 3 – 5D13, 1D13, 1B33, 1D38, 1B58, 1D63, 5D63.

SET 4 – 5B13, 1B13, 1D18, 1B38, 1D43, 1B63, 1D68, 5D68.

SET 5 – 5B18, 1B18, 1D23, 1B43, 1D48, 1B68, 1F70, 5F70.

You will be able to track the movements of all of these services on the day by using our RC Data tab on the Railcam website. Type the headcode in the appropriate search box. Allocations can also be added, along with set and coach information.

Note. We are not encouraging gatherings of enthusiasts and we urge that social distancing measures are still followed, when travelling and on stations.