General News Report digest for February 2003

This article originates from February 2003

De-icing duties

From the night of Friday 3 January 2003 and continuing until forecast temperatures remained above freezing (in practice this was 18 March 2003), any one or two of our three operational motor coaches Hastings, Mountfield and Tunbridge Wells have been in action both day and night, every day during the cold weather, providing motive power for Network Rail’s de-icing train. During the coldest spells, it is imperative to keep the 3rd rail free from ice which would cripple electric-train operations.

[PHOTO: train approaching through station in winter sunshine: 82kB]

The de-icing train approaches the signal-box at Berwick station, on a de-icing run to Eastbourne on 27 January 2003. 60118 Tunbridge Wells leads the Network Rail de-icing car, with 60000 Hastings bringing up the rear. Photo courtesy of Jason Morgan.

By day the deicing train has been working on the South Central division, on Coastway East and to Lewes, Newhaven, Haywards Heath and Brighton; by night it has been scheduled to operate from Hastings to Tonbridge and Redhill. In both cases it is available to work elsewhere additionally as required. (20 Feb 2003)

First TPWS test run

60116 Mountfield made a successful test run to Eastbourne and back on the afternoon of Tuesday 28 January 2003, to test the prototype improved NRS (National Railway Supplies) TPWS equipment which has recently been installed. This was the first time any DEMU has run with TPWS. As anticipated, Mountfield has since taken the place of 60000 Hastings, in order that TPWS proving trials can run in tandem with the de-icing duties. (20 Feb 2003)

Leaf-fall season

Between 7 December 2002 and 3 January 2003, 1001 was “keeping its wheels round” at St. Leonards depot. Although it remained available for operation on the Ashford & Hastings line by South Central, we were trying to avoid using it during the height of the leaf-fall season and risking costly wheel damage. (01 Feb 2003)