Twilight of DEMU operation on the Marsh

This article was closed on Friday 18 June 2004

With effect from the start of the summer timetable, on Sunday 23 May 2004, all passenger services between Ashford and Hastings became booked for Class 170 traction. This spells the end for routine DEMU operation on the Romney Marsh.

However, readers should be aware that a full complement of Class 170 trains may not always be available to begin with; likewise, not all drivers and conductors have received the relevant training yet.

During the first week (commencing 24 May), Monday saw two DEMUs remaining in use and one unit thereafter, with 205 205 operating diagram 973; that Friday evening, a Class 170 train was sent back to Selhurst resulting in a second DEMU operating over the Bank Holiday weekend (29/30/31 May). In the second week (1 June), 205 205 continued to operate each day, and was joined by HDL’s 1001 for Tuesday only. From then until towards the end of the following week (Friday 11 June), at least two diagrams were operated by Southern DEMUs on each day. On Tuesday and Wednesday 15 & 16 June 2004, all three diagrams were operated by Class 170s.

HDL’s Hastings DEMU 1001 remains on standby for the forseeable future to provide service-coverage in case of stoppage or failure.

What does seem certain is that the final night of the old timetables, Saturday 22 May, saw the last-ever DEMU in passenger service running to Eastbourne; the diagrams for the summer timetable have been rewritten so that all units are stabled overnight at St. Leonards depot, hence no Ashford services work through to/from Eastbourne.

Postscript, October 2004: 1001 has indeed covered for Class 170 units on several occasions, as will be noted in the DEMU Diary. Southern DEMUs do not appear on the line any more.