Great North Eastern Railway - GNER Rolling Stock - D

Great North Eastern Railway - D

GNER Rolling Stock

At the beginning of operations in April 1996, GNER inherited a fleet of InterCity 125 High Speed Train sets made up of Class 43 power cars and Mark 3 carriages, and InterCity 225 sets made up of Class 91 locomotives and Mark 4 carriages and Driving Van Trailers. It continued to operate both types throughout its time operating the franchise.

One early, and particularly low cost, means of expanding GNER's fleet was the purchase of the Class 89 prototype electric locomotive 89001. After being repaired at a reported cost of £100,000 and repainted in GNER livery, it went into revenue-earning service in March 1997, being primarily used on services from London King's Cross to Leeds and Bradford Forster Square. 89001 had to be withdrawn from service in October 2000 due to technical problems, but its brief service life had helped alleviate GNER's shortage of traction due to reliability issues.

By 2000, it was clear that GNER's Class 91 fleet was in need of refurbishment to address reliability issues, thus the company made arrangements to lease alternative traction as a stop-gap measure. Between May 2000 and December 2005, GNER leased a number of Class 373 Regional Eurostars from Eurostar. In GNER service, the fleet was operated for services between London and York, and later Leeds, but had to be restricted to a maximum speed of 110 mph (180 km/h) between Grantham and Doncaster because of problems with the overhead wire and pantograph interface.

Furthermore, as a consequence of gauging restrictions, the Eurostars were not permitted to operate north of York to Newcastle, Glasgow or Edinburgh. During November 2005, it was announced that, following their refurbishment, the InterCity 225 fleet would displace the Eurostars.

The InterCity 225s were refurbished by Bombardier Transportation between 2003–2005, the programme was named Project Mallard in honour of the LNER steam locomotive. They boasted re-designed interiors and new features such as Wi-Fi and electric sockets at every seat pair.

GNER bought twelve Mark 3 sleeping carriages with the intention of converting them to passenger carriages to lengthen HSTs. However, this programme was cancelled when GNER was able to lease other Mark 3s that were released by Virgin CrossCountry after this operator withdrew its HSTs.

One commitment for the new franchise awarded in 2005 was to upgrade all of its HSTs to the same standards as the InterCity 225s. The Class 43 power cars were overhauled by Brush Traction in Loughborough, their Paxman Valenta engines replaced with MTU 16V4000 units. To operate increased services to Leeds, GNER leased two former Midland Mainline HSTs from May 2007.

English, Welsh & Scottish Railway provided strategically-placed rescue locomotives, originally Class 47s and later Class 67s. EWS also provided Class 90s to cover for Class 91s, one was repainted in GNER livery but not dedicated to the franchise.

The HSTs were allocated to Craigentinny Depot in Edinburgh and the InterCity 225s to Bounds Green Depot in London. Lighter maintenance and servicing were carried out at Neville Hill Depot in Leeds and Heaton Depot in Newcastle.

During the late 1990s, GNER announced plans to purchase a pair of two tilting trains, based on Italian Pendolino technology. This ambition was expanded in the early 2000s when, as part of a refranchising bid, GNER stated that its planned to purchase a fleet of 25 tilting trains, similar to the British Rail Class 390 Pendolinos then being introduced on the West Coast Main Line, this were envisioned to feature multiple types of propulsion, being divided between electric and diesel-powered examples so that they could serve all of the franchise's destinations. However, the tender and bid alike were abandoned, and no such trains were ever introduced.

Great North Eastern Railway Overview

Great North Eastern Railway Franchise(s): InterCity East Coast
28 April 1996 – 8 December 2007

Great North Eastern Railway Main Region(s):
East of England
East Midlands
North East England

Great North Eastern Railway Fleet Size:
11 InterCity 125 HST sets
31 InterCity 225 sets

Great North Eastern Railway Stations Called At: 53
Great North Eastern Railway Stations Operated: 12
Great North Eastern Railway Parent Company: Sea Containers
Great North Eastern Railway Reporting Mark: GR
Great North Eastern Railway Predecessor: InterCity
Great North Eastern Railway Successor: National Express East Coast

GNER Route Map

Glasgow Central

Edinburgh Waverley

London King's Cross


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