The Anonymous Widower

Heritage Railways And Class 319 Flex Trains

Heritage Railways In The UK

Wikipedia introduces their Heritage Railway entry by saying this.

A heritage railway is a railway kept to carry living history rail traffic in order to re-create or preserve railway scenes of the past. Often heritage railways are old railway lines preserved in a state which depicts a certain period, or periods, in the history of railway systems.

But that doesn’t mean heritage railways in the UK are not run to the best professional standards.

The Class 319 Flex Train

The Class 319 Flex Train is an electro-diesel  version of the Class 319 Train, originally built in the 1980s to serve the Thameslink routes.

These trains are almost as old as the classic Range Rovers., but they have probably been looked after to much higher standards.

Some trains have recently undergone a light refurbishment and are now working electric services for Northern in North-West England.

Northern would run more of the trains, if Network Rail had been able to stick to their electrification timetable.

So Northern and the train rolling stock leasing company; Porterbrook have decided to create the electro-diesel version by installing two rail-proven MAN diesels and an ABB alternator. The train will be able to generate its own electricity and thus work lines without electrification.

I have seen an advance copy of the brochure and the train combines the 100 mph capability of the original trains with the ability to work the very stiff Buxton Line.

Porterbrook describe the train as a Go-Anywhere Solution.

Through Services Onto Heritage Lines

I don’t know how many heritage lines run services that are habitually used by commuters going to school, college or on business, but there have been and might still are be heritage lines where this happens.

The next sections give my thoughts on possible connections and services.

Severn Valley Railway

The Severn Valley Railway runs for a distance of 16 miles between Kidderminster Town and Brignorth stations.

At Kidderminster, there is a connection to the Birmingham to Worcester Line.

This Google Map shows the two adjoining Kidderminster stations.

There is a section called Other Operational Extensions in the Wikipedia entry for the Severn Valley Railway, where this is said.

The General Manager, Nick Ralls has confirmed that Chiltern Railways have approached the Severn Valley Railway with a view to extending a number of its peak-time Marylebone to Kidderminster services to Bewdley to alleviate road congestion in the Kidderminster/Stourport/Bewdley area. This has raised questions regarding car parking limitations near Bewdley station. Should this go ahead the distinction between a heritage railway and a contemporary railway operation would be blurred. In conjunction with this there have been suggestions for locating a Park and Ride facility near Foley Park Halt. Investigations are in-hand to construct a station to serve a conference centre and hotel to be located at the West Midlands Safari Park.


  • According to Wikipedia, it is a future aspiration of Network Rail to electrify the entire Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line, as well as the Chiltern Main Line to London Marylebone.
  • If Chiltern Railways could run to Bewdley station, surely a Class 319 Flex train could run a service to the Severn Valley Railway from anywhere between Kidderminster and Birmingham.
  • If the electrification ever happens, a Class 319 Flex train could run under the wires to Kidderminster and then use diesel power to Bewdley or even Brignorth.

When does a heritage and tourist railway become a commuter route?

Swanage Railway

The Swanage Railway are working on  a connection to the main line at Wareham station.

This Google Map shows Wareham station in the North East corner, with the South Western Main Line running across the image.

Wareham Station And The Swanage Railway

Wareham Station And The Swanage Railway

In the South West corner of the map, a junction can be seen, where the Swanage Railway joins from the South.

As the Class 319 Flex train would probably be a train fully-certified to go on any line, where the Class 319 train can run, it could run from say Poole or Bournemouth stations to the terminus of the Swanage Railway at Swanage via the iconic Corfe Castle.

  • I think that Bournemouth station could turnback a local service to Swanage station.
  • The Class 319 Flex train would use the third-rail electrification on the main line.
  • On the main line, it would be a 100 mph train, just like the Class 444 trains working the line to Waterloo.
  • The train would use diesel power to Swanage.
  • I don’t think much new infrastructure would be needed, once the connection at Wareham is finished.Is a Class 319 train old enough to count as heritage? I suppose it’s fake with a couple of modern German diesels!

It could work as both a local train service and a tourist attraction.


March 22, 2017 - Posted by | Travel | , , , ,

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