- British Rail Class 221
British Rail Class 221 SuperVoyager
CrossCountry 221130 departs Bristol Temple Meads
The interior of Standard Class aboard a Cross Country Bombardier Class 221 Super Voyager
In service 2002– Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation Family name Voyager Constructed 2001–2002 Number built 44 trainsets Number in service 44 trainsets Formation 4 or 5 cars per trainset Fleet numbers 221101–221144 Capacity 26 first class, 162 or 224 standard class per trainset Operator CrossCountry
Specifications Car body construction Steel Car length 23.85 m (78 ft 3 in) driving end cars
22.82 m (74 ft 10 in) other cars
Width 2.73 m (8 ft 11 in) Doors Swing plug at vehicle ends Articulated sections Flexible diaphragm within unit only Maximum speed 125 mph (200 km/h) Weight 227 t (223 long tons; 250 short tons) or 282.8 t (278.3 long tons; 311.7 short tons) per trainset Traction system DEMU Engine(s) Cummins QSK19 of 560 kW (750 hp) at 1800rpm Power output 560 kW (750 hp) per car UIC classification 1A'A1'+1A'A1'+...+1A'A1' Braking system(s) Rheostatic and electro-pneumatic Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS, TASS, Coupling system Dellner
The Class 221 are similar to the Class 220 Voyager units, but they were built with a tilting mechanism enabling up to six degrees of tilt to allow higher speeds on curved tracks. They have a maximum speed of 125 mph (200 km/h).
The Class 221s were produced as 5- or 4-coach sets. Each coach is equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine producing 560 kW (750 hp) at 1,800 rpm, driving an electrical generator which powers two motors, each driving one (inner) axle per bogie via a cardan shaft and final drive. 1,200 miles (1,900 km) can be travelled between refuellings. The coach bodies, the engines and most of the equipment of the Class 221s are the same as the Class 220s, but the bogies are very different: the Class 220 Voyager B5000 bogies have inside bearings which expose the whole of the wheel faces, while the Class 221 SuperVoyager Y36 bogies have a more traditional outside-framed bogie. Unlike the Class 220s, the Class 221s were built with an hydraulic-actuated tilting system to run at high speed around bends, though this has now been removed on the 23 sets operated by CrossCountry.
Each coach weighs between 55 and 57 tonnes, with a total train weight of 281.9 tonnes for a 5-car set (227 tonnes for a 4-car set). The trains have air-operated (pneumatic) and rheostatic brakes, with an emergency stopping distance of 350m at 60 mph (97 km/h).
All Class 221 units are maintained at the dedicated Central Rivers TMD near Burton-on-Trent.
Formation and passenger facilities
There are 44 Class 221 trains, numbered 221 101 to 221 144; the first forty are five-car trains originally operated by Virgin Cross Country, and the remaining four were four-car sets, originally intended for Virgin West Coast North Wales services.
In November 2010, Virgin Trains reformed its three four-car sets into two five-car sets and a residual spare two-car set by inserting the two intermediate (non-driving) cars from 221144 into 221142 and 221143, giving 20 five-car sets (and two spare driving cars). This was aimed at providing more flexibility and consistency in operating Birmingham-Scotland and London-North Wales services.
All vehicles are air-conditioned and fitted with at-seat audio entertainment systems and power sockets for laptop computers and mobile-phone charging. First-class accommodation has 2+1 seating, standard class 2+2 seating. Virgin Trains' units are fitted with CCTV.
The trains have been criticised for providing insufficient space for luggage and bicycles. Also, because the units are designed to tilt, the carriages have a tapered profile that narrows towards roof level, resulting in a less spacious interior than the conventional carriages they replaced.
The formation and capacity of each unit depends on the operator.
Operator Cars per set First Class Seats Standard Class Seats Bicycle storage Formation Virgin West Coast 5 26 (84)* 236 (178)* 4 Coach A Quiet Zone, Coach D - Standard/First Dual Use Coach with Shop, Coach E First Class. CrossCountry 26 252 3 Coach A First Class, Coach F Quiet Zone, at seat catering service. CrossCountry 4 26 182 3 Coach A First Class, Coach F Quiet Zone, at seat catering service.
'*' The number of seats on Virgin sets depends on the use of coach D; if used on North Wales services it provides extra first-class seats, on Anglo-Scottish services coach D is standard-class accommodation.
On their introduction in 2002, Virgin Trains was the operator of all Class 221s, which it used on Cross Country and West Coast Main Line services as well as on the North Wales coast line.
On 11 November 2007 CrossCountry obtained the Cross Country Route rail franchise; the trains were shared in a common pool between the two companies until December 2007, when 221 114 to 221 141 were transferred to CrossCountry, the remainder (221 101 to 221 113, 221 142 to 221 144) staying with Virgin West Coast. Five units, 221 114 to 221 118, were transferred back to Virgin Trains in December 2008.
CrossCountry's Class 221 trains are used alongside Class 220 units and HSTs on the routes inherited from Virgin Trains. Since these routes are not cleared for tilting operation, the company in 2008 first locked the tilting equipment out of use and shortly afterwards isolated it altogether, replacing the hydraulic rams with fixed tie-bars. This change was made to improve reliability and reduce maintenance costs.
Virgin Trains uses the Class 221 units primarily from Birmingham New Street to Scotland (an example of the use of diesel trains entirely "under the wires") and from London Euston to Chester and North Wales.
The trains to and from Scotland operate as single units and alternate between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley (in turn alternating with TransPennine Express trains to and from Manchester Airport). When longer trains are needed for some of these services during the summer, a Pendolino will run through from and to London Euston, and the Super Voyager then fills in for it on the London to West Midlands route.
The trains on the North Wales route sometimes work in pairs between London Euston and Chester and terminate variously at Chester, Holyhead, Bangor or Wrexham.
Technical problems and incidents
Units have been stopped due to waves breaking over the sea wall at Dawlish in storm conditions, inundating the resistor banks and causing the control software to shut down the whole train. This problem was fixed by a software upgrade to the control software.
On 8 December 2005, 221 125 suffered an exhaust fire at Starcross. Other members of the Voyager class suffered similar fires in the 2005-2006 period due to an incorrectly performed engine overhaul.
On 25 September 2006, 221 136 collided with a car on the track at Moor Lane, Copmanthorpe, North Yorkshire. The 14:25 Plymouth to Edinburgh was decelerating on its approach to York station at 9pm when it collided with the car, which had crashed through a fence on to the line. Despite being derailed in the 100 mph crash, the train remained upright. Nobody on board was injured.
Some of the Virgin-operated Class 221 SuperVoyagers were named after famous voyagers, some fictional and some real, as follows:
The Class 220s and 221s transferred to CrossCountry in November 2007 have had their names removed.
'†' Refers to SuperVoyagers transferred to CrossCountry. '*' Refers to units built as 4-coach units originally intended for Virgin West Coast Services.
Class Operator Number of Trains Built Cars per Set Unit numbers. Class 221 Virgin Trains 21 2001–2002 5 221101 - 221118
221142 - 221143
2 221144 CrossCountry 23 5 221119 - 221140 4 221141
- ^ Desiro UK DMU Class 185 fact sheet siemens.com
- ^ "Cutting noise and smoothing the ride". Railway Gazette International. 1 August 2000. http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view//cutting-noise-and-smoothing-the-ride.html. Retrieved 2010-12-20. "216 SuperVoyager cars capable of tilting 6° ... will use the well-proven Y36 bogie with hydraulic tilt actuation."
- ^ a b "High-speed multiple units Virgin Voyager and Super Voyager with SK-450 final drives and cardan shafts". Voith. May 2008. pp. 1–2. http://www.voithturbo.de/applications/documents/document_files/597_e_10_g_1603_e.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-13. "Drive configuration [diagram]"
- ^ "Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index". Rail Safety and Standards Board. http://www.rssb.co.uk/RGS/Pages/MECHANICALANDELECTRICALCOUPLINGINDEX.aspx. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
- ^ a b "Class 220 data". The Railway Centre. 2 June 2008. http://www.therailwaycentre.com/New%20DMU%20Tech%20Data%20/DMU_220_221.html.
- ^ "Virgin eliminate four car Voyagers". RailNews (Stevenage). 3 December 2010. http://rail-news.com/2010/12/03/virgin-eliminate-four-car-voyagers/. Retrieved 2010-12-20. "Virgin Trains is no longer operating any Class 221 Super Voyager trains as four-car units."
- ^ Clement, Barrie (12 January 2004). "GNER boss calls Virgin trains 'cheap and nasty'". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gner-boss-calls-virgin-trains-cheap-and-nasty-572768.html.
- ^ Virgin Trains seating plan
- ^ a b Page 8 of Rail Management 175 confirms this
- ^ Miles, Tony (August 2008). "CrossCountry stops tilting". Modern Railways (London): p. 71.
- ^ "Virgin Trains chaos 'over by Christmas'". BBC News. 20 November 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2494379.stm.
- ^ "Voyager Train fleet "think smart" to operate past Devon sea storms" (Press release). Virgin Trains. 2 December 2002. http://www.virgintrainsmediaroom.com/index.cfm?articleid=272.
- ^ Virgin Trains Cross Country news. April 2006. Page 4 section 14.
- ^ "Car driver killed in rail crash". The Guardian (London). 26 September 2006. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/sep/26/transport.uk.
- Virgin Trains Seating Plan for Virgin Trains Super Voyagers Page 2
- Testing the Class 221s
- Railway Herald Issue 150 page 6 contains an image of a reconfigured Super Voyager.
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