Update added 13th January 2005
Testing on the Main Line
To add a little flesh to the bones of the 'Stop Press' announcement on the front page, a Timetable Notice has been issued allocating running 'slots' for the refurbished train to be out and about on the main lines. I understand that the train will be numbered 756. It covers Tuesdays to Fridays inclusive for the period from 12th January 2005 to 28th January 2005 and covers all the routes and reversing points that D Stock trains routinely use.
However this doesn't necessarily mean that it will be out every day, or that all the moves will be carried out as included in the Notice.
For example, I can confirm that on the 12th January it had been moved within Ealing Common depot, though I do not think it has actually yet ventured outside the confines of the depot.
I am not going to go into details here of the paths allocated as this is of course 'internal information', nor do I want to be inundated with e-mails saying 'you said it was going to be at such-and-such a place at such-and-such a time'! All I can suggest is that if you do want to have an advance view of the train it's worth keeping your eyes open over the next few weeks! The only information I feel I can reasonably confirm is that all the moves are scheduled between about 10:15hrs to 15:00hrs - I leave you to make your own judgements within these parameters.
Update added 30th January 2005
Well, so much for that last update! So far as I've been able to ascertain the train has still not ventured out of Ealing Common Depot - I have certainly seen it stabled stubbornly on 3 Road in the depot throughout this period and all my duties have encompassed at least part of the timings and I didn't see it 'out and about'!
I can only presume commissioning work continues. As and when I hear of further dates being proposed for its testing I will publish them here.
However, one thing I did make mention of right at the beginning of this page that is indeed coming to pass is the reinstatement of the pointwork from Upminster depot to connect to the National Rail network via Platform 6 at Upminster.
The work is under way, and I was able to get the following photo of progress to date during the last week. You will note that the points are in place, the track bed is being laid and the track panels seem to be ready for installation. The old 'buffers' from the sand drag at the end of 51 Road are visible in front of the signal cabin just to the left of the walkway.
Update added 9 February 2005
Well, it's finally happened - 'Train 2' ventured out on the mainline today!
I'd not long got home this afternoon when our Line Standards Manager phoned me to let me know that it was indeed finally making its way from Ealing Common to Upminster, so it seems we're now a step further towards the Great Day when it enters traffic, though this is still a little way off, of course. Unfortunately, there was no chance of me chasing it across London for a photo opportunity - it would probably have been safely ensconced in Upminster depot by the time I'd got even half way there!
Later I received another phone call, this time from Solidbond, to say that he too had received a message from our LSM that it was out and about. By the time he got the message Solidbond had actually seen it going through the city, but he didn't have his camera with him........
So, the proving runs are underway. Keep your eyes and cameras peeled!
Update added 21 April 2005
The Great Day finally approaches!
At last, it seems that the two refurbished trains completed to date will enter passenger service.
I understand that both trains will be used to form the Olympia service from Start of Traffic on Wednesday 27th April 2005. Further, I believe that this will continue to be the pattern for some time, the idea being that it should maximise the opportunity for as many Train operators as possible to experience and become familiarised with them, whilst keeping them close to the services of technical staff.
As both trains are currently at Ealing Common depot, I believe that on the morning of Wednesday 28th April, they will enter service as train 151 (ex Ealing Common depot w/b 06:30) and (I believe) train 127 (ex Ealing Common depot e/b 06:32). The latter train will be reformed (renumbered) to 152 at approximately 10:30 and will then continue in service as this.
Train 151 will stable at Ealing Common depot at approximately 00:42, and 152 at Upminster depot at approximately 00:58.
I emphasise that these are the plans as they stand at the time of writing; of course circumstances may force changes, and I give no guarantee that this will all come to pass! However, I know that a number of plans are being formulated to ensure that the trains do run without problems (at least from the train crew point of view), but if I become aware of changes I will publish them here.
Update added 24 May 2005
As you have probably have read if you are a follower of the Forum attached to this site, the event did not occur.
Since then, there have been another couple of dates put forward when it was intended the two refurbished trains would enter service, but these did not turn out to happen either. Despite extensive enquiries I've yet to find out either when the launch will happen or indeed exactly what the delay is due to; I have heard some rumours on this, but as they are only speculation I am not going to elaborate here. But rest assured as soon as I have some accurate information I will put the details up.
In the meantime, I understand that 'Train 3' is progressing in works at Derby, and I've been told that it will return to London Underground in the second half of June.
The fourth train has now departed from Ealing Common to Derby, again by road.
So, we now effectively have a shortage on the fleet of four trains, and this, when taken in context with normal maintenance and other ongoing modification programmes that are ongoing, is now starting to result in trains being cancelled because of shortages of rolling stock. I have little doubt that Metronet and Bombardier are under some considerable pressure to get the delays resolved as quickly as possible!
Update added 31st May 2005
I understand that the programme has now been 'signed off' by HMRI and that the first two refurbished trains will enter service tomorrow, 1st June 2005.
One will form train 152 (ex Upminster 07:59, to Ealing Broadway departing 09:44 to High Street Kensington and then on the Olympia route until it's 23:37 departure for Upminster) and the other will form train 151 (ex Ealing Common 06:32, departs Ealing Broadway 06:43 to High Street Kensington and then on the Olympia route until it's 00:05 departure to Ealing Broadway).
Again it is emphasised that these are the plans as they appear to stand as I write this.
Thanks to Solidbond for keeping me informed whilst I'm on leave!
Update added 1st June 2005
Further to yesterday's update, the trains did not, in the end, come into service. My understanding is that, although the work has been 'signed off' the formal documentation has not yet been received.
The plan for them to enter service today was, I presume, based on the expectation that the paperwork would have been received in time.
So again a false start! As soon as I know more it will be posted.
In the meantime, just to keep your interest, a couple of photos of Train 1 which I managed to grab whilst it was out on the 'main' during mid-May 2005.
Train 1 seen departing Hornchurch eastbound.
Train 1 seen approaching Ealing Broadway
Train 3 Returns from Derby
Train 3, whose departure is illustrated above in Solidbond's photos, has now returned by road to Ealing Common Depot and I believe is currently undergoing commissioning prior to testing.