March 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter is concerned about braking performance on class 444 and 450 trains. As the train's brakes are applied, rather than coming to a smooth stop, the train jolts causing bikes to fall over and get damaged. The reporter is worried that a passenger or a member of train crew will fall and injure themselves. The jolting has been noticed between Weymouth and Dorchester, the Eastleigh area, and in the Basingstoke to Woking area.
The reporter believes the cause of the problem to be a fault on the wheel sets of the second and third coaches of the train. The reporter is aware that the cause of this rocking is known as "torsion rigidity‟. Such train faults can cause lasting track damage if left unaddressed.
The reporter would like to see the matter investigated to determine the exact cause of the rocking and see it rectified. The suggestion is for wheel sets to be reviewed and repaired.
Previous reports about the shaking of trains have been received by CIRAS in the past 12 months. In particular, two of these (40484, sent to South West Trains and Network Rail, and 40746, sent to South West Trains only) were about the Basingstoke area in which track quality issues were identified by the reporter. This new report may have associations with the same issues raised in the previous reports.
For Network Rail:
For South West Trains:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for raising their concern regarding the riding characteristics of class 444 and 450 trains operating over the Wessex route.
However, after lengthy discussion we came to the conclusion that the responsibility to respond belongs to South West Trains. This conclusion was reached because from a track quality point of view, no reason can be found for this phenomenon as there is no evidence that the track geometry is being affected.
There are no out-of-specification track conditions in the areas that the reporter identifies, except over short lengths in the Hook area where weak banks have resulted in track condition that requires regular tamping attention and which we address as necessary.