Those overnight trains through the Chunnel from the provincial cities would be shorter, at fourteen carriages long.
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These would be formed of two seven-vehicle subsets, each comprising three sleeping vehicles, an equal number of seating carriages, and a service car. Kensington Olympia, formerly home to a British Rail "Motorail" terminal and once considered as a potential location for London's international railway terminal, was to be the nucleus of the "Nightstar" operation for the provincial services. Those services emanating from Swansea and Plymouth would swap diesel power for electric traction.
For instance, the subset of the Plymouth to Brussels service would be coupled to the Edinburgh to Brussels subset, and thus the pair would continue onto the Chunnel portal and their ultimate destinations as a fourteen coach service. Indeed, on the return leg, the subsets would be split at Kensington Olympia and continue separately onto their UK destinations.
The sleepers from Waterloo International and southwards from Kensington Olympia would be hauled by a brand new fleet of electric locomotives. More information can be found in the Class 92 section, but in brief, these locomotives were to be capable of running off 25kV overhead wires and V DC third rail, and conformed to signalling systems of both British Rail and the Chunnel.
As far as France was concerned, the Class 92 would work no further than Calais on SNCF metals, for the type was not equipped with the KVB signalling system which was required for operation on the French network. The locomotives were to haul freights as far as Frethun Yard, which ran parallel with the southeastern side of Coquelles Shuttle Terminal, SNCF traction taking over thereafter.
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Safety legislation required "Nightstar" stock to be top-and-tailed by locomotives through the Chunnel. Therefore, at Dollands Moor on the British side of the operation and Calais in France, a second Class 92 would be attached to the rear of the train. All members of the Class 92 fleet were allocated to Crewe Electric Depot for maintenance.
For the diesel portions of the "Nightstar" services - i. These were taken to Doncaster Works for a complete overhaul, being regeared for higher speeds and made compatible with passenger stock requiring Electric Train Supply ETS. However, ETS would not be sourced directly from the locomotives, but instead be provided by a pool of generator vans dedicated to the "Nightstar" service.
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A day later, No. On 11th November of the previous year, the Government had announced its plans to privatise EPS by transferring it to the consortium which won the bidding process to build and operate the Channel Tunnel Rail Link CTRL , forming part of the state's financial contribution to this project.
Indeed, this was some way behind the original start date for "Nightstar" services and the bad news did not stop there: in May , the project was put on hold as a result of rising costs. The company made known that the existing daytime "Eurostar" services were carrying much lower passenger numbers than originally forecast, which plunged both "Regional Eurostar" and "Nightstar" projects into doubt. The fateful day was 9th July "Nightstar" and "Regional Eurostar" schemes were formally cancelled. Of the "Nightstar" vehicles, 64 carriages had been finished; the rest were largely completed, although lacked interiors, project abandonment coming prior to these being fitted.
The sleeping cars and service vehicles wore the reverse scheme. That saloon sandwiched in-between the seated carriages and service car wore a "split" livery, combining both versions. It had not been a bed of roses for the Class 92 fleet either across all three bodies which operated the type.
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Railtrack, the organisation which had taken control of former British Rail infrastructure on 1st April and was subsequently privatised on 20th May , had started implementing draconian signalling interference criteria. This became problematic for the Class 92 because given its high electrical power rating, it became nigh on impossible for the fleet to adhere to any of the new regulations laid down. This barred the locomotives from a number of key routes, including that line between Redhill and Tonbridge which had been electrified in specifically for Class 92 operation.
It also prevented the class members reaching their home depot at Crewe, which meant that they had to be dragged there "dead" by a diesel from as far away as Wembley. In June , three of the obsolete "Nightstar" carriages were shipped to Canada where that country's railway operator, "VIA Rail", was looking to test them with a view to purchase. The carriages were hauled on test workings between Ottawa and Montreal during November of that year and on 15th of the following month, it was formally announced that all vehicles would be bought for ,, Canadian Dollars. They were destined for use on an overnight train between Toronto and Halifax.
On the other side of the "Pond", those vehicles which lacked interiors were fitted out and all carriages adapted to cope with the harsh Canadian winters. The original "Nightstar" livery was retained, albeit with slight modifications involving application of a yellow stripe on the body sides, where the two livery colours met, in addition to "VIA Rail" branding. The first full completed rake operated on 23rd June under the "Renaissance" brand.
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