Posted: Fri 10th Mar 2023

Politician calls for assurances after string of Transport for Wales class 175 train fires

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 10th, 2023

A Plaid Cymru MS has called for assurances that class 175 trains will “continue to be properly maintained” after safety concerns were raised. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

It comes after Transport for Wales (TfW) temporarily withdrew some of its rolling stock last week. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Jan Chaudhry-Van der Velde, the chief operations officer at TfW reassured passengers that the situation would gradually improve over the next few days as the trains undergo maintenance and are returned to passenger service. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

While the TfW boss did not provide details on why the trains were being taken out of service for enhanced maintenance, there have been three fires involving class 175 trains in recent weeks. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Speaking in the Senedd this week, Plaid Cymru MS Delyth Jewell asked for a statement regarding the maintenance of trains in the Transport for Wales fleet.
She said: “I understand a significant proportion of TfW’s class 175s had to be pulled from service last week on Wednesday and Thursday because a number of them caught fire within a month.

“This resulted in over 100 services being curtailed or cancelled, including all services to Treherbert and those services west of Carmarthen. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“Now, as I understand it, the enclosed engine of the trains requires regular cleaning to prevent fires. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“This has been managed by the maintenance teams at Canton depot, but apparently the maintenance contract was recently transferred to a new provider. Minor repairs at the Canton depot have now stopped. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“Could a statement please give us assurance that the class 175s will continue to be properly maintained to avoid a situation like these fires occurring again?” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Lesley Griffiths MS said: “The class 175 trains are planned to be withdrawn from use here later during this year, 2023, once enough brand-new 197 trains are available to replace them, and at the moment TfW are only operating six of the brand-new trains. So, that was planned anyway. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“As you say, they have taken a number of their long-distance class 175 trains out of service, just for a short period at the current time, to carry out safety inspections following some concerns, and there have been some recent incidents with those trains. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“There was a fire in the engine bay of a class 175 train—I think that was last week—and it was the third time that there had been such an incident in a very short period of time, and I know that Transport for Wales have apologised for this disruption caused to passengers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“But I think it is the right decision. I think it’s really important that those necessary safety inspections are—. You’ve got to consider the balance, haven’t you, of safety risks?” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​



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