A three-car train heading down the M6 and M5 motorways perhaps raises questions in the minds of passing drivers: why are they on the motorway and where are they going? This was part of a complex move by Railway Support Services (RSS) of a class 507 EMU from Kirkdale depot to Newport Docks where the vehicles are to be dismantled.
The Angel Trains 507 which operates Merseyrail services was involved in an incident at Kirkby station in March 2021 when the leading car suffered serious damage to the driving cab and drawgear. The damaged unit was transferred to nearby Kirkdale depot where the Merseyrail fleet is maintained. The damage was such that it was decided to withdraw the unit (the first of the class to be withdrawn) particularly as new class 777 units are due to replace the 507 fleet.
Because there is no suitable road access to the depot, removal had to initially be undertaken by rail. This involved work arranged by RSS to repair the damaged drawgear to enable the set to be moved top-and-tail to Peel Ports’ Alexandra Dock in Liverpool, for onward transfer by road to Sims Metals at Newport Docks.
The move to Peel Ports took about two hours from 01.30 on Thursday 16th September, with members of RSS engineering team riding with the unit. The unit was through-piped and class 57 nos. 57310 and 57312 owned by Rail Operations Group (ROG) coupled at either end. These locomotives were chosen to provide sufficient braking for the consist including the unbraked EMU and to enable no fewer than four reversals on the short two-hour journey.
Andrew Goodman, Managing Director of RSS commented: “This was a complex operation involving several parties co-operating to get the transfer completed.
“We are deeply grateful to everyone involved. It is a shining example of how the rail industry can work together on a project that took some time to arrange with several organisations playing a part. In the event it was a very smooth, safe and trouble-free transfer. ROG organised the move for us over the short distance to Peel Port, involving four reversals to reach the loading point.
“The road transfer to Newport using three RSS tractor-trailer units almost entirely on motorways was uneventful.
“Perhaps this story will answer passing drivers questions: the units were beyond economical repair and were on their final journey to be recycled.”
RSS is on Stand M9 at RSN: Rolling Stock Networking, 30th September 2021, Derby Arena