South West Trains is re-launching a train that was severely damaged in an incident in 2010, following a complex £1.6million rebuild project.
The train operator’s Class 455 train suffered significant damage after a cement mixer lorry fell on to it from a bridge in Oxshott in November 2010. As a result of the incident, the train suffered severe interior and exterior damage to its four carriages and a comprehensive and challenging rebuild was required in order to bring it back into service. That work has since been carried out at Railcare in Wolverton and the train has now been completely repaired.
Structural engineers from Railcare and Atkins discovered early on that the project was more complicated than first thought, having found a significant diagonal twist to one of the carriages which they were not confident could be removed. The engineering team then looked at the possibility of using a ‘donor’ vehicle to repair the damaged bodyshell. An old Class 210 vehicle was drafted in and – after assessing its suitability - engineers used it to rebuild the carriage in line with the specification of a Class 455 train.
Christian Roth, Engineering Director for the South West Trains – Network Rail Alliance said: “The Oxshott accident posed a significant problem to us, as suddenly we were a train down. From an engineering perspective though, it offered an almost unprecedented challenge to rebuild a massively damaged train and safely take it back into passenger service. The expertise of the engineers who worked on this project is second to none and this is a fantastic achievement.
“We are now looking forward to the final testing phase before reintroducing it into service.”
Projects and Engineering Director for Railcare, Phil Mitchell said: “The challenges of taking one kind of vehicle and making it into another are significant. Not only are you undertaking a significant repair but ensuring that all aspects of the newly built vehicle comply with the design and build specification of the Class 455. We are really pleased with the outcome of this complex project and look forward to supporting the test phase and seeing the train back in passenger service”.
The train will now return to Wimbledon train care depot for traction test, trial running and final certification. It is expected to go back into passenger service in late spring.