Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Welcome Home Wessex!

2415 prepares to leave 2418 out of Waterloo following the first ROG charter. Until 2007 this would have been an everyday scene.
On bank holiday Monday 29th August the Rail Operations Group ran their first passenger charter. The trip was a simple first itinerary using a pair of class 442 EMU's for a return run from Waterloo to Bournemouth. The ROG have so far specialised in performing stock transfers, particularly with their two class 37's fitted with Dellner couplers to avoid the use of barrier vehicles. The recent award of a passenger licence opens up more opportunities for ROG to expand their business, and with a fleet of 5 'passenger' class 47/8's recently acquired hopefully this is a company we can expect to see more of in the charter market.
2406 and 2405 lead a Gatwick Express into Victoria, the
re-building of Battersea power station being very much evident.
The class 442's used on Monday's charter are some of the stored fleet which have been released from Gatwick Express duties and which are currently in the care of the ROG at either Eastleigh or Ely. The later are being kept 'warm' by one of the class 47's, while the Eastleigh based fleet are being used on 'warming runs' on the national network to keep the units in good condition. The fleet were built for use on the Wessex route after the Weymouth electrification from 1988 and worked here until 2007 when the fleet were withdrawn before moving to Gatwick Express. For many the South West Main Line still feels like home for the 442's- but with their future far from certain, will I ever see one at Waterloo again? I'd like to think so.

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