29th November 2000

 As can be understood under the circumstances, Serco are currently very active and two recent sightings at Crewe station were, I found, most interesting. I do not have the technical details of these trains and can therefore only assume their purpose.....

47790 entered platform 12 with a Serco test train which, it turned out, was equipped to test the overhead wires - destination was Liverpool Lime Street and then Euston. 29/11/2000

Bringing up the rear was 47738. 29/11/2000

 "Dewi Sant" waiting for departure. 29/11/2000

 There was some interesting stock in the consist. I am no stock expert and I guess these were Mk1's and they were well kitted out with tables and individual lamps etc. - very nice. 29/11/2000

 The operational coach was fitted with an observation top together with a pantograph and son lamps. 29/11/2000

There was a loud crackle as the pantograph was raised to contact the 25000 volt overhead supply. 29/11/2000

The observation roof window with adequate illumination. From here can be seen the activity and performance of the pantograph, is it video taped? The coach was packed with instrumentation and screens. 29/11/2000

 66602 was parked with a Serco test train and although he loco appeared to be at the head of the train, its red lights indicated another loco would soon appear at the other end. 5/12/2000

 Sure enough, a few minutes later 86501 hooked up to Test Car 2, number ADB975397. 5/12/2000

A huge bulk hopper wagon appeared to be on test and carried the number HAA 37001. Its plate indicated a tare weight of 74 tonnes with the wagon itself weighing 27960 kg - wow! Although carrying the "Freightliner HEAVY HAUL" the vehicle was unfinished with the welds crudely dressed. 5/12/2000

The bogie in view was heavily wired which I guess fed back to Test Coach 2. It would be interesting to know what was being recorded and how? 5/12/2000

 I think that the Freightliner livery suits the Class 86, at least it is bright and forceful unlike the drab shades of grey that abound on the network. These engines are getting old now but are still impressive. 5/12/2000