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43093 'Old Oak Common HST Depot 1976-2018' and 43041 'St Catherine's Castle' seen arriving at Shrub Hill at 08-20 with late running Bristol Temple Meads to Worcester Foregate Street service and then returning as the 08-55 Foregate Street to Cardiff working. These shortened HST sets mainly work in the West Country and only booked to work into Worcester on Sundays in current timetable. Most of the GWR Worcester to Bristol services have been diverted to Cardiff this week because of infrastructure engineering possession in the Bristol area with bonus of 'Castle' set making a number of daily return trips to our city with two workings as far as Great Malvern.
Yes, but we only saw them for a few days; apparently there is a problem at Malvern Wells turnback siding because the dedicated walkway was removed during recent engineering work and not replaced. This is not a problem on two or three car DMUs as the Driver can walk through the train. If, however, the second hand ex-London Overground 172.0 units of West Midlands Railways will also cause problems if running as a 2 + 2 four-car set because the driving ends do not have corridor connections.
Problems also came to light as there are only a small number of drivers at Gloucester depot who are passed out for the HST 'Castle' Class. The Covid 'Ping' APP has allegedly meant a number of Drivers and Train managers having to self isolate for 10? days, which has had quite an affect on the North Cotswold Line this week with numerous cancellations and late running, exacerbated by the very hot weather and reduced speed restrictions on many sections that could buckle out of gauge at 30 degrees C. The single line sections also mean late running trains are delaying workings in the opposite direction with possible long waits at Ledbury, Great Malvern, Henwick, Worcester Shrub Hill, Norton Junction, Evesham, Charlbury and Wolvercot Junction. One train running late can collapse the service like a pack of cards!
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