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Scottish Region visit to East Coasts Craigentinny HST Depot, Edinburgh: Thursday 9 October 2014

The Scottish Region visited East Coasts Craigentinny HST Depot on Thursday 9 October 2014. Craigentinny HST Depot was opened on 1 October 1914 by the North British Railway, later part of LNER and was originally primarily used for carriage cleaning.

During the 1930's the Flying Scotsman was stabled at Craigentinny, along with the Coronation train sets. It was also the site of one of the first exterior carriage washing machines. In the 1950's and 1960's, Craigentinny saw new Inter-City diesel units being cleaned there as these could not be accommodated at Leith Central Depot.

With the introduction of the High Speed Train (HST) Craigentinny was extensively modernised in 1978 when the existing depot was built to provide dedicated maintenance for the HST sets. Additional modernisation was undertaken in 1991 to accommodate the Inter-City 225 electric sets.

Members being shown through one of the maintenance sheds.d

Members being shown through one of the maintenance sheds.

© John Fender, 2014

The depot is located next to a wildlife park as well as being surrounded by a residential area so implemented a number of environmental initiatives to minimise impact on the environment. There are noise management plans in place with sound monitoring along with waste management plans and there is also a waste water treatment process to ensure that contaminants are removed.

Today the depot provides both light and heavy maintenance for the East Coast HST fleet along with light maintenance for their Intercity 225 fleet. In addition, the depot also undertakes maintenance for Cross Country Trains HST fleet, light maintenance for the Bombardier Voyager fleet, services the Siemens class 185 and 350 fleet operated by First Trans Pennine Express, as well as undertaking both light and heavy maintenance for Grand Central's HST fleet.

Network Rail's New Measurement Train is also provided with light and heavy maintenance as this is an HST set, The depot also looks after the Royal Scotsman charter train. As the depot accommodates electric locomotives all lines except those in the heavy maintenance shed are electrified at 25Kv. Shunting operations are undertaken using a pair of Class 08 diesel locomotives.

Starting off in the offices, our hosts, Phil Buck, Head of Fleet (125) and Tim Olton, Senior Production Manager outlined the various administrative activities undertaken and provided a brief overview of the maintenance work carried out at the depot, before Personal Protective Equipment was donned for the tour of the depot.

HST power car 43307 in the workshow undergoing heavy maintenance.d

HST power car 43307 in the workshow undergoing heavy maintenance.

© John Fender, 2014

During the tour, the group saw the main stores, recently refurbished, and then proceeded to the cleaning sheds where a number of carriages were seen being cleaned. The depot is equipped with a number of systems for dealing with waste in an environmentally friendly manner, for example, all waste water is treated to remove contaminants.

A 15 tonne overhead crane is located outside in the yard and is used for lifting engines etc. In the main maintenance shed there are 3 roads and the shed has a variety of overhead cranes and lifting equipment. An HST power car was seen undergoing heavy maintenance. Trains are also re-painted and wheels can be re-profiled at the nearby Portobello facility.

The tour included a visit to the Production Manager's office which is manned on a 24 hour basis, 365 days a year where the planning of maintenance is carried out and every item of rolling stock maintained by the depot is tracked. Details of the planning of maintenance was outlined and members saw the wall planning charts that are also duplicated by electronic systems.

East Coast provided a very informative and interesting visit that enabled us to see what goes on behind the scenes to maintain their trains and our guides answered many questions. The Scottish Region would like to thank Phil Buck, Head of Fleet (125) and Tim Olton, Senior Production Manager for hosting the visit and explaining the work of the depot as well as patiently answering the many questions put to them.

Report and photographs by John Fender.


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