Rail Commuting Capacity has been boosted by British Nuclear Fuels, the major employers at Sellafield, for their Nuclear workforce by their fully owned subsidiary, Direct Rail Services who have commenced regular passenger services. dubbed ‘The Glow-ex’
Previously, a large gap in the timetable for this Cumbrian Coast line meant that workers could arrive from the Carlisle direction at 10:11, and from the south, a little earlier. The new service provides an arrival time from the Carlisle direction at 07:55 – a vast improvement – as well as opening up new business, commuting and educational opportunities from those along the northern stretch of the line.
The train, dubbed ‘The Glow-ex’, is anticipated to be worked by Class 37 locomotives, at present either 37409 “Lord Hinton” or 37423 “Spirit of the Lakes”, although other motive power will be able to deputise. The coaching stock is formed of former “Anglia Railways” Mark 2 coaches, in a distinctive teal livery. The train allows us to reminisce of the “Flood Ex” trains which DRS ran after bridges and roads were cut off in the region a couple of years ago which served a new station at Workington North.
DRS, despite having its own Driver and Guard on the train, a Northern Rail conductor is also on hand to sell tickets from the National Rail linked sales machines. Initial results from the service appear to have been promising, with a mixed combination of enthusiasts, Sellafield staff and other rail passengers for the area all taking advantage of the train.
Interestingly, the service has four carriages, which is either quadruple or double the usual capacity provided on the line but this provides the ‘brake force’ required so trains can run at line-speeds. Trains are normally formed by Class 142 “Pacer” (notoriously claimed to be Britain’s most uncomfortable train) or a Class 153 nicknamed “Dogbox” - because it is a tiny one-car train!
Direct Rail Services service the coaches and locomotives at their Kingmoor depot, where a number of additional “37/4s” are being prepared for a main line return.