Investigation after claims new train broke down between Chesterfield and Sheffield because of 'high pollen count'

Train operator Northern says an investigation is underway after claims one of its new trains broke down between Chesterfield and Sheffield due to a ‘high pollen count’.

Sunday, 20th June 2021, 9:57 am

Chesterfield resident Kirk Jones boarded the 11.55am train from Chesterfield railway station, the 11.17am service from Nottingham to Leeds, on Wednesday, June 16.

Kirk, of Holymoorside, says the train, one of Northern’s latest diesel multiple units built by Spanish manufacturer CAF, and introduced in 2019, waited 20 minutes at Dronfield before it ‘limped’ as far as Sheffield.

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One of Northern's new CAF-built Class 195 trains at Chesterfield.
One of Northern's new CAF-built Class 195 trains at Chesterfield.

Here the train was terminated and passengers were advised to join a CrossCountry service for their onward journey.

Kirk was amazed when the conductor told him the problem for the stricken train was caused by a ‘high pollen count’.

“The total delay to my journey was only 30 minutes, but it was the unusual nature of the breakdown that amused me,” Kirk said.

After research on rail forums, Kirk discovered the Class 195 trains suffered with similar problems last summer.

A post on Rail UK Forums says: “Last year we had a spate of engines on the 195s overheating in early summer, and it was found to be down to pollen blocking the engine ventilation systems – they did get on top of it and the problem has been far less of an issue this year, only heard of a couple of instances.”

A spokesperson for Northern said: “Shortly after 12.15pm on Wednesday, June 16 the driver of the Nottingham to Leeds service reported a fault with the train as is arrived at Dronfield.

“As a result, the train was taken out of service at Sheffield – arriving 19 minutes later than scheduled – and investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fault.”

The Class 195s were built to replace the ‘Pacer’ trains which had been used across the Northern network and were unpopular with many customers.

Earlier this year a fault was also found with the system designed to reduce the swaying motion on the trains – resulting in 24 units being removed from service.

However, between their introduction in July 2019 and February of this year, the units and their electric equivalents had already clocked up 10 million miles.

They feature free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, at-seat power and are fully accessible, with spaces for wheelchairs and bikes.

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