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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Piece of railway history leaves Melton for new life in Scotland

A piece of railway history will be safeguarded by a Fife charity after an agreement was reached with Network Rail.

Fife Heritage Railway, based in Leven, recently received a Class 313 test train after it was taken out of service by the rail operator.

The train had been used at the Rail Innovation and Development Centre on Asfordby Business Park, near Melton, to support testing and validation for projects on the railway and to support the deployment of digital signalling using the European Train Control System (ETCS).

ETCS replaces traditional lineside signals with continuous signalling information to a screen in the driver’s cab, and helps enable a more reliable, punctual and greener railway.

The class 313 test train was transported over a four day period with assistance from the Police. Photo: Network Rail.

Earlier this year, the Rail Heritage Designation Advisory Board gave the train special ‘heritage status’ to protect it for future generations because its seats – the originals from when it was built – have remained intact and are of historical interest.

Over a four day journey, it moved from its original home in Melton Mowbray, across the Queensferry crossing and to its final destination in Fife.

David Thomas, senior portfolio manager at Network Rail, said: “We’re pleased that the train, which has been a crucial part of our research, development, testing and validation process, is being given a new lease of life by Fife Heritage Railway.

“The work the charity does is so important in protecting items of unique or historical significance, and we couldn’t be happier that the test train falls into that category.

“Our thanks go to Fife Heritage Railway.”

Jim Rankin, a trustee at Fife Heritage Railway said: “We are very grateful to Network Rail for the transfer of this Class 313 test train, which will give us a wonderful opportunity to preserve a unique slice of railway infrastructure normally unseen by the public.

“We are delighted to be entrusted with the train, which has added something very special to our collection.”

The plan is to site the test train on a parallel track to the new Levenmouth Rail Link, currently under construction and due for completion in Spring 2024.

This will be within FHR’s compound at Kirkland Yard, where it will be displayed for maximum effect to both FHR visitors and passengers travelling on the new line in and out of Leven.

The train will be kept in its current bright yellow livery so will be eye-catching and is sure to be a great attraction.

Several ideas are being considered for the long-term use of the train, including as a means of education about what goes on behind the scenes to keep the railway running.

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