See also: Bombardier Voyager family
British Rail Class 221 SuperVoyager
Virgin CrossCountry SuperVoyager approaching Bristol Parkway on 4 May 2006

Virgin CrossCountry SuperVoyager approaching Bristol Parkway on 4 May 2006

In service2002–
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation
Family nameVoyager
Number built44 trainsets
Number in service44 trainsets
Formation4 or 5 cars per trainset
Fleet numbers221101–221144
Capacity26 first class, 162 or 224 standard class per trainset
Virgin Trains
Car body constructionSteel
Car lengthTemplate:Convert/m driving end cars
Template:Convert/m other cars
DoorsSwing plug at vehicle ends
Articulated sectionsFlexible diaphragm within unit only
Maximum speed125 mph (Template:Convert/outsep)
WeightTemplate:Convert/t or Template:Convert/t per trainset
Traction systemDEMU
Engine(s)Cummins QSK19 of Template:Convert/kW at 1800rpm[1]
Power outputTemplate:Convert/kW per car
UIC classification1A'A1'+1A'A1'+...+1A'A1'[2][3]
Braking system(s)Rheostatic and electro-pneumatic
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS, TASS,
Coupling systemDellner[4]

The Class 221 SuperVoyagers are diesel-electric multiple-unit express trains built by Bombardier Transportation between 2001 and 2002, entering service on 12 April 2002. The Class 221 are similar to the Class 220 Voyager units, but they have a tilting mechanism enabling up to six degrees of tilt to allow higher speeds on curved tracks. They have a maximum speed of 125 mph (Template:Convert/outsep).


File:Bristol Temple Meads railway station MMB 09 221130.jpg

The Class 221s were produced as 5- or 4-coach sets. Each coach is equipped with a Cummins QSK19 diesel engine producing Template:Convert/kW at 1,800 rpm,[5] driving an electrical generator which powers two motors, each driving one (inner) axle per bogie each via a cardan shaft and final drive.[3] Template:Convert/mi can be travelled between refuellings. The coach bodies, the engines and most of the equipment of the Class 221s are the same as the Class 220s, but the bogies are very different; the Class 220 Voyager B5000 bogies have inside bearings which expose the whole of the wheel faces, whilst the Class 221 SuperVoyager Y36 bogies have a more traditional-looking outside-framed bogie. Unlike the Class 220s the Class 221s have an hydraulic actuated tilting system to run at high speed around bends. Each coach weighs between 55 and 57 tonnes with a total train weight of 281.9 tonnes for a 5-car set (227 tonnes for a 4-car set). The trains have air-operated (pneumatic) and rheostatic brakes, with an emergency stopping distance of 350m at 60 mph (Template:Convert/outsep).[5] All Class 221 units are maintained at the dedicated Central Rivers TMD near Burton-on-Trent.

Formation and passenger facilitiesEdit

File:Dellner coupler on Virgin Voyager 221136 at Carlisle 2005-10-08.jpg
File:221129 A Super Voyager First Class Interior.JPG

There are 44 Class 221 trains, numbered 221 101 to 221 144; the first forty are five-car trains originally operated by Virgin Cross Country, the remaining four were four-car sets, originally intended for Virgin West Coast North Wales services. In November 2010, Virgin Trains reformed their three four-car sets into two five-car sets and a residual spare two-car set by inserting the two intermediate (non-driving) cars from 221144 into 221142 and 221143, giving them 20 five-car sets (and two spare driving cars)[6]. All vehicles are air-conditioned and fitted with at-seat audio entertainment systems and power sockets for laptop computers and mobile phone charging. First-class accommodation has a 2+1 seating arrangement, while standard class features a 2+2 seating arrangement. Virgin Trains' units are fitted with CCTV. The trains have been criticised for providing insufficient space for luggage and bicycles.[7] Also, because the units are designed to tilt, the carriages have a tapered profile that narrows towards roof level, resulting in a less spacious interior than the conventional carriages they replaced. The formation and capacity of each unit will depend on the Operator.

Operator Cars per set First Class Seats Standard Class Seats Bicycle storage Formation
Virgin West Coast 5 26 (84)* 236 (178)* 4 Coach A Quiet Zone, Coach D - Standard/First Dual Use Coach with Shop, Coach E First Class.[8]
CrossCountry 26 252 3 Coach A First Class, Coach F Quiet Zone, at seat catering service.[9]
CrossCountry 4 26 182 3 Coach A First Class, Coach F Quiet Zone, at seat catering service.[9]

'*' The number of seats on Virgin sets depends on the use of coach D; if used on North Wales services it provides extra first-class seats, on Anglo-Scottish services coach D is standard-class accommodation.

Operations Edit

See also: Cross Country Route and Virgin West Coast

On their introduction in 2002 Virgin Trains was the operator of all Class 221s, which they used on Cross Country and West Coast Main Line services as well as on the North Wales coast line. On 11 November 2007 CrossCountry obtained the Cross Country Route rail franchise; the trains were shared in a common pool between the two companies until December 2007, when 221 114 to 221 141 were transferred to CrossCountry with the remainder (221 101 to 221 113, 221 142 to 221 144) staying with Virgin Trains on Virgin West Coast. Five units 221 114 to 221 118 were transferred back to Virgin Trains in December 2008.


These are used alongside Class 220 units and HSTs on the routes inherited from Virgin Trains.

Virgin TrainsEdit

Virgin Trains uses the Class 221 units primarily from Birmingham New Street to Scotland and from London Euston to Chester and North Wales. The trains to and from Scotland operate as single units and alternate between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley (in turn alternating with TransPennine Express trains to and from Manchester Airport). When longer trains are needed for some of these services during the summer, a Pendolino will run through from and to London Euston, and the Super Voyager then fills in for it on the London to West Midlands route., The trains on the North Wales route sometimes work in pairs between London Euston and Chester and terminate variously at Chester, Holyhead, Bangor and Wrexham.

Technical problems and incidents Edit

Units have been stopped due to waves breaking over the sea wall at Dawlish in storm conditions, inundating the resistor banks and causing the control software to shut down the whole train.[10] This problem was fixed by a software upgrade to the control software.[11] On 8 December 2005, 221 125 suffered an exhaust fire at Starcross. Other members of the Voyager class suffered similar fires in the 2005-2006 period due to an incorrectly performed engine overhaul.[12]

On 26 May 2006, as one vyager was coming into oxenholme, there was a murder on the train. This particular unit is now haunted, with strange sounds, doors opening by themselves and a figure walking up and down carriages.

On 25 September 2006, 220 136 collided with a car on the track at Moor Lane, Copmanthorpe, North Yorkshire. The 14:25 Plymouth to Edinburgh was decelerating on its approach to York station at 9pm when it collided with the car, which had crashed through a fence and on to the line. Despite being derailed in the 100 mph crash, the train remained upright. Nobody on board was injured. [13]


File:221129 Durham.JPG

Some of the Virgin-operated Class 221 SuperVoyagers were named after famous Voyagers, some fictional and some real, as follows:

File:Tamworth railway station MMB 06 221142.jpg
221 101Louis Blériot221 123†Henry Hudson
221 102John Cabot221 124†Charles Lindbergh
221 103Christopher Columbus221 125†Henry the Navigator
221 104Sir John Franklin221 126†Captain Robert Scott
221 105William Baffin221 127†Wright Brothers
221 106Willem Barents221 128†Captain John Smith
221 107Sir Martin Frobisher221 129†George Vancouver
221 108Sir Ernest Shackleton221 130†Michael Palin
221 109Marco Polo221 131†Edgar Evans
221 110James Cook221 132†William Speirs Bruce
221 111Roald Amundsen221 133†Alexander Selkirk
221 112Ferdinand Magellan221 134†Mary Kingsley
221 113Sir Walter Raleigh221 135†Donald Campbell
221 114Sir Francis Drake221 136†Yuri Gagarin
221 115Polmadie Depot - formerly Sir Francis Chichester221 137†Mayflower Pilgrims
221 116David Livingstone221 138†Thor Heyerdahl
221 117Sir Henry Morton Stanley221 139†Leif Eriksson
221 118Mungo Park221 140†Vasco Da Gama
221 119†Amelia Earhart221 141*†Amerigo Vespucci
221 120†Amy Johnson221 142*Matthew Flinders
221 121†Charles Darwin221 143*Auguste Picard
221 122†Doctor Who221 144*BOMBARDIER Voyager - formerly Prince Madoc

The Class 220s and 221s that were transferred to CrossCountry in November 2007 have had their names removed. '†' Refers to SuperVoyagers transferred to CrossCountry. '*' Refers to units built as 4 coach units originally intended for Virgin West Coast Services.

Fleet details Edit

Class Operator Number of Trains Built Cars per Set Unit numbers.
Class 221 Virgin Trains 21 2001–2002 5 221101 - 221118

221142 - 221143

2 221144
CrossCountry 23 5 221119 - 221140
4 221141

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. Desiro UK DMU Class 185 fact sheet
  2. Template:Cite news
  3. 3.0 3.1 High-speed multiple units Virgin Voyager and Super Voyager with SK-450 final drives and cardan shafts 1–2. Voith (May 2008). Retrieved on 2008-03-13. “Drive configuration [diagram]”
  4. Mechanical And Electrical Coupling Index. Rail Safety and Standards Board. Retrieved on 2010-12-20.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Class 220 data. The Railway Centre (2 June 2008).
  6. Virgin eliminate four car Voyagers. (2010-12-03). Retrieved on 2010-12-20. “The project to re-form two four-car Class 221 Super Voyager trains to provide greater flexibility and offer consistency in the operation of Birmingham-Scotland and London-Chester-North Wales services which are booked for Class 221 operation is now complete. Virgin Trains is no longer operating any Class 221 Super Voyager trains as four-car units.”
  7. Template:Cite news
  8. Virgin Trains seating plan
  9. 9.0 9.1 Page 8 of Rail Management 175 confirms this
  10. Template:Cite news
  11. Template:Cite press release
  12. Virgin Trains Cross Country news April 2006. Page 4 section 14
  13. Template:Cite news

External links Edit

Template:Commons category

Template:Bombardier Voyager Template:British Rail DMU nl:Class 221 pl:British Rail Class 221 simple:British Rail Class 221 zh:英铁221型柴油动车组 hu:British Rail 221 sorozat

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