A whole new year of railfanning! With 2021 out of the way, along with the festivities and celebrations of the New Year, we're looking ahead to what new and experienced railfans can look forward to in 2022...
(Feature image of the Train Sim World 2 liveried Amtrak ACS-64 by Dovetail Games / Amtrak).
The first half of the much anticipated Elizabeth Line, part of London's CrossRail, is planned to open in the first half of 2022 taking passengers between London Paddington and Abbey Wood. Earlier services using the Class 345 trains have already been in service to Heathrow Airport and Reading as well as other stations along the Great Western Railway like Hayes and Harlington. The line, named after Queen Elizabeth II, adds a purple line to the famous map of London's mass transit network which includes the Underground, Overground and Docklands Light Railway.
The end of 2021 saw Amtrak continue to celebrate its 50 years with a special livery in partnership with Train Sim World 2 for PlayStation, XBox and PC and already railfans have got in touch to say they've snapped it out and about on the railroad.
But another new Amtrak paint job will appear this year highlighting 50 years of safety with Operation Lifesaver. Railfans should keep an eye out for the striking black livery, whilst being mindful of being safe and considerate around the railroad tracks. You can see more about the other commemorative locomotive paint jobs in the video below:
2022 also introduces the high-speed Avelia Liberty trains to US railroads to replace the 20-year old Acela trains.
2022 marks 150 years of the LB&SCR A1 Class locomotive, known better to railfans as the 'Terrier'. Plans are underway to mark this occasion in some way and with a host of locomotives preserved in the UK (and one in Montreal, Canada) there are a number of heritage lines that will be open so that these ageing but popular loco's can be seen in action. They include the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, the Kent & East Sussex Railway, the Bluebell Railway and the National Railway Museum in York.
Passengers in Europe will be able to travel overnight between the cities of Prague and Brussels later in 2022 as part of the latest sleeper train services implemented across the continent. Dutch company European Sleeper are working with partners RegioJet and Moonlight Express to run services through well-known destinations like Berlin and Amsterdam and allowing connections to places like London and Paris via other services like the EuroStar.
UK railfans will have enjoyed seeing the bright, orange and purple test trains hurtling through the West Midlands ready for active service in 2022. Later this year, the Class 730 EMUs, also known as Aventra units, are planned to work the Cross-City line and have already been snapped at places like Walsall during their trial phase.
Similarly, Transport for Wales (Trafnidiaeth Cymru) plan to introduce their new multiple units, the Class 197, on the Cambrian and Conwy Valley lines. These units have been built by Spanish manufacturer CAF and will replace older DMUs on the Welsh network including the Class 158 and variants of the Sprinter Class like the 150 and 153.
Gary Dolzall journeys to Southern California and discovers Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliners as well as Coaster and Metrolink commuter trains in the hands of new-generation motive power.
Banking locomotives, thrashing diesels and complex workings define Britain's steepest sustained railway gradient.