WATCH: Train driver uses hot water to clear horn blocked by snow

The makers of LNER’s new fleet of Azuma trains admitted today their horns could be blocked by a “very heavy snowfall”.

A driver clearing snow from the train horn using hot water. Picture: Doug Paulley
A driver clearing snow from the train horn using hot water. Picture: Doug Paulley

The admission from Hitachi came after a driver was filmed pouring hot from the train’s catering trolley over the horn to clear it.

Doug Paulley, who tweeted the video, said: “Train costs £50m yet the horn doesn't work in snow.

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“@LNER Azuma delayed whilst driver gets down on track and clears snow from the horn, with hot water from the catering trolley.”

Mr Paulley explained: "I was questioning if there was a design problem that meant the horn got snowed.

"It seems very low and near to potential snow."

He said he saw snow had become caked inside the horn during the incident at York station.

He said he heard the driver say: "Well, that's working, until the next little bit of snow gets in".

But Mr Paulley added: “People tell me the water may freeze and cause more issues."

LNER, which introduced the trains on the east coast main line between Scotland and London in 2019, referred enquiries to Hitachi.

A spokesperson for Hitachi told The Scotsman: “Hitachi’s modern inter-city trains utilise two separate air horns that include a trace heating element to keep the horn sounding in cold weather.

"In the vast majority of cases these work well.

“However, after very heavy snowfall, the grilles at the front have on occasion become blocked, and in these cases Hitachi engineers are active on the rail network to support the trains.

“We continue to work with train operators to ensure the trains – which are some of the most reliable new fleets in the country – perform well for passengers.”

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The spokesperson said the £50m cost of the train mentioned in Mr Paulley’s tweet was “not one we recognise” but it did not “provide specifics on individual train costs under our customer supply contracts”.

Mr Paulley said: “I think it was a throwaway comment by the driver”.

Other commentators estimated the train cost £12-26m.

Several Eurostar trains broke down in 2009 when snow was drawn in by ventilation fans and affected their power equipment.

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