Owners reveal plan for joined-up rolling stock strategy

Angel Trains Chief Executive Malcolm Brown says that he is trying, along with industry partners, to set in motion a 30-year plan for rolling stock in the UK.

Highlighting electrification work and infrastructure projects such as the Todmorden Curve, he told Transport Select Committee MPs on October 27: “We need to align investment in the infrastructure with both new train procurement and the refurbishment of trains.

“We need to get that joined-up thinking. That is one of the things we have been working on, in collaboration with other industry partners, to try to get a 30-year plan for rolling stock in the UK.

“‘We’ are the rolling stock companies, the train operating companies and Network Rail, with freight in there as well, because you are competing on a finite infrastructure. What we are looking for from Government is long-term strategic planning that allows us to respond to that.”

Porterbrook Managing Director Paul Francis added: “I have the good fortune to have been here since 1996, so I have seen all the iterations of rolling stock. We have never really had a proper rolling stock strategy delivered to the industry, except for the one that we have developed as an industry in the last two years.”

Discussing rolling stock cascades, Francis told the TSC: “I know it looks frustrating from the outside, but the industry is making these rolling stock cascades work, because we now have the benefit of the Thameslink order and the new rolling stock that is freeing up.”

He also defended the decision to move nine two-car Class 170/3s from TransPennine Express to Chiltern Railways.

“When the wires are up and the electric trains have been moved to the North, there will be a sufficient number of diesel trains available to back-fill those services. Those trains have not yet moved - they will not move until, maybe, 2016.

“They would never have stayed in the TransPennine Express franchise - they were not required by that franchise, and were always identified as a peripheral small fleet.

“Class 185 DMUs, which are owned by Eversholt, will be the long-term solution for the lines that are not electrified. The Class 350s and other electric stock that we and Angel Trains are putting in will satisfy the overall requirements for rolling stock.”

Francis explained: “A new lease has been signed with Chiltern Railways from the end of April 2015, but there are sub-lease arrangements for the trains to be left in the franchise indefinitely, until the DFT and the operator have agreed that it is the appropriate thing to do.

  • This news story was published in RAIL 761 on 12 November 2014

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