A firm decision has yet to be made regarding the use of High Speed Trains from the end of the year on the Midland Main Line.
The current HST fleet (nine eight-car sets owned by Porterbrook and three six-car sets owned by Angel Trains) does not meet accessibility standards, and must be modified by the end of the year or withdrawn.
Initially they were due to be withdrawn by the end of 2019, having been replaced by electric multiple units on the MML when it was electrified to Nottingham and Sheffield.
When former Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling cancelled the scheme north of Kettering in July 2017, he announced a fleet of bi-mode trains would be in traffic from 2022. But no mention was made of an interim fleet, nor were any plans regarding derogation announced.
In April, the DfT told RAIL that one option could be to transfer ‘high-quality’ HSTs from LNER to the East Midlands once they had been withdrawn from the East Coast Main Line following the introduction of Azumas.
East Midlands Railway Managing Director Julian Edwards told RAIL that while the LNER sets were “more accessible” than the current EMR HST fleet, they also required a lot of heavy maintenance.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 886, published on August 28, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from August 24.