EXCLUSIVE: £50 million price tag on MML HST accessibility modifications

It will cost approximately £50 million to modify nine High Speed Trains operated by East Midlands Trains, to ensure they comply with Persons with Reduced Mobility Technical Specification for Interoperability (PRM TSI) regulations that come into force on December 31 2019.

As it currently stands, EMT’s fleet of nine HSTs must be withdrawn by the end of next year. However, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has repeatedly said that replacement bi-mode trains will enter traffic in 2022, which leaves a hiatus of two years where a shortage of rolling stock must be addressed.

Porterbrook, which owns the HSTs, told RAIL it did not believe there is sufficient capacity in the supply chain to modify the coaches in time for the deadline next year, even if the design modifications were available. The rolling stock leasing company says 76 coaches are affected.

“Allowing for supply chain capacity, this might be achieved by late 2021/early 2022,” it added.

EMT also leases three seven-car HSTs from Angel Trains. These will enter traffic from May to boost capacity on the Midland Main Line.

A Department for Transport spokesman told RAIL on March 14: “We take the issue of accessibility on our railways extremely seriously. It is vital that all passengers have the same opportunities to travel, and we will continue to push train companies on this matter.

“All owners and operators of trains on the national network know that they must meet modern accessibility standards by the end of 2019, and we are working with East Midlands Trains to look at a range of possible options for meeting these requirements on the route before the bi-modes are introduced.”

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 01/04/2018 20:16

    Some of the Class 43’s are to be cascaded to ScotRail but more could be cascaded to Scotland. ATW could inherit some of the Class 43’s to work on the North Wales Line. And to replace the Class 175’s on other routes. GWR will retain some of the Class 43’s to use them on Cardiff Central-Penzance and Truro. Crosscountry could also inherit some to work on Newcastle/Manchester Piccadilly-Exeter St. David’s, Bristol Temple Meads and to transfer the Class 220’s to operate on Manchester Piccadilly/Newcastle-Bournemouth & Portsmouth Harbour services. Network Rail could use some of the Class 43’s for track measurement and track maintenance. As NR has one HST that is known as “New Measuring Train”. There are plans to use the Class 43’s as freight locomotives and Royal Mail may also reinstate some to deliver long-distance post and parcels to different areas or transport parcels to other Royal Mail parcel depots.

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  • Dave H - 02/05/2018 10:44

    So what is going to rack up this cost? Its surely a main focus on 2 coaches per set to get accessible toilets, and wheelchair spaces, with other coaches having the less radical changes, so perhaps 20-22 coaches for the bulk of the £50m? Seems a bit costly. How much can be modular? The sliding door conversions = drop in cassette? So could other elements be produced at other sites?

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