High Speed Trains that had been due for withdrawal in 2019 owing to accessibility concerns are now set to remain in traffic with East Midlands Railway into 2021.
They are needed because of a delay in delivering their interim replacements, while electrification on the Midland Main Line is also behind schedule.
RAIL understands that five to six sets will remain. These will likely be former LNER HSTs, branded ‘red trains’ by their new operator.
However, sources close to the project told RAIL that while EMR is due to return its original fleet, discussions are taking place regarding their possible retention due to the poor condition of some of the cascaded vehicles.
This followed a lengthy period of negotiations once former Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling had formally cancelled electrification of the Midland Main Line north of Kettering.
But with replacement Hitachi Class 810 bi-mode trains not due in traffic until April 2022 at the earliest, there was much debate and confusion around what would cover the shortfall in the interim, before the Department for Transport confirmed last year that nine former LNER HSTs would transfer to EMR.
With dispensation to operate until December 31 2020, these would replace the original EMR fleet, which had dispensation until July 28.
An EMR spokesman told RAIL: “We are still in discussion with the DfT for how many ‘red HSTs’ we are introducing. The derogation for the original sets currently runs out on July 28 and we have the application in for them to be extended.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 910, published on July 29 and available digitally from July 25.