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EXCLUSIVE: Off-lease High Speed Trains running out of time to avoid scrap threat

Owners of off-lease High Speed Trains have warned that scrapping the iconic trains is a realistic proposition if new uses cannot be found for them.

More than 200 Mk 3 coaches and 22 Class 43 power cars are currently off-lease, having been replaced on Great Western Railway by Intercity Express Trains. There is currently no planned future for the trains, which date from 1976. They are being stored at Potters Group (Ely) and at Long Marston.

Angel Trains Chief Executive Officer Kevin Tribley told RAIL: “At Angel Trains, we are exploring every opportunity for low-cost additional capacity across the network, but we will retire units if we cannot find short to medium-term term use.”

He explained: “We have tried to manage the final period of our HST fleets for the benefit of the industry, including the safe deferral of scheduled maintenance beyond assumed retirement dates.

“One of the challenges associated with subsequent delays is that this maintenance will have to be undertaken and the costs incurred, yet the future use and passenger benefits will only be for a short period.

“It is not just storage costs that must be considered. Reintroduction costs must also be accounted for.”

Porterbrook is also having former GWR vehicles handed back. A spokesman for the rolling stock company told RAIL: “We are exploring a number of opportunities for our off-lease HSTs, with passenger operators. We think these trains remain popular with both passengers and operators in the short term, but we will be guided by the market.

“Meanwhile, existing and potential rail freight customers continue to suggest innovative uses for these trains on high-speed rail freight services, especially on parcels and logistics work. We are keen to explore these ideas before making any final and irrevocable decisions on the future of these go-anywhere 125mph self-powered trains.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 881, published on June 19, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle now.

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