LNER has revealed it is in the market for new trains, despite only just starting to introduce its new Hitachi Azumas.
Engineering Director John Doughty told RAIL that the operator needs more vehicles to meet the requirements of the planned timetable upgrade in 2021.
Initially the plan was to retain Class 91s with shorter rakes of Mk 4s that would be used on limited-stop expresses between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh. However, that has changed because the older stock would need significant rebuilding and refurbishment following a period out of traffic.
Doughty said: “We will need new trains to support the timetable change, otherwise it will be tight.”
He explained that “slightly more than six” would be required, but did not give a definitive number. These would likely be ten-car trains. LNER later confirmed the figure was could be from six to eight.
Ideally, the company would like to increase its existing Hitachi order. However, the operator must comply with European Union regulations which decrees there must be an open competition. Doughty said there was no option for additional Azumas, and that the 65 on order would be the only ones from that contract.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 885, published on August 14, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from August 10.