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New trains bring down average age of UK rolling stock

The introduction of new fleets by several operators has brought down the average age of rolling stock in the UK.

Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures released on October 18 show a 0.6-year reduction in the average age of UK trains in 2017-18, compared with the previous year.

Caledonian Sleeper has the oldest fleet, with an average age of 38.48 years, although these vehicles are due to be replaced by new Mk 5 coaches by the end of June 2019.

Govia Thameslink Railway has the youngest fleet (11.32 years), following the introduction of the Class 700s.

The biggest reduction in average age was recorded by TfL Rail - lowered by 12.44 years following the introduction of Class 345 Aventras and the withdrawal of the first Class 315s dating from 1980-81.

The biggest increase was recorded by ScotRail, up by 2.69 years. This follows a cascade of older (refurbished) stock from elsewhere, and the removal of a handful of Class 170s.

The average age for franchised vehicles is 19.6 years, with a fleet totalling more than 14,000 vehicles. For the first time, the ORR has included open access trains, for which the average age is 17.5 years.

The regulator said some 1,565 vehicles were ordered during 2017-18. The number to be delivered between 2014 and 2021 should be 7,200, which represents more than half the current fleet. For this reason, the ORR says the average age of the fleet should be lowered to 15 years by March 2021.

Three operators showed an increase of more than 1.0 years in the average age of rolling stock: East Midlands Trains, Greater Anglia and ScotRail.

“An increase of greater than one year indicates that either some older stock has been put into service, or some younger stock has been removed,” explained the ORR.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 865, published on November 7, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from November 3. 

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 24/10/2018 09:20

    The older trains are already due to be replaced by new trains. Class 313, Class 314 and Class 315 that are currently being operated by Great Northern, TfL Rail, London Overground and Scotrail are to be sent for scrap. Except Southern will retain their Class 313s for another few years or possibly scrap their Class 313s and replace them with the Class 377/3 3-Car Electrostar units to operate on the East Coastway and West Coastway routes. Or perhaps Southern to order new trains that are to be built as 3-Car or inherit the redundant Class 707 or Class 458 that are to be replaced by the Class 701 on SWR but convert these units from 5-Car to 3-Car or 4-Car so that they can fit through platforms that are shorter at some stations.

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  • BigTone - 27/10/2018 00:25

    EMT's trains have aged due to receiving the 3 HSTs from Grand Central. This franchise will be in trouble soon as the HSTs will have to be modified or withdrawn. The Class 153s will either have to go or converted back to Class 155 either as 2 car or 3 car sets. Nothing (as far as I know) coming for the Corby route

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