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.
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