Trains powered by bi-mode, batteries or even hydrogen could form part of future fleets, according to Rail Minister Paul Maynard.
Writing the Foreword in the Department for Transport’s Rolling Stock Perspective, published on October 19, Maynard says: “This new technology creates new options for service upgrades - including bringing anticipated passenger improvements sooner than expected.”
On alternative fuel sources, he writes: “Our dependency on diesel as a fuel, and the pollution associated with it, challenges us to work towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”
The report was released the same week Abellio ordered 26 diesel multiple units for its new West Midlands franchise, and the first of 93 bi-mode trains entered traffic with Great Western Railway (RAIL 838).
Maynard also mentions on-train travel information, passenger counting and toilet control systems all being connected to the internet via a train’s WiFi system.
Within the current UK rolling stock market, Government claims there is increasing competition in the electric multiple unit supply market, which it says is driven by “some high-quality train refurbishments, and injection of rolling stock through the Thameslink fleet procurement and new-build orders being placed by successful franchise bidders, resulting in genuine competitions and choice in this market”.
The report warns of a growing shortage in the ‘up-to-100mph self-powered’ train market, although it states that new suppliers have broken into this market (CAF and Stadler). Government says there is also a predicted shortfall in the 125mph trains, especially those that will meet future journey time aspirations and with the ability to make use of already electrified lines.
- For much more on this, read RAIL 839, published on November 8.
- For a round-up of the new trains on order, read RAIL 830.
- For a round-up of the trains bound for store, read RAIL 836.