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Industry reiterates demand for new trains

 

An updated report published by the Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group (RSSSG) reiterates the importance of a market-led approach to delivering value for money rolling stock.

The report is an updated version of that published in February 2013 (RI Apr 13) and suggests that to meet the demand for greater rail travel, the proportion of electric vehicles will rise from 69% today to over 90% in 30 years. It also states that between 13,000 and 19,000 new electric vehicles will be required over the period, with an average of between eight and 12 needing to be delivered every week.

The second Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry, which has been welcomed by Rail Minister Stephen Hammond, was produced through cross-industry collaboration by rolling stock owners, operator owning groups and Network Rail. It underlines previous scenarios for the future size and makeup of the national rolling stock fleet.

The report highlights the benefits of electrification of the network and, taking into account the Government’s commitment in principle to continue electrifying the network, forecasts that based on future passenger demand an increase in the size of the fleet of between 53% and 99% will be required over the next 30 years.

The report also suggests around 3,050 new electric vehicles will need to be delivered by April 2019 at a capital cost of more than £5 billion, with just 20% or 600 still to be ordered and this requires a build rate of 12 vehicles per week, in contrast with an average of just four per week in the current five years to April 2014 (CP4).

The report says that early government commitment to a further electrification programme during 2019-24 could help drive value for money in the sector by increasing confidence among investors and the supply chain.

According to the report, putting train operators and the rolling stock owners, rather than DfT, at the centre of planning and delivering rolling stock through a market-based approach is the best way to deliver better value for money from the passenger fleet.

Richard Brown, chairman of the RSSSG, said: “The growth in demand for rail travel is set to continue and meeting it with the most suitable and cost efficient rolling stock is vital to maximising the railway’s benefits to our economy, local communities and the environment. The updated rolling stock strategy sets out future potential demand but also poses important challenges for the industry.

“Working with government and Network Rail, train operators and leasing companies are in the best position to ensure that a whole-life, whole-system approach is adopted to rolling stock. With billions of pounds set to be invested in the rail industry over the coming years, this will ensure that value for money and benefits for passengers are maximised.”

The RSSSG is made up of representatives of the Train Operating Companies and owning groups, the three largest rolling stock owners (Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail Group and Porterbrook Leasing), Network Rail, ATOC’s engineering council and the Rail Delivery Group executive team.

The updated analysis has given greater focus to fleet requirements in the next five to ten years. The central forecast of the RSS indicates that around 3,050 new electric vehicles (for England, Wales and Scotland, including TfL’s rail concessions) will be delivered in CP5, over 80% of which have already been ordered. This includes around 2,250 for three major projects – the new Intercity Super Express trains, and the trains for the Thameslink and Crossrail projects – which are being procured by the public sector.

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