UK rolling stock fleet growth ‘fastest for decades’

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Photo: South West Trains.

The UK’s train fleet is growing at its fastest rate for decades, according to a report by the Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group (RSSSG).

The report highlights that orders for new trains are at a “historically high level”, with more than 6,000 carriages committed to between April 2014 and March 2021. Most strikingly, it estimates that Britain’s train fleet will increase by up to 89 per cent in the next 30 years.

The RSSSG includes senior representatives from the UK’s train operating companies, rolling stock leasing companies and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

They are predicting that the size of the fleet will increase by 15 per cent by 2019 and by a another 5-10 per cent by 2024. By 2034, the amount of electric vehicles is expected to rise from 71 per cent to 85 per cent.

This influx of new trains is expected to reduce the average age of Britain’s fleet from 21 years to 15 years by March 2021, according to the fifth Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy.

In a joint announcement, RSSSG’s chairmen Malcolm Brown, chief executive of Angel Trains; and Hugh Clancy, commercial director for rail at First Group; said: “Modern, comfortable and reliable trains are key to improving the experience of rail passengers, and this strategy portrays a welcome picture of the private sector and government working together to invest in the nation’s future.

“With rolling stock orders now at an historically high level, the capability of the industry to build, deliver and bring into service reliable new trains is of critical importance.

“Innovation will mean greener train travel with energy-efficient trains replacing older diesel-powered vehicles on many routes.”

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