A report published today by the rail industry marks a key step towards a market-led approach for delivering rolling stock which meets passengers’ needs over the next 30 years. The high level analysis suggests a possible near doubling of the fleet could be needed by 2042.
The report, welcomed by Rail Minister Simon Burns, sets out a range of scenarios for the future size and makeup of the national passenger rolling stock fleet needed for the next three decades in the context of growing demand, infrastructure enhancements and greater electrification of the network.
At the heart of this growth is a potential requirement for between 13,000 to 19,000 new electric vehicles by 2042, compared with around 8,500 electric vehicles in Britain today. That would be equivalent to delivering an average of eight to 12 electric vehicles every week, and would increase the proportion of the fleet made up of electric vehicles from around 68% today to over 90% by 2042.
Requirements for new non-electric vehicles could be small by comparison, possibly as few as 400 to 800 vehicles over the period.
This is the first time since privatisation that the industry has joined together to outline a long term, cross-industry strategy on rolling stock.
The work was overseen by a group chaired by Richard Brown, Eurostar Chairman, and made up of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), the three main train leasing companies (Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail Group and Porterbrook Leasing), and rail infrastructure owner and operator Network Rail.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC, said: “The boom in passenger journeys heralds a bright future for the railways. A long-term rolling stock strategy helps the industry prepare for that future and underpins franchising as the best way to drive efficient delivery of fleet which meets passengers’ needs.”
Malcolm Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Angel Trains on behalf of the three rolling stock companies involved with the report said: “Rightly, the three rolling stock companies have been a corner stone in the development of the strategy to meet passenger demands for the next 30 years.
“The businesses will actively compete with each other to invest in existing and new rolling stock, having already secured over £10 billion of investment since rail privatisation. This will ensure the UK has one of the youngest train fleets in Europe.”
Paul Plummer, Network Rail group strategy director, said: “This strategy marks the first time that the long-term rolling stock implications of passenger growth and infrastructure upgrades such as electrification and HS2 have been modelled and considered together.
“Our investment programme will increase capacity on some of the busiest part of the network, enabling more people than ever before to travel by train. The approach set out in this strategy will ensure the industry works together to deliver a bigger and better value railway for Britain.”