Rail industry confirms future potential demand for new trains and carriages

The rail industry has come together to publish the third annual update of its Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry.


As with the previous two editions, this has been produced through collaboration between rolling stock owners and the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, and is an example of the rail industry working together to deliver strategic leadership on key issues.


The report outlines the best way to meet rising passenger demand over the next thirty years and also how to maximise the potential benefits of the increased capacity that will be provided on the existing network and HS2. Projections for the quantities of new rolling stock that will be delivered in the next five years have been revised upwards because of the growth in passenger demand, and reflect the recent announcements by train operating companies of additional new trains for the c2c, Thameslink, ScotRail, Caledonian Sleeper and South West Trains routes, and by TfL for the London Overground.


The strategy highlights the many customer benefits of electrification, including increased fleet reliability, improved train punctuality, better acceleration to shorten journey times, greater train capacity and reduced noise, vibration and emissions.


Taking into account the Government’s commitment in principle to continue electrifying the network, the strategy forecasts that:


  • Based on future passenger demand, an increase in the size of the fleet of between 52% and 99% will be required over the next 30 years
  • The proportion of vehicles using electric traction will rise from 69% today to 92 – 95% in 30 years time
  • 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, compared with four per week in the five years to April 2014
  • Around 3,350 new electric vehicles will need to be delivered by April 2019, with orders already placed for 90% of this total. A further 428 vehicles for Crossrail, the Intercity Express Programme and Essex Thameside have already been commited for delivery after this date.


The report supports the principle that rolling stock procurement should, in most cases, be market-based and franchise-led.  By putting train operators and fleet owners at the centre of planning and delivering rolling stock, better value for money can be achieved, as for example is to be the case for the new and additional rolling stock to be procured for the North of England.


Richard Brown, chairman of the Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group, said:


“Demand for rail travel is set to continue to grow. Meeting this demand with the most suitable and cost efficient rolling stock is vital to maximising the railway’s benefits for passengers as well as the economy, local communities and environment. This updated rolling stock strategy sets out future potential demand and identifies challenges and opportunities.


“The rail industry is committed to working with Government to ensure a whole-life, whole-system approach on rolling stock is adopted. This will maximise both value for money and benefits for rail customers.”

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