Train age shows need for long-term planning

23 March 2009

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has reported that the age of rolling stock has reached a five-year high. ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman says this is further proof that franchising fails to provide any long-term planning for the industry. ‘Franchises only consider what needs to be done until their contacts end,’ he says. ‘Railway professionals know that rail needs to be planned decades ahead.’


The ORR shows that that the average age of trains in the UK increased to 15.5 years in 2008, making them the oldest they have been since mid-2004, when the age reached 15.7 years. On long-distance lines, the age of trains is 18.28 years, on average, while those in London and the South-East average 14.37 years, which is the oldest since late 2004.


Outside the London area trains are even older, with rolling stock averaging 17.8 years at the end of 2008. This is the highest figure seen in seven years.


‘This is not only a disincentive in efforts to attract more passengers,’ Keith says. ‘It also means our drivers often have to endure poor working conditions in cabs.’

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