Market no solution for future rolling stock

14 February 2013

A cross industry steering group chaired by Eurostar Chairman Richard Brown consisting of ATOC, the Owning Groups, Network Rail and the three rolling stock companies today published an initial report into the development of a 30 year passenger rolling stock strategy.


It forecasts that infrastructure developments will see the number of electric vehicles in the UK rail fleet rising from 68% today to 80% in 2019 with the ‘modeled scenarios’ suggesting that between13,000 and 19,000 new units will be required over the next 30 years, a build rate of between 8 and 12 vehicles per week.

 

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said ‘I’m pleased the rail sector is starting to take along term view of infrastructure needs but I’m perplexed that the rail minister describes the report as an example of ‘proactive co-operation’ in the industry when they haven’t bothered to consult the representatives of the people who actually drive the rolling stock. I’m afraid it’s the old story of the vested interests looking after the vested interests.’

 

Mick added ‘I completely reject the recommendation that future rolling stock provision should be delivered by the franchising process and ‘market-driven solutions.’Franchising actually increases the cost of leasing stock while market forces have, in fact, seen the UK rolling stock companies turned into vehicles for financial speculation which have made exorbitant profits at the expense of the taxpayer.’

 

Mick continued ‘ASLEF believes that future rolling stock should be procured in order to support and rebuild the UK’s depleted train manufacturing industry. We also see no reason why future rolling stock cannot be procured and leased publicly to reduce costs and deliver better value for passengers and taxpayers.’

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