UK Trains on Average Are Over 20 Years Old
Trains on Britain’s railways are more than 20 years old on average, the highest figure for at least 15 years, according to analysis of rolling stock.
Statistics from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) showed that trains were an average of 21 years old. This is the oldest they have been since July 2000 (the earliest publicly available records).
The ORR said older trains could result in less comfortable journeys, and have worse reliability and performance than modern rolling stock, but noted that older trains could be refurbished.
Passengers on the Caledonian Sleeper service between London and Scotland travel on Britain’s oldest trains, introduced 41 years ago on average.
Merseyrail has the second-oldest fleet at 37 years. Both operators plan to bring in new rolling stock in the coming years. TransPennine Express trains, which run between cities and major towns in northern England and Scotland, are the newest in Britain at nine years old on average. Trains in London and south-east England are typically 19 years old, while regional services are 24 years old on average.
Ed Cox, the director of thinktank IPPR North, said: “To make journeys cheaper, cleaner and greener, areas outside the capital must be given Transport for London-style powers to raise money to invest in transport and take back control over spending decisions.”
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operating companies, said it expected the average age of Britain’s trains to fall to 16 years by 2019, after the introduction of more than 4,500 new carriages at a cost of more than £7.5bn.
Lianna Etkind from the Campaign for Better Transport said: “We need a strategy from the government that involves passengers and the wider public in decision making, makes clear what their future plans are on things such as electrification and clarifies the roles of the rolling stock companies, the train operators and the government in paying for updated rolling stock.”
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