1000 New Carriages

So the train companies are to get a thousand new carriages to be delivered by 2014, 994 of them presumably for Greater London, with half-a-dozen for the rest of the country. What’s left unsaid is whether that’s a thousand additional carriages, or whether a significant proportion will simply be replacements for older rolling stock which will be worn-out by 2014. The sooner the dismal four-wheeled ‘Pacers’ are dispatched to the scrapheap the better.

Naturally, free market ideologue Patrick Crozier is not impressed. All the railway companies need to do is treble the fares, and all the problems of overcrowding with vanish! He does make one valid point, though:

Groan, because, if the last train splurge is anything to go by the new trains will be either unreliable, inappropriate, expensive or late – or all four.

He’s talking about the 1955 modernisation plan, when the nationalised British Railways wasted vast sums of taxpayers money on locomotives some of which turned out to be pretty much useless, and failed to outlive the steam engines they were supposed to replace. Many of them were ordered from manufacturers whose works happened to be in areas of high unemployment, despite the lack of experience in building diesel locomotives.

I don’t think that’s going to happen this time round; in the last few years we’ve already seen a lot of new trains delivered, as will be apparent to anyone that travels by train. If (and it’s a big if) they resist the temptation for the sort of political meddling we saw in 1955, all of those new trains will be repeat orders of tried and trusted designs already in service. So hopefully we won’t get the equivalent of Metrovick Co-Bos or NBL Class 21s this time around.

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2 Responses to 1000 New Carriages

  1. Actually, I was rather thinking of the post-privatisation splurge and designs like the 458 and the 175. And the business with the 170 where just about every engine in the country had to be changed. And the Southern Power Upgrade. And all those delays while they were waiting for their safety certificates.

    But thanks for the reminder!

  2. Martyn Read says:

    Been trying to get to the bottom of this story over the past few days and have come up with:

    * They are supposed to be ‘additional’ not replacements.
    * They alledgedly don’t include stuff already on order (however Roger Ford disagree’s, in his preview for the April Modern Railways he suggests 1000 includes the additional Pendo cars and the pre-series HST2 sets, which I make as at least 156 cars)
    * Interestingly it’s not said explicitly how it will be funded, this is supposedly being put into the HLOS aspirations, which do depend on uk.gov coming up with the readies…

    BTW – news on the street is that the first of Northern’s pacers will be withdrawn shortly, with units cascaded due to incoming 158′s off FGW!