Published on : Monday, January 1, 2018
According to a new investigation, Britain’s trains are the oldest since current records began. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) statistics showed that the passengers travelling in the carriages were built in the mid 1990s.
Press Association analysis found the average age of 21.1 years is older than at any point in publicly available records, and 60 per cent older than in 2006. As ORR has said, the older trains can result in lesser reliability, reduced comfort in journeys and poorer performances than the modern versions. However, ORR also notes that older rolling stock can be refurbished.
Travellers using the Caledonian Sleeper service between London and Scotland have to put up with Britain’s oldest trains, at 42 years old. The second oldest fleet which runs trains in Merseyside is as old as 38 years. Both operators plan to introduce new rolling stock in the coming years.
The newest trains at an average of just nine years old are run by TransPennine Express, which operates in northern England and Scotland.
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive, Stephen Joseph, claimed the age of Britain’s trains shows “just how far the railways have to go to modernise”. He continued saying that they have been promised new trains by several train operators and some of which are under construction too.
ORR data shows the average age of rolling stock between January and March each year since 2001. After the end of British Rail in the mid 1990s, a number of new trains were introduced however the average age has risen during the past decade.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), representing train operators, says more than 5,500 new carriages will be in use across Britain by the end of 2020 and many other trains are undergoing multimillion pound refurbishments. The latest research by watchdog Transport Focus found that fewer than seven out of 10 (68 per cent) passengers on regional trains are satisfied with the upkeep and repair of carriages, down by two percentage points in the last 12 months.
General Secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, Manuel Cortes said that the passengers will continue to get wet on leaking carriages and overheated on sunny days.
“Britain used to be proud of its reputation for giving the railways to the world. Now we just have, for the most part, a clapped-out system.”
ORR figures show that £4.2bn of taxpayers’ cash went to the rail industry in 2016/17. Also, the rail fares will go up by an average of 3.4% across Britain from 2nd of January which is the largest increase in five years.
A Department for Transport spokesman that passengers all over the UK will be travelling on the brand new trains within the next 18 months.