End of the line for some of the oldest trains as biggest rollout of new carriages gathers speed in 2019

Train operators across Britain will be rolling out hundreds of new and refurbished-like-new carriages next year – the biggest introduction of new trains in decades.

The new carriages form part of the 7,000 new vehicles being introduced by train companies in the years up to 2021 – part of an industry wide plan to improve journeys and boost the economy with 6,400 extra services each week. At least £13.8bn is being invested by the private sector in new rolling stock.

In total, 11 operators are planning a bumper year for new carriages with more seats, improved accessibility, charging points for phones, wireless internet and air-conditioning. On some routes, the new trains will replace existing trains with fewer carriages or seats and on other routes they will enable operators to run new, additional services. The new carriages will mean the retirement of some of the oldest trains on the network, first introduced by British Rail in the 1970s.

The operators introducing new carriages this year:

  • Caledonian Sleeper – replacing their entire fleet with 75 new carriages as part of a £150m investment, offering en-suite rooms and double beds
  • Govia Thameslink Railway – a further 150 carriages, on services in to and out of Moorgate station in London, replacing trains from the 1970s. This follows the introduction of 1,364 new carriages in recent years, with self-drive technology to increase frequency through the centre of London
  • Great Western Railway – the remaining new intercity trains will be rolled out, with all long-distance services on new carriages
  • Greater Anglia – over a thousand new carriages are being rolled out by the end of 2020 starting next year, replacing every train currently on their routes
  • Hull Trains – 25 new carriages on services between London and Yorkshire and the Humber
  • London North Eastern Railway – new intercity trains between London and Scotland, supporting the introduction of new services
  • London Overground – the introduction of 180 new carriages on routes in the north of London
  • Northern – the first of 98 new trains will start to run on routes in the North of England
  • Scotrail – More new Hitachi Class 385 trains will be introduced
  • South Western Railway – a new fleet of 90 trains made up of 750 carriages will start to be introduced towards the end of next year.
  • Trans Pennine Express – three new types of trains will be rolled out, starting next year, and run on new and existing routes across the north of England and into Scotland

On other routes, reliable carriages built in the 1980s and 1990s are being completely refurbished, inside and out, to be brought up to date with wireless internet, air conditioning and power points. The renovated carriages will add much needed capacity on routes across Britain, particularly at busy times, on top of the capacity from new carriages. This includes additional fully refurbished InterCity high speed trains across Scotland and a £9m interior and exterior refurbishment by Grand Central, designed with passengers’ comfort in mind.

Train operators are expected to introduce more carriages in the coming decades. Analysis from the Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry predicts that the number of carriages on Britain’s railway could increase by up to 57% by March 2034.

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train operators and Network Rail, said:

“Next year, passengers across Britain will be able to feel the investment being delivered by rail companies as hundreds of new carriages start running, with more seats, wireless internet and air conditioning. These new and refurbished-like-new carriages will help rail companies to deliver on their commitment to run at least 6,400 extra services a week, supporting communities and businesses in every corner of the country.”

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“In the 21st century you should be able to run your business from a train. As well as ensuring rail services are reliable and well-maintained, providing decent wi-fi connections and proper power points is going to be crucial for a modern business that relies on travel.”

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Rail Delivery Group Media Team