Rail industry's plan delivers 7,000 new carriages by 2021

Figures released today (Monday) by the Rail Delivery Group reveal a boost in the number of new train carriages coming on track by 2021.

Last October Britain’s railway, a partnership of the public and private sector, published its plan to change and improve rail services, committing to delivering 5,700 new carriages by 2021. Today’s figures reveal a further 1,300 carriages will be arriving on Britain’s railway by the early 2020s, bringing the total number to just over 7,000.

New carriages are part of the long-term plan of the partnership railway. In the plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, rail companies commit to improving customer satisfaction to remain the top-rated major railway in Europe. The latest figures show them going even further. The long-term plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits for Britain.

The new carriages represent an investment of at least £13.8bn by the private sector in rail. This is bolstering public investment in major upgrades to the railway infrastructure which, combined with new carriages, will enable the partnership railway to run more than 6,400 extra services each week by 2021, benefitting all parts of the country.

The partnership railway’s long-term rolling stock strategy, published later this spring, will say that the total number of carriages running on Britain’s railway is estimated to increase from 13,000 to 15,900 – an increase of 22 per cent.

The new carriages will mean the retirement of some of the oldest trains on the network with rolling stock that has more seats, Wifi, power points, improved accessibility, air-conditioning and, in the case of the Caledonian Sleeper, even double en-suite bedrooms.

Pacer trains, dating back to the 1980s, which operate in the north of England will be replaced with 281 new electric and diesel carriages with Wifi, power sockets and digital information screens. On Merseyrail, trains that are almost 40 years old will be replaced with state-of-the-art carriages with space for more people and sliding ramps that allow level boarding at each doorway.

The Caledonian Sleeper service will see the introduction of the first new sleeper trains in the UK for over 35 years. The fleet is designed to accommodate the modern-day traveller, whether for business or leisure. The carriages will have a range of accommodation including comfort seats, classic and club singles and doubles, and suites with double beds and ensuite, with fully accessible rooms available.

As well as a smoother, quieter ride, technology on the new carriages will improve reliability by enabling potential faults to be detected and fixed more quickly. Some will include digital screens to give passengers real-time information on connecting services and seat availability.

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

“With thousands of new, state-of-the-art carriages coming on track over the next three years, the partnership railway’s long-term plan is transforming journeys up and down the country. These new carriages will enable rail companies to work together to deliver on their commitment of at least 6,400 extra services a week, better connecting communities and helping to boost local economies from Aberdeen all the way to Penzance.”

Malcolm Brown, chair of the industry’s Rolling Stock Strategy Steering Group, said:

“Rail customers want modern, comfortable and reliable trains and the private and public sectors working together are delivering thousands of new carriages to improve journeys around the country. Private sector investment in new rolling stock orders are now at a historically high level and innovation by manufacturers will see technology utilised to make trains greener, more intelligent and more accessible than ever. Our priority is now to ensure that all passengers across the network benefit from this new rolling stock and the sustainable investment in existing trains through careful fleet management.”


Notes to editors

Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to the Britain Runs on Rail website

New carriages between 2016 and 2021

A total of 7,033 carriages have been committed for completed delivery between 2016 and 2021 as part of the industry’s long-term plan to change and improve services, In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, including:

  • Great Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast - new intercity trains are being delivered as part of the Intercity Express Programme. All 122 trains to be in service by the end of 2020 - £5.7billion (866 carriages, as five and nine-car trains)
  • Great Western Railway - new hybrid intercity trains are being delivered from summer 2018 – £361million (an extra 208 carriages, formed of 29 five-car trains and seven nine-car trains)
  • Hull Trains – new hybrid intercity trains to be delivered in 2019 (25 carriages, made up of 5 five-car trains) - £60m
  • Transport for London’s Elizabeth line - new electric trains introduced from 2017 - £1billion (594 carriages, as 66 nine-car trains)
  • Thameslink route - new electric trains the first of which entered service in Spring 2016 – £1.6billion (1,140 carriages, made up of 115 eight and twelve-car trains)
  • Gatwick Express - new electric trains the first of which was introduced in 2016 – £145million (108 carriages, as 27 four-car trains)
  • ScotRail - new electric commuter trains for Abellio ScotRail the first of which will be introduced in 2018 (234 carriages, as 70 three and four-car trains)
  • London Overground - new electric commuter trains introduced in 2018 – £260million (180 carriages as 45 four-car trains)
  • Great Western Railway - new electric commuter trains - (180 carriages formed into 45 x4-car electric trains)
  • South Western Railway - new electric trains the first of which were introduced in December 2017 – £210m (150 carriages, as five-car trains).
  • South Western Railway - £895m order of 750 carriages to provide a consistent fleet across all Windsor line and suburban services by December 2020. These trains will, in part, replace the 150 trains mentioned directly above.
  • Caledonian Sleeper - The new trains are currently being constructed by CAF in Spain, at a cost of over £100m, part funded by a capital grant from Scottish Ministers of £60m. (75 carriages)
  • c2c – introduced six new electric trains in December 2016, part of a wider build of new electric commuter trains ordered by rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook and expected to be used by current and future UK train operators from 2016 - (80 carriages, formed into 20 electric trains)
  • c2c - more new electric trains to be delivered in 2019 (68 carriages, formed into 17 four-car trains)
  • c2c - new electric trains to be delivered by December 2021 (60 carriages formed into 10 car trains, £105m)
  • Northern - new electric and diesel trains scheduled to begin introduction on the network from December 2018 – a multi-million-pound investment comprising 286 carriages (43 electric trains and 55 diesel trains).
  • TransPennine Express - new electric and diesel trains and locomotive-hauled carriages all to be introduced by December 2019 - at least £230m (220 carriages, formed into 13 five-car sets of locomotive-hauled carriages, 12 five-car electric trains and 19 five-car hybrid trains)
  • Great Northern route - new electric trains for Govia Thameslink Railway to be introduced by the end of 2018 - £200m (150 carriages, formed into 25 6-car trains)
  • Greater Anglia - recently won by Abellio - £1.4bn in total (1,043 carriages, formed into 10x 12-car electric trains for the London-Norwich intercity route, 10x 12-car electric trains for the Stansted Express, 22x 5-car electric trains for commuter routes, 89x 5-car electric trains also for commuter routes, 24x 4-car electro-diesel trains for regional routes, and 14x 3-car electro-diesel trains also for regional routes)
  • London Northwestern - 413 new electric and diesel carriages for metro, suburban and long-distance services – an order worth £680m (36 x 3 car trains for metro services, 45 x 5 car trains for outer suburban and long distance, 12 x 2 car trains and 14 x 4 car trains for journeys to the towns and cities around Birmingham)
  • Merseyrail - new electric trains to be introduced between mid-2019 and the end of 2020 (208 carriages as four car trains, £460m)

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Rail Delivery Group Media Team