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News from the UK Rail Industry 4th June 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

New diesel trains set to transform the North

The first nine of 101 diesel and electric multiple-units being supplied to Northern by CAF entered passenger service on Monday of this week.

CAF is supplying 25 two-car and 33 three-car Class 195 DMUs, together with 31 three-car and 12 four-car EMUs of Class 331. The operator has initially deployed seven DMUs on services between Manchester Airport and Liverpool, Windermere and Barrow-in-Furness, and two EMUs between Leeds and Doncaster. 

Richard Allan, Deputy Managing Director of Arriva Rail North, said: “Over the course of the rest of this year, the new trains will be introduced into towns and cities right across the north, marking a genuine transformation of local rail services. We expect a big increase in customer satisfaction, and what we really hope is that the new trains will attract new customers to rail.”

The air-conditioned units have free wi-fi, at-seat power sockets and real-time passenger information displays, as well as spaces for wheelchairs and bicycles. They are intended to enable the withdrawal by the end of this year of ageing Class 142 and 144 Pacer DMUs that are not compliant with PRM TSI accessibility requirements.

Arriva Rail North said that the franchisee “remains committed to delivering the transformational plan for customers, and we are working hard to improve performance and reliability for our customers. We are investing heavily in new and refurbished trains, have introduced more than 2 000 extra services each week and hundreds more people have been employed to help customers. These improvements are delivering significant benefits but are still a work in progress.” Full story.

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Network Rail bids for British Steel

British Steel’s railway services division could soon be owned by Network Rail, meaning that (if the deal goes ahead) the rail business of British Steel would have been effectively renationalised.

Network Rail is hoping to acquire the production of rails, which are produced in Scunthorpe and where there is a workforce of 5,000. Around 100,000 tonnes of rails are bought by Network Rail from British Steel each year, but as British Steel is in compulsory liquidation future production is now looking uncertain.

Although it has made an approach, Network Rail is anxious not to jeopardise any wider rescue deal, because the government would prefer the complete sale of all British Steel’s activities.

Network Rail said: “We have made an indicative offer for some railway critical assets although our overwhelming preference is that a purchaser for the entire business is found. We are very clear that our offer will not undermine that. Our role is to safely run the railway for the millions of people who rely on it every day and we are exploring all options to make sure we can continue to do that.” Full story.

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