Passengers paying for '˜decrepit' aging trains

PASSENGERS are paying out to use decrepit trains, it has been claimed.

Wednesday, 28th December 2016, 12:01 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:23 pm
South West Trains' carriages. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Rolling stock used by South West Trains is on average 20 years old, while Southern operator Govia Thameslink Railway uses carriages that are around 19 years old.

Ed Cox, think-tank IPPR North, said: ‘It is little wonder that Britain lags behind other developed nations when commuters pay through the nose for decrepit trains.’

South West Trains starts testing new carriages in 2017.

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Figures show the nation's rolling stock is aging. Source: Office of Rail and Road. Graphic: PA

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at the Campaign for Better Transport, said the current age of trains ‘exemplifies the lack of public and passenger involvement’ in the network.

She went on: ‘More people than ever rely on the railways, they contribute a bigger percentage to running costs than ever, they pay more for their tickets than ever, and yet there is a postcode lottery in the kind of trains they are served by.

‘We need a strategy from the Government which involves passengers and the wider public in decision making, makes clear what their future plans are on things like electrification and clarifies the roles of the rolling stock companies, the train operators and the Government in paying for updated rolling stock.’

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century and will be rolling out more than 5,000 carriages over the next four years which offer more seats, wi-fi and air conditioning.

Figures show the nation's rolling stock is aging. Source: Office of Rail and Road. Graphic: PA

‘South West Trains will start testing the first of 150 new carriages in the new year and the first new trains on the Great Western mainline will begin operating next summer, before they are brought in on the East Coast route.

‘Through rail franchising, we also expect the rail industry to come up with more proposals to introduce new carriages and improve services.’