Fares, rail policy and DfT news

31.10.18

Refurbishing rolling stock into bi-modes could unlock disused railway lines

The DfT has said that innovative refurbishment of old rolling stock into modern bi-mode trains could offer the opportunity to reopen disused railway lines.

In the department’s ‘Rolling Stock Perspective Fourth Edition,’ the government made note of several cases of this taking place across the country, including Alstom and Eversholt converting Class 321 units to hydrogen fuel bi-modes, Vivarail refurbishing its Class 230 trains (which have been delayed), and the progress being made in Very Light Rail manufacturing in Dudley.

It said: “These lightweight, refreshed, and re-purposed vehicles, offered to the market at competitive rates, could strengthen the case for the reopening of disused lines.

“As the demand for housing and business premises that are well connected to the mainline increases, the reopening of these old alignments would reinvigorate local services.”

The DfT said that it would welcome proposals via its Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline for schemes that make use of affordable rolling stock for such routes, and that it expects train manufacturers, franchise holders and rolling stock companies to engage with operators and local authorities to examine the opportunities. 

Earlier this month, Rolls-Royce and Porterbrook launched the UK’s first hybrid rail project with an MTU drive system, with plans to convert Class 168 and Class 170 Turbostar diesel trains into hybrid-electric versions called HybridFLEX trains.

 

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