Latest Rail News


Technical specifications for IEP published

The Government has published the technical specification and contracts for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) with Hitachi’s Agility Trains consortium.

The £4.5bn deal was finalised last July and the new trains will replace the ageing InterCity 125 fleet.

596 carriages will be built at Newton Aycliffe and are due to enter service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and the East Coast Main Line by 2018.

The technical specifications are available at:

The specifications note: “IEP Trains must deliver Full Functionality when operating over the following route types:

• Routes with a 25 kV AC Overhead Electrification Supply;

• 1500V DC overhead electrified routes (not drawing power)

• 750V DC third rail electrified routes; (not drawing power)

• Non-electrified routes

• Routes including any combination of the above either together or separately.”

It adds: “The design of the IEP Units must ensure that the IEP Units have the flexibility to allow for train formation changes, changes of power source, and redeployment throughout their life. The design of the IEP Units must minimise the cost and timescales to effect these changes.

“It is an essential requirement that the number of different Functional Vehicle Types within the architecture of the various trains is minimised and there shall in any event be no more than 13 distinct Functional Vehicle Types. A Bi-mode IEP Unit must be capable of being readily modified to an Electric IEP Unit at a future date by the removal of Self Power Sources from one or more IEP Vehicles.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected] 

Image c. Hitachi


Henry Law   21/02/2013 at 12:57

In accordance with the current trend, the train has systems for everything. But which of them are really cost-effective? And which could be dispensed with and which are in the nice-to-have category? Or is this an example of gold-plating the specification taken to a mad extreme?

Burto46   12/04/2013 at 20:48

Although the government has been absolutely right to seek a thoroughly versatile train, with lower track damage per passenger seat, extremely efficient use of fuel and so on - the price thus far seems astronomic. Will all these alleged savings prove real. One can well see why critics such as Roger Ford view this as an indulgence too far. Bi-mode operation is a common sense option: if it works, not least in allowing trains to reach Edinburgh and divide into a five coach service to Aberdeen and 5 coaches to Inverness / Glasgow (or wherever). Would be brilliant for Great Eastern ML for services to Yarmouth (or wherever). Likewise on Great Western. But my doubts are sizeable.

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >