Rail 2014 - Public Consultation

Rail 2014 - Public Consultation

Rail 2014 - Public Consultation

9 - Rolling stock

9.1 The current rolling stock fleet for ScotRail consists of 137 three and four car electric units (EMUs) and 155 two and three car diesel units (DMUs). The fleet is being gradually rebranded as and when maintenance programmes allow. The brand is based on a dynamic interpretation of the Saltire, and the majority of the fleet will be in the new livery before the new franchise comes into effect.

9.2 The most recent trains introduced to the Scottish network are the new Class 380s operating on the Ayr, Inverclyde and North Berwick routes, and the oldest are the Class 314s operating on the South Glasgow and Wemyss Bay and Gourock routes.

9.3 Privatisation of the rail industry in the 1990s resulted in the passenger fleet being sold to three Rolling Stock Companies (ROSCOs). The ROSCOs lease the passenger trains to the Train Operating Companies (TOCs), such as First ScotRail. Leasing the rolling stock cost ScotRail £86 million in 2010-11.

9.4 The length of leases entered into between ROSCOs and TOCs are generally equivalent to the length of the franchise agreements for the provision of rail passenger services. At the end of the current ScotRail franchise all leases for trains operating in Scotland will terminate, except for the new Class 380s where we have given a commitment for longer leases as it was more commercially advantageous to do so.

9.5 There is therefore, theoretically, an opportunity for bidders for the new franchise to propose different rolling stock (if available) for use on the ScotRail network. However the introduction of such rolling stock has to follow a safety approval process which an operator would need to manage in cooperation with Network Rail.

Table 7: ScotRail Rolling Stock – October 2011
  Electric Trains (EMUs) Diesel Trains (DMUs)
Class 314 318 320 334 380 380 156 158 170
No. Coaches / Unit 3 car 3 car 3 car 3 car 4 car 3 car 2 car 2 car 3 car
Max speed [MPH] 75 90 75 90 100 100 75 90 100
No. Units 16 21 22 40 16 22 48 48 59
Built 1979 1986 1990 2000 2010 2010 1988 1990 1998 to 2005
Passenger Information System? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Not on all Yes
Toilet 0 1 Being installed 1 2 1 1 2 2
CCTV No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Not on all Yes
Cycle Rack No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Financial aspects

9.6 The actual passenger rail services that we specifically require are set out in the franchise contract, and the franchisee leases its rolling stock from ROSCOs to allow them to provide these services.

9.7 When ROSCOs lease the trains at the start of a new franchise, the lease costs are agreed as a cost per vehicle per month. Usually these costs include the costs of any major overhaul with the franchisee carrying out light maintenance and refurbishment to an agreed schedule.

9.8 In operating the trains the franchisee also has to pay Network Rail track access charges, a proportion of which differs according to the type of vehicle being used. These access charges are set by the Office of Rail Regulation at the start of each control period, every five years, or when new rolling stock comes on stream.

9.9 Therefore for each type of rolling stock there are costs relating to:

  • leasing costs
  • maintenance costs
  • fuel or traction electricity costs
  • access charges
  • staffing

9.10 Currently, the purchase of new rolling stock involves the Scottish Ministers (Transport Scotland), ROSCOs, and the Franchisee, with the ROSCOs owning the new trains. New rolling stock is purchased to accommodate growth in passenger numbers, to provide services on new lines and when vehicles are withdrawn, typically after 35 years.

Rolling stock requirements

9.11 Approximately 25% of the rail network in Scotland is electrified (around 2,800 km). Much of the electrified network is in the Glasgow conurbation area, where the majority of rail services currently operate.

9.12 As electrification is rolled out across the country, new electric trains will have to be procured, and this will free up diesel trains for deployment on to other routes. Electric rolling stock has lower lease costs than equivalent diesel units, and they are also more reliable and cheaper to maintain and run.

9.13 Rail passenger trains are built with the expectation that they will have a working life of 35 years. During this time they will be refurbished, but the long-life of the assets means that any investment needs to be carefully assessed. Due to the roll-out of electrification across GB, the ROSCOs are more willing to finance electric trains than diesel trains. They do however support the refurbishment of existing diesel units.

9.14 Ninety-six two-car DMUs will reach their expected withdrawal dates between 2018 and 2020 and will need to be re-engineered, refurbished or replaced at that time. They will also have to be adapted to comply with accessibility legislation[26] by 1 January 2020 or receive a derogation from the European Commission to operate beyond that date.

9.15 The rural routes are unlikely to be electrified in the near future, so either existing diesel rolling stock will need to be refurbished or new diesel trains will be required.

9.16 We are therefore considering whether we should renew these vehicles (ie purchase new ones) or refurbish them to keep them operating for longer, or whether to leave it to franchise bidders to determine the rolling stock strategy. The associated costs of the various options will be a major factor, and if refurbishment or replacement is required this could be incorporated within the 2014 franchise commitments.

Passenger comfort

9.17 Research carried out by Passenger Focus in 2010 found that Scottish passengers future design requirements for rolling stock are driven by their concerns with:

  • the ability to get a seat
  • comfort of seating
  • ease and safety of boarding and alighting from the train
  • safety in standing areas
  • provision of adequate luggage space
  • the on-board temperature
  • the provision of on-board information and announcements
  • general cleanliness

9.18 There was no significant difference between commuter, business and leisure users.

9.19 Previous Scottish Government consultations have found that on trains, passengers want improved luggage space, space for bikes, toilet facilities, staffing on-board catering, and better announcements about services.

9.20 We are aware that some of the diesel trains that currently run on the longer inter-city and rural routes within Scotland are not perceived by some passengers as appropriate for these longer journeys. We are currently considering what options there could be for improving this situation, and will be looking for bidders for the next franchise to put forward some solutions.

31 What alternative strategies or mechanisms could be used to reduce the cost of the provision of rolling stock?
32 What facilities should be present on a train and to what extent should these facilities vary according to the route served?