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New figures reveal average age of Northern locomotives.

Byline: MARTIN SHAW martin.shaw@reachplc.com @MARTINSHAWWRNS

THE average age of train company Northern's rolling stock is nearly 30 years old, new figures have revealed.

Data from the Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) show the company is running some of the oldest rolling stock in Britain.

The average age of Northern's locomotives and carriages has been creeping up for more than a decade.

In March 2008 it stood at just 19.1 years old, but the figure has been rising since then.

In March 2018 it reached 28.5 years old.

The figures suggest the vast majority of older trains are being kept in service rather than gradually replaced.

Only a handful of operators have rolling stock with a higher average age.

Highest of all is the Caledonian Sleeper, which runs overnight services from London to Scotland. The average age of its rolling stock was 38.5 years old. The operator with the second oldest stock was Merseyrail (38.3).

Govia Thameslink - which serves London and the South East - has the newest trains.

The average age of its rolling stock was 11.3 years old in March 2018.

TransPennine Express is second, at 11.8 years old, followed by Virgin West Coast (13.5 years old).

A Northern spokesperson said: "Northern is delivering the biggest modernisation programme in a generation as part of a PS600m investment.

"This includes 98 new trains with the first ones in the UK undergoing track testing. Built in the 1980s, the outdated Pacers will be retired with the first to be removed from service by the end of the year.

"All remaining trains will be refurbished to a high standard including new flooring, seats, CCTV, power sockets and Wi-Fi."

The data was contained in an annual report by the ORR. It shows that average age of rolling stock actually fell slightly across Britain as a whole in 2017/18, from 20.2 years old to 19.6 years old.

That was because a number of operators introduced new trains on their lines.

The average age of British rolling stock has generally been rising since 2005/06, when it stood at a record low of 13.0 years old.

That was because of a number of train replacement programmes in the years after the privatisation of British Rail.

However, since then the age has been rising again and has been approaching levels not seen since last century.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 27, 2018
Words:410
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