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Rolling Stock

Volume 471: debated on Wednesday 30 January 2008

I am today publishing a rolling stock plan updating on how the extra capacity promised in the White Paper “Delivering a Sustainable Railway”, (Cm 7176) will be delivered.

The White Paper set out ambitious plans for the growth and development of our railways over the next 30 years. It included a high level output specification (HLOS) showing what specific improvements the Government want to buy from the industry from 2009 to 2014. The HLOS set out our requirements for a safer and more punctual railway and a big increase in capacity. Passenger numbers have grown by an unprecedented 40 per cent. over the last decade. We want to create the capacity to support and encourage further growth. Over £10 billion will be invested in extra capacity between 2009 and 2014, including investment in major schemes, such as Thameslink.

Today’s plan confirms that some 1300 extra carriages will be introduced—an increase of around 10 per cent. of the passenger rolling stock fleet. Over 300 of these will address the growth in demand in cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

In some areas, the extra capacity will be secured through the procurement of new rolling stock, and in other areas it will be secured through redeploying existing rolling stock which is displaced by new. Indicative numbers of additional vehicles, required to meet the capacity targets set out in HLOS, are set out, by Train Operating Company, in the rolling stock plan.

Publishing our baseline allocation of the 1300 carriages today, is an important step forward that will aid joint industry planning. It will enable Network Rail to take forward detailed planning of infrastructure enhancements, such as longer platforms, to allow the introduction of longer trains.

Much of the extra rolling stock will be introduced through variations to current franchises. This plan will now form the basis of detailed discussions with the industry. Emerging proposals will be examined and assessed to determine value for money and affordability.

Copies of the document have been placed in the House Libraries and are available on the Department for Transport website at