The Anonymous Widower

TransPennine Express Buys Spanish Trains

After Arriva Rail North bought 98 Civity trains from CAF, which I wroye about in Arriva Rail North’s New Trains, it probably wasn’t much of a surprise that TransPennine Express have gone to the same source for twenty-five new trains, as is detailed in this article in Global Rail News. This is said.

The new fleet, which will be maintained by Alstom at Longsight depot, will consist of 12 five-car Civity EMUs from CAF – financed by Eversholt Rail – and 13 five-car loco-hauled intercity trains.

The announcement follows an order placed earlier this year with Hitachi for 19 bi-mode train sets. Both fleets of new trains are due to be delivered between 2018 and 2019.

If there is a surprise, it is that they are going for locomotive-hauled sets or rakes of coaches.

The 12 five-car Civity EMUs will be running between Liverpool/Manchester and Edinburgh/Glasgow. According to the CAF data sheet, there will be a 200 kph version available, so these could mix it with other operators’ Class 800 trains.

The article also says this about the locomotive-hauled rake of Mark 5 coaches.

In addition to the new CAF trains and carriages, Beacon Rail-owned Class 68 locomotives will be leased from Direct Rail Services to operate intercity services between Liverpool and Newcastle.

So it would appear that the Class 68 locomotives could work Liverpool to Newcastle before the line is fully electrified. They would also be ideal for routes to Hull and Scarborough.

I would also suspect, that as the Class 88 electro-diesel locomotive is very similar to a Class 68, that these locomotives could also work some of the services, once the route is partially electrified.

The Mark 5 coaches, are probably similar to those being built for the Caledonian Sleeper. One question that has to be asked, is why haven’t TPE opted to bring some of the legendary Mark 3 coaches up to a modern standard.

  • The concept of a quality set of coaches with a locomotive at one end has been proven to work in East Anglia, on Chiltern and on Deutsche Bahn.
  • The conversion of doors, toilets and other issues, might mean that new coaches are better value for money.
  • New coaches are probably good for at least thirty years.
  • All the basic design has been paid for in the Caledonian Sleeper order.
  • One of the five coaches in each set, could have a driving cab integrated into one end, so there would be no need for a separate driving van trailer.
  • Have CAF applied all their designs for the modular Civity train to build a train, where you just plug a suitable locomotive into one end?
  • New coaches sell seats, especially if they are designed for a good passenger experience.
  • If you want six, seven or more coaches, you could probably just slot them into the rake.

I suspect that CAF have seen a gap in the market and have produced a design for a rake of coaches, that will appeal to the UK. I think we could be seeing these coaches appearing elsewhere.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to cost, reliability, flexibility and the quality of the passenger experience.

It does look to me, that by virtue of good design and manufacturing capacity, that CAF seem to have nicked a nice order from under the noses of the big companies.

  • CAF could probably deliver coaches in 2018.
  • Suitable locomotives are already in the UK and Stadler/Vossloh would probably oblige with a few more.
  • The Class 68 locomotive doesn’t seem to generate bad reports in the media.
  • The three previous points, might mean that TPE could be running new reliable trains earlier than anybody thinks.
  • The Civity family is proven and is being built for Arriva Rail North.
  • Hitachi haven’t probably got the capacity to build more Class 800 trains early enough.
  • Bombardier haven’t built a high-speed Aventra, although they might have the capacity, but not a diesel variant.

I certainly think that TPE have got a good replacement at an affordable price for the overcrowded Class 185 trains.

May 23, 2016 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , ,


  1. […] is going to use new rakes of Mark 5 coaches pulled by Class 68 locomotives, as I wrote about in TransPennine Express Buys Spanish Trains, I wonder if instead of buying new electric multiple units for London to Norwich, that the new […]

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  2. […] TransPennine Express Buys Spanish Trains, I wrote about the new trains for TransPennine Express, which include thirteen five-car rakes of […]

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