The Anonymous Widower

Rail Operations Seeks New Sites To Extend Storage Space

The title of this post, as the same as that of this article in Issue 869 of Rail Magazine.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Rail operations (UK) Limited is looking to lease more sites for storing off-lease trains.

Via ita Traxion business, the company has already leased Crewe South Yard and the Marks & Sencer Logistics site at Castle Donington.

Much of the rest of the article is an interview with Karl Watts, who is Chief Executive of Rail Operations (UK) Limited, where he outlines the train storage market. He appears to be a man, who builds a strategy around facts and then pounces.

To do this he would need to have.

  • Good advisers, with excellent knowledge of and contacts in the UK Rail and European rail industry.
  • Reliable financial backing.
  • The ability to give a good story to the media.

It appears, Karl could have used similar tactics, when he commissioned ten Class 93 locomotives from Stadler, that I wrote about in Stadler’s New Tri-Mode Class 93 Locomotive.

He puts forward some firm views and facts.

  • 4,000 vehicles are coming off-lease.
  • 46-47 miles of track will be needed.
  • 313s, 314s and 315s will be scrapped.
  • 317s, 319s, 321s and 442s will be re-engineered.

The customer gets what they want with appropriate servicing and maintenance.

 

 

January 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aberdeen Standard Backs Controversial £1bn Bid For Crossrail Fleet

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on City AM.

This has been mooted for some time and I believe that Transport for London are taking a sensible action to help get round their funding crisis, caused by three factors.

  • The loss of Government subsidy.
  • The lateness of Crossrail.
  • Sadiq Khan’s bribe to the electorate of a fare freeze.

I also think, that this will be advantageous to London in the long term.

This is a paragraph in the article.

TfL would be able to terminate the 35-year lease in 2020, 2025 and 2030, through a break clause, with an ability to acquire the fleet for just £1 in 2044. TfL will announce the winner at the beginning of next year.

Depending on how TfL’s finance progress in the next few years, the break clause may allow them to cancel and acquire new trains, if they felt it best.

But all these trains need a rebuilding at someyime around twenty years old and this will surely be the responsibility of the leasing company.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

TfL To Sell And Lease Back Elizabeth Line Fleet To Finance New Deep Tube Trains

The title of this post is the same as this article on Global Rail News.

Transport for London (TfL) is under financial pressure for various reasons and desperately wants to order new trains for the Piccadilly Line.

  • The current 1973 Stock trains entered service in 1975.
  • 87½ six-car trains were originally ordered.
  • Train technology has moved on in over forty years.
  • The new trains will be walk-through, lower-weight, energy efficient trains with air-conditioning and wi-fi.
  • The trains may have batteries to handle regenerative braking and power failures.

When the 1967 Stock trains on the Victoria Line were replaced, the new fleet had a similar number of 2009 Stock trains.

So will TfL order 87½ trains again?

According to the November 2017 Edition of Modern Railways, this is proposed.

  • Ordering a hundred trains.
  • Installing new signalling.
  • Increasing frequency from 24 to 33 trains per hour.

This would give a capacity increase of 60 %.

The five pre-qualiofied bidders were Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens. However since this was announced, the following has happened.

  • Bombardier and Hitchi are submitting a joint bid.
  • Alstom and Siemens have merged their rail transportation businesses.

As the order could lead to a total of 250 new trains, I suspect competition will be keen.

I can understand why, TfL are leasing the Crossrail trains to raise money for the purchase.

I would assume that TfL will lease the new Piccadilly Line trains, just like they lease the London Overground trains.

Some might think, that the trains should be purchased outright!

That means TfL would need to raise a lot of money up front.

  • What also helps is that trains are an asset that last a long time, with many still being in peak condition at forty years old.
  • So institutions with large amounts of cash assets like Pension Funds find trains a good place to use money to create an income for beneficiaries.
  • Given that rolling stock and especially electric trains are good for the environment, it could be considered an ethical investment.

Various models are used by different transport authorities, with Merseyrail actually buying the trains and then leasing them to the train operating company.

January 15, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Legal & General To Invest £350m in UK Rail Infrastructure

The title of this post, is the same as this article on Railway Technology.

Wikipedia says this about Legal & General.

The company offers a wide range of products for individuals and corporate businesses. Its investment management is the UK’s largest investment manager of UK pension fund assets and has a growing US business, based in Chicago, Illinois.

So in a few years time, your pension might own a couple of nuts and bolts on a train.

January 5, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Risky Business: Train Fleets In A State Of Flux

The title of this post is the same as this article in Rail Magazine.

The article is certainly in the must-read category and it illustrates the perils of not getting your investments right.

You could argue that rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOs) are sucking money out of the UKs railways.

I would argue differently.

The cause of the troubles for the ROSCOs is threefold.

  1. Train operating companies would prefer to have lots of similar trains, as this makes, maintenance, training and timetabling easier and more affordable. Some successful companies like c2c, London Overground, Virgin Trains and Merseyrail are one- or two-class companies and others like TransPennine Express and Great Western Railway are moving that way.
  2. New leasing companies have seen the returns, that the three original ROSCOs have made and have entered the market. As they are leasing new trains, they make it more difficult to find homes for existing rolling stock, many of of which have perhaps twenty years of life left and are priced accordingly.
  3. The  ROSCOs have also badly misjudged the technology. Bombardier, CAF and Stadler have come up with innovative solutions to the problems of our unique Victorian-designed railway and the train operating companies have liked what they have seen and ordered them.

It is interesting to note, that few of the large orders for rolling stock have not been financed by the three original ROSCOs; Angel Trains, Eversholt and Porterbrook.

Greater Anglia

As I know Greater Anglia well, I’ll look at their current fleet, which is being replaced train-for-train by new rolling stock.

  • Class 90 locomotives – These are thirty years old and will probably end up pulling freight or be cannibalised for spares.
  • Mark 3 coaches – These do not meet the latest regulations for passengers of reduced mobility and most will probably be scrapped, although one rake has been sold to be used by 60163 Tornado.
  • Driving Van Trailers – I doubt these will find a use and will join the many others in store or they will be scrapped.
  • Class 153 trains – At twenty-five years old, I doubt these single-carriage trains will see serious passenger use again.
  • Class 156 trains – At nearly thirty years old, these two-car DMUs may have use on rural lines, but they will need refurbishment.
  • Class 170 trains – These two- and three-car 100 mph DMUs  will certainly find another operator.
  • Class 317 trains – At thirty-five years old, but in good condition, these 100 mph EMUs will be difficult to place, as newly-electrified lines will inevitably deserve new trains.
  • Class 321 trains – These 100 mph EMUs will be difficult to place, despite some having been recently upgraded.
  • Class 360 trains – These 100 mph EMUs are only fifteen years old and will probably find a new operator.
  • Class 379 trains – These modern 100 mph EMUs are only a few years old and will will certainly find a new operator.

Quite frankly most of this rolling stock is not worth much!

The Class 360 and Class 379 trains will be the easiest to release.

The sheer numbers of Class 317 and 321 trains, with little new electrification planned, mean that something innovative will, have to be done to find them a home. I speculated aboutwhat will happen to all these Mark 3-based multiple units in What Will Happen To The Class 319, Class 455, Class 321 And Cl;ass 317 Trains? I certainly suspect that some will find uses, with the upgraded Class 321 trains probably the first in the queue.

As I said in the article, I feel that some Class 321 trains could become small parcel and pallet carriers.

The Class 707 Trains

The Rail Magazine article talks about the problem of the Class 707 trains, that were ordered by South West Trains and will be returned by South Western Railway.

It suggests they could be converted to run on 25 KVAC overhead working, but that will be expensive and in my view a new Desiro City is far inferior to a new Aventra.

So would a quality Class 317 or 321 be a good alternative for an operator, that needed some new trains to perhaps open a new electrified route?

It looks even more of a bad decision of Angel Trains to fund the Class 707 trains.

Is It Innovate Or Die?

Porterbrook saw problems coming with the Class 319 trains, they were leasing to Thameslink.

But they got together with Northern and designed an affordable bi-mode, which is now the Class 769 train.

Thirteen have been ordered!

In anotherf project, InterCity 125 trains are being shortened and updated to last another decade.

Will we be seeing more developments like this, where redundant trains are turned into useful ones for a different purpose?

We could even be seeing some innovative export deals!

Conclusion

It’s a tough world out there!

But those that innovate will survive and make money!

 

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Finance, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment