In the main, rolling stock is commonly privately owned and so, the owners have a say in what happens to their assets in the future, especially when they are no longer in service. However, following two Commons Written Questions from Paul Girvan of the Democratic Unionist Party, South Antrim, the Transport Minister Andrew Jones has responded.
The questions that were submitted by Paul Girvan related to rolling stock and what proportion of trains are wholly or partially re-purposed or removed from completely and scrapped. He also posed the question as to whether the Government would step in and publish clear and concise guidelines that determine what should happen when it comes to re-purposing any displaced rolling stock.
The Transport Minister responded even though the Department for Transport had already made it clear that bi-mode trains would be put into production in preparation for them being added to the East Midlands franchise from 2022.
As it currently stands, there has been no specific contract awarded for the manufacture of these trains and no resolution has been found that relates to the future of the High Speed Trains that new fleet will be used in place of. At the moment, the High Speed Trains have to be removed from service by December 31 as they are not adequately fitted with the correct facilities in order for them to meet disability guidelines. The owner Porterbrook, made an offer to have the work completed on the sets but the Department for Transport offered no assurances and this resulted in the work not being completed on time.
South West Trains had Class 455s and 458s that had been significantly modified as part of a Government-sponsored High Level Output Specification plan. Along with this, 30 five-car 707s were ordered but the Department for Transport then decided that a new franchise would be awarded to First Group/MTR which ultimately mean that the withdrawal of the EMUs is imminent.