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ScotRail rolling stock leave for England leaving ScotRail short

22 April 2018

A dozen ScotRail trains have left for Northern Rail in England, leaving Scottish services short at a time when trains are routinely packed.

Ten 1970s High Speed 125 Intercity trains, retired by Great Western Railway to make way for 21st Century rolling stock, were due to have come into ScotRail service but have been delayed due to a shortage of parts.

One of the 125s is expected to come on line next month but the remaining trains will be phased in with the bulk not now expected to be ready for service until next year at the earliest.

As a stop gap, ScotRail have been forced to procure an extra eleven trains to plug the holes after train leasing company, Porter Brook, transferred ScotRail's trains to England as their lease expired.

ScotRail's trains are between 18 and 28 years old. It has has not taken delivery of a new train since 2000.

TSSA warns the systemic cycle of "make do and mend," since privatisation means further trains may have to be taken out of service before the replacements arrive because they are just "too worn out". TSSA is also concerned that taxpayers will be paying through the nose for the late premium lease hire.

"The lease system of trains is one of the most snide and despicable things about the great rail privatisation swindle," said TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes.

"They are not owned by Network Rail or even the train operating companies but by private venture operating companies who just lease old trains - the very same ones that used to be in public ownership, owned by us - to the highest bidder, for rip off rates.

"There is no real incentive to invest in new trains, with modern facilities and decent toilets as there is less profit to be made from them. It's far easier and more lucrative for privateers to simply change the train's livery and run the them until they literally fall apart. That's why there is a scarcity of spare parts - the trains are so old that they've been used up!'

"The rail modernisation programme that Scotland's passengers and its economy so desperately needs is just not happening. That the once iconic 1970s, Intercity 125 is coming into Scotland over 40 years after they went into service. This tells you how far behind the times rail infrastructure is North of the border. There has been much fanfare about decrepit Intercity trains coming to Scotland but when they show up, they are not fit for purpose. They are subject to delay because spare parts are in short supply adding insult to injury. Frankly, you couldn't make up it up.

"But worryingly our TSSA members who maintain Scotland's rolling stock are telling me they are now really concerned about the make do and mend culture, because they know they are doing their best to patch and repair trains but far too many, are just simply worn out.

"As summer approaches passenger density gets higher so it's no time for Scotland to be losing trains from service. Bad management by Abellio is partly to blame. But with leasing companies legally able to hold train operating companies to ransom and charge high prices for antiquated, worn out, trains, you start seeing why the Tory's Frankestein ideological experiment with privatisation is a failed one.

"The SNP talk the talk on creating a modern Scotland, but Im afraid they will only walk the walk when they accept that a modern railway sits at the heart of this. This requires taking Scotland's railways into public ownership so that they run for the Scottish people by the Scottish people at the service of them rather than speculators. This means directly owning the rolling stock rather than being at the mercy of greedy privateers who want Scotland to have recycled 1970s English clapped out trains. The Common Weal report we commissioned on a 'A Public Future for Scotland's Railways' shows how direct procunent of trains by the Scottish Government would deliver a far better deal for Scotland's passengers and taxpayers.

"Until this is done, I'm sorry to say that the crisis of failing trains and let down passengers will continue. Of course, this debacle is entirely avoidable if the SNP had the courage of their convictions and booted the privateers out of our industry. If they don't, Labour's Jeremey Corbyn and Richard Leonard will soon do it for them."

Note to desk.

ScotRail leaseholder Porter Brook has already removed six trains from Scotland to Northern Rail. Six more will be transferred by the end of the year.

The trains are a combination of 170s and 158s models - all diesel trains as most of Scotland's 10,000 miles of track in still diesel. Electrification only exists on mainlines to Edinburgh and to Glasgow.

Five Intercity 125s have been sourced for Scotland from GWR. There are currently waiting to be refurbished in Doncaster but the parts they need cant be secured. One is expected to be ready to come into service in May.

Linked is a CommonWeal TSSA Report entitled 'A Public Future for Scotland's Railways' which gives additional facts and figures.  

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