Reports of the demise of existing fleets may be exaggerated, Eversholt Rail’s head of external relations Tim Burleigh told the Golden Spanners conference. Mr Burleigh explained that in a growing market both new build rolling stock and targeted enhancements to existing fleets will have a role to play. The UK rail market is exhibiting sustained growth, so more rolling stock will be required, but there will also be a need for better and more efficient deployment. Over the next five years there are eight franchises due to be re-let, Mr Burleigh noted. There is the prospect of devolution – sub-national transport authorities are now well-established and are examining how to improve services. The physical infrastructure of the railway is also growing – for example, the Borders Railway has stimulated spectacular demand. However, enhancements delivery challenges are already having a significant adverse impact on forward planning and rolling stock deployment, as evidenced by changes to the planned rolling stock cascade following Great Western electrification as elements of this work are deferred.

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