Spanners celebrate most reliable fleets

More than 350 representatives from across the industry gathered in London for the annual Golden Spanner Awards, organised by the Modern Railways Fourth Friday Club.

The Spanners is the annual event at which the rolling stock sector meets to celebrate improvements in train maintenance practices and reliability. The day kicked off with a morning conference on topical rolling stock issues, with speakers including East Midlands Railway Fleet Director and Head of Fleet Challenge Neil Bamford and Rich Fisher from the Great British Railways Transition Team. After-lunch speaker Simon French, until recently Chief Inspector at the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, reflected on his career in a speech entitled ‘Learning the hard way’, before Modern Railways Industry and Technology Editor Roger Ford revealed the winners of the Golden Spanners.

Three categories of trophy are awarded: Gold for best in class, Silver for most improved over the last year, and Bronze for the lowest impact on the customer of failures. Figures are calculated using Miles per Technical Incident (MTIN) Moving Annual Average data, a TIN being recorded where a train is stopped for three minutes or more due to a rolling stock issue. Trains are broken down into categories based on age and type.

This year’s winners are listed below – Roger Ford’s full fleet reliability review will appear in the January 2023 issue of Modern Railways, on sale just before Christmas, and online at



Gold: South Western Railway Class 159/0 (Salisbury Depot; BREL/Cummins/Voith; Porterbrook)

Silver: Northern Class 155 (Neville Hill Depot; British Leyland/Cummins/Voith; Porterbrook)

Bronze: Chiltern Railways Class 165/0 (Aylesbury Depot; BREL/Perkins/Voith; Angel Trains)



Gold: South Western Railway Class 455 (Wimbledon Depot; BREL/Gemini Rail Technology; Porterbrook)

Silver: ScotRail Class 320 (Shields Road Depot; BREL/Brush; Eversholt Rail)

Bronze: MTR Elizabeth line Class 315 (Ilford Depot; BREL/Brush; Eversholt Rail)


Wild card – most reliable repurposed train

Gold: South Western Railway Class 484 (Ryde Depot; Vivarail; Lombard Finance)


1st Generation new inter-city

Gold: East Midlands Railway Class 222 (Etches Park Depot; Alstom (Bombardier)/Cummins; Eversholt Rail)

Silver: East Midlands Railway Class 180 (Etches Park Depot; Alstom/Cummins/Voith; Angel Trains)

Bronze: Grand Central Class 180 (Heaton Depot; Alstom/Cummins/Voith; Angel Trains)


2nd Generation new inter-city

Gold: Hull Trains Class 802 (Bounds Green Depot; Hitachi; Angel Trains)

Silver: Greater Anglia Class 745/0 (Crown Point Depot; Stadler; Rock Rail)

Bronze: TransPennine Express Class 397 (Manchester Traincare Centre (Alstom); CAF; Eversholt Rail)


1st Generation new DMU

Gold: TransPennine Express Class 185 (Ardwick Depot; Siemens/Cummins/Voith; Eversholt Rail)

Silver: East Midlands Railway Class 170 (Etches Park/Eastcroft Depots; Alstom (Bombardier)/MTU/Voith; Eversholt Rail/Porterbrook)

Bronze: Govia Thameslink Railway Class 171 (Selhurst Depot; Alstom (Bombardier)/MTU/Voith; Eversholt Rail/Porterbrook)


2nd Generation new DMU

Gold: Greater Anglia Class 755/4 (Crown Point Depot; Stadler/Deutz; Rock Rail)

Silver: Northern Class 195/0 (Newton Heath and Allerton Depots; CAF/MTU/ZF; Eversholt Rail)

Bronze: Greater Anglia Class 755/3 (Crown Point Depot; Stadler/Deutz; Rock Rail)


1st Generation new EMU

Gold: West Midlands Trains Class 350/2 (Kings Heath Depot; Siemens; Porterbrook)

Silver: East Midlands Trains Class 360 (Bedford Depot; Siemens; Angel Trains)

Bronze: Govia Thameslink Railway Class 387/1 (Hornsey Depot; Alstom (Bombardier); Porterbrook)


2nd Generation new EMU

Gold: South Western Railway Class 707 (Wimbledon Depot; Siemens; Angel Trains)

Silver: MTR Elizabeth line Class 345 (Old Oak Common Depot; Alstom; 345 Rail Leasing)

Bronze: Arriva Rail London Class 710/3 (Willesden Depot; Alstom; Rail for London)