Thursday, February 12, 2009

IEP - lots of new trains by 2015!

The Intercity Express Programme (IEP) has made a major step forward with the award of a significant order. Good news but perhaps we should also note that this is almost certainly too little too late for solving growth problems within British Railways. By the time they are introduced the demand will be even higher than it is today.

The winning group includes Hitachi which is building the high speed Kent trainsets; this may well have been a deciding factor in the selection. Comparison of various modern trainsets (the HS125/HS225 is hardly modern and yet gives a better ride than more recent designs) suggests that Bombardier probably should have been passed by; they built the Virgin Voyagers, with the stinking toilets! While the Adalente design by Alsthom, ugly as it is, has also not been a big hit because of reliability issues.

I only hope the winning design is as good as the HS125/HS225 design it will ultimately replace.