Written evidence from Angel Trains (HSR
Angel Trains owns, leases and maintains trains for
Train Operating Companies. We are the largest Rolling Stock Operating
Company (ROSCO) in the UK:
Trains owns nearly 4,500 vehicles.
of the trains currently leased for operation on the UK rail network
are run by Angel Trains.
of our fleet are currently on lease to operating companies.
We do more than just lease trains to Train Operating
Companies. Through our team of expert engineers based at our
offices in London and Derby, Angel Trains provides expertise in
maintenance of leased trains and advice on the purchase of new
Since 1994 we have invested over £3 billion
in the UK economy through the purchase of rolling stock, and the
refurbishment of existing trains. The single biggest investments
made by Angel Trains include over £700 million in new
passenger trains for the South West Trains route into London,
and £977 million on new tilting trains for the Virgin
Railways West Coast Mainline route from London to Birmingham,
Manchester and Glasgow.
Our company was established in 1994 as part of the
privatisation of British Rail.
Angel Trains does not have a position on the strategic
case for High Speed Rail, as some crucial aspects of the analysis
required fall outside its area of expertise. However, Angel Trains
would like to respond specifically to Question 2.2, which deals
with the potential impact of HS2 on the current, conventional
2.2 Focusing on rail, what would be the implications
of expenditure on HSR on funding for the "classic" network,
for example in relation to investment to increase track and rolling
stock capacity in and around major cities?
63% of all current rail journeys are accounted for
by passengers commuting to and from work or education.
While the High Speed line will offer long-distance and business
users an alternative, commuters will have no option but to continue
to use the conventional rail network on a daily basis.
It is important that these passengers continue to
receive the improved service that they have come to expect from
the UK rail industry, and also benefit from technological innovation
in the future. This can only occur if the conventional network
receives continuous, steady, predictable levels of investment.
Unfortunately, the past few years have been characterised by a
"boom and bust" approach to rail investment as political
and departmental priorities are adjusted over time. Angel Trains
consider that the political focus on the High Speed 2 project
might lead to a significant recalibration, resulting in reduced
investment in the "classic" network. We note that the
"Economic Case for HS2" already indicates an additional
£3.1 billion of cost savings on the classic line.
We do appreciate that, particularly in times of highly
constrained public spending, the development and subsequent adherence
to a rail strategy and its associated investment programme is
a complex undertaking. However, a continuous, predictable investment
programme for the "classic" network would have a significant,
three-fold impact: on efficiency, on physical assets, and on human
Efficiency and value for money is a dominating focus
at present for all the organisations which constitute the rail
industry. (As a member of the UK Rail family Angel Trains have
engaged at every opportunity with Sir Roy McNulty's Value for
Money Review team.) Angel Trains only has the expertise to comment
on those issues which impact on rolling stock, but here the "boom
and bust" approach has had a significant impact. The Rail
estimates that the lack of continuity of rolling stock production
adds approximately 20% to the cost of rolling stock in Great Britain.
This issue is not restricted to train manufacturers, but also
impacts the entire supply chain supporting rolling stock manufacture,
maintenance and operation over the rolling stock's asset life.
Passenger vehicles have improved since privatisation,
leading to measurable, positive changes in passenger satisfaction
as a result. Over the course of the next decade technological
improvements will allow passengers greater access to Wi-Fi provision,
more real-time, integrated information about their current and
onward journey, and improved seat allocation systems. The Train
Operating Companies who lease our trains will also see benefits
from innovation, as our engineers will be able to monitor the
health of vehicles in real-time, rather than waiting for the regular
maintenance checks. This will lead to increases in safety, reliability
and availability of rolling stock.
Finally, human capital will also be affected. Angel
Trains believe that stability in the investment environment would
also be beneficial in encouraging sustained investment in people
and their skills, leading to greater adoption of apprenticeships,
graduate training programmes, and general staff development throughout
373 National Rail Travel Survey, updated 2010: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/railways/ Back
p 12, "Economic Case for HS2: The Y Network and London-West
Costs of Rolling Stock for the GB national network, published
by the Railway Industry Association, 2 August 2010 Back
National Passenger Surveys (2005-2010), published by Passenger