Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Talk about cornering the market

Posted in Great Britain, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 20 February 2010

When British Rail was privatised in 1994, the Class 323 EMU were entering service. However, at that point, there was then a 1,064 day gap in orders for new trains in Britain, that only came to an end when Chiltern Railways ordered its first Class 168 Clubman DMUs. This was the start of Bombardier Transportation’s cornering of the UK market. Since the entry into service of the Class 168/0 units, Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom have delivered or are in the process of delivering over 1300 multiple units of various types. But, of those, nearly 800 have been produced by Bombardier – the Electrostar family is the dominant EMU type, with Class 357 units in service with c2c, Class 375 and Class 376 units with Southeastern, Class 377 units with Southern and First Capital Connect, Class 378 units with London Overground, together with Class 379 units to be delivered to NXEA. The Turbostar is similarly the most common type of DMU in service, with close to 200 of them split between a number of operators – Chiltern use the Class 168s, while 122 Class 170s are divided between NXEA, CrossCountry, ScotRail, London Midland and First TransPennine Express; there are also 16 Class 171 units with Southern, and 39 Class 172 units due for Chiltern, London Midland and London Overground. Not to mention that there are 105 Voyager high speed (125mph) express units of Class 220, Class 221 and Class 222 in service with CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains. I think you could define that very much as cornering the market, especially if Bombardier win orders for Thameslink and Crossrail. It almost seems like the days of BREL producing large quantities of British Rail’s rolling stock.

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