Budget announcements should benefit railways in the regions

SEVERAL rail projects throughout Great Britain should benefit from Government investment announced by the Chancellor Philip Hammond on November 22.

An cash injection of £337million will be used by Tyne & Wear Metro towards procuring new trains.

The 48-mile, 60-station network first opened in August 1980, but its fleet of 90 two-car trains, which were built between 1978 and 1981 by Metro-Cammell, in Birmingham, are life-expired and showing reliability problems.

During their life, they have been refurbished several times. Around 40 million passengers use the Metro each year.

A replacement fleet, which may cost £550m, could be configured to take power at the 1,500v DC on the Metro network, and 25kV AC, which with the right build of unit, could operate over electrified Network Rail lines. Battery technology is also an option to make the units energy efficient.

Funding for phase two of the western section of the East-West
Rail (EWR) link has been confirmed, covering Bicester to Bedford, and Milton Keynes to Princes Risborough, along with the aim of the first passenger services to be running in 2023, and the project to be complete by 2024.

Plans were also announced to accelerate delivery of the central section of EWR between Bedford and Cambridge, aiming for passenger services to begin by the mid-2020s.

Read more in the December issue of RM – on sale now!

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