Diesel ban could see a reprieve for older DMUs

The Department of Transport’s aspiration to ban the use of diesel trains after 2040 could inadvertently lead to a revival for older DMUs that were planned for withdrawal over the next two years.

The move comes a few months after the cancellation of a rolling electrification programme that would have seen EMUs cascaded around the country to replace many diesel trains, and leaves many parts of the country with a continuing need for diesel traction.

Could the Class 153s be rebuilt and reformed? GWR unit No. 153370 is seen at Barnstaple with No. 153373 before working the 11.43 service to Exmouth on December 20. TIM SQUIRES

However, with hydrogen and battery technology largely untested and still being developed, rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOs) will be reluctant to finance new diesel trains that may only have a life of 15-18 years compared to the more usual
30-year-plus minimum.

Industry sources also report that a lack of current DMU designs for the British market mean purchase costs could reach around £2.5million per vehicle for a new design.

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