Posted 19th March 2013 | 11 Comments
Open access operator proposes electrification
OPEN ACCESS operator First Hull Trains is in talks with private sector investors and Network Rail over plans to electrify the route from Selby to Hull.
Negotiations have also started with a potential but so far unnamed contractor, who would carry out the work.
Hull Trains is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Renaissance Trains, a company founded by Mike Jones and John Nelson in the early years of rail privatisation.
A spokesman for HT said FirstGroup is supporting the proposal, and that the total cost of electrifying the 56km of route from Selby is likely to be less than £100 million. Parts of the route are flat, straight and comparatively free of overline structures – characteristics which tend to bring down the cost of electrification.
Hull Trains’ present licence expires in 2016, and sources close to the operator say new managing director Richard Parry is expected to lead a bid for a 20-year extension, which would encourage agreement by private investors.
If electrification did go ahead, Hull Trains would replace its Class 180 diesel Adelantes with electric rolling stock. The newly-electrified route would also be available to other operators, and in particular would give East Coast the option of using electric trains for its own single daily service between London and Hull, although this possibility is not enough on its own to justify a Network Rail-funded scheme.
Hull Trains is nevertheless hoping that Network Rail will take responsibility for long-term maintenance of the overhead lines, but this is still a matter for discussion.
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