This is the age of the train
The national average age of passenger rolling stock was 21.0 years at the end of 2015/16; higher than at any time since 2000/01.
The figures were disclosed in ORR’s rail infrastructure, assets and environmental annual release for 2015/16 (which excludes locomotives, driving van trailers and non franchised passenger train operators).
Rolling stock age hit a record low in 2005/06 Q2 when it was 13.0 years young (or old), but it has grown steadily since and stood at 20.2 years at the end of 2014/15. In 2000/01 Q2 the national average age was 20.7 years (0.3 years less than the latest 2015/16 figure).
However more than 60% of the stock had been refurbished or rebuilt by the end of 2015 to make it DAA compliant. But it will need to be 100% compliant by 2020.
The ORR analysis showed wide variation in the average fleet ages of 20 TOCs.
The operators with the youngest fleets were: TransPennine Express (9.5 years); Virgin Trains West Coast (11.4 years); and London Midland (11.7 years). The three oldest were: Caledonian Sleeper (41.4 years); Merseyrail (37.3 years) and TfL Rail (36.3 years).
Three ROSCOs supplied 92% of the market: Angel (33%); Eversholt (27%); and Porterbrook (32%).
48% of rolling stock has been built since rail privatisation (between 1994 and 1997) but 13% dates from the 1970s.
The ORR forecast that by the end of the next control period, CP6 (2019-2024), the average age should have fallen to 16 years; 4,500 new carriages are expected to be in service by then.
ORR analysis also disclosed that the total Network Rail route mileage increased to 9,818 route miles (2014/15: 9,793 route miles), mainly due to the opening of the Borders Railway in Scotland and the Ebbw Vale line extension in Wales.
14 new main line stations were opened during the year bringing the total to 2,557. Electrification in the North West increased the network proportion of electrified mileage to 33.7% (3,313 route miles) as against 33.4% (3,276 route miles) in the previous year.