Kettering MP Philip Hollobone asks if double-decker trains could be reintroduced

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Kettering MP Philip Hollobone has raised the idea of reintroducing double-decker trains on the country’s rail network in Parliament.

Mr Hollobone raised the issue yesterday (Thursday, June 28).

Transport minister Theresa Villiers said a report prepared by Network Rail in 2007 concluded that the introduction of double-decker trains on the current UK rail network “would require extensive modification to structures and stations and was not economically viable”.

But Mr Hollobone said: “Other nations seem to make a success of having double-decker trains, and we used to have them on some suburban services in this country.”

He said he would “urge” Ms Villiers “to ask Network Rail to think again, because lots of commuters on congested trains would want us to replicate the success of double-decker buses by having double-decker trains”.

Ms Villiers said she had looked at the idea but the reality was that double-decker trains that were run in the past by British Rail were “claustrophobic, it took a long time for passengers to get on and off, and they deployed the sort of slam-door stock that we have tried to phase out”.

She added: “The shape of the UK rail network, the size of the bridges, the distance between rail tracks and the distance between the tracks and the platform mean that we cannot run the large double-decker trains that work in Europe.

“I am afraid that that there are much more cost-effective ways to expand capacity, with longer trains and more frequent services, which is what the Government are doing.”