The Department for Transport has taken ownership of the 40-strong fleet of Class 365 EMUs, previously leased by Eversholt Rail.
Of the 40×4-car units, 21 are currently in service with Govia Thameslink Railway on Great Northern services out of King’s Cross, with the remainder in store. The transfer has occurred due to what DfT describes as a ‘prehistoric agreement’ dating back to the time of privatisation.
In the 1992 autumn statement the British Railways Board was given permission to lease rolling stock worth £150 million. This was used to acquire the Class 365 fleet and BR entered into leases for the Class 365s with third party banks, subsequent to which a special purpose vehicle (SPV) was created to hold the Class 365s until 2021. The SPV transferred to Eversholt with the sale of the rolling stock companies. However, with half the fleet out of service the SPV is now unable to make its lease payment, triggering guarantees in the contract leading to the transfer of its trains to DfT.
DfT told Modern Railways any operators wanting to add capacity by utilising the stored units ‘can present a business case to the Department in the normal way’.