This news will be relevant to those readers who may travel to or from London Waterloo.

These Derby-built Arterio trains have now been certified by ORR (The Office of Rail and Road) for delivery to SWR.

No date for service entry has yet been announced.

This year has seen the arrival of many new trains. Some were replacing British Rail-era stock; others were intended to boost capacity.

These Arterio models are “more sustainable trains” offering “more comfort, quicker and reliable service for passengers,” notes ORR.

Sadly they have arrived at the wrong time. Currently there is no need for more capacity thanks to Covid and government advice to avoid public transport where possible.

Recently published ORR data reveals that the number of UK rail passengers has literally fallen off a cliff. Passenger numbers for UK rail have declined far more than in mainland Europe.

ORR says that rail journeys fell by 400 million in the 2020-21 first quarter (April-June) compared to the same quarter last year.

“This represents the lowest level of passenger usage since the mid-19th century,” claims ORR.

Currently our franchised train operators have their bills paid by the government under ERMAs (Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements).

Note that ERMAs do not apply to open access operators (Grand Central and Hull Trains) who receive no support. Neither do they apply to LNER or Northern which are already government-managed.

This scheme is costing the government billions of pounds while it funds sparsely filled trains.

Channel 4 presenter Matt Frei recently returned Liverpool-London Euston with Avanti West Coast and he claims he was the only passenger.,