If all the new trains went into service immediately, electricity sub-stations across the south-east would blow up, said Angel Trains managing director Haydn Abbot.

South West Trains has ordered 785 Desiro coaches from Siemens but only 35-40 four-car trains will be able to run at any one time until Network rail upgrades the power supplies. That could take until 2005 or 2006.

SWT is planning to rotate trains in and out of service in order to prevent serious decay of the trains which will be stored under armed military guard at Kineton, Warwickshire and Shoeburyness, Essex.

Similar problems affect more than 600 new coaches for South Central and 500 for Connex South Eastern.

Angel Trains is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland. It claims the rolling stock side of privatisation has been successful.

But the failure to co-ordinate power upgrades with new trains which have more powerful traction motors begs the question: Who was responsible?

Information from The Guardian.