Bombardier scoops £680m contract

Bombardier Transportation have been selected to supply rolling stock for the next West Midlands franchise, the West Midlands Trains Ltd consortium of Abellio, East Japan Railway and Mitsui & Co.

Totalling 413 vehicles, the orders are worth £680m, with financing being led by Infracapital and Deutsche Asset Management.

Abellio, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co were awarded the new franchise in August and will begin operations in December.

The partnership had pledged fresh investment as part of its bid to the Department for Transport and it is now delivering on that promise.

It has selected Derby-based Bombardier Trains and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) to manufacture 107 new trains for the new franchise.

These trains will be made up of 413 carriages and cost £680m; part of the near £1bn investment into the franchise that Abellio, JR East and Mitsui will be overseeing between now and 2026.

Bombardier will produce 333 electric carriages made up of 90mph 36 x 3 car trains for metro services and 110mph 45 x 5 car trains for outer suburban and long distance configurations. They will be built at Bombardier’s facility in Derby.

CAF will produce 80 diesel carriages made up of 12 x 2 car trains and 14 x 4 car trains which will provide dedicated services for journeys to the towns and cities around Birmingham.

Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: “We are delighted to award this work to Bombardier and CAF, which means we are now overseeing £3bn of investment into 1,700 new carriages across all our franchises.

“It is great news that so many of these trains will be produced in the UK. As a company, we are committed to working with the government to strengthen the British economy and deliver thousands of high-quality jobs over the coming years.”

Abellio explain the new trains would be essential to provide the increased capacity and improved journey times required under the contract, with the number of vehicles expected to increase by 25% during the life of the franchise. They will be fitted with free wi-fi, air-conditioning and at-seat power sockets.

‘Being selected for this important order is another huge endorsement of our workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer and manufacture here in the UK’, said Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation. ‘Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times.’

The trains will be leased to the new West Midlands rail franchise, as is standard practice in the rail industry.