In a major deal that once looked like it would be secured by Siemens, Bombardier Transportation have confirmed it will be they who will be building 750 Aventra vehicles for operation on the South Western franchise in the United Kingdom. The order is the largest yet for Bombardier’s Aventra trains, and is a major boost to its Derby plant which had appeared to be in some jeopardy. The trains will supplied to FirstGroup, which will take over the franchise with Hong Kong-based MTR in August, from outgoing franchise holder, Stagecoach. The Aventra trains will replace German-made rolling stock ordered from Siemens and the change of franchisee has been to Bombardier’s advantage. The contract is valued at approximately €1 billion (£895 million GBP $1.1 billion US). In addition, Bombardier will execute a Technical Services and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA) for the duration of the seven year franchise, with an option to extend for 11 periods in line with the existing franchise extension option. The UK-based rolling stock investment consortium Rock Rail will finance the multi-million pound procurement.
In addition to delivering a significant performance increase with innovative energy benefits such as regenerative braking, Bombardier’s new Aventra electric multiple unit will transform the passenger experience with features including wide-open gangways between carriages, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, 2 + 2 seating, USB sockets at seat locations, universal toilets and improved passenger information system. The new units will be supplied in both 5-car and 10-car configurations.
Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director said, "We have exciting plans for the South Western rail franchise and these new trains are an important step on the way to delivering an improved journey experience for our passengers. We know from listening to passengers and stakeholders that alongside improved performance, what they want to see is additional seats and we will deliver this via these state-of-the-art trains."
Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation, commented “We are thrilled to have won this important contract. It demonstrates further confidence placed in this market leading rolling stock, designed and built in Britain. Aventra offers enhanced performance and increased passenger capacity, which will play an important part in helping First/MTR satisfy continued levels of passenger growth on the South Western network. The contract builds upon our strong credentials, following the selection of Aventra for Crossrail and LOTRAIN in London, as well as for the East Anglia franchise. We look forward to deepening our collaborative relationship with First/MTR.”
A boss at Bombardier has said that the firm's latest huge contract win will secure the future of 2,500 jobs at its Derby plant until at least 2020. Des McKeon, commercial director at the Litchurch Lane company, was reported in the Derby Telegraph that the firm is aiming to recruit an extra 500 people, which would bring the total workforce at the site up to 2,500. Bombardier is taking on the extra staff as it ramps up production on the Crossrail (now Elizabeth Line) contract, which involves building 65 Aventra trains. Allied with a previous £1 billion order from East Anglia franchisee Abellio this South West Trains franchise win ensures the Derby plant should allow the firm to keep staffing levels at 2,500 to at least 2020.
The FirstGroup and MTR partnership will take over the South Western franchise on 20 August 2017. The new trains will operate on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes.
The new trains will start to come into service from mid-2019 and will all be in place by December 2020.
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