"Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times."
Bombardier and CAF have been selected by the incoming operator of the West Midlands Trains franchise to supply 413 carriages in an order worth around £680m. Bombardier’s Derby manufacturing plant will produce 36 three-car Aventra trains for use on suburban services into Birmingham, and 45 five-car trains – 29 of which will handle suburban services in London and Birmingham, with the remaining 16 used for longer distance journeys between the two cities. CAF, meanwhile, will supply 12 two-car and 14 four-car units that will improve the connections into Birmingham from its surrounding towns ahead the city’s predicted rise in passenger numbers.
The first units from both Bombardier and CAF will enter service from 2020, with full roll-out coming a year later. Delivering improvements to the existing rolling stock on the line, all the trains will be fitted with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and power sockets.
The new operator of the franchise, Abellio, will take it over from December, joining forces with Japanese companies Japan East Railway Company and Mitsui after they were being selected to take over the reins from London Midland, owned by Govia, itself a Go-Ahead Group and Keolis joint venture.
Richard Hunter, the UK managing director of Bombardier Transportation, said the deal, which is worth around £500m to the company, will represents what he called a huge endorsement of the company’s workforce and the quality of its products. ‘Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times.’
Welcoming the deal, the Spanish train builder CAF said the deal builds on recent success in securing contracts to supply new trains for the Northern and TransPennine franchises. “This opportunity consolidates CAF’s position as one of the leading manufacturers of trains in the UK market and is a fabulous achievement in CAF’s centenary year,” said Richard Garner, its business development director for UK and Ireland.
The news comes at a time of real turbulence for Bombardier. The Canadian company’s aerospace division is locked in a bitter trade battle with US plane manufacturer Boeing, after the US government imposed a 300% tariff on Bombardier’s flagship plane – the CSeries jet. Since the dispute, fellow pane manufacturer Airbus has come to Bombardier’s rescue by forming a partnership that effectively saves the fortunes of the CSeries.
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