Abellio UK, recently awarded the new nine year East Anglia rail franchise by the Department for Transport, has today confirmed that it has now finalised contracts worth nearly £1.5 billion to procure and finance the replacement of all the existing trains on the franchise that starts on Sunday 16th October.
This completes the largest ever privately-procured order for trains in the UK. Two new fleets of 1,043 carriages will be introduced to the franchise between Spring 2019 and Autumn 2020, built by Bombardier in Derby (665 carriages) and Stadler in Switzerland (378 carriages). They will replace the existing fleets of trains and will create an increase of approximately 10 percent in the fleet size compared to today.
Abellio has today finalised contracts worth over £600 million to procure and finance the purchase of new Intercity and Regional train fleets from renowned Swiss train manufacturing company, Stadler. The company’s FLIRT trains, which will be built for the needs and specifications of the railways of East Anglia, are already in service on the rail networks of several European countries.
Funding of these new Stadler trains was led by Rock Rail and SL Capital Partners with additional co-investment equity being provided by the Greater Manchester and London Pension Fund authorities. Debt was arranged by DC Advisory from Aviva, the European Investment Bank, Sun Life, Barings Asset Management (formerly Babson Capital), Legal & General and Standard Life Investments.
The 58 trains that make up the deal comprise 378 vehicles with a combination of Intercity Electric Multiple Units and Regional Bi-mode Multiple Units which can run under electric or diesel power. They are the first major passenger fleet order in the UK for Stadler and will run on the following routes:
• InterCity services between London and Norwich
• Stansted Express airport services from London to Stansted Airport
• Key Regional services in East Anglia
The Stadler trains are designed to provide a significantly enhanced passenger experience that will transform rail travel for people in Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Essex and Cambridgeshire. The FLIRT trains to be used on the East Anglia franchise will be equipped with climate-controlled air-conditioning; ‘2×2’ seating; Wi-Fi and power points throughout the train; a low floor design, allowing easier access to platform from the train; passenger information systems with real-time information; and regenerative braking.
Commenting on the new contract, Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK, said:
“Our ambitious plans for the new franchise are centred on the largest-ever privately-funded train procurement in the UK to give the people of East Anglia high quality trains as part of a transformation of the region’s railway. They will be the centrepiece of many other improvements including more frequent services, faster journeys and more capacity with 55% more seats into London in the morning peak”.