Bombardier wins big British train order

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LONDON — Bombardier has won a contract to build and maintain 750 new Aventra cars formed as 90 electric multiple-unit sets of either five or ten cars in length for use from 2019 by the South West Trains franchised operator running commuter rail services from London's Waterloo station. The trains will be built at Bombardier’s plant in Derby, England, in a contract worth around $1.1 billion and financed by leasing company Rock Rail. In addition, Bombardier has an eight-year service support contract for the new train fleet.

The South West operation was the first to be privatized and franchised in Britain in 1996 and had been run by rail and bus company Stagecoach ever since. Stagecoach also runs Mega Bus services in the U.S. This changed earlier in 2017 when a new operator was selected by the British Government — the new operator which takes over the franchise in August 2017 is a joint venture between British company First Group and Chinese metro operator MTR based in Hong Kong. The new operator proposed the new fleet of trains, ordered today, as part of its plan to increase capacity and reduce operating costs. The new trains will be fitted with regenerative brakes to reduce electricity consumption and passengers will benefit from on-board Wi-Fi and USB charging sockets.

The new South West Trains order has been controversial in Britain as some of the trains being replaced are brand new and have yet to enter service. The rationale for this apparently bizarre decision comes down to finance — the previous franchise operator Stagecoach group had agreed leases for a fleet of new trains that are more expensive than the leases agreed for the new Aventra fleet announced today — the new franchisee is not bound by the contract to take the existing fleets so will phase out their use as the new Aventra fleet is delivered. The brand new Siemens trains are owned by a different leasing company. That company, Angel Trains, seeks new users for the fleet elsewhere on the British network.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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