Saturday, 24 June 2017

FirstGroup and MTR purchase Crossrail style trains for South Western Railway franchise

Bombardier has signed a contract with FirstGroup and MTR worth nearly £900 million to build Aventra trains for their new South Western Railway franchise. These new trains are to be built at Bombardier's rail vehicles production site in Derby, England.

Contract for 750 cars is the largest AVENTRA train order ever

AVENTRA train designed to help FirstGroup and MTR deliver greater passenger capacity and comfort on the South Western network

Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has signed a contract with FirstGroup and MTR to supply and maintain 750 BOMBARDIER AVENTRA vehicles, for operation on the South Western franchise in the United Kingdom. This is the largest ever single contract globally for AVENTRA trains.

The contract is valued at approximately £895 million GBP ($1.1 billion US, 1 billion euro). 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.

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.”

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, WiFi, 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.

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.

The original plan for new trains for the South Western franchise was to have 30 five-car Class 707 Desiro City trains manufactured by Siemens at the Krefeld assembly plant in Germany. These were ordered by ‘Stagecoach South West Trains’ at the cost of £210 million. The 30 planned units are supposed to be delivered by the end of 2017 but their future with the new franchise FirstGroup and MTR will be uncertain.

I stated in my previous article that MTR and FirstGroup rejected the Class 707 Desiro City trains in favour of a cheaper deal by Bombardier.

Before the Stagecoach South West Trains website disappears, I will relay the press release from South West Trains about the new Class 707 trains being delivered in December 2016.

From South West Trains (Via Archive Wayback machine)
  • The first Siemens built Class 707 Desiro City train has arrived ahead of testing
  • A pair of five-carriage trains will start testing on the network in the New Year
  • Due to start passenger services in April 2017
  • In less than nine months, a fleet of 30 brand new trains, providing 150 extra carriages will be in passenger service
  • The first of a £210million fleet of new trains for South West Trains passengers has now arrived at Clapham ahead of final testing.
The Siemens built Class 707 Desiro City trains will provide space for approximately 11,000 passengers every weekday morning on one of Europe’s busiest railways; to and from London Waterloo.

A pair of five-carriage trains will start testing in the New Year and the first trains are expected to enter passenger service in April. When the full roll out is complete by November 2017, 30 trains, comprising 150 carriages will provide space for thousands of additional passengers every day.

The trains will run between London Waterloo and Windsor & Eton Riverside, including the Hounslow Loop and Weybridge via Brentford, calling at many of the network’s busiest stations such as Clapham Junction, Vauxhall, Brentford and Twickenham. They also provide a range of benefits for passengers, including:
  • Free passenger WiFi throughout
  • Space for approximately 800 passengers
  • Spacious open-ended carriages, allowing passengers to see through and walk the length of the train
  • A modern climate control system which monitors the number of passengers onboard to maintain the temperature while minimising energy consumption
  • State-of-the-art onboard passenger information which can provide real-time updates on a range of information, including London Underground services and tell passengers which carriages have more space
  • They are also far lighter and more energy efficient, reducing the impact on the environment and track
A significant amount of testing has already been carried out by Siemens to help the new trains be introduced into passenger service as quickly as possible. However, there is further testing and safety validations required which must be carried out on the South West Trains network.

The introduction of the trains will allow a ‘cascade’ of remaining South West Trains vehicles to be moved to other parts of the South West Trains network, increasing capacity across the route.

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said:

“I am pleased to see the first of this new fleet of trains arriving in the UK on schedule. They are part of the record investment the government has been making to modernise our railways. Once operational these trains will make journeys more efficient and comfortable for passengers.”

Christian Roth, Managing Director of South West Trains, said:

“It is fantastic to see the first of our new trains arrive on our network. They are a vital part of the Waterloo & South West Upgrade, which will provide a 30% increase in capacity for passengers during the busiest times of the day.

“As well as the extra capacity, the trains offer vastly improved passenger facilities with more space and better on board information, helping to improve thousands of journeys every day.

“Our passengers may well spot the new trains travelling on our network over the coming weeks and months as we carry out the relevant testing to get them ready to carry thousands of passengers from this coming April.”

Steve Scrimshaw, MD for Siemens’ Rail Systems business in the UK, said:

"The arrival of the first 707 unit marks the start of a demanding fleet introduction programme working in partnership with South West Trains. We are looking forward to starting testing in the New Year and handing over the first trains in late Spring."

Malcolm Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Angel Trains, added:

“Working with Stagecoach on the delivery of the first of 30 brand new Class 707s, in collaboration with Siemens, to the South West Trains’ network signals a step towards improved capacity, air-conditioning, easier passenger access and on-board Wi-Fi.

“As London’s population grows, so too do the travelling requirements of passengers moving to, from and within London. These new trains are designed to meet the needs of the modern passenger, demonstrating Angel Trains’ commitment to providing value to customers and investing in London’s rail network.”

Becky Lumlock, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, added:

“In addition to the extra trains, the Waterloo & South West Upgrade includes major improvement works at London Waterloo to rebuild platforms 20-24 (the former International Terminal) to bring them back into use for domestic passengers as well as creating a spacious new concourse.

“Between 5 and 28 August 2017, work will also take place to extend platforms 1-4 to allow longer trains to serve suburban routes, which will mean temporary changes to services during this time as fewer trains will be able to run. I urge passengers to pay close attention to these temporary changes as they will affect journeys.”

After the Bombardier Aventra’s are built and delivered to the new South Western Railway franchise company, FirstGroup and MTR, the Class 707’s will be cascaded to other parts of the railway network in Britain which is expected to happen in 2019. Overall, the designs between the Bombardier Aventra and Siemens Desiro City look similar to each other because of the aerodynamic front design.

So just to compare:
  • £210 million for 30-five car Class 707 Desiro City trains
  • £895 million for 30 five-car and 60 ten-car Aventra trains
Other rail companies will be using the new Bombardier Aventra trains such as London Overground (£260 million for 45 four-car Class 710 trains) and Abellio Greater Anglia (£1 billion for 89 five-car and 22 ten-car Class 720 trains).

Also, the Class 345 Aventra trains have finally been launched on the TfL Rail service for the future Crossrail Elizabeth Line.

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