Merseytravel faces legal challenge over new £460m fleet
Merseytravel has confirmed that it will face a legal challenge from the transportation company Bombardier over how it awarded a £460m contract to deliver its new Merseyrail fleet.
Last December, Bombardier missed out in its bid to replace the operator’s existing 40-year-old fleet with a brand new set of 50 trains which are due to enter service at the end of 2020.
The Swiss firm Stadler was named as the preferred bidder by the Merseytravel committee and Liverpool city-region leaders, fighting off four other train manufacturers, including Bombardier who were also in the running for the contract.
A spokesman for Merseytravel said: “We can confirm that Bombardier has issued a legal challenge with the High Court in relation to Merseytravel’s decision to award the contract for a fleet of new trains to Stadler.
“We are confident that we can robustly defend this challenge. However, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage because the process is subject to ongoing legal proceedings.
“We are hopeful that the matter can be resolved quickly so we can get on and deliver this exciting project.”
While Bombardier has not confirmed the reasoning behind its challenge, it is understood that the company’s action alleges irregularities in the procurement process, particularly around the risk assessments undertaken as part of the bids.
Merseytravel had put the contract out to tender in October 2015 as the executive body responsible for co-ordinating public transport in the Liverpool city-region.
In addition to building the new trains, currently Stadler will also be responsible for performing infrastructure upgrades to power supplies, platforms and track, refurbishing two main Merseyrail depots and the ongoing maintenance of the fleet under the terms of the contract.
Bombardier was contacted for comment but had not yet responded at the time of publication.
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