Latest Rail News

17.12.12

Commercial close on Thameslink deal expected this week

Any remaining chances of Bombardier winning the £1.4bn Thameslink rolling stock contract back from Siemens have taken a knock, as the German company and the DfT prepare to reach commercial close, probably this week.

In October, the Department for Transport announced that it was “assessing options” as to what to do in the event it could not agree financial terms with Siemens, throwing open the possibility for Bombardier to take over the contract as reserve bidder.

The commercial terms of the contract – such as the cost of the trains, depots and carriage maintenance, alongside terms and conditions – have been agreed and the parties are committing them to paper, in a process that could be completed by Friday.

Full financial close is not expected until the new year.

In a parliamentary answer last week, transport minister Simon Burns gave an indication of the Government's confidence that Siemens will complete the contracts. He said the DfT had “no plans to announce an assessment of alternatives to Siemens”.

In a statement, Burns added: “We are confident we will be able to secure agreement of the commercial terms with Siemens and their equity partners by the end of the year. Financial close is targeted for early in the new year.”

Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North, who has campaigned for Bombardier to be awarded the contract, said that the DfT “seems incapable of acting in the national interest” by awarding a Government procurement to a British-based manufacturer.

“It's been obvious from the start that the Government's original decision was wrong. But, successive transport secretaries have ploughed on regardless, seemingly blind to the wealth of evidence and deaf to the strength of feeling against the decision.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.co.uk

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