Latest Rail News


Crossrail rolling stock contract goes to Bombardier

Bombardier has been announced as the chosen supplier to build Crossrail trains. The fleet contract, worth £1bn, is for 65 new trains and a new depot at Old Oak Common.

Bombardier will manufacture the trains at its Derby factory and deliver them for use on the existing network, between Shenfield and Liverpool Street, from May 2017, ahead of use on the new Crossrail infrastructure from December 2018. The order includes options for 18 additional trains.

The contract will support 760 UK manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships, whilst the depot construction will create 244 jobs and 16 apprenticeships, with a further 80 jobs once operational to maintain the new fleet.

An estimated 74% of the contract spend will remain within the UK economy, the DfT says, and Bombardier has pledged to target 25% of the value of the contract on SMEs. The company beat rival bidders Hitachi and CAF to win the order. Siemens dropped out of the bidding last summer.

The trains themselves will be 200m long with nine carriages, and be able to carry up to 1,500 passengers. Features include air conditioning and inter-connecting walk-through carriages, as well as on-train passenger information systems. Bombardier will also emphasise energy efficiency with on-train energy management systems.

The Aventra train

The new rolling stock will be designated Class 345.

Dr Francis Paonessa, managing director of Bombardier Transportation UK, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been recommended as the winning bidder for the Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract and look forward to closing the contract with the customer.

“This is a resounding endorsement of our proposed Bombardier Aventra train for Crossrail, which has proudly been designed and developed in the UK as an iconic and world-technology leading train for London.

“Today’s decision is a credit to the efforts of our entire workforce in the UK, including our 1,600 strong Derby-based design, engineering and manufacturing team, who form a global centre of excellence for the rail industry, as well as our outstanding maintenance teams who support train operators right across the country and particularly in London as demonstrated during the London 2012 Olympics.”

Phil Garner, engineering project manager for the Aventra trains, said: “The key attributes of the platform are high reliability – 60% better than comparable 12-car EMUs – [and] maintainability. We have got the lightest train in its class.”

Procurement was 'fair, objective and transparent'

Andrew Wolstenholme, chief executive of Crossrail said: “Crossrail will transform rail services in London and the South East. Procurement of the rolling stock and depot is just one more step in delivering this new railway and making it a reality for millions of passengers.”

Heading off any accusations of a political stitch-up, after the government suffered such a backlash over the awarding of the Thameslink rolling stock contract to Siemens to be built in Germany, Wolstenholme added: “Crossrail Limited has conducted this procurement in a fair, objective and transparent manner and in full compliance with the regulatory framework.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Crossrail project is now rolling on full-steam ahead. The manufacture of these new trains will not only revolutionise rail travel in London, they will deliver jobs and economic growth in their birthplace in Derby and across the UK. With a firm on board to deliver a fleet of 21st century trains and the tunnelling more than halfway complete, we’re on track to deliver a truly world-class railway for the capital.”

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This announcement will mean state of the art trains providing quick, comfortable journeys for the millions of people Crossrail will serve. It is also great news for British manufacturing and for Derbyshire, where Bombardier will support 760 new jobs and 80 apprenticeships.”

Generating jobs and boosting the supply chain

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner said: “Crossrail is already generating jobs in London and the UK. When it opens it will continue to provide jobs and the growth it will bring will boost the whole economy. Crossrail is a fantastic example of the widespread benefits that sustained investment in transport infrastructure brings.”

The Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum (DDRF) also welcomed the news: “Litchurch Lane is an important manufacturing facility in Derby and it employs large numbers of local people who contribute to the regional economy and support a wide range of businesses and communities across the East Midlands.

“The DDRF look forward to working with Bombardier, as preferred manufacturer, to ensure that our supply chain members can benefit from this decision, many of whom supply world-leading technology to rolling stock manufacturers across the globe.”

The video below, released in October, is Bombardier's introduction to its new Aventra family of EMUs, designed to replace the Electrostars. It uses the FlexxEco bogie.

Here is more reaction to the news, via Twitter:

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at


Sean O'brien   06/02/2014 at 09:13

This is excellent news for UK Manufacturing PLC and for the highly skilled workforce at Derby.

Mikeyb   06/02/2014 at 17:48

Good news for Derby but my long-held view is that, at one time, British companies (including the pre-nationalised railways) were known for building excellent locomotives and rolling stock - some of which were exported. Today, the UK has to rely soley upon foreign-based multinationals to provide employment for British train-building engineers - a sad but inevitable result of the decline of the British manufacturing sector.

Joe Brown   07/02/2014 at 13:22

This is excellent news for Bombardier and the UK rail industry although no mention seems to have been made of the power equipment supplier. It is to be hoped that the UK mechanical parts and traction equipment suppliers will become the first choice for future projects and rebuild our once great manufacturing capability in this field. I wish them every success in this and future projects.

Mikeyb   07/02/2014 at 17:27

@Joe Brown. I would assume that, as Derby is only a design and assembly plant, the power equipment will come from one of Bombardier's other factories (probably Germany), whilst the bogies will undoubtedly come from Sweden.

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

17/04/2019Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

A new interactive map which lets passengers find out about accessibility at stations has been launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to help b... more >
Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

17/04/2019Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

Helium-filled balloons are causing hundreds of train delays at a cost of £1m in taxpayer money every year, Network Rail has revealed. ... more >
Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

17/04/2019Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

Plans for an £80m sea wall to protect the Dawlish coastal rail line from extreme weather have been by approved by Teignbridge District Coun... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >