Latest Rail News

17.12.12

Hitachi IEP extension contract may be in jeopardy

The UK Government may not sign off on the second part of the InterCity Express Programme contract with Hitachi, it has emerged.

Earlier this year, Hitachi secured an initial order for 596 carriages worth £34.5bn, with the option for a further 270 vehicles. The financing of the order was spilt into two parts, with just under half still awaiting financial close, due next year.

From 2018, the 596 new carriages will replace the InterCity 125 fleet. It was envisioned that the option for 270 extra carriages would replace the InterCity 225 trains from 2020.

However, the Government is considering alternative options, the Financial Times has reported.

Simon Burns, the UK rail minister, told the Financial Times that the Government remained “committed to providing a modern intercity train fleet for the east coast main line” but warned that “as part of our commitment to secure the best deal for passengers and taxpayers, we are also looking at a range of options to modernise the rest of East Coast’s existing fleet.”

One of these options includes Eversholt Rail, owner of the InterCity 225 fleet, offering to invest £120m to refurbish and lease the fleet at a third of the cost of the new IEP Super Express trains. It has produced concept videos and artwork showing how refurbished Mark 4 carriages could look for the East Coast Main Line in the future.

(Image copyright Hitachi)

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