Merseytravel and Stadler sign new fleet deal, but legal challenge remains
Merseytravel has finally signed the contract with Stadler to build and maintain its new Merseyrail fleet in a deal worth up to £700m, but Bombardier’s legal challenge to the deal remains in place.
The contract, which Stadler won in December, will see the company build and maintain 52 trains for the Liverpool City Region from 2020.
However, as reported by RTM last month, Bombardier had put forward a legal challenge to the procurement. This challenge is still in place, but a Merseytravel spokesman told us: “The legal process is ongoing, however Bombardier have agreed to lift the ‘automatic stay’ which has prevented Merseytravel, Merseyrail and Stadler from signing the contracts.
“We remain fully confident in the integrity of our procurement process and, therefore, that we can robustly defend the challenge.”
The transformational deal will see the Swiss firm replace the current Merseytravel fleet, which has an average age of almost 40 years, with trains that are able to carry up to 60% more passengers, while retaining the same number of seats – and will cut journey times by up to 10%.
The new four-car trains, which will all be in service by 2021, will have lower floors – only 960mm above rail level – and will be entirely walk-through, increasing their capacity to 486 people. Merseytravel also has the option, as part of the contract, to trigger the manufacture of a further 60 vehicles.
Following the contract signing, Frank Rogers, CEO of Merseytravel, said: “We are very much looking forward to working with Stadler. The fleet of new trains will provide the foundations of our city-region’s long-term rail strategy and we anticipate our relationship with Stadler developing into a strong, enduring partnership.”
He added that Merseyrail is already a high-performing network and the new trains are “designed with local people in mind, will help support that for decades to come”.
Through the maintenance contract, Stadler will undertake light and heavy maintenance of the units throughout their 35-year lifecycle. The company will transfer 155 maintenance workers from Merseyrail into its own operations, bringing its total number of employees in the UK to over 200 people by 2019.
Peter Jenelten, executive vice-president and head of marketing & sales of Stadler, said: “This contract with Merseytravel marks a very important milestone for Stadler in the UK. It will bring safer, more comfortable trains that can carry more people and will help provide the Liverpool City Region with the metro service it deserves.”
Jenelten also highlighted the company’s recent success in several high-profile tenders, including the provision of 58 multiple units for the East Anglia franchise and the delivery of 17 metro trains for the Glasgow Subway. The company has also provided the vehicles for the delayed Sheffield tram-train project.
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