First MTR signs £895m deal with Bombardier for new SWT trains

FirstGroup and MTR have today announced that they have signed an order with Bombardier worth £895m to deliver 90 new trains to support its South Western franchise.

The news follows the franchise, (which is due to start on 20 August this year) being awarded to the partnership between the FirstGroup and MTR in March, and is expected to provide a 46% boost to peak capacity on its suburban routes into Waterloo.

RTM reported earlier this year that First MTR was reportedly dropping £200m worth of new Class 707 Desiro City trains currently being built by Siemens. The first of these arrived in the UK in December last year. However, a spokesperson for the partnership told RTM that they will continue to roll-out the new rolling stock, but once the Aventras are fully in place by December 2020 it will look to cascade the 707s to other parts of the network. He added that this falls under First MTR’s plans for a “homogenous” fleet of trains.

The new Aventra rolling stock, also being used by Crossrail, will also enhance passenger satisfaction by adding free reliable wi-fi to trains, as well as at-seat charging points, real-time information screens, air conditioning, wide gangways and wide doors to improve the ease of boarding and alighting.

The 90 new trains (750 new carriages, in five and 10-car formations) will come into service operating on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes from mid-2019, and be fully in place by December 2020.

“We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century and this franchise will provide more frequent trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service that passengers across the South-Western network expect,” said transport minister Paul Maynard.

“This multi-million-pound investment in a new fleet of British-built trains is excellent news for South Western passengers and the British economy,” he added. “This investment reflects our commitment, and that of train operators, to put passengers at the heart of everything we do, and will improve journeys and target congestion.”

Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail, stated that the partnership has exciting plans for the South-Western rail franchise “and these new trains are an important step on the way to delivering an improved journey experience for our passengers”.

“We know from listening to passengers and stakeholders that alongside improved performance, what they want to see is additional seats and we will deliver this via these state-of-the-art trains,” said Montgomery.

Jeremy Long, CEO of European Business at MTR, commented: “We look forward to working together with FirstGroup to introduce this new fleet of trains.”

Richard Hunter, UK managing director of Bombardier Transportation, said that he was thrilled to have won the contract which demonstrates further confidence placed in the market leading rolling stock designed and built in Britain.

“This order is a fantastic endorsement of our skilled workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer and manufacture here in the UK,” he said. “It will ensure a stable, long-term workload for our staff in Derby.

“AVENTRA offers enhanced performance and increased passenger capacity, which will play an important part in helping FirstGroup and MTR satisfy continued levels of passenger growth on the South-Western network.”

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Huguenot   20/06/2017 at 10:52

Good for them that they have ordered British-made trains (although with lots of imported components), but it is still not clear why they have rejected the Siemens units. Too expensive with the falling pound? They say they "will look to cascade the 707s to other parts of the network", but what other parts of the network do they have in mind? The 707s would not be suitable for longer-distance services to Weymouth, Southampton and Portsmouth. And what will happen to all the Class 458s?

Gabriel Oaks   20/06/2017 at 12:54

It is rumoured that the 442 units may go back to Waterloo - Weymouth and Southeastern may have the 458 units. As for the 707 units (which do not have inter-unit gangways) that may be left to the DfT to decide where they go next......

Drew   20/06/2017 at 13:48

Will these units have end door connection for emergency situation even on the 5 coach trains.and so people can walk through two 5 coach train

Gabriel Oaks   20/06/2017 at 13:58

@ Will these units have end door connection for emergency situation The class 707 units do not, nor to the class 700 /701 TL units even though nose-end evacuation is arguably the safest means if a unit is stranded. Certainly there are many locations where trains cannot be evacuated using bridges to an adjacent unit. These days it appears design esthetics and having a 'sexy' front end trumps passenger convenience /ease of emergency evacuation.

Jimbo   20/06/2017 at 16:35

@Drew - As these are a mix of 5 and 10 car trains (and mostly 10-car units), the number of times 2 x 5 car units are coupled together should be minimal, so this should rarely be a problem. Having end doors adds a lot of extra kit to the units, which has a cost & weight penalty, and decreases reliability. It also results in a very cramped cab for the driver. There are aso few tunnels on the planned routes, so end-door evacuation shouldn't be needed.

Andrew Gwilt   20/06/2017 at 23:33

Could GTR Southern might use the Class 707's to operate on the South London suburban routes to replace the Class 455's. Or would Trenitalia c2c may use the Class 707's for extra capacity to be used on Fenchurch St-Shoeburyness, Southend Central and Laindon service (including peak times) and to move some of the Class 357's for the Fenchurch St-Grays via Rainham "metro" service.

William Webb   21/06/2017 at 01:14

Class 458s cascaded to Southern to replace the 377s on the East Grinstead & Horsham via Dorking or Tonbridge & Reigate via Redhill services & the 707s to the Southern inner suburban services along side the 377/6s 5 car units to replace the aging Class 455s & to release the 377s to the Coastway services to replace the aging 313s. The class 707s would be ideal for the Southern inner suburban services & the 458s would be ideal for the Southern outer suburban services to East Grinstead & Horsham via Dorking or Tonbridge & Reigate via Redhill or the 707s would be ideal for Southeastern inner suburban services to replace some of the 465s to Southern & the 458s would be ideal for Southeastern outer suburban services to Gillingham, Tunbridge Wells & Ashford International or to Canterbury West via Maidstone East & also replace the 377/5s to Southern

David Faircloth   21/06/2017 at 10:02

Remember that the class 707s are dual voltage units, and built by Siemens; so would they fit better with London Midland's fleet and be suitable replacements for 323s in the West Midlands? Remember also that class 379s are being displaced from Stansted Express services; these are Bombardier built, and although constructed as 25kv AC sets, because of the way Electrostars are constructed they could "easily" be reconfigured as 750v DC sets and would therefore be a better fit on both Southern and South Eastern. SWT's 455s are being re-tractioned, and they could be possible replacements for Southern's existing 455s, which still have DC EE 507 motors (some 455s have motor cores and other parts recovered from 4SUBS/4EPBs, but don't know if any of Southern's fall in this category). In reality, the opportunities are endless.

James Miller   21/06/2017 at 10:37

Porterbrook were reported as saying in June Modern Railways that they were looking at applying the Flex concept to Class 455 trains, of which Porterbrook now find they hwill have 91 returned from SWT. With or without the power upgrade to AC, with their spacious refurbished interiors they would make superb four-car diesel multiple units. They might even fit into Merseyrails tunnels as some coaches used to build the 455s came from shorterned 507/508 sets. So could we see 455s with a Flex upgrade trundling down the Borderland Line from Liverpool to Wrexham?

James Miller   21/06/2017 at 10:46

Class 455 Flex trains could even return to SWT territory. Services have tecently started to Swanage. What better train would there be to use on this route, than a four car refurbished diesel multiple unit, that's almost old enough to be considered a heritage unit.

Graham   21/06/2017 at 13:55

will the new trains include on-board mobile connectivity ?

Nonsuchmike   21/06/2017 at 17:21

I think we are clutching at straws in trying to guess the next destination of the replaced 707s after 2020.The key here is surely homogenisation of stock on London/Home Counties' routes. The 707s are not conducive to long haul, so wherever they do go will be relatively short or at most medium haul routes almost anywhere they can operate and are needed at that future time.

Lutz   21/06/2017 at 19:14

@Gabriel Oaks @Jimbo The trend in cab design is driven by a number of factors including: - The amount of equipment and driver interfaces needed with current and future train control systems, - Positioning of driver, - Safety for the driver. In this specific case, these units will not operate in tunnels at least for now, and if they were to operating in any future CR2 tunnels they would tunnels design with access and escape walkways.

Andrew Gwilt   21/06/2017 at 20:42

At least Bombardier will keep themselves and their workers busy as they are finishing off building the last "Electrostar" Class 387's for GWR and few more S-Stocks "S8" for Metropolitan Line and "S7" for District Line. As well continuing with building the TfL Rail/Elizabeth Line Class 345's "Aventra" and to build & manufacture the London Overground Class 710's and Greater Anglia Class 720's "Aventra" fleets. With the new "Aventra" trains to be manufactured for First MTR Southwestern Trains and new Air-Conditioned light rail vehicles for Docklands Light Railway.

Rob Newbold   22/06/2017 at 18:23

will these trains have a p.t.s. safety trained guard who will work the doors?

Andrew JG   24/06/2017 at 20:50

These new Southwest Trains (First MTR SWT) Aventra trains will replace the Class 455's and Class 456's aswell the Class 458/5's and Class 707's on the suburban services serving Southwest London and South London areas and parts of Surrey aswell the Reading Line and Windsor Line services to/from London Waterloo. The Class 707's could end up going to GTR Southern to replace the Class 455's on South London and North Surrey suburban routes to/from London Victoria and London Bridge. Or Class 707's could possibly end up with Trenitalia c2c on London Fenchurch St-Shoeburyness, Leigh-on-Sea, Laindon, Basildon and Southend Central semi-fast services via Basildon/Benfleet and to move some of the c2c Class 357's for Fenchurch St-Grays via Rainham metro service and peak time Upminster-Grays via Ockendon service and the rest of the Class 357's to currently operate the Fenchurch St-Shoeburyness, Stanford-le-Hope, Leigh-on-Sea and Southend Central services via Ockendon/Grays. To add more capacity on the c2c Network and to replace the Class 378's that are hired until 2019.

Matthew Read   26/06/2017 at 10:54

Andrew it's the 387's that are with C2C and besides they already have new trains on order I think Southern would be best to replace the 313's because their interiors look so old and decrepit.

Simon Eames1990   26/06/2017 at 20:38

New SWT Aventras fronts look a bit like Class 185s. I think the Class 707 EMUs should make good use on the London Euston to Tring services as they can very congested during the peaks. One time I boarded a 8 car Class 350 EMU from Bushey to Euston and it was packed. The St Albans Abbey branch could make use of a 5 car Class 707 too.

Andrew Gwilt   26/06/2017 at 22:12

@Matthew Read. Yes but c2c are only hiring the 6 Class 387/3's until 2019 before they get new trains that will help to improve better journey times and to introduce extra seats during morning and evening peak hour/rush hour. And the new trains could be 5-cars. Class 707's are 5-cars and could be ideal for c2c to operate a 10-car train service between Fenchurch Street-Laindon, Shoeburyness, Leigh-on-Sea and Southend Central.

Andrew JG.   26/06/2017 at 22:20

10-Car trains could be ideal for c2c as they want to improve capacity on trains and to introduce extra seats during rush hour. And I think that the Class 707's could be ideal to operate on c2c.

60'S Commuter   05/10/2017 at 07:08

Trains are nicer but service is still slower than 1930's

Simon Tolson   15/10/2017 at 21:32

Great to hear new rolling stock coming, but by heck do timetable disciplines need to be sorted as it is far from running to schedule. We also want 10 car services through the day as rush hours are melding into rush days with flexible working hours meaning many work at home part of the day and come in later and go home later etc.

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