GTR secures funding for Siemens-built Class 700 variants

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has confirmed the financers of its major £200m fleet of Class 700 variants that will replace the 40-year-old trains on the Greater Northern suburban route.

The operator confirmed that the order will be the first for the new rolling stock company (ROSCO) Rock Rail, with equity provided from Standard Life Investment’s SL Capital and debt from Aviva Investors.

It had already chosen Siemens to provide the fleet late last year, but had only said it would “run a financial competition” to identify sources of funding.

GTR’s chief executive officer, Charles Horton, said: “We are delighted to have secured the financing for this new fleet which will give our passengers on Great Northern’s suburban routes a modern, high-quality environment which is light years ahead of what we have been able to offer to date with the current 40-year-old stock.

“And when we bring the Moorgate trains online we’ll also increase the frequency of services considerably in the off-peak and at weekends and even, to a lesser degree, in the morning and evening peaks.”

Rock Rail’s founding partner, Mark Swindell, said the ROSCO has been developing a new approach to funding rolling stock for the past two years, “which offers financial institutions the opportunity to invest directly in core rail assets”.

Mark Versey, Aviva Investors’ chief investment officer, said the “ground-breaking new solution” to financing trains “required a pragmatic approach to structuring, particularly around refranchising risk”, which ultimately represented “the high degree of confidence” the companies have in the rail industry’s growth.


The new fleet, comprised of 25 climate-controlled six-carriage units, will replace the Class 313s currently running on the network – the oldest type of electric train in operation in mainland Britain.

According to Siemens Rail Systems’ MD, Steve Scrimshaw, the fleet represents the third order for their “innovative and flexible Desiro City train platform”. The Class 700 version of the fleet is currently being built for Thameslink routes.

The trains will run between Moorgate in London and Welwyn and Hertford, Stevenage and Letchworth.

Their features include fixed length with full width inter-vehicle gangways, “intelligent” air-conditioning, the latest in passenger information systems, full compliance with disability legislation, power points throughout and wi-fi functionality.

Although the trains will be built in Germany, Siemens said it is working closely with the UK supply chain to create jobs across the country from Poole to Hebburn.


Andrew G   19/02/2016 at 00:11

So 25 Class 700/2 (700201-700225) 6-Car trains are to be built for Great Northern from early next year to replace the 40 year old 3-Car Class 313's after the completion of the Thameslink 60 Class 700/0 (700001-700060) 8-Car and 55 Class 700/1 (700101-700155) 12-Car Desiro City along with South West Trains that have ordered 30 Class 707 (707001-707030) 5-Car Desiro City trains that are also to be built from early next year. Siemens Desiro City EMU. Govia Thameslink Railway Great Northern: 25 6-Car Class 700/2 (700201-700225) Thameslink: 60 8-Car Class 700/0 (700001-700060) and 55 12-Car Class 700/1 (700101-700155) South West Trains: 30 5-Car Class 707 (707001-707030)

Robbie   19/02/2016 at 12:23

Why is it just a short comment "although the trains will be built in Germany" - we are closing factories here and shipping jobs to Germany!!! Last month it was trains being built in Spain !!! Why is there no argument against this - how can Siemens with high labour cost in Germany manufacture more cheaply than us - it makes no sense !!! Am I the only person who thinks this is wrong ???

George J   19/02/2016 at 12:37

Sorry, where are we "closing factories"? We have just opened one at Newton Aycliffe. The problem is that with no central planning of train procurement, a sudden surge of orders can only be met from abroad. And with sub-systems built all over the place, country of final assembly is not that relevant anyway.

Jb   19/02/2016 at 13:40

No Robbie, you're not the only person who thinks this is wrong! The UK Govt. should establish a means by which procurement is programmed and ensure that there are adequate UK factory facilities to produce them. This might have been possible with a nationalised railway but with the presently fragmented nature of the industry is probably more difficult. However, this should not prevent the Govt. from attempting to achieve this aim in the forseeable future. Its a national disgrace that we have to import so many locomotives and rolling stock when we could be quite capable of building them ourselves.

Lee   19/02/2016 at 13:47

It would be nice if we could build everything here, but it's worth bearing in mind that Bombardier's order books are full for the foreseeable future, and that Hitachi has just opened a brand new facility in the north east that is going to be extremely busy for a good few years. I agree that country of final assembly isn't that relevant - there's jobs being created throughout the supply chain, and that's worldwide. As far as I'm aware, Alstom is looking at re-entering the UK rolling stock market, and given that a few years ago we almost lost UK-based train building completely, we're actually doing alright.

John   19/02/2016 at 15:59

The catch all is going to be The UK walking away from the EC. Then these trains from Spain and Germanuy will be ate least 25% more expensive due to Duty being levied on Imports.

Tony Lloyd   19/02/2016 at 20:06

Yet another new build being built abroad lack of investment and opportunity in train building for U.K. This is yet another kick in the teeth for jobs in the U.K. Lee's comment about Bombardier's order book being full only applies to Derby, what about the Crewe site?

Kev Smith   19/02/2016 at 21:02

this job should have been issued to litchurch lane not siemens - thanks to this contract derby workforce again SHAFTED.. NORTHERN POWERHOUSE - NORTHERN JOKE, the electrostars would be perfect replacement for 313...government must intervene NOW

James Miller   21/02/2016 at 16:40

I wonder how Siemens will get round the peculiar electrification system of this line. The 313s have some strange systems from the past. As an electrical engineer, I would suggest that the Finsbury Park to Moorgate section would be ideal for an IPEMU running on its batteries. This would mean that the tunnels would be power free. As a local resident, I'm looking forward to some new trains on this line.

Peter   02/03/2016 at 08:36

John (19/2) whether any duty will be levied will be entirely in the gift of the UK Gov so where you get 25% from? The question I have is - where was open tender for the stock as required by the EU procurement directive? I can't find any reference in the OJEU. The original 700s were subject to an invitation to tender published by the DfT.

AAO   19/06/2016 at 09:00

What's happens had happens. Bombardier has so many trains to build. They have built London Underground trains and also, they will be building Crossrail trains. Southern have ordered so many Bombardier's trains and Thameslink have orders so many class 387's for Gareick Express and Thameslink. To be fair, they have been very loyal to Bombardier, but they clearly need something more reliable (the most reliable train they can get) and that has to be Siemens. Passengers need a better service, and that remains a priority.

GRAHAM   07/12/2016 at 17:47

Nothing special. No drop down tables. It is a commuter train, so these are neccessary for work and coffee!. Huge standing room in the First Class compartment. Why? Who buys first class to stand? Very noise outside. Bombadiers made in Britain are better.

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