West Midlands JV awards £680m deal for over 100 new trains

Bombardier Trains and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) have been handed a major £680m contract to build 107 diesel and electric trains as part of the new West Midlands franchise.

The new trains will be made up of 413 carriages and provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers travelling on rush hour services between London and Birmingham.

The money comes as part of a £1bn investment that will be made into the franchise by West Midlands Trains Ltd, an operating company consisting of a JV between Abellio, JR East and Mitsui, which won the contract from London Midland in August.

CAF has been chosen to produce 80 diesel carriages made up of both 12 two-car and 14 four-car trains for travel around the Birmingham area.

Bombardier will construct 333 electric carriages of 90mph 36 three-car trains for metro services and 110mph 45 five-car trains for lengthier suburban journeys and long-distance travel.

All the trains will be fitted with air-conditioning and include free wi-fi and in-seat power sockets.

The new stock is expected to increase the number of available carriages for the franchise by 25%, helping to deal with overcrowding issues and improve travel times.

Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said the company was delighted to award the contracts to Bombardier and CAF.

“It is great news that so many of these trains will be produced in the UK,” he added. “As a company, we are committed to working with the government to strengthen the British economy and deliver thousands of high-quality jobs over the coming years.”

Bombardier Transportation’s UK managing director, Richard Hunter, said the contract was a “huge endorsement of our workforce and the quality of the products we design.”

“Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times,” he added.

And Richard Garner, business development director for UK and Ireland at CAF, added: “This is fantastic news and builds upon recent success in securing contracts to supply new trains for the Northern and TransPennine franchises.”

New plans for the franchise also include a £60m investment in station improvements and 1,000 new car parking spaces as well as 2,500 cycling spots. The TOC will also put £70m into new and existing depots and offer a greater choice of travel options via the introduction of new Sunday services by 2021, which includes connections from Birmingham to Shrewsbury and between Bedford and Bletchley.

Today’s announcement comes just months after Tom Painter took over as the franchise delivery manager for the new group, and is likely to please residents in the West Midlands given it comes alongside the region’s recently approved £3.4bn decade-long ‘transport blueprint’.

“We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century,” commented Chris Grayling, transport secretary. “West Midlands passengers will see longer, more frequent trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service for passengers.

“This is part of a huge investment happening up and down the country and will make a real difference to passengers. This investment reflects our commitment, and that of train operators, to put passengers at the heart of everything we do.”

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PP   17/10/2017 at 10:42

How long before we get some suggestions from our resident stock redeployment expert?

TJ   17/10/2017 at 11:35

Tee hee

SPT   17/10/2017 at 11:44

Where for art thou Gwilt?

PP   17/10/2017 at 14:27

Does this have implications for the Sudbury branch?

SPT   17/10/2017 at 14:37

I'm sure the Marks Tey Rail User Group are following developments with keen interest...

Dave Baxter   17/10/2017 at 15:35

Great humour from PP TJ and SPT, we could do with you all on the 17.15 from New Street to Four Oaks, surely the most miserable passengers in living memory, so much that I have christened this service " The grumpy guts special" On a serious note this rolling stock will be very welcome although I have a soft spot for the class 323 , and it's not a mud beach in Weston Super Mare

Graham Smith   17/10/2017 at 15:46

Good to hear that new trains are being ordered and that extra car parking is being provided. I hope the new car parking will include charging points for battery cars to facilitate the new car proposals.

Mikeb   17/10/2017 at 16:16

Does this spell the end of the Class 350s - any ideas AJG?

Andrew Gwilt   17/10/2017 at 18:53

At least Bombardier will be manufacturing the new Aventra for London Midland (West Midlands Trains from December) aswell CAF to manufacture the Civity. I think Birmingham and West Midlands Area does need more extra trains including when the electrification on parts of the Chase Line is completed that will allow the new trains aswell Class 323’s and Class 350’s to operate on once the electrification is finished. That will allow electric trains to operate between Birmingham and Rugley Trent Valley. Also there are plans to electrify to Bromsgrove which could happen and to allow electric trains to operate between Birmingham and Bromsgrove and some other suburban lines in the Birmingham area to be electrified aswell that will allow electric multiple unit trains to operate on those routes.

Andrew Gwilt   17/10/2017 at 18:55

@SPT. art thou Gwilt? What a troll you really are.

Allhailthegwilt   17/10/2017 at 20:52

Bad news SPT, you've missed out on being a Moron. Accolades abound. Now its back to train spotting.

SPT   17/10/2017 at 21:28

Andrew - I was merely asking where you were (which I don't think constitutes being a troll?) as we hadn't had the benefit of your pearls of wisdom on this matter earlier in the day but you've since rectified that...

AJG89   18/10/2017 at 00:40

More new trains coming. This time for Birmingham and West Midlands when the new franchise takes over in December. Sounds good.

Richard   18/10/2017 at 01:17

And why is this good news Andrew (under yet another pseudonym AJG89)? Whilst admittedly there are some trains we could well applaud losing, there is an awful lot of newish stock out there which is going to be homeless and could well be scrapped. This is all because of the fracical Dft's "points" system in awarding Franchises extra for promising new trains. Some of the new trains now appearing may be bursting with technology, but the seats were made for Indian Fakirs. Rock hard, crammed and fewer to make more standing room (witness Crossrail and Thameslink). Comfort is now sacrificed for economy and capacity so I do not share your enthusiasm Andrew.

PP   18/10/2017 at 09:14

Yup, with the amount they're buying, it does look like most, if not all, the 350s will be replaced, which I agree is incredibly wasteful. There's a limit to how good constantly building new stock is - there's a lot out there that could do with replacing, but I certainly don't think the 350s are past it, and they're pretty good trains too. I can understand the logic behind SWR getting rid of the 707s, despite them being new - operating four types of very different train, with differing capacity, reliability and performance levels, is a lot of hassle, and replacing them with a standardised fleet makes sense. But...this? I'm really not so sure.

King's Lynn   18/10/2017 at 10:28

Hmm, I'm not so sure - it looks as if this order is to supplement, rather than replace. I'd like to think that this would be the case, as like the above poster mentioned, to get rid of relatively new trains would be incredibly/needlessly wasteful.

Martin   18/10/2017 at 12:53

"Also there are plans to electrify to Bromsgrove which could happen" Electrification will happen: the wires are up and three cross city electric trains will terminate at Bromsgrove from the May 2018 timetable change. That said, the original plan was for May 2017

Martin   18/10/2017 at 13:14

Careless post: three ...trains per hour, of course

AJG89   18/10/2017 at 18:03

I truly agree with you @Richard.

John Andrew Gwant   18/10/2017 at 21:08

And you haven't called anyone a moron. Wow. Yes brilliant news.

Andrew JG   19/10/2017 at 01:04

I still think that Bombardier can manufacture more new trains that are designed for inner-suburban, outer-suburban, long distance, metro and commuter routes not just for Birmingham and London & Southeast. But also for other parts of the UK including Merseyside and Manchester that new trains could cater for better journeys with extra seats available at peak times. And to replace the older rolling stocks that are due for scrap or possibly used elsewhere where train companies need extra trains for better services and good customer satisfaction. Also Bombardier are the best train manufacturing company that has ever built the Voyagers, Electrostars and Turbostars at Derby manufacturing plant and also have built the S-Stocks (S7 & S8) and 2009 stocks for the London Underground sub surface lines and the Victoria Line. And new tram vehicles such as Croydon Tramlink and Manchester Metrolink that have also been built at Bombardier Derby.

Andrew JG   19/10/2017 at 01:10

Also I’ve heard that 8 Class 172/0’s will soon be transferred to operate on the Coventry-Nuneaton and Coventry-Leamington Spa routes under the new franchise that will take over in December as it’s to be cascaded from London Overground as Class 710’s will soon be operated on the newly electrified Gospel Oak-Barking line. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Midlands_Trains https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_172

GC   19/10/2017 at 01:18

Not disparaging Bombardier but they haven't built trams at Derby for years. Anyways, the key point on new trains vs old is the deal from the leasing company: if the franchise can lease new trains cheaper than old ones it is a no brainer. Then the ROSCO has a fleet of old trains going spare, so the lease price comes down for the next bidder. Of course in an ideal world, train build might be planned, not depend on ROSCOs playing chicken.

Mark   19/10/2017 at 09:52

Hmm, I wonder how Bombardier Derby can be "the best train manufacturing company that has ever built the Voyagers", when they weren't assembled at Litchurch Lane.

Mark Hare   19/10/2017 at 12:56

Andrew JG - 'Also Bombardier are the best train manufacturing company that has ever built the Voyagers'... really? Have you actually ever been on a Voyager? They are horrible trains; cramped, smelly and noisy. Quite possibly the worst long-distance train ever built.

PP   19/10/2017 at 16:22

Agree about Voyagers - they're pretty grim, to be honest. If I absolutely have to travel on them I will, but I'd far rather avoid it. They're absolutely horrible for long journeys, especially if you have to sit anywhere near a toilet.

Andrew JG   22/10/2017 at 16:57

I understand where you are coming from Mark Hare. But the Class 222’s aren’t bad Trains. But yes the seats are uncomfortable and there isn’t any leg room space. If you can manage to fit in a tight confined space if you are thin and can handle a long journey on a Class 222. I only went on the Class 222 few times and I have experienced some issues whilst traveling on one of them and yes the seats are not as comfortable. I’ve been on the Thameslink Class 700 train and I do like the seats on the Class 700 as it’s comfier but it’s not as comfortable as the other trains I’ve been on that has got the most comfortable seats for long distance journeys. Even on the tube I’ve also sat on the comfortable seats such as on the London Underground S8 & S7 S-stocks that do have nice comfortable seats.

Neville Hill   25/10/2017 at 11:30

"Bombardier are the best train manufacturing company that has ever built the Voyagers" - just brilliant! Comedy that works beautifully on so many levels. If only it was deliberate...

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