Latest Rail News


Arriva signs £490m rolling stock contract to replace Northern’s Pacers

As part of the new Northern franchise Arriva has appointed Spain’s CAF to build 281 new carriages, based on the Civity platform, to replace the unpopular Pacer trains. 

Eversholt Rail will finance the £490m deal, which will see the first of the new trains being delivered by October 2018. It has not been announced exactly where the new trains will be built, though CAF’s European manufacturing capability is virtually all in Spain. 

The order is made up of 31 x three-car and 12 x four-car EMUs and 25 x two-car and 30 x three-car DMUs, with all vehicles scheduled to enter service by December 2019. 

Last year’s Northern ITT documentation made clear that the new franchisee must modernise the Northern fleet, replacing the Pacers and bringing into service a minimum of 120 new carriages for non-electrified routes. 

55 Pacer Class 144. c. Alvey and Towers

The ITT for Northern said: “These must be newly-built (not re-using components from existing rolling stock) and, unless the Bidder intends for them to be hauled by a locomotive, must be capable of operating under their own power for significant distances on non-electrified routes.” 

Chris Burchell, managing director of Arriva’s UK Trains Division, said: “We are delighted to partner with CAF and Eversholt Rail to meet the high specification and demanding timetable for delivery of the new rolling stock. I hope that today’s announcement once again makes clear our determination to deliver on our promises to passengers.” 

The new 100mph CAF trains will include air conditioning, audio and visual on-board passenger information systems, power sockets and tables, cycle racks, toilets, digital CCTV systems, and free wifi for passengers. 

812 Interior

Arriva is to start operating the new nine-year Northern franchise from 1 April 2016, which will see extensive investment in new and refurbished trains, as well as extra services and capacity. It was also revealed last week that Alex Hynes will be remaining as Northern’s MD

Mary Kenny, CEO of Eversholt Rail Group, said: “We are delighted to be supporting CAF and Arriva Rail North with the supply of this new rolling stock for the new Northern rail franchise. 

“These new trains will bring much-needed improvements in comfort and capacity for passengers on this important part of the network and we look forward to working with our partners to bring them into service.” 

Antonio Campos CAF, S.A. international commercial director for Western Europe, said it was a “fantastic opportunity” for CAF to consolidate its position as one of the leading manufacturers of trains within the very competitive UK market.

Recent CAF orders in the UK have included a contract to supply 75 coaches to Serco Caledonian Sleepers Ltd, the Class 3000 and Class 4000 rolling stock for Translink (Northern Ireland), and the Class 332 EMUs, working alongside Siemens, for Heathrow Express in the late 1990s. Light rail rolling stock has included the Midland Metro and Edinburgh Trams Urbos 3 fleets. 

It is understood that CAF's main competition for the order came from Swiss company Stadler. 

Arriva was supported through the procurement process by technical consultants, Racon, and legal advisors, Clyde & Co. The DfT was advised by Eversheds, led by Agnes Koko, who said: "Rail services are an important part of the UK’s connectivity and growth and the new Northern franchise will facilitate major investment to further enhance these effects. As a specialist rail lawyer with a particular focus on the rolling stock market I am delighted to have played a role in this important transaction.”


Andrew Gwilt   22/01/2016 at 11:48

I think that CAF should consider building new trains for Northern England as well building new trains for Liverpool & Merseyside (Merseyrail) and maybe Scotland and Wales and properly build new trains for the East of England (East Anglia and Essex) and London & The Southeast.

Kev Smith   22/01/2016 at 11:54

dont slag off the poor old pacer and railbus fleets they have done the job they were built for, they have banged around, and got rid of the worn out flying meccano, job done, i have never had problem with the fleets . its a shame its not litchurch lane building the new fleets, for easy nteroperabilty with their diesel fleets, i thought the british gov was pushing for british investment and buy british, but no we buy much for "northern powerhouse "

Scottie   22/01/2016 at 11:57

Interesting announcement for new Rolling Stock. So where does that now leave "D" Train project ? ( Rebuilt ex LU District Line Stock ) I assumed RTM would have made a comment regarding this new development !

Rob   22/01/2016 at 14:03

Why are we going to Spain to buy products we can build in the UK - I agree with the guy above the, the British government needs to get some backbone and ensure the work is kept in the UK - other European countries do this whilst claiming to adhere to EU procurement rules so why can't we .

Woody   22/01/2016 at 14:17

Perhaps Bombardier didn't bid?

John   22/01/2016 at 14:40

Why are they being built in Spain? Because it will be one heck of a sight cheaper and, let's face it, Bombardier's record with DMU's isn't exactly glorious is it!! Class 170 Turbostars vibrating themselves to bits and horribly cramped.

Paul   22/01/2016 at 18:17

So, 281 new carriages, comprising 43 EMUs and 50 DMUs. If my memory serves me correctly, there are 98 Class 142 DMU sets. Looks like there's plenty of room left for D-Trains to me.

Warren   22/01/2016 at 19:43

Hey Paul, 31 x three-car = 93 12 x four-car EMUs =48 25 x two-car =50 30 x three-car DMUs =90 = 281

Mikeyb   22/01/2016 at 20:16

Kev Smith say it is a shame that it is not Bombardier at Derby building the new trains.This announcement is rather like the ScotRail order from Hitachi, that Abellio announced immediately after winning that franchise. Then, like now, there was no indication of the identity of other shortlisted bidders and I therefore wonder whether, in each instance, the franchise winners have gone straight to one manufacturer, abandoning the normal tendering process. If I am wrong, on doubt someone will correct me.

Paul   22/01/2016 at 21:52

Hey Warren, Yep, I can do the maths, my degree helps in that respect. However, new EMUs can't go where old DMUs can, because EMUs need something called wires overhead. This order doesn't provide enough diesel trains to cover the work currently being operated by diesel Pacers. 50 new DMU sets is simply not enough trains to cover the work of the present 98 Pacer sets. The Pacers have to go, so we're 48 trains short. Cue the D-Train. Got it now? Paul

John   22/01/2016 at 22:44

not at all the pacers are operated by Northern though are they? 23 x Class 144 79 x Class 142 The others are operated by FGW and ATW based out of Cardiff and Bristol I dare say that once TPE get their fleet of EMU for the transpennine route then their current fleet of Class 185's will get absorbed into the new Arriva fleet. Don't forget that Scotrail are getting an EMU fleet for the Edinburgh to Glasgow route too which will create another rolling stock cascade.... Nothing is ever black and white with this stuff

Michael   22/01/2016 at 23:18

Paul The electrification of routes such as Blackpool - Manchester means more EMU, less DMU, required.

Driver92   22/01/2016 at 23:57

Bombardier did not bid for the contract. Pretty hard to choose British built trains when no British based company bids...

Robert Clarkson   23/01/2016 at 08:57

with all the spare area's that is close to a railway line, Would it not be wise for caf to build a plant over here. Especially in the north where the railway jobs are needed. Also with the amount of 165/166 that will be coming on stream from the electrification of the gwr, these will replace the 150/158 on the gwr which in turn will replace the 142's on the gwr. So the only ones with 14x range will be wales and they are going to be replacing them when there get there electrification up and running.

Brian   23/01/2016 at 09:21

Oh bring back good old loco hauled trains!!!!

Dan   23/01/2016 at 12:12

Bombardier have got a significant lack of capacity at the moment due to several lagers orders for London.... And apart from hiataci (who basically assemble flat packed trains in the UK) that only leaves manufacturers such as CAF in Spain and Siemens who manufacturer their trains in Germany

Cliff   23/01/2016 at 13:14

Build them in the UK? You are p***ing in the wind. We don't have a train building industry anymore, apart from the building from prefabricated pieces factory in Newton Aycliffe and a bit at Bombadier in Derby. This is nothing to do with the EU, but to the fact that out heavy industry of all types has been run down by successive governments over the last 50 years or so. Remember, all new locos for the past 25 years have been built in Spain, Canada or the USA

John   23/01/2016 at 13:34

Why are they going abroad to have new trains built whats up with building em in this country and create jobs in the rail industry.

Lutz   23/01/2016 at 22:34

The expected outcome - they have had to go for the cheap option - saving perhaps as much as GBP 400M on the cost of a UK built product. I expect we will be seeing CAF win more orders in the UK going forward given their big price manufacturing cost advantage. There is a shake-up in European manufactures pending - changes are already going on amongst the smaller players, but we should probably expect to see the loss, as an independent operation, of at least one of the big three in the next few years with a corresponding rationalisation of manufacturing sites as they move to lean production methods.

Kev   24/01/2016 at 00:14

Trains are not built in this country anymore as this wonderful government of ours peroidically closed down the train building industry amongst other industry's over the years

Mikeyb   24/01/2016 at 12:40

Not right Kev. Trains are still built at Derby by Bombardier and they currently have a healthy order book. Also, the new Hitachi assembly plant at Newton Aycliffe will soon be building trains for GWR and the ECML.

Mike H   24/01/2016 at 15:31

Disappointed Bombardier 172/2 units were not ordered to replace pacers. Those units are compatible with existing class 156 & 158 rolling stock and would have offered far greater operating flexibility than yet another standalone fleet that can't couple to anything else.

Ianw   26/01/2016 at 11:02

Where are GWR's AT300s being built. Don't see much work for Newton Aycliffe once IEP is finished. Hitachi have just bought Ansaldo so trains for Europe could well be built in Italy or Japan. I bet DfT overpaid for IEP by so much that Newton Aycliffe can be written off once IEP is finished.

Roger, Sheffield   26/01/2016 at 13:07

After CAF re-equipped the UK's (not Britain's) remaining state railway system, Translink - Northern Ireland Railways without, as I remember, a murmur from the sidelines, it's a bit rich to have all this furore when they supply what looks like an NIR 3000 class to mainland Britain. As a Northern punter, if they ride as well as NIR's sets, I can't wait.

Gerald Hocking   26/01/2016 at 16:20

Ah well we must support the Spanish taxpayer. If Derby is too busy why not use Crewe ,there are plenty of facilities there, what happens if we drop out of the EU? will we create the ability to employ British tax payers?

Vulgar Fraction   27/01/2016 at 12:41

Bombardier did not bid. They can't build more 172s anyway, because the applicable standards have moved on and the 172 front end design does not meet these new European Standards.

Huguenot   27/01/2016 at 18:04

My understanding is that if Northern had split the order into electric and non-electric, Bombardier would have bid for the electrics but not the diesels. Why didn't Northern do this? They didn't need to put all their eggs in one basket.

Phil   28/01/2016 at 14:19

Can't understand why anybody feels any sympathy for canadian owned Bombadier. They have been consistently outbid by Hitachi and Siemens for several contracts and didn't even bother to submit a concept design to TFL for their next generation underground stock. They seem to arrogantly assume they should receive the pick of UK rolling stock orders because of their heritage. Have any of you travelled on a Voyager or Turbostar? Shockingly designed rubbish compared to the 1950s stock they replaced. I doubt whether they could deliver 281 vehicles by 2018 either as Lichurch Lane will be busy building 600 Aventra vehicles for Cross rail. Doubtless more poorly engineeref rubbish ....

Lutz   28/01/2016 at 15:43

@Gerald Hocking The simple answer is that you go for the optimum product at the best price from anywhere in the world, whether we are in the EU or not. The manufacturing costs in Spain (and soon Poland) are far lower than they are in the UK, plus consolidation of construction sites enables the manufacture to adopt modern manufacturing processes, techniques, and tools.

Simon   30/01/2016 at 20:45

Whilst I have no particular empathy with Bombardier at least they provide jobs in Britain not Spain, unlike Newton Aycliffe which is for Japanese jobs and a Japanese entry to the European Rail Market which the other countries of the EU wont allow them into. As for the trains Bombardier produce, they produce a better product than Siemens with a better designed bogie, the Turbostar is a superb unit especially considering the mileages many of them cover compared with being vibrated about in a rat infested Mk1 hauked at 35mph by a class 31 - or worse a Met Cam 101. As for the Voyager can you really remember a lumping peak trundling up lickey at 10 mph again in a rusty Mk 1 with square wheels?

Dave Barry   06/02/2016 at 11:56

The farce over british rolling stock having to be made abroad goes back many years to the privatisation which caused a three year drought of orders and closed most of the manufacturing facilities here. Good old British Rail had a cycle of procurement and replacement which kept their workshops and outside industry working at optimum level. When the government gave permission for Northern to re-equip they would have been well aware of the inability of our factories to bid....great planning.

Gilberdyke Barry   09/02/2016 at 17:16

Lets hope that they have sufficient leg room for tall people and seats align with windows!

DK   17/02/2016 at 01:05

All very interesting reading, but why don't the train companies all get together and setup their own train manufacturing company - they can then make more profits. Better still why can't we just design and build something as a public service. Maybe just bring back locos and carriages - far more flexible approach

KB   25/02/2016 at 10:33

@DK, They could all get together and operate the network aswell. Hang on,, that was called British Rail.

John Gilbert   07/04/2016 at 17:12

Oh dear! Those DMUs should surely be bi-mode to reduce the time spent by diesel operation under the wires?

Sam Green   26/05/2016 at 17:19

I don`t think that train at the top will be able to run on the Whitby branch or are they planning to electrify it ? These Pacer should be made available when redundant to heritage railways .They would be a great asset to run cheaply at quiet times and in the winter .

David Cook   17/06/2016 at 08:52

I must admit, despite many people disliking the old pacers, I would be happy to see our railway line re-opened on the cheap using second pacers (Wimborne - Poole). From the moment the old lines were closed in the 1960's and ripped up in the 1970's, uncontrolled house building and no proper roadbuilding has meant that traffic is terrible on the roads. I'd happily rattle along on a clapped out old train than sit going nowhere.

Trainspotter77   28/06/2016 at 10:16

Nice to see that guy up there Paul, can add up, what a clutz..........that aside, everyone on here needs to understand the bidding process...Bombardier for example, will bid for the ones they want and not bid for the ones they dont want/need to let go elsewhere, so they get the ones the want.........its a game, dont bid for some, bid for others and win......politics chaps, get it now, Paul..???

Angliaranger   20/07/2016 at 20:16

I think we'd all like to see UK trains designed and built here, which Bombardier already achieve with their EMUs and 'Tube' stock. But we have to build to standards set by Japanese and German companies. And that's a real challenge as the price must not exceed theirs, although there 's no reason why kit built for UK gauge shouldn't be attractive to other countries even if their gauge is more generous. We must think 'export', guys and gals!

Chris   09/11/2016 at 18:16

A key challenge at the present time is getting stock delivered within franchise timescales - hence TPE going for a mixed fleet of CAF coaches, Hitachi Bi-modes and CAF EMUs - with the CAF orders no manufacturer with a British based facility chose to bid. CAF is at least a traditional 'manufacturer', as opposed to assembler, and hence should have better control over component supply, as so much is actually made on site at their factories, rather than being bought in from other companies. The latter being a real issue for Bombardier through the recession, with several suppliers of Electrostar components going bust mid-order. I must admit as a citizen of the world I find it really odd that some people have a narrow view of where things are made. I drive a German car, because it is very good; I travel within Europe on American made Boeing planes (but it doesn't even occur to me as an issue), it doesn't bother me that an EMU operating in Birmingham was made by Hunslet in Leeds, or that a tube train in London was made by MetCamm in Birmingham, or that a loco in Morocco was imported from France - as a nation we should focus on what we are good at, unfortunately for manufacturing we are so far advanced on the economic growth path that the salaries and benefits of manufacturing jobs dictate that on average we will never be a very competitive export nation - even post-war we only exported as much as we did because countries still in the 'Empire' had to buy British, rather than necessarily wanting to.

Robert T Darlington   17/12/2016 at 15:21

I was on the railway when pacers were introduced and drove them for over twenty years , my back is suffering ever since. I have a soft spot for them at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. Bobby D

John B   07/03/2017 at 19:42

It would be nice to see some improvement on the Marsden to Huddersfield/Bradford/Leeds/Manchester trains. I know Pacers have done a good job up to now but people from Marsden and Slaithwaite deserve something better after all this time and all those promises. Who said what promises? Northern Powerhouse? Not everyone wants or needs HS2/3. Liverpool to Hull, etc, deserve better service. The TransPennine DMUs passing through Huddersfield are always overcrowded.

Richard   06/02/2018 at 00:19

Another kick in the teeth for British workers and industry. Its a disgrace that he country that invented railways now has import trains from. I reckon the government should intervene and reverse the deal ASAP..

Richard   06/02/2018 at 00:26

Another kick in the teeth for British workers and industry. Its a disgrace that he country that invented railways now has import trains. I reckon the government should intervene and reverse the deal ASAP..

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >