Latest Rail News


Southern announces major rolling stock procurement

Southern is to order an extra 40 Electrostar carriages from Bombardier at Derby, and is “developing proposals” with the DfT for a new procurement competition for 116 new electric (dual voltage) vehicles, with an option for a further 100.

The procurement of 40 new carriages, for an expected £60m, extends the £188m deal signed at the end of last year for 130 new carriages.

The overall scope of the announcement is a clear indication of how delays in the Thameslink rolling stock procurement process with Siemens are having knock-on effects on other parts of the network. If planned cascades are disrupted because electric stock needs to be kept in the south, the north west could be left with electrified lines but diesel stock, which would be very embarrassing for the DfT. Other trains currently serving the Thameslink route are expected to be cascaded to the GWML.

The 116 new trains are unlikely to enter service until after the Southern franchise is merged with Thameslink in 2015. Southern said: “The new rolling stock will be of dual voltage configuration and is required to operate up to 110 mph. Any rolling stock manufacturer registered on the rail Link-Up system would be able to compete for this opportunity.”

The 40 carriages will be used in five-car formation, with dual voltage configuration and are estimated to cost £60m. Expected delivery is 2014, with service entry that December. Porterbrook Leasing is the preferred bidder to arrange the financing of both the initial 130 and further 40 carriages.

Southern stated the new rolling stock would enable additional capacity on its network, as well as address the wider rolling stock needs of the country.

Southern managing director Chris Burchell said: “I am pleased that Southern is able to assist the Department in introducing additional capacity. The potential new order for 116 carriages will be exciting news for train manufacturers and for passengers.”

Simon Burns told MPs in October about the delays to the Thameslink contract: “Department officials are working with Siemens to secure financial close early in the new year for the new trains for Thameslink. I am aware of the consequences of failing to conclude the procurement and as you would expect, my Department is closely monitoring progress, including assessing options were it not possible to secure financial close.”

A DfT spokesman told the Derby Telegraph: “We welcome this announcement of Southern’s intention to take up the option for 40 rolling stock vehicles under their existing contract with Bombardier train builders. If this goes ahead, it will provide extra capacity for railway passengers and more work for Bombardier and its Derby workforce. We also look forward to working with Southern in developing further procurement opportunities for the rail industry.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. Rui Vieira/PA Wire


Phil Jenkins   16/11/2012 at 14:04

About time we bought British products for Britain.

Swannee15   16/11/2012 at 20:55

London again. The rest of this countries railways are in meltdown. Chronic overcrowding, clapped out rolling stock and yet nothing is been done to eleviate the problems. London snaps its fingers and all of a sudden, money is available for another 256 carriages. This number going to the rest of the country would solve most of the problems above. And yet as usual, all we get are blind eyes, along with been crammed in and treated like cattle (thats of course providing the unit hasnt failed again!!!!). Frankly I wouldnt give a damn which country they were built in, JUST BUILD SOME PLEEEASE

Gabriel Oaks   19/11/2012 at 09:54

A welcome step forward although the order for Electrostars appears to do nothing to alieviate the overcrowding on the Uckfield line. What about some additional turbostars please?

Hugh B   14/12/2012 at 12:22

Surely this must be good news for Southern / Thameslink passengers, and also for Derby. I agree we should care about which country in which these are built.

Henry Law   19/06/2015 at 17:44

Pity these were not an end-door configuration version for long-distance routes. Also there is still a need to do something about the ride quality of Electrostars, which can be lively at above 50 mph if the track is not 100%. I suspect the problem is the lack of inter-vehicular compression in the gangways, with the loss of the damping effect that provides. Pity about the weird front-end design. The front end design is one of the best features of the original Electrostars.

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 >