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Southern’s £60m Electrostar order confirmed

Southern’s £60m order for an extra 40 Electrostar carriages from Bombardier at Derby has been confirmed, and the DfT is supporting a new procurement competition for 116 new electric (dual voltage) vehicles, with an option for a further 140.

The procurement of 40 new carriages extends the £188m deal signed at the end of last year for 130 new carriages. The 40 carriages will be used in five-car formation, with dual voltage configuration. 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

It 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. Once the expected new Thameslink trains are operational these carriages will be moved to the newly electrified routes, which could include the Midland Main Line to Corby and North Transpennine Routes.

It was originally intended that the there be an option for a further 100 carriages on top of the 116, but this has been extended at the DfT’s request to 140: “This is what the Department for Transport has asked us to do,” as Southern’s Q&A on the deal puts it.

Southern said: “The new rolling stock will be of dual voltage configuration and is required to operate up to 110mph. Any rolling stock manufacturer registered on the rail Link-Up system would be able to compete for this opportunity.”

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Our support for Southern will not only boost capacity but help secure British jobs. The deal for the 40 new carriages, helped along by my Department, demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to invest in Britain's railways.

“My officials are working with Southern to accelerate their procurement process for up to 256 carriages because our ambitious electrification plans requires additional rolling stock on the network.”

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.”

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Image c. Rui Vieira/PA Wire


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