JP Morgan has acquired Beacon Rail Leasing in a £855m deal giving it control of the future TransPennine Express franchise

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Beacon's Transpennine Express will link towns and countryside between Manchester and Leeds (Source: Getty)

JP Morgan Asset Management has acquired the company responsible for providing trains for Britain’s TransPennine Express franchise, in an £855m deal.

JP Morgan's decision to make a long-term infrastructure investment in Beacon Rail Leasing comes after previous owner, private equity fund Pamplona Capital Partners III, launched a bidding process last November.

Pamplona bought Beacon Rail from BTMU Capital in 2014 for around $450m (£364m), and recently refinanced €500m of Beacon’s debt before selling the company. Pamplona is backed by billionaire Alexander Knaster.

Beacon’s revenue in 2015 was £34.3m. It rents out its 190 locomotives, 944 freight wagons and 20 passenger trains to train companies in France, the UK and the rest of Europe.

It signed a deal with FirstGroup last year to supply 13 five-car trains for the TransPennine service. The fleet of 291-seat trains will run between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle from next year. Passengers onboard will be able to stream television programmes and films through a media server.

TransPennine Express already links major cities in Scotland and the North of England. It says it transported 29 million customers across 83 stations last year, and that it plans toinvest over £500m in expansion projects over the next seven years.

JP Morgan Asset Management declined to comment on the deal.

Read more: World class trains to boost Northern Powerhouse: DfT

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