Bombardier and Hitachi sign up to build trains

THE EAST COAST Main Line and the Thameslink route are both in line to run new trains after separate deals were agreed yesterday.

The Department for Transport and Hitachi’s European transportation division have agreed a £1.2bn contract to build 30 nine-carriage electric trains for the East Coast route.

In a separate deal, train company Southern picked Bombardier to supply 116 new electric rolling stock vehicles for £180m.

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin said the Hitachi order is part of the government’s £5.8bn Intercity Express Programme to improve the country’s rail network.

“By signing this deal we have provided further proof of our determination to transform Britain’s railways into a world-class operation through continued investment and state-of-the-art technology,” McLoughlin said.

The class 800 series Hitachi Rail Europe carriages will come into use in 2019, and will be partly manufactured in the new factory in County Durham.

The London-based subsidiary of the Japanese firm will also build four new maintenance depots.

Travelling at faster speeds, the new trains will save passengers between two and 18 minutes in commuting time. The trains can travel at up to 140mph, though this will require signalling and infrastructure upgrades.

Southern’s contract with Bombardier will see new carriages delivered in 2015, for use on the Thameslink route until Siemens delivers its new trains. Bombardier lost out to Siemens for the £1.4bn rolling stock contract in 2011.