TRANSPORT officials have finally agreed to buy trains for use on the Thameslink rail line, just a week after the government spending watchdog warned that indecision on the £1.6bn contract could delay the entire upgrade project.
The Department for Transport confirmed last night that it intends to award the work to Siemens, which will see the engineering giant built 1,140 new carriages for the Bedford to Brighton route.
The award comes three and a half years after the department shortlisted Siemens and Bombardier for the deal.
Siemens was announced as preferred bidder in June 2011, following the coalition’s spending review.
Infrastructure upgrades on the Thameslink route have been delayed by the collapse of the rail franchising programme, and officials have moved the completion date back from 2015 to 2018.
The National Audit Office warned last week that even this target might not be met if the talks with Siemens were not concluded soon.
The long-awaited award to the German firm comes as a blow to Bombardier, whose UK factory in Derby suffered more than 1,400 job cuts when it was first announced that the firm had not won the rolling stock contract.