December 12, 2017

New West Midlands franchise orders 107 trains

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Trains in the new West Midlands Railways (left) and old London Midland liveries. Trains in the new West Midlands Railways (left) and old London Midland liveries.

WEST Midlands Trains, a joint venture of Abellio, JR East and Mitsui, has finalised two orders worth £680m for 107 new trains with Bombardier and CAF for the new West Midlands franchise, which started on December 10.

Corelink Rail Infrastructure, a joint venture between Infracapital and Deutsche Asset Management, is financing the two deals.

Bombardier will supply and maintain 333 Aventra EMU cars (pictured below) under a £542m contract comprising 36 145km/h three-car trains for suburban services in Birmingham and 45 177km/h five-car trains for outer suburban and long- distance services on the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

CAF will produce 80 DMU cars consisting of 12 two-car trains and 14 four-car trains for operation on non-electrified lines radiating from Birmingham.

The new trains will provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers on peak-hour services into Birmingham and London, and are part of the planned £1bn investment in the new franchise. All the trains will have air-conditioning, Wi-Fi and in-seat power sockets.

The new West Midlands rail franchise runs from December10 2017 until 2025-26. Abellio has a 70.1% stake in West Midlands Trains while JR East and Mitsui split ownership of the remaining 29.9% 50:50.

The franchise will operate under two separate brands. West Midlands Railway (WMR) will operate commuter services in the Birmingham area and London Northwestern Railway (LNR) will run commuter and long-distance services on the WCML between London Euston, Northampton, Birmingham and Liverpool.

The remainder of the investment in the new franchise includes £70m towards new and existing depots, £60m for station improvements, and £18m for staff training.

Bombardier Aventra

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