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Bombardier UK wins £680m contract for West Midlands train order

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Derby-based company bags the contract alongside CAF, JR East and Mitsui

Bombardier UK has won contracts worth £680m to build 107 trains as part of a £1bn investment in the West Midlands train network, reports state. The company has been awarded the contract alongside CAF (by Dutch transport giant Abellio), JR East and Mitsui.

The combined stock will increase the size of the West Midlands fleet by 25 per cent by 2026.

Abellio’s order is being considered as a lifeline for Bombardier’s UK operations, which have been reeling from a potential trade war between its Canadian parent and the US giant Boeing. The row has put at risk about 5,000 jobs in Belfast, where Bombardier makes some parts. With this order, a total of 330 electric carriages will be assembled at its Derby plant.

Read related story: UK warns Boeing it could lose defence contracts over Bombardier dispute

Confirming the development, Richard Hunter, UK managing director, Bombardier Transportation said: “Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times.”

Talking about how so many of these trains will be produced in the UK, Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: “We are delighted to award this work to Bombardier and CAF, which means we are now overseeing £3bn of investment into 1,700 new carriages across all our franchises.”

“As a company, we are committed to working with the government to strengthen the British economy and deliver thousands of high-quality jobs over the coming years,” Booth added.

The new trains will be providing space for an extra 85,000 travellers on rush hour services into Birmingham and London. The journeys are expected to be faster and more comfortable, with the trains having air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

Dutch firm Abellio and Japanese firms JR East and Mitsui said the trains will be made up of 413 carriages and cost £680m. The other trains will be made by Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), which will provide dedicated services for journeys to the towns and cities around Birmingham.

The new trains will be leased to the new West Midlands rail franchise, as is standard practice. Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century… This is part of a huge investment happening up and down the country and will make a real difference to passengers.”

The joint venture would also be creating more than 900 new apprenticeships over the course of the franchise.

 




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