FirstGroup and MTR place £895m order with Bombardier for new South Western trains

An Aventra train. Credit: First Group.
An Aventra train. Credit: First Group.

New South Western franchise operators FirstGroup and MTR have signed an £895 million contract with Bombardier for the supply and maintenance of 90 new Aventra trains.

The new trains, which will be supplied in five and 10-car configurations, will be manufactured in Derby and later operate on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes.

FirstGroup and MTR announced in March that they planned to order new trains to replace the Class 707 fleet, which is still being delivered by Siemens.

In total, the 750-carriage fleet from Bombardier will provide a 46 per cent increase in peak capacity on the suburban routes into Waterloo, according to FirstGroup.

All of the trains will feature free Wi-Fi, at-seat charging points, real-time information screens and air conditioning.

The new trains, which have regenerative breaking and can travel up to 100mph, will start to come into service from mid 2019 and will all be in service by December 2020.

In addition, Bombardier will execute a technical services and spares supply agreement for the duration of the seven-year franchise, with an option to extend for 11 periods in line with the existing franchise extension option.

The fleet will be maintained at Wimbledon depot, with South Western franchise employees undertaking the maintenance, supported by Bombardier employees.

The FirstGroup and MTR partnership will begin running the new franchise on August 20, replacing Stagecoach.

Transport Minister Paul Maynard said: “This multi-million pound investment in a new fleet of British-built trains is excellent news for South Western passengers and the British economy.

“This investment reflects our commitment, and that of train operators, to put passengers at the heart of everything we do, and will improve journeys and target congestion.”

Bombardier Transportation’s UK managing director, Richard Hunter, said: “We are thrilled to have won this important contract.

“It demonstrates further confidence placed in this market leading rolling stock, designed and built in Britain.

“This order is a fantastic endorsement of our skilled workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer and manufacture here in the UK. It will ensure a stable, long-term workload for our staff in Derby.”

Funding for the trains has been led by rolling stock investment consortium Rock Rail and partners SL Capital and GLIL Infrastructure LLP.

Read more: Hitachi’s first intercity train for Devon and Cornwall route arrives in UK

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