London Midland has announced that it has selected preferred bidders for the manufacture, maintenance and financing of new rolling stock.
This is intended for both London Midland and the Manchester to Scotland services operated by First TransPennine Express, which would result in significant additional capacity, making travel easier, more reliable and less crowded on some of the busiest sections of the rail network.
The preferred bidders are Siemens Plc for manufacture and maintenance of the new rolling stock, which are expected to be Desiro EMUs, and Angel Trains Limited for the necessary financing.
London Midland said they ‘are now entering a period of exclusive negotiations with those companies’.
If those negotiations are brought to a successful conclusion, and parallel discussions with the Department for Transport confirm the business case and the necessary amendments to the London Midland franchise agreement, then a firm order ‘is likely to be placed by early 2012′.
This announcement follows an EU-wide competitive procurement process for new electric rolling stock conducted by London Midland.
The competition commenced with the publication of a contract notice in the OJEU in April 2009, which identified a requirement for between 40 and 120 vehicles, and attracted responses from a number of interested financiers and suppliers from both UK and wider European markets.
Since the start of 2011 a ‘great deal of effort has been undertaken by London Midland with bidders to accommodate changes to the original requirements and to reach the point of being able to select the preferred bidders’.
Although current expectations are that the new order will be for approximately 72 Class 350 vehicles, probably in 18 x 4 car formation, the final number of vehicles could be more or less, partly depending on the outcome of negotiations with the Department for Transport.
It is now possible that these vehicles may have 110mph capability.
It is expected that approximately 32 of the new vehicles (probably in 8 x 4-car unit formation) will be for use in expanding London Midland’s existing fleet of electric multiple units to provide additional capacity on London Midland’s services.
In addition to the above, as a result of a request later in 2009 by the Department for Transport to include within the procurement requirements new electric rolling stock for use on the Manchester to Scotland route, approximately 40 of the new vehicles (probably in 10 x 4-car unit formation) are to be procured and subsequently transferred by London Midland to First TransPennine Express.
The transfer is intended to occur in early 2012 via a novation to FTPE of the relevant contracts between London Midland, Siemens and Angel Trains.
FTPE and the successors to the TransPennine franchise will run these vehicles on routes between Manchester and Scotland following the electrification of routes in the North West of England in line with national rail strategy.
Negotiations with the preferred supplier in respect of the units destined for the Manchester to Scotland service are likely to include certain interior design changes which reflect the longer distance journey patterns on this route.
Subject to the negotiations with the preferred bidders being brought to a successful conclusion and to the outcome of negotiations with the Department for Transport, contracts with Siemens and Angel Trains are currently expected to be finalised and signed at the end of 2011/early 2012.
The original target for introduction of all the new vehicles into service was May 2011.
At present, delivery of the first unit is expected in the Autumn of 2013 and it is anticipated that that FTPE will receive its vehicles ahead of London Midland.
The maintenance arrangements being negotiated with the preferred supplier and financier for the new vehicles to be deployed by FTPE on the Manchester to Scotland route are likely to include development of existing depot facilities in the Manchester area and the making of arrangements to provide out-station servicing and stabling at other locations on the route.