Abellio holds on to East Anglia franchise as £1bn investment in new trains is confirmed

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    Abellio has been confirmed as the preferred bidder for the next East Anglia franchise in a deal which includes an investment of more than £1 billion in new trains from Bombardier and Stadler.

    The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed today (August 10) that Abellio would retain the franchise until 2025.

    Over the course of the franchise, a total of 1,043 new carriages will be procured and introduced on to the route. As well as the new units, Abellio is planning a full refurbishment of its current fleet.

    The long-term franchise will replace all trains in the current fleet.

    Bombardier will supply the lion share of the new trains – 660 Aventra carriages, the same family of trains as those being built for Crossrail. Although not part of the DfT announcement, reports suggest that Stadler will supply the remaining 383 carriages: bi-mode Flirt units.

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era. By awarding this franchise to Abellio East Anglia we will improve journeys for people in East Anglia.

    “Abellio’s decision will ensure our train building industry in Derby remains strong.

    “This is part of our plan to make an economy that works for everyone – not just the privileged few – by ensuring prosperity is spread throughout the country.”

    Dominic Booth managing director of Abellio UK said the award would give the company the opportunity to build on the two short-term franchise agreements it had won since 2012.