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


    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.


    1. Impressive, I would have thought that Abellio would commit to a full refurbishment programme for their Class 321 fleet. I’d like to know how they’re going to get a return on their investment, especially since this franchise is only going to run for less than ten years.

    2. About time to replace the ageing trains and to get new trains that passengers want across East Anglia. I do hope that Abellio can improve even though most people are not happy about Abellio that they have extended their contract up to 2025 and a new franchise means better journeys and cleaner refurbished stations and trains and even plans to build new railway stations such as Beaulieu railway station in Chelmsford and Cambridge North and Cambridge South railway stations in Cambridge. Plus new electric and diesel trains will replace the Class 153’s, Class 156’s DMU’s, Class 90 Mk3 Intercity, Class 321’s and Class 317’s EMU’s used on all routes.

    3. If new trains are to be ordered to be used on the Stansted Express route then Class 379’s could be used on Liverpool St-Cambridge and King’s Linn and Liverpool St-Hertford East West Anglia routes and Class 360’s could still be kept but some to be used on Colchester-Walton-on-the-Naze, Colchester-Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester-Colchester Town (shuttle), Manningtree-Harwich Town & Ipswich-Harwich Town services and the rest of the Class 360’s could be used on c2c as c2c are hoping to have 68 new carriages (17/18 new trains) and the rest of the Class 360’s could be used for c2c. With some of the refurbished Class 321’s to be used on Wickford-Southminster and Witham-Braintree services unless new trains will be used on those lines and the Class 321’s could be moved up North of England and even used in South Wales.


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