Rail passengers to benefit from £9.3BN boom in train building

Thousands of new train carriages worth £9.3billion will be carrying passengers on faster, more comfortable and more reliable journeys by the end of the decade, Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) told a rail industry conference in Derby today (27 November).

“We know that fare payers want better trains, so this investment over the next four years is great news for our passengers. An average of 12 carriages per week are being built to meet demand – a far higher build rate than just a few years ago. More than half of the new trains are being built by British-based manufacturers, supporting more than 2,000 jobs including at least 100 apprenticeships.

“We are investing in the trains that will be needed to expand and build a better railway. We’re making sure that more carriages with more seats, better accessibility, higher levels of reliability and comfort, and services such as Wi-Fi go to where they’re needed most.”

Rail Minister Claire Perry said:

“Introducing more modern, high-quality trains is central to our commitment to give passengers better journeys and boost economic growth.

“We’re already making massive improvements through franchising - such as removing Pacer trains from the North of England with requirements for at least 120 new-build diesel vehicles, and introducing new state of the art trains on the East Coast, Great Western, and Thameslink lines.

“We are also pressing ahead with our plans for electrification, which will enable faster, greener electric trains to run on large parts of the UK’s rail network.”

Analysis of new train orders over the next four years by the RDG, which represents Network Rail and train operators, shows that more than 3,700 new carriages, worth at least £9.3billion, are due to be built to improve services, including:

  • New intercity trains for Great Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast to be delivered as part of the Intercity Express Programme by February 2020 (866 carriages, as five and nine-car trains). All but 12 of these trains will be built in the UK at Newton Aycliffe as part of an order worth £5.7billion.
  • New intercity trains for Great Western Railway (an extra 173 carriages, formed of 22 five-car trains and seven nine-car trains) to be delivered from summer 2018 – worth £361million.
  • New electric trains for London’s Crossrail line (594 carriages, as 66 nine-car trains), built by Bombardier in Derby and introduced in 2017 – £1billion.
  • New electric trains for the Thameslink route (1,140 carriages, made up of 115 eight and twelve-car trains), the first of which will enter public service in Spring 2016 – £1.6billion.
  • New electric trains for the Gatwick Express service (108 carriages, as 27 four-car trains), the first of which will be introduced in 2016 – £145million.
  • New electric commuter trains for Abellio ScotRail (234 carriages, as 70 three and four-car trains), the first of which will be introduced in 2018. Of the 70 trains, 63 will be built by Hitachi at Newton Aycliffe while the first seven will be pre-series trains built in Japan.
  • New electric commuter trains for London Overground (180 carriages as 45 four-car trains), built by Bombardier in Derby and introduced in 2018 – £260million.
  • Additional electric commuter trains for Great Western Railway (32 carriages, as four-car trains), to be added to an existing fleet of 29 trains introduced elsewhere on the network in 2015. All of these trains will join the GWR fleet in 2016-2017. These are also being built by Bombardier in Derby.
  • New electric trains for South West Trains (150 carriages, as five-car trains), the first of which will be introduced in 2017 – £210million.
  • New carriages for the Caledonian Sleeper franchise (75 carriages), the first of which will be introduced in 2018.
  • New electric commuter trains (80 carriages, formed into 20 electric trains), ordered by rolling stock leasing company Porterbrook and expected to be used by current and future UK train operators, built by Bombardier in Derby and introduced in 2016.

Several more large train orders are also expected in the coming years – with the new Northern, TransPennine, Merseyrail and East Anglia franchises all expected to procure new trains. The new c2c franchise, which began in November 2014, has also committed to 17 new trains (68 carriages) from 2019, while the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise has committed to 25 new trains (150 carriages) for its routes into Moorgate.

Hitachi Rail Europe is building new high speed intercity trains to run on the Great Western and East Coast main lines.  It recently relocated its European headquarters to London, and will directly employ 730 people at its Newton Aycliffe site in County Durham when it begins full production in 2017. It is creating major opportunities for the UK and European supply chain as part of a partnership with government, local authorities and a new workforce which aims to establish a new long term manufacturing facility in the region.

Bombardier Transportation already employs 1,200 staff either directly or indirectly in train production centred on its Derby site, where trains have been built for over 175 years. Over 100 apprentices and around 40 graduates make up its total workforce. Manufacturing the Crossrail order alone is supporting 760 jobs and 80 apprenticeships.


Notes to editors

  • The manufacturing facilities at Derby and Newton Aycliffe include skilled and semi-skilled technical roles for apprentices and graduates, and jobs across engineering, production operations, quality assurance, materials handling, procurement, human resources and finance disciplines, and research and development.
  • With peak and off-peak passenger growth across the whole railway set to continue, it will be necessary to expand Britain’s train fleet to avoid crowding. The total passenger fleet is forecast to grow by anything between 52-99% over the next 30 years.
  • By 2029, the proportion of passenger trains that will be electrically powered is forecast to be 90%. To meet demand, between 13,000 and 19,000 new electric vehicles will be required between now and 2044. Source: Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy for the Rail Industry, Third Edition, February 2015.
  • A recent report by economists Oxera showed that the rail industry and its supply chain employ around 216,000 people and contribute £10.1 billion in added value to the British economy.


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