UK: More Seats and Reduced Journey Times for London Waterloo
Much needed extra seats for suburban rail services into London Waterloo moved a step closer today as new South Western franchise operators FirstGroup and MTR signed an order for 90 new trains (750 new carriages, in five and 10 car formations).
New AVENTRA Trains
The £895m fleet of AVENTRA trains, providing a 46% increase in peak capacity on the suburban routes into Waterloo, will be manufactured by Bombardier Transportation in Derby. The new trains will enhance the travelling experience for customers with free reliable Wi-Fi, at-seat charging points, real time information screens, air-conditioning, wide gangways and wide doors to improve ease of boarding and alighting. The new trains will start to come into service from mid-2019 and will all be in place by December 2020.
The new trains will operate on the Windsor, Reading and West London suburban routes. The fleet will be maintained at Wimbledon depot, with South Western franchise employees undertaking the maintenance, supported by Bombardier employees who will supply technical advice and spares.
South Western Rail Network
FirstGroup and MTR included the plans for these new trains as part of their winning bid for the South Western rail network, with the new franchise due to start on 20 August this year. They will be capable of 100mph, be highly energy-efficient and will contribute to reduced journey times.
Funding for the trains has been led by sponsor Rock Rail and partners SL Capital (part of Standard Life Investments) and GLIL Infrastructure LLP, who all provided the equity investment. The senior debt is provided by a consortium of UK, European and North American institutional investors. The trains will be leased to the new South Western rail franchise.
Steve Montgomery, Managing Director, First Rail, said:
“We have exciting plans for the South Western rail franchise and these new trains are an important step on the way to delivering an improved journey experience for our passengers. We know from listening to passengers and stakeholders that alongside improved performance, what they want to see is additional seats and we will deliver this via these state-of-the-art trains.”
Jeremy Long, CEO, European Business at MTR, said:
“We look forward to working together with FirstGroup to introduce this new fleet of trains.”
Original article © FirstGroup plc.
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