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Hitachi sidesteps questions about IEP’s detailed costs

Hitachi’s Intercity Express programme (IEP) has made an impressive debut, but the Class 800 continues to be dogged by unanswered questions and evasive answers about detailed costs that could yet come to overshadow and define the project.

Journalists from RAIL and the BBC (highly experienced transport correspondent Paul Clifton) each attempted in vain to elicit detailed information on specific IEP costs. Clifton asked if IEP was the most expensive British train ever, but his enquiries were brushed aside at Kasado by Hitachi Rail Europe Chief Executive Keith Jordan.

“Look - we aren’t just building trains, we are providing an entire service to the British rail passenger and British public,” Jordan replied.

“I know a lot of people in the UK just can’t seem to grasp that - but that’s what’s happening.

“The project includes, as well as the trains, 271⁄2 years maintenance from a network of specific depots which we are also constructing, largely from scratch or converting. Those costs are all included.”

In answer to further detailed questions by RAIL about more specific cost breakdowns, Jordan replied: “Sorry - you’ll have to talk to Agility Trains and the DfT.”

Pressed further on costs by Clifton, Jordan said that the price in these terms, and including all these elements, was “in a broad range between £2 million and £3m per carriage”.

When IEP was officially signed off in summer 2012 (RAIL 702), the DfT told RAIL that each electric vehicle would cost £2.43m and each bi-mode vehicle would cost £2.93m.

IEP was initially agreed in February 2009 (RAIL 612) with Agility Trains announced as the preferred bidder. At that time, the Department for Transport said that East Coast would receive up to 560 vehicles, with the Great Western Main Line receiving up to 700 vehicles. It said Agility Trains would own the trains, and receive payments from Train Operating Companies (RAIL 612).

The deal for the trains was finally signed in July 2012. At the time, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said that the DfT’s procurement had been contentious and called for train operators to have a bigger role in train procurement.

  • This news story was published in RAIL 762 on 26 November 2014

Hitachi's first IEP train Gallery

Click a thumbnail to view all the images in the gallery.



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