Bombardier wins £1bn contract to build Crossrail fleet

The highly sought-after contract to build and maintain a fleet of trains for London’s Crossrail project has gone to Bombardier.

The Canadian-owned manufacturer will build a fleet of 65 nine-car Class 345 electric multiple units at its Derby Litchurch Lane works, as well as a new maintenance depot at Old Oak Common in west London, in a £1 billion deal that secures the future of the Derby facility. There is an option to build a further 18 trains.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “It is great news for British manufacturing and for Derbyshire, where Bombardier will support 760 new jobs and 80 apprenticeships.”

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Crossrail is a fantastic example of the widespread benefits that sustained investment in transport infrastructure brings.”
The first trains will enter traffic between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield from May 2017.

The peak construction period is expected between 2015-2017, in readiness for the partial opening of the route in 2018. The full route from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east will open the following year.

The contract was announced by the Department for Transport on February 6. The DfT said it estimated that some 74% of the contract spend for constructing the trains will remain within the UK.

Bombardier is obliged to target at least 25% of the value of the contract towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with bidders required to manage the project through a London-based office and to commit to plans to deliver job and training opportunities, including apprenticeships.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that the manufacture of the new fleet of trains would “revolutionise” rail travel in London, delivering jobs and economic growth in Derby and across the UK.

“With a firm on board to deliver a fleet of 21st century trains, and the tunnelling more than halfway complete, we’re on track to deliver a truly world-class railway for the capital,” he said.

Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme said the procurement had been conducted in a “fair, objective and transparent manner” in full compliance with the regulatory framework.

“Crossrail will transform rail services in London and the South East,” he added. “Procurement of the rolling stock and depot is just one more step in delivering this new railway and making it a reality for millions of passengers.”

The awarding of the contract follows months of lobbying from politicians of all parties, as well as trade unions.

Unite National Officer Julia Long said the decision was “a tribute to the skills and dedication of the Derbyshire workforce”.

The deal means that 1,000 jobs will be secured, while a further 100 apprenticeships will be generated across the UK, covering the supply, delivery and maintenance of the trains. Long added that after the “disastrous” handling of the Thameslink contract, the news would come as a relief for the Bombardier workforce.

Bombardier beat rival bids from Hitachi and Spanish manufacturer CAF. It is understood that the lowest bid for building the trains was offered by CAF, with the Bombardier bid said by the Government to have been “at the best price”.

  • This news article was published in RAIL 742 on 19 February 2014

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