Bombardier and CAF for West Midlands fleets

A TOTAL of 107 new trains for the next West Midlands franchise are to be supplied by Bombardier and CAF. The new franchise, won by a consortium of Abellio, JR East and Mitsui, will begin in December.

Bombardier is to supply two EMU fleets based on its Aventra platform. 36x3-car 90mph metro-style EMUs will be introduced on the Birmingham CrossCity line, replacing the current Class 323 EMUs, while 45x5-car 110mph units will be introduced on outer suburban and long-distance services on the West Coast main line. Both fleets will be built at the company’s Derby factory.

A separate order for 80 diesel carriages will see CAF build 12x2-car and 14x4-car DMUs for the Birmingham Snow Hill lines and Birmingham to Shrewsbury line. CAF is building a new factory at Newport in south Wales, which is due to open in autumn 2018, although it has not been confirmed if the West Midlands fleet will be built there.

New stock: artist’s impressions of Bombardier Aventra

The financing of the £680 million investment, comprising 413 carriages, is being led by Infracapital and Deutsche Asset Management. The Abellio consortium says the new trains will provide space for an extra 85,000 passengers on rush hour services into Birmingham and London and will offer air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and power sockets as standard.

Meanwhile, Abellio has confirmed it will also be introducing the eight two-car Class 172 DMUs released by London Overground on completion of the Gospel Oak to Barking electrification next year; it is expected these will be deployed on the Nuneaton – Coventry – Leamington corridor. The new franchise will also introduce the 10 Class 350/4 EMUs displaced from TransPennine Express when that operator introduces new CAF Class 397 EMUs in 2019.

Abellio has not confirmed which fleets are being released but says overall there will be 25% more carriages available at the end of the franchise, of which around 58% will be new.