February 12, 2009 / 8:14 AM / 11 years ago

Government chooses Hitachi for trains deal

LONDON (Reuters) - The government has chosen Japanese train maker Hitachi, banking group Barclays and project management group John Laing to supply a fleet of intercity trains for 7.5 billion pounds, the government said on Thursday.

A man passes a logo of Japan's Hitachi at the company's reception in Tokyo, February 2, 2009. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it had selected the Agility Trains consortium as preferred bidder to build and maintain the new “super-express” trains for the Great Western and East Coast main lines.

The new rolling stock will replace an existing electric fleet and diesel High Speed Trains, which are now 20-30 years old, the DfT said in a statement.

The DfT said Agility would also build a new train factory in the UK, new depots in Bristol, Reading, Doncaster, Leeds and west London, and would modernise existing depots.

The government said the investment would create or protect about 12,500 manufacturing jobs.

The first of the new trains will begin running on the East Coast line between London and Edinburgh in 2013.

Trains will enter full service from 2015, on the East Coast and the Great Western line from the capital to south west England and South Wales.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said: “This announcement demonstrates this government is prepared to invest, even in difficult economic times, by improving our national infrastructure.”

The news is likely to come as a blow to a rival consortium bidding for the contract, which included Canada’s Bombardier Inc and Germany’s Siemens, as well as leasing firm Angel Trains and Australian investment group Babcock & Brown.

However, there was a consolation for Bombardier in the announcement, with ministers saying the firm was preferred bidder to build 120 new carriages in the UK for the Stansted Express airport service, which runs between London and Stansted Airport to the northeast of the city.

The government said it was in advanced talks about the trains with Stansted Express operator National Express Group.

Editing by Sharon Lindores

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