A fleet of 20 new four-car Class 350 Desiro trains will soon be boosting capacity for London Midland and First TransPennine Express.
Angel Trains will be financing the deal worth a total of £131million. Siemens will supply ten Class 350/3 units to strengthen the existing London Midland fleet and ten Class 350/4’s to First TransPennine Express.
Angel Trains already has 937 Desiro vehicles in the UK and the new order for the two train operators for 80 vehicles, taking Angel Trains’ total fleet to 1,017, means the leasing company now leases vehicles to all of the 19 franchised train operators in the UK.
Says Kevin Tribley, Chief Operating Officer for Angel Trains, ‘Angel Trains has always been supportive of expanding our standard platform Desiro EMU portfolio to increase capacity and the finalisation of these contracts with London Midland and TPE is a significant milestone. We are also delighted to add First TransPennine Express to our list of customers.’
The new trains will start to enter service in winter 2013, with the final batch for London Midland expected to enter service in April 2014. First TransPennine Express will use the 350/4s on services between Manchester and Scotland boosting capacity by 80 per cent on this route.
This new fleet also allows the redeployment of FTPE’s existing trains to increase capacity across FTPE’s other routes, including the busy Manchester to Leeds route where capacity is planned to increase by over a third.
Says Nick Donovan, FTPE’s Managing Director, ‘This is really good news for customers across our network. We know that many of our services are busy and the procurement of an additional 40 carriages will help to provide a much needed increase in seating capacity in response to growing customer demand. I am also really pleased that this project will create about 200 new jobs across the North of England, including drivers, conductors and train maintenance staff.’
FTPE will retain its 51 class 185 and 9 class 170 trains, which will be deployed to offer more seats across the North. Says Patrick Verwer, Managing Director of London Midland, ‘We are very excited at the prospect of introducing higher speed services for our customers. These new trains will create significant extra capacity for our customers travelling into London Euston and the West Midlands.’
Desiros are popular with train operators and public alike. Says Hans-Jörg Grundmann, CEO of the Rail Systems Division at Siemens, ‘Last year, our fleet travelled a total distance of more than 615,000 kilometres within four weeks without a technical fault. That’s nearly as far as a trip to the moon and back. And it’s the new British record for a passenger train.’