Five train-builders shortlisted by Southeastern

Southeastern has shortlisted five train builders as it begins planning a new or upgraded fleet for its Metro services. They are currently operated by Class 465 Networkers built between 1991 and 1994 for British Rail.

The named suppliers are Alstom, CAF, Hitachi, Siemens and Stadler. Both Alstom at Derby and Hitachi in County Durham have been on the danger list in recent months, because of a shortage of new orders.

Rail minister Huw Merriman wrote to the industry at the end of January, in which he set out potential rolling stock upgrades at several operators, including Southeastern, Northern and TransPennine Express, all of which are nationalised.

Most contracts were not expected until 2025, but Southeastern was mentioned as a front runner, with a contract possibly awarded in December this year.

Southeastern’s Class 465s provide Metro services which link several London termini with south-east London and parts of Kent, including Dartford, Sevenoaks, Grove Park and Gillingham.

There are said to be several options, including new trains, cascades or refurbishing the current fleet.

Various improvements include making trains more accessible, providing brighter and more spacious interiors, air conditioning, improved information, greater reliability and the introduction of batteries to provide emergency traction and also for possible use within depots.

Huw Merriman said: ‘This is great news for the rail manufacturing industry and forms part of an estimated £3.6 billion to support the sector in the coming years.

‘This Government continues to back rail manufacturers and today’s announcement demonstrates the UK market is a strong one, supporting high skilled jobs and boosting the economy right across the country.’

Southeastern added that it is ‘too early’ to confirm specific designs or principles.

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