Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Things are looking up for the five mile snipers

Posted in Business, Great Britain, Politics, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 19 November 2012

The saga of the procurement of rolling stock for the Thameslink Programme has taken yet another turn now that the DfT has announced it is putting into operation the purchase of up to 216 vehicles, completely separate from the overall rolling stock programme, so that the cascade of the currently operated Class 319 units can begin as scheduled, owing to the fact that the deal with Siemens has still not been completed. The DfT has partnered up with Southern to announce this, as the current Southern franchise is due to be amalgamated with the Thameslink one after 2015. Presumably this means in that case that Southern are taking the lead on the procurement, which could well end up being good news for Bombardier, given that the majority of Southern’s fleet is formed of Class 377s. We’ve already seen the introduction of the 23 Class 377/5s, procured through Southern, used on the Thameslink route. I would imagine that the DfT (who must have some half decent ideas sometimes, surely) would be looking to ensure a degree of uniformity to ensure costs are kept down, which presumably should mean a follow-on order of 377s (or at the very least Electrostars) to form this latest batch, made up of a concrete order of 116 plus options for 100 more. This would then provide an almost like for like replacement fleet, allowing the 319s to move to their planned Thames Valley and North-West destinations. As regards Bombardier, they already have the order for 130 new Class 377 vehicles for Southern, which has now had a further 40 vehicles added to it. Now, an old colleague of mine gave me a piece of sage advice that I usually try to live be – “never assume”. However, given that the Class 378 is a roaring success, and assuming that they fit the loading gauge of the tunnels (which I’d imagine they would), is it a fair assumption that Merseyrail will order something similar when it comes to their fleet replacement? Assuming a like for like replacement that could be 170 vehicles which, combined with the Southern and potential Thameslink orders, would add up to short-medium term security for Derby going into the Crossrail bidding. And frankly, isn’t that what it’s all about?

“DfT acts to ease Thameslink trains logjam”

Southern’s Class 377/6s could be the first in a swathe of mid-sized orders that allows Bombardier a measure of security

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