HeadlineNews Britain’s largest-ever rolling stock or de
Anger in Derby as Government shuns UK plant in £7.5bn Inter City Express train contract
A glimpse of the future. How the electric version of the ‘Super Express’ will look. HITACHI
JAPANESE conglomerate Hitachi has been selected by the Department for Transport to build the next generation of high-speed trains for the UK. It is the most valuable single rolling stock order ever placed for the British railway network. The Agility Trains consortium, which comprises Hitachi, Barclays Private Equity and John Laing, has been given preferred bidder status for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), narrowly beating the rival Express Rail Alliance (ERA), which was headed by Bombardier and Siemens, together with Angel Trains and Babcock & Brown. The DfT’s decision to select a Japanese manufacturer rather than Bombardier – which owns Britain’s lastsurviving large trainbuilding plant at Derby – was condemned as “disgraceful” in the Midlands city, where an angry workforce threatened to stage protests. It is known that the main part of the construction contract – the manufacturing of an approximate 1,400 bodies and 2,800 bogies – is to be undertaken in Japan, yet it is claimed that as much as 70 per cent of the contract value will be spent in Britain and that “some 12,500 jobs will be created or safeguarded”. Industry insiders say in reality the proportion of UK-based ones is likely to be small, and that much of the work will centre around the 20-year maintenance contract. Hitachi will build a small assembly
plant in the UK but admits that it will employ only between 200 and 500 staff. It also says there will be a knockon effect safeguarding jobs in the supply chain, but no figures have been given to substantiate it. Said Bob Laxton, Labour MP for Derby North: “This is a crass decision which gives the Japanese an opportunity of getting into the UK market. I don’t believe for one moment the figure of 12,500 jobs, because work will be brought from overseas.” Both bids were very close but Hitachi’s decision to form a team with Laing and Barclays last June, having already been shortlisted in its own right, enabled the Government to say it was choosing “a British-led consortium” and therefore clinched the deal. Agility’s name for the IEP is ‘Super Express Train’ (SET) and the electric versions of the new trains will replace the Class 91/Mk 4 and HST fleets on the ECML, and (almost certainly) the HSTs on the Great Western main lines. The hybrid versions are likely to be employed on NXEC’s Aberdeen, Inverness, Harrogate and Lincoln routes, and also on Great Western routes in the far south-west, which are not expected to be electrified in the first phase of the expected GW wiring. Following delivery of a pre-series build for testing and crew-training purposes, the first production trains are expected to enter East Coast service in late 2013, replacing diesel HSTs. Production will then switch to the
How first class will appear inside SET. A Japanese feel in standard class.
GW Main Line and when all those HSTs have been replaced, attention will turn back to the ECML and replacement of the electric IC225s by 2015, providing a million extra seats per year. The new trains will also operate a King’s CrossCambridge service. Finally, a fleet of half-length SETs will be built for EustonNorthampton commuter duties. Three possible British sites for a new train manufacturing plant have been unveiled: These are at Ashby-de-laZouch, Leicestershire (which is only 12 miles from Bombardier’s plant at Derby!) Sheffield and Gateshead. The plant would initially employ up to 200 staff, which would extend to 500 assembling 30 vehicles a month. Establishment of the facility means that
Hitachi is looking to future British orders and could also have its eyes on refurbishment activities. Confirmed Alistair Dormer, general manager of Hitachi Europe: “Our commitment in the UK is for the long term. Through this manufacturing programme and involvement in other rapid commuter, high-speed passenger and rail infrastructure projects, we aim to deliver quality and reliability which will benefit our UK customers and provide a basis for business in continental Europe.” To maintain the trains, new depots will be established at Bristol, Reading, Doncaster, Leeds and west London (the latter probably in the former Eurostar depot at North Pole). Other servicing
HS2 close to reality as NR chief engineer takes over New Corby station op
NETWORK Rail’s chief engineer, Professor Andrew McNaughton, is to head the new High Speed Two company (whose formation was revealed in last month’s issue). The company has a mandate to investigate costs for HS2 by the end of the year. The line would be built in sections – London to Heathrow then Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland – and shot up the political agenda in February when Prime Minister Gordon Brown went public with the words: “One way to stimulate the economy in the North and South, to tackle pollution and diminish the demand for increased airport capacity, would be to invest in a national high-speed rail link. We are prepared to make a commitment to that project.”
McNaughton will be seconded to the new company for 12 months and will lead NR’s contribution to the DfT project. Other NR staff will join him later. He will help specify infrastructure and train design, operation, maintenance – and route, which is now expected to run parallel either to the Chiltern railway or the M40 motorway for part of the way. ■ MAGLEV RULED OUT: Transport Minister Lord Adonis has virtually ruled out the chances of a Maglevbased high-speed line in Britain. Asked whether HS2 – or another British high-speed line – might be built to carry magnetic levitation trains, he said high cost would militate against it, as would the fact that it couldn’t be integrated into the rest of the network.
6 • The Railway Magazine • April 2009 Have you got a story for us? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 020 3148 8521
or der goes to Hitachi
facilities along the routes will be upgraded. It is notable that no all-new depot is planned at the Scottish end of the ECML, especially given the close proximity of those planned for Doncaster and Leeds. The total number of SET vehicles to be built is expected to be 1,400, although this is dependent on how the economic situation unfolds over the ensuing months. DfT Rail has not yet confirmed the exact figure but the original specification outlined between 500 and 2,000 vehicles. In the Midlands, where feelings were running high, the Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum said it planned to lobby Ministers. Spokesman Peter Roberts commented: “We understand it’s not a
done deal at this stage and that the contract has not yet been signed, so we will campaign tirelessly to save British jobs. He warned that “a number of supply firms in the East Midlands may not exist in a few months time if the contract isn’t given to Bombardier. Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, said: “If the basic manufacture is undertaken outside Britain, today’s announcement will have been a triumph of spin over substance.” Just in case Agility cannot agree final terms, the DfT has asked Express Rail Alliance to maintain reserve bidder status. Bombardier has also been handed a consolation prize – the 120vehicle order for new Stansted Express EMUs (Full story next month).
on opens for business
ELECTRICS, DIESELS AND HYBRIDS
THE plan is for Agility Trains to build five- and ten-car formations of electric, diesel and hybrid variants of its ‘Super Express’ train design, the exact number of each being dependent on an expected announcement by the DfT later this year that the Great Western Main Line is to be electrified. All three types will feature ‘distributed power’, with half the coaches in each ten-vehicle rake being fitted with traction motors. The electric version will feature a pantograph-fitted driving car at each end and the bi-modal hybrid version – which will be a first for the UK – will feature an electric at one end and a diesel generator driving car at the other. The latter will be backed up by powerful batteries and has been developed by Hitachi following trials with the battery-electric ex-HST power car No. 43089 Hayabusa, which was tested on the Great Central Railway earlier this decade. It has not yet been decided which engine unit the diesel and hybrid versions will be powered by. This is likely to be decided by a competition between manufacturers nearer the time, with MTU expected to be one of the frontrunners. A 3MW (approx 4,000hp) 20-cylinder power unit is likely to be required to enable electric schedules to be maintained on non-wired routes. In fact, it has not been decided yet whether to go ahead with the order for an all-diesel version at all, for such trains could be rendered largely redundant if the GWML wiring does indeed go ahead. The electric and bi-mode versions would, between them,
then be able to handle all permutations of service, even running as far as Penzance, Swansea and Aberdeen (at reduced speed). The electric sets will include regenerative braking, a system in which electricity is recycled back through the overhead wires when the brakes are applied. The allelectrics could also contain a small diesel motor for moving around yards when ‘off the juice’. The top speed of all the trains in the fleet will be a rather disappointing 125mph, but use of modern materials will make them lighter and permit faster acceleration, leading to reduced journey times: London-Edinburgh will be 15 mins less, Bristol 10 mins and Cardiff 15 mins. A DfT Rail requirement for each ten-car train to weigh only 362 tonnes has been missed by some margin, with each rake expected to weigh 412 tonnes, although half the coaches in an SET set will contain powered axles – a major contributory factor in the higher than expected weight total. The carriages are expected to be a stretched, inter-city version of Hitachi’s Class 395 ‘Javelin’ coaches and, at 26 metres, be longer than traditional British coaches with a greater capacity The total train length will be 260m, compared with 247m for an ‘InterCity 225’ set, giving 649 seats compared with a 225’s 536. It has not yet been decided what will happen to the existing IC225s, but they are not expected to become life-expired until 2020 (or even 2030 if refurbished), so, if the Midland Main Line were also to be wired to Leeds, they could enjoy a new life on that route.
Chinese could build a plant too
A CHINESE trainbuilder could set up a UK assembly and testing plant if it wins a major order for new DMUs. The company, Chinese Sourced Railway Equipment (CSR Nanjing Puzhen) says it is looking at South Wales as a primary location for a small facility if it wins the £300m order for 200 new multiple unit carriages for Northern Rail and FGW Thames Valley services. CSR is in competition with several other companies for the order, including Derby-based Bombardier, and Spanish manufacturer CAF. Korea’s Hyundai Rotem is thought to
have withdrawn from the bidding. The decision by the DfT to award preferred bidder status for a £7.5bn contract for the new IEP trains to Hitachi (see main story) will hearten the chances of the Chinese, although there is now growing support for new trains to be built in the UK to protect British jobs. CSR confirmed it had held discussions with several development agencies about establishing an assembly and commissioning plant in the UK but a spokesman said no decisions had been made and a plant was dependent on winning an order.
CORBY is back on the rail map and with a swish new image. The Northamptonshire town’s all-new station opened on February 23 and provides dedicated services to London St Pancras, operated by East Midlands Trains. Left: EMT ‘Meridian’ unit No. 222001 stands in the platform on the first day of operation. RICHARD GENNIS
2005-08 – a magnificent period for rail safety
ONLY one passenger has died in a British main line train in the last four years – and in 2008, there wasn’t even a train crew fatality. Those remarkable statistics (the 2008 one is unprecedented) have been released by the Rail Safety Standards Board and represent the positive side of the many health & safety measures that have been implemented on the railway in recent years.
Even from other causes, only five people died on railway property last year – also an unprecedentedly low figure. Of those, two fell from platforms, two were hit on level crossings and one fell down an escalator. There were just three workforce fatalities away from trains. The one passenger fatality in the last four years was the lady who died in the Lambrigg derailment in 2007.
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