Siemens logo seen through bare branches

Siemens wins UK railways contract

Siemens has won a $230-million contract to supply electric trains to London Midland and the First TransPennie Express networks.

The deal will see Siemens supply 20 Desiro UK trains to Go-Ahead Group's London Midland and First Group's TransPennine Express regional route franchises. The trains, which will be delivered in 2013 and 2014, will be maintained at Siemens's depot in Manchester, north England, the company said.

Last year a Siemens-led consortium won a $2.2 billion contract to build and maintain 1,200 carriages for the Thameslink cross-London railway. As a result, Canada's Bombardier, which lost out on the contract, said it would cut more than 1,400 jobs at its plant in Derby, central England, triggering union outrage.

Go-Ahead, which will receive 10 new trains in mid-2014, said the new units would go towards coping with continuing passenger growth on services into and out of London and Birmingham.

"Through the Department for Transport's funding, seven of the new trains are earmarked for London commuter services providing 4,474 extra seats each weekday," Go-Ahead said.

First TransPennine Express plans to modernise its fleet linking Manchester Airport to the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The move is part of wider plans by the government to introduce 2,700 new carriages onto Britain's rail network by 2019. Around 12,000 seats will be added to trains travelling into cities in the north of England and Scotland.

Siemens said a decisive factor in landing the London Midland contract was the reliability of Britain's current Desiro fleet. "Last year, our fleet travelled a total distance of more than 615,000 kilometres within four weeks without a technical fault," said Hans-Jörg Grundmann, the chief executive of Siemens' rail systems division. "That's nearly as far as a trip to the moon and back. It's the new British record for a passenger train."

Siemens is also one of four short-listed bidders for the contract to supply trains for the £1 billion London Crossrail project. Bombardier, Hitachi of Japan and CAF of Spain are also competing for the contract.

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