German train manufacturer Siemens signed the £1.6bn contract, winning over Bombardier, to produce 1,140 carriages for the Thameslink rail route, it was announced yesterday.
Siemens was originally selected for the job in 2011, but the decision was questioned by many calling for its re-evaluation.
The company promised that the contract would create up to 2,000 jobs in UK’s supply chain. First trains manufactured in the contract’s framework are expected to run on the north-south cross-London Thameslink in 2016 with the full fleet completely operational two years later. By then, 24 trains per hour are set to operate on the route in the capital at peak times.
Siemens said in a press release the contract is the largest ever awarded to the company. It will cover the capital costs of the trains and associated depot infrastructure. In addition, the Siemens-led consortium will also look after the long-term maintenance once the trains are in service.