"Super Express" Trains Set to Debut in England

The Guardian is reporting that British-led consortium Agility Trains—which includes train maker Hitachi, services group John Laing and Barclays—will build and maintain a fleet of new "super express" trains for the Great Western and east coast main lines.

To build and service the new electric and diesel rolling stock, Agility plans to create a new manufacturing plant in the UK and new depots in Bristol, Reading, Doncaster, Leeds and west London.

The new stock will replace the distinctive Intercity 125 diesel and Intercity 225 electric fleets that British Rail bought in the 1970s and 1980s.

The award of the "super express" contract is a blow to German engineering giant Siemens and Canada's Bombardier, which had been battling for the contract against Agility.

Transport secretary Geoff Hoon added, however, that Bombardier is the preferred bidder for 120 new carriages for the Stansted Express service from London Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport. Bombardier has said previously it would build the trains in Derby.

The first of the new "super express" trains will enter service on the east coast mainline in 2013. Trains will enter full service from 2015, linking London with Cambridge, Leeds, Hull, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh and linking London with the Thames Valley, Bristol and South Wales.

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