Rolling stock & Rail Vehicle Design

Siemens weighs up its UK options

Siemens has secured a £1.6 billion contract to supply new passenger rolling stock for London’s Thameslink commuter railway, but at the same time has announced it is pulling out of the tender process to supply rolling stock for the CrossRail project due to production capacity constraints.

The £1.6 billion Thameslink contract is for the supply of 1,140 new commuter rail carriages to replace existingrolling stock on the north-south commuter route that runs through London, connecting Bedford in the north through to Brighton on the south coast.

In addition, Siemens will be responsible for the long-term maintenance of the fleet and overseeing construction of two new train maintenance depots. This is the largest order that Siemens has won in Great Britain and one of the biggest orders for Siemens’ global rolling stockbusiness.

For the Thameslink project Siemens has invested in the development of a new train platform.

According to Siemens the new Desiro City model for suburban, regional and main-line transport will reduce overall energy consumption and track wear by up to 50% compared to predecessor models. The trains are up to 25% lighter than the existing Desiro UK fleet, thanks mainly to car bodies of lightweight aluminum construction and bogies that are approximately one-third lighter in weight.

The trains will be manufactured at the Siemens factory in Krefeld, Germany, and the first trains will enter service in 2016.

The Desiro City Thameslink can be coupled to form 8 and 12-car trains and operated in dual mode (750 V DC or 25 kV AC). They are built for a top speed of 160 km/h or around 100 mph.

Funding for the purchase of the rolling stock will be provided through PPP arrangement with German bank HSH Nordbank AG as Lead Arranger in the financing for the availability-driven PPP project.

Meanwhile, Siemens has also announced that its withdrawing from the tender to provide rolling stockfor the east west London Crossrail project which is currently under construction.

The company says that it feels that with the successful tender for the Thameslink contract and otherrolling stock orders it no longer has the capacity to deliver 600 carriages for the Crossrail link.

“Crossrail is a very large project and, since first undertaking our initial assessment of capacity and deliverability, Siemens has won multiple additional orders,” the company said.

“To pursue another project of this scale could impact our ability to deliver our current customer commitments.”

Siemens is still involved with the Crossrail project having previously won a contract to provide signalling and control systems.
Hitachi, Bombardier and CAF remain in the bidding for the Crossrail rolling stock contract with bids due next month and an announcement on the successful tenderer expected to be announced mid-2014. Both Bombardier and Hitachi would be likely to construct the new trains at facilities in the UK.