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June 16, 2011

Siemens consortium is preferred bidder for 1200 Thameslink cars

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BRITAIN's rail minister Teresa Villiers has announced today that a consortium led by Siemens is the preferred bidder to fund, build and maintain a fleet of 1200 emu cars as part of the £6bn project to upgrade and expand the Thameslink cross-London rail network. The consortium will also fund and build two train depots in the London area at Hornsey and Three Bridges.desiro-city-fcc-1-276.jpg
Siemens is in a consortium with Cross London Trains itself a consortium of finance partners comprising Siemens Project Ventures, Innisfree and 3i Infrastructure.

It is expected to take several months to reach financial closure. However, the first trains should enter service in 2015, with delivery completed by 2018.

The Desiro City trains will be built at Siemens' Krefeld factory in Germany, but Siemens says the deal will result in the creation of 2000 jobs in Britain for the supply of components, the construction of the depots and to maintain the trains. Each set will comprise eight or 12 cars.
 
Siemens began developing the Desiro City in 2007 and has invested Euros 50m in the project. The train is around 25% lighter than the current Desiro UK emu. "We have used inner-frame bogies and we've substantially reduced the amount of ac cabling and associated relays in the traction system," Siemens Desiro City project manager Mr Daragh Lowry told IRJ at Railtex in London today. "This helps to make the train up to 50% more energy efficient than previous British Desiros." The trains also feature an intelligent standby mode to reduce power consumption during stabling, CO2 sensors to regulate air-conditioning, and a driver assitance system for efficient acceleration and braking.
 
Inside, all seats and luggage racks are cantilevered from the bodyside to make cleaning more straightforward, and there are full-width gangways and larger windows for the benefit of standing passengers. Siemens has also eliminated electrical cabinets from the passenger area and widened the passenger doors to reduce station dwell times.

The government says it will retain the other bidder for the deal, the VeloCity consortium led by Bombardier, in reserve in case it fails to finalise the contract with Siemens. Bombardier is currently the only company in Britain with a train manufacturing facility. Its plant in Derby is working at full capacity, but manufacturing on four of its five production lines will be completed by the end of the year, casting doubt over the future viability of the plant.

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