In its first British order for main line rolling stock, Stadler will supply 58 Flirt UK trains in regional and inter-city variants. The order comprises 10 12-car EMUs for London - Norwich services; 10 12-car EMUs for Stansted Express airport services, 24 four-car bi-mode (diesel and electric) trains for regional services; and 14 three-car bi-mode trains for regional services. Both the inter-city and regional fleets will enter service from 2019 onwards.

Under the contract for the new East Anglia franchise, which was awarded by the Department for Transport in August, Abellio will replace the entire legacy fleet with 1073 new vehicles by 2021, expanding the fleet by 10%.

Last month Abellio concluded a contract with Bombardier for 665 Aventra EMU cars, which will be used on West Anglia and Great Eastern services from 2020.

Funding of the Stadler order was led by Rock Rail and SL Capital Partners with co-investment equity coming from Greater Manchester and London Pension Fund authorities. Debt was arranged by DC Advisory from Aviva, the European Investment Bank, Sun Life, Barings Asset Management (formerly Babson Capital), Legal & General and Standard Life Investments.

The European Investment Bank is providing a €60m loan for the procurement, which is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). This is the first EFSI transport loan in Britain.