Busy rail lines across the UK are being targeted for £7.5 billion in improvements — “the single biggest investment in Intercity trains for a generation” — under a programme announced today by Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon.
The preferred bidder for the contract is Agility Trains, a British-led consortium that includes John Laing, Hitachi and Barclays. As part of the programme, Agility will replace the 20- to 3o-year-old high-speed trains that run along the Great Western and East Coast main lines with a new fleet of Super Express trains.
Agility also expects to build a new train manufacturing plant and new depots in Bristol, Reading, Doncaster, Leeds and west London. It will also upgrade existing depots across the UK.
The projects are likely to create or safeguard about 12,500 manufacturing jobs, according to the Department for Transport.
“This announcement demonstrates that this Government is prepared to invest, even in difficult economic times, by improving our national infrastructure,” Hoon said. “It is good news for the British Economy that over 12,500 jobs will be created and safeguarded; good news for the regions that the Government is supporting significant inward investment; and good news for passengers that we are taking the steps necessary to improve their rail journeys.”