Rail replacement scheme postponed by government
Intercity replacement procurement nears conclusion
DfT to review train carriage procurement after costs soar
MPs lambast Super Express train procurement
Three firms on track for high-speed train deal
4 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark
The UK government is set to press ahead with a multi-billion
pound train procurement programme following delays last year.
Transport secretary Philip Hammond gave the go-ahead for the
£4.5 billion Intercity Express Programme (IEP) together with £704 million plans
to electrify the Great Western Main Line between Cardiff, Bristol and Didcot.
The government said it would resume the IEP procurement with
Agility Trains, a consortium including Hitachi and John Laing, in order to replace
the UK's ageing intercity high-speed fleet.
Last summer the government delayed the procurement programme
until it had completed its October spending review. The decision followed a
report by Sir Andrew Foster, former head of the Audit Commission, which found
that the programme was within the government’s value threshold, but said that
other possible options had not been fully assessed. The need for commercial
confidentiality had resulted in insufficient communication between the
Department for Transport and
key stakeholders, he said.
Announcing the green light for the contract this week,
Hammond said: “While this is, of course, subject to the government continuing
to be satisfied that the proposal offers value for money as the commercial
negotiations are concluded and that the final arrangements are compliant with
the UK’s EU obligations, I expect that the first of the new trains will be in
service by 2016.”
Hitachi is set to build a new factory in County Durham that
is expected to be operational by 2013.