Five bidders left in race for Merseyrail fleet

The shortlist of bidders that will go through to the next stage of procurement for new Merseyrail trains has been announced.

The five shortlisted bidders are:

Bombardier. With headquarters in Canada and a British base in Derby, they have been a leading provider in the UK market for many years and are currently supplying the new fleet for Crossrail

CAF:  Spanish company active in UK market since its work on the new Heathrow Express fleet. Currently providing new coaches to the Caledonian sleeper service

Mitsui: Major Japanese firm which has teamed up with J-Trec, another Japanese train builder and France’s Alstom. This team’s UK work projects includes the Virgin Pendolinos

Siemens: German engineering giant has provided numerous fleets in UK. Working on new fleet for Thameslink

Stadler: Based in Switzerland, they have provided trams for Croydon Tramlink

The tender documents are due to be released on 22 January with bids due back by the end of April. It is expected that a preferred bidder will be identified towards the end of 2016 and it will be at this point that city region leaders, through the Combined Authority, will be asked to commit to the project going ahead.

A spokesman for Merseytravel, the commissioning body, said: “New trains by the early 2020s are considered the best option in meeting growing demand on the network and in supporting the city region’s economic ambitions, while also presenting the best value for the public purse.

“It follows the development of a detailed business case over many months which looked at all options from refurbished stock to new stock now or in the future.

“The current fleet is approaching 40 years old, is amongst the oldest in the UK and is close to the end of its operational life. While still achieving high levels of performance and customer satisfaction, it is recognised that this will prove increasingly challenging and costly as the existing fleet ages.”

Figures from Merseytravel show demand increasing by 2.5% year on year, with an overall 40% increase in passenger numbers expected by 2028. Some parts of the Merseyrail network are predicted to be way over capacity, 160% filled, by 2043.

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