Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said today an agreement had been reached with train manufacturer Alstom to provide 106 new Pendolino carriages for the West Coast Main Line.
Alstom will now begin production of the high speed tilting trains and carriages which will deliver over 7,420 additional seats on the route. Kelly said this was in addition to the 45% increase in long distance services on the line due in December 2008.
The agreement with Alstom provides for 106 carriages which will create four new eleven-car trains and will also lengthen 31 of the existing trains from 9 to 11-cars. These will be in full service by December 2012. There is also an option to procure a further 42 carriages by early 2013 to meet rising passenger demand.
Kelly said: "Our priority for the railways is increasing capacity and this will provide much needed extra seats on the busiest services from London to Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.
"In addition, the £8.8bn upgrade of the West Coast Mainline will cut journey times and deliver more frequent services."
The shortlist of bidders for the contract for service provider for the Pendolino Lengthening Project was also announced today by the Department for Transport.
The following bidders have been shortlisted:
- Govia Transportation Projects; a partnership of the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis SA
- Virgin Rail Projects; owned by Virgin Rail Group Holdings, which is 51% owned by Virgin Holdings and 49% by Stagecoach Rail Holdings, part of Stagecoach plc.