Exciting news from the land of camels, dates and revolutions!
Who has won the Rail Visionary of the Year Award in this year's Middle East Rail Awards?
Is it Beau Bowker, Terry Worrell or some other hairy handed son of toil?
So a big hand to His Highness Sheikh, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Good effort your Highness!
No doubt your phone is currently ringing out with calls, hopefully offering congratulations.
But if it all goes terribly wrong Eye looks forward to welcoming NR's first HRH the Route Managing Director...
Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Exciting news from the land of camels, dates and revolutions!
In the spirit of the new internationalism, where Hitachi is apparently heading a 'British Led Consortium'...
It's time for an exciting new Eye survey!
Use your skill, judgment or Stuart Baker inspired insights to answer the following question:
"Is IEP the best HST replacement?"
Cast your vote using our leading edge technology based interactive... errr... widget opposite.
Remember: Vote early, Vote often!
This from Hitachi on 12th February 2009...
London, February 12, 2009 --- The British-led Agility Trains consortium, comprising Barclays Private Equity, Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT / TSE: 6501, "Hitachi") and John Laing, was today announced as the preferred bidder for the UK Department for Transport's Intercity Express Programme.
The programme represents a substantial investment in the UK Railway Industry, and Agility Trains is committed to spending 70% of the contract value in the UK. Agility Trains is delighted to confirm that Hitachi and John Laing expect this programme to deliver 2,500 skilled engineering jobs in the UK, in train manufacturing, construction and maintenance. Specifically, the consortium is in active discussions with 20 carefully selected high-quality UK suppliers, which will have a knock-on effect of safeguarding jobs in the UK. In addition this long-term programme will help secure up to 12,500 direct and indirect jobs in the local supply and services industry and local supporting communities.
Compare the above with this from Hitachi today...
LONDON, UK, March 1, 2011 — Agility Trains Ltd. today announced that it is delighted by the Department for Transport's decision to proceed with the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) with Agility Trains, subject to financial close. Under the IEP Agility Trains will deliver train services to Train Operating Companies at a fixed price for approximately 30 years using the IEP family of trains.
In addition, Hitachi is pleased to announce that Newton Aycliffe in Co. Durham is the preferred site for its planned European rolling stock manufacturing and assembly centre (subject to finalising commercial agreements). This investment will generate at least 500 new jobs, and major opportunities for the UK and European supply chain. The company looks forward to working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, local authorities and a new workforce to create a world-class manufacturing facility.
Just fancy that!
UPDATE: This from The Archer...
Having just compared and contrasted the above I think I've got to the bottom of the difference in job numbers:
The February 2009 release talked of 2,500 skilled engineering jobs in the UK, in train manufacturing, construction and maintenance not to mention 12,500 knock-on jobs.
The March 2011 release talks of 500 new jobs, but no mention of where those jobs are or why they are not skilled engineering jobs.
Now, as any SoS know, 2,500 minus 500 = 2,000.
So are the 500 new jobs simply to build the Newton Aycliffe facility, which will then take delivery of the trains, after 2,000 skilled Japanese engineering workers complete them in Kasado?
Intercity Express and Rail Electrification
Statement by:The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
Date delivered:01 March 2011 Statement type:Oral
With permission, Mr Speaker, I wish to make a statement on the Government's plans for extension of the electrification of the Great Western Main Line and for the procurement of a replacement for the existing diesel intercity trains. These two issues are closely connected.
I turn first to the provision of a new generation of intercity 125 mile per hour trains to take advantage of the electrification of the Great Western Main Line and to allow the phasing out of most of the ageing diesel "Intercity 125s".
In February 2009 the Intercity Express Programme, launched by the previous Government, identified Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi Rail (Europe) Ltd and John Laing Plc, as the preferred bidder to provide a new fleet of intercity trains. Subsequently, the previous Government placed this process on hold and ordered a review of the procurement by Sir Andrew Foster.
Last summer, recognising the fiscal challenges the UK faces and also recognising the impact of the new Government’s plans for high speed rail to Leeds and Manchester, Agility put forward an improved, lower cost, proposal, which provides the required service through a mixed IEP fleet: some all electric trains; and some with a combination of electric and diesel power, allowing them to operate through services beyond the electrified railway. This proposal retained the more modern electric Intercity 225s on the East Coast Main Line, as the previous administration had proposed.
We have reviewed this proposal against the alternative of an all-electric fleet, with purpose built diesel locomotives being coupled to trains to haul them beyond the electrified railway.
Either way, this would represent a multi-billion pound investment for this country underpinning the operation of intercity services on the conventional railway for many years to come, and it is imperative that the right choice is made.
As I said at the time of my statement to the House on 25 November, there were complex legal, technical and commercial issues to be addressed. Both the Government and Agility Trains as preferred bidder recognised this.
Over the last few months we have worked together on these issues and I can now announce that I am resuming the IEP procurement and proceeding with the proposal that Agility Trains have put forward as preferred bidder.
We will now work with Agility Trains with a view to reaching financial close by the end of this year. 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 United Kingdom’s EU obligations.
This deal will allow us to provide better, faster, more comfortable services and to continue providing through-journeys between London and parts of the rail network which are not electrified.
In total, there will be over 11,000 more peak time seats each day on the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line post IEP, compared to today.
Hitachi is today confirming its plans to locate its European train manufacturing and assembly centre at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham. This investment is expected to create at least five hundred direct permanent jobs as well as hundreds of temporary construction jobs. Thousands more job opportunities will be created in the UK manufacturing and service supply chains.
Coming just days after the news of the re-opening of the Redcar Steel Works, this is a massive – and very welcome – shot in the arm for the skilled work forces of the North East’s industrial heartland.
I turn now to the related issue of electrification of the Great Western Main Line. I announced to the House on 25 November that, over the next six years, Network Rail will electrify the commuter services on the Great Western Main Line from London to Didcot, Oxford and Newbury. I recognise that this announcement, although welcomed in the Thames Valley, left unanswered the clear aspirations of rail users further west for the extension of electrification to Bristol and into Wales. I and my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Wales have subsequently considered the options for extending electrification, alongside the Government’s consideration of the proposals for replacement of the current diesel Intercity trains, and in close consultation with the Welsh Assembly Government.
We have concluded that there is a case for extending electrification westwards to Bristol and Cardiff and I am today asking Network Rail to add this major extension to their electrification programme immediately.
This is good news for Wales and the South West – against a backdrop of public spending constraint as we deal with the legacy of debt we have inherited. Bringing electrification to Cardiff will mean that we are linking, for the first time, the capital cities of England, Scotland and Wales by electrified rail.
These measures will deliver a London to Cardiff journey time of an hour and 42 minutes and will shave 22 minutes off the London to Bristol journey.
I have received representations calling for electrification of the Great Western Main Line to be extended as far west as Swansea and we have looked carefully at the arguments. The business case for electrification is heavily dependant on the frequency of service. Services between London and Swansea currently operate at a frequency of only one train an hour off-peak. There is no evidence of a pattern of demand that would be likely to lead imminently to an increase in this frequency. Consequently, I regret to say that there is not, at present a viable business case for electrification of the mainline between Cardiff and Swansea.
But, because of the decision to proceed with Agility’s proposal for a bi-mode train, journey times from London to Swansea will be shortened to two hours and 39 minutes – 20 minutes faster than today - with trains switching automatically to diesel power as they leave Cardiff. Because the constraining factor on the South Wales Main Line is speed limitations dictated by the geometry of the line, there would be no time saving benefits from electrifying the line from Cardiff to Swansea.
However, the policy of the Government is to support a progressive electrification of the rail network in England and Wales, for environmental, among other reasons. My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Wales, and I will therefore keep under active review the business case for future electrification of the Great Western Main Line between Cardiff and Swansea in the light of developing future service patterns.
I have a further announcement to make to the House. In the course of the examination of the case for electrification in South Wales that I and my Rt Hon Friend have undertaken, we have established, at an initial high level, that a good case appears to exist for electrifying the key valley commuter lines north of Cardiff via Pontypridd and Caerphilly to Treherbert, Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil, Coryton and Rhymney, as well as the lines to Penarth and Barry Island to the west. My Department will therefore work with the Welsh Assembly Government to develop a full business case for the electrification of the Cardiff Valley lines within the next rail investment control period beginning in 2014. The Welsh Assembly Government will need, in parallel, to consider the case for specifying suitable electric trains for these routes when the Wales and Borders franchise is re-let in 2018. This would, of course, be a prerequisite for electrification to proceed, and the timetable for franchise re-letting, and re-specification, necessarily dictates the timescale of this proposed electrification.
On the basis of our preliminary evaluation, the Valleys electrification represents the best value for money rail electrification investment that can be made in Wales. It promises to bring all the benefits of electric commuter trains - faster acceleration, greater comfort and cleaner, greener travel, as well as greater reliability - to rail users in South Wales. It would have a significant effect on the economy of Cardiff and the Valleys – deepening labour markets, improving connectivity and significantly enhancing the attractiveness of the area to investors.
Coupled with the electrification of the Great Western Main Line, this represents a major boost to the economy of South Wales as a whole.
These three decisions, on Intercity Express, Great Western Main Line electrification and to build a business case for electrification of the Valley commuter lines, represent a major further investment in UK rail infrastructure – following the announcements I have already made on Crossrail, Thameslink, Tube upgrades, Thames Valley and North Western electrification and additional rolling stock.
They sit alongside the Government’s proposals for High Speed Rail, the consultation on which I announced to the House in a written statement yesterday, as testimony to this Government’s commitment to investment in the future of Britain’s railways.
They represent excellent news for passengers on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line, for commuters on the Cardiff Valley lines, and for the economies of South Wales and North East England as a whole.
I commend this statement to the House.
Agility Trains Confirm Intercity Express Programme Contract
Since the Preferred Bidder announcement on 12 February 2009, Agility Trains has worked very hard to improve value for money in response to the
The Intercity Express Programme includes delivery and maintenance of a family of new state of the art Super Express trains which will constitute a step change in capacity, improved reliability and reduced environmental impact on every train journey. All of this will lead to a significant improvement in passenger experience and cost savings to the
Agility Trains is now looking forward to finalising the commercial details and engaging with its lending banks to reach financial close on the project by the end of the year.
Notes to Editors:
· Agility Trains is a consortium comprising Hitachi Limited and John Laing Projects and Development Limited, which was formed for the sole purpose of delivering the DfT's Intercity Express Programme ("IEP").
· Agility Trains was announced as Preferred Bidder in February 2009 and, after finding solutions to the financial liquidity crisis, were close to reaching commercial close in February 2010 when the then Secretary of State (Lord Andrew Adonis) appointed Sir Andrew Foster to perform an independent review to ensure IEP was the right option for the UK Government. Since that date, the negotiations have been on hold, but the Hitachi bid remained valid.
· Since Preferred Bidder, Agility Trains has maintained technical compliance and significantly improved value for money in the delivery of the IEP train provision services.
· The IEP family of trains meet technical requirements which are more advanced than any other high speed train in the UK as follows:
- they are required to be extremely reliable;
- the dual powered IEP train will operate on the whole UK network which ensures:
- maximum flexibility of deployment;
- ability to use diversionary routes; an
- andd ability to run under the wires in times of severe weather conditions or electricity outages improving the robustness of the UK high speed rail network;
- significantly lighter weight per metre and seat and greater energy efficiency,
Exciting news from the Lobby...
According to the Downing Street spokesman Petrol-head will be making an announcement on electrification today.
Eye wonders what that could be about, what with it being St David's day and all...
UPDATE: This courtesy of Dodds...
At approximately 4:15pm, the transport secretary, Philip Hammond will make a statement on the Intercity Express programme and rail electrification. [the statement will be repeated in the House of Lords].
UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...
I'm texting this from Wheeler's, which is a bit infra dig, and has earned me a supercilious sneer from the sommelier who has just poured a perfectly chilled pouilly fuisse to accompany... (get on with it! Ed)
My DfT mandarin guest has just remarked cryptically that at the SoS' four o'clock follies this afternoon we may learn that the IEP situation has developed 'not necessarily to Japan's advantage'.
UPDATE: This from Sir Mycroft Beeching...
I suspect that my younger brother texted his note after his third bottle of pouilly fuisse!
I have it on the highest authority that in Tokyo bottles of saki are being gently warmed at this very moment.
Truly a triumph of non-compliant bidding!
UPDATE: This from Marsham Street Watcher
Look forward to electrification to Cardiff - Hurrah!
And the IEP going ahead in both electric and bi-mode forms - Boo!
This from Lord Nelson of Stafford...
I am delighted to learn from my former apprentice @Captain_Deltic that an outstanding application of my company's products is now tweeting as @Gordon_3417.
English Electric - bringing you better tweets.
David Higgins is appearing in front of the Transport Select Committee at 10:35 this morning.
For those not invited to the numerous events where Huggable Higgins is being unveiled to the industry this should be a good opportunity to better understand the thinking of Network Rail's new CEO.
If Mrs Interweb does her magic you can view the session live here.