Please see our current press release section for news releases issued within the last 3 months.
Select the year and then the month below to view the archived press releases:
New 100mph Train Fleet for TransPennine
Thursday 21 August 2003
FirstGroup and Keolis today named Siemens as preferred bidder for a £250 million fleet of new trains for the Trans Pennine Express rail franchise.
The deal is for up to 168 coaches in 56 three-car diesel trainsets which are expected to be in service two years after First and Keolis take over the franchise in the New Year.
The new fleet, part of the family of Desiro-class trains which currently run in the UK and mainland Europe, will be specially designed for service in the Pennines with high power, good reliability and excellent acceleration to boost performance on the hilly routes.
This combination of factors will help to reduce journey times by up to 10 minutes.
"We want to hit the ground running and are making this announcement just days after we were selected as preferred bidders to run the franchise,' said First Chief Executive Moir Lockhead. "The sooner we order the trains the sooner they can enter service.'
Jean-Pierre Deghaye, Keolis director, said: "Passengers will notice a big advance in comfort and reliability when the new trains enter service, and this is a key part of our commitment to improve quality and attract more people to rail.'
Kevin Tutton, managing director of Siemens Transportation Systems in the UK, said: "We are committed to investing in the UK railway industry, and to working with the Strategic Rail Authority and train operators to deliver the improved performance that rail passengers deserve.'
Roy Wicks, Chair of PTEG Rail Group, welcomed the announcement. Speaking on behalf of all of the PTEs served by the TransPennine Franchise, he said:-
"It is good to see that so soon after the announcement of the preferred bidder an order has been placed for new rolling stock. TransPennine services are critical to the developing economies of our areas and have needed newer and better rolling stock for some time."
The 100mph trains, will have faster acceleration, be easier to board and be much more comfortable than the current fleet, and their introduction will create 100 new jobs at new, purpose-built maintenance depots.
Benefits will include air conditioning, advanced passenger information systems and CCTV.
HSBC Rail are the financier for the trains which will be maintained at brand new depots in Manchester and York and an existing depot at Cleethorpes which will be upgraded.
Peter Aldridge, head of HSBC Rail, said: "This is a significant new order for HSBC Rail not only because it continues our long-term investment in the rail business while broadening our relationship with First Group and securing HSBC's first train deal with Siemens as a manufacturer. It is also an excellent opportunity to substantially expand our current portfolio with a flexible, high quality diesel fleet that has excellent long-term prospects."
Martin Helm, PR adviser 0207 291 0507
Bruno Auger or Guillaume Genin 0207 953 7124
Joslyn Woodger, PR manager, 0207 227 4420
Notes to editors:
For image of new train please visit www.firstgroup.com or www.siemens.co.uk/transportation
Examples of reduced journey times
Journey Present timing Desiro timing
Manchester Piccadilly-Newcastle Central 2 hrs 47 mins 2 hrs 37 mins
Middlesbrough-Manchester Piccadilly 2 hrs 31 mins 2 hrs 25 mins
Scarborough-Liverpool Lime St. 3 hrs 04 mins 2 hrs 58 mins
Desiro fact file
All trains will have three coaches, each 23 metres long and with its own underfloor engine, made by Cummins, and designed to give strong acceleration and the highest-possible speeds, especially on steep inclines.
ˇ 198 seats, 16 first class, 168 standard, 14 tip-ups, space for two wheelchairs and two bicycles
ˇ Four, high-backed, comfortable seats across the carriage width, separated by a central aisle
ˇ Most seats will align with the windows
ˇ Air conditioning
ˇ Carpeting throughout
ˇ Audio and visual information
ˇ Two pneumatically-powered entrance doors, one-third and two-thirds along each coach, and each 1.3 metres wide to allow quick and easy boarding and alighting
ˇ CCTV cameras to ensure passenger security
ˇ Power sockets for laptops
ˇ Luggage racks with flexibility to add luggage stacks later
ˇ Trolley catering service.
The trains, to be built at Duewag, near Dusseldorf, Germany, will be fitted with the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) to prevent them passing signals set at danger, and the design will allow more advanced safety equipment to be installed later.
Towns and cities to be served by the new Trans Pennine Express franchise include:
Manchester International Airport Barrow-in-Furness
Newcastle upon Tyne Selby
FirstGroup plc is a UK-based international transport company with a turnover of more than £2 billion a year, and 57,000 employees throughout the UK and North America.
ˇ The Group is Britains largest bus operator, running more than one in five of all local bus services. A fleet of some 9,500 buses carries 2.7 million passengers a day in more than 40 towns and cities
ˇ The Group is also one of the UKs largest rail operators with three franchises " First Great Western, First Great Eastern, and First North Western. It is introducing new trains in each of these franchises at a cost of more than £200 million. The group operates nearly one-fifth of the UK passenger rail network, with a balanced portfolio of inter-city, London commuter, and regional services
ˇ It holds the operating contract for the Croydon Tramlink network which carries more than 16 million passengers a year
ˇ In North America, the Group has three operating divisions: First Student (Yellow School Buses), First Transit (Transit Contracting and Management Services) and First Services Vehicle Maintenance and Ancillary Services (First Services)
ˇ Headquartered in Cincinnati, the businesses operate across the US and Canada.
ˇ First Student is the second-largest provider of Yellow school buses in the US, and the third-largest in Canada. With a fleet of some 15,500 school buses, it transports nearly one million students every day
ˇ First Transit is one of the largest private-sector providers of urban bus services in the US, managing public transport systems on behalf of cities such as Houston, Denver and New York
ˇ First Services is the largest private-sector provider of vehicle maintenance in the US, maintaining fleets and equipment for primarily public-sector customers such as cities, counties, fire and police departments.
ˇ Keolis is one of the leading transport groups in Europe with a turnover of about £1 billion, and is the largest private transport operator in France with 23,000 staff and a market share of 40 per cent of urban networks open to competition
ˇ In France, Keolis has a wide variety of transport operations, including traditional and guided buses, traditional and driverless underground railways, tramways, railways, trolleybuses, funicular railways, and a cable car
ˇ It provides inter-city transport between 64 départments (regions) and operates on 85 urban networks, including nine areas with populations over 200,000, and two with more than two million people
ˇ Internationally, Keolis operates rail networks, urban transit systems or inter-city rail links in six other countries: UK, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Canada
ˇ In the UK, it is a partner in the GoVia joint venture which is the current Thameslink franchisee. Last year, GoVia took over the South Central franchise from Connex
ˇ SNCF, the French, state-owned railway company, owns 43.5 per cent of Keolis. BNP Paribas, the biggest French bank, is the largest shareholder with a 48.7 per cent stake
ˇ Keolis is committed to delivering integrated transport solutions and to develop co-operation with transport authorities and other stakeholders.