Eversholt Rail today signed a contract with First Great Western to procure and finance 173 new AT300 vehicles worth £361 million.
The fleet will comprise 22 five-car and 7 nine-car trains, and is scheduled to enter service by December 2018.
The new rolling stock will be the AT300 bi-mode trains built by Hitachi Rail Europe. The fleet of trains will run on the West of England services on the First Great Western franchise primarily from London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance.
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of Eversholt Rail Group said “We are delighted to be working with First Great Western and Hitachi to deliver these new trains to the passengers of Great Western. This investment represents a very exciting opportunity for Eversholt Rail. With this deal we continue to grow our fleet and our relationship with First Great Western and once again partner with Hitachi and build on our successful introduction of the Class 395 fleet for HS1.”
Andrew Mellors, First Great Western Deputy Managing Director said “We warmly welcome the announcement today that our recommendations to introduce a new fleet of trains to serve customers between Devon and Cornwall and London have been approved by the Department for Transport. We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and today’s agreement is fantastic news for the region and the rail industry as a whole. These trains will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West, and create an additional 1,000 peak-time seats a day for customers on the route.”
Karen Boswell, Managing Director for Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Today’s announcement builds on our significant and sustained investment in the British rail sector. This contract with First Great Western recognises the quality of Hitachi’s high-speed trains and our world class engineering capability. Hitachi Rail Europe is committed to delivering trains for the UK’s fare-paying customers that are genuinely transformative in terms of speed, capacity and comfort. This new fleet will be a revolution in customer experience for those travelling to and from the south west, and we look forward to delivering these Hitachi trains for use from 2018 onwards.”
Rail minister Claire Perry, who visited Exeter to mark the announcement, said: “These new trains will make a real difference to the millions of commuters, business travellers and tourists who use this route every year. This industry initiative goes hand-in-hand with the work this Government is doing to reverse decades of underinvestment in transport infrastructure in regions like the South West. This will not only mean better journeys for customers, it will also help to secure long-term economic growth across the country. Like the new IEP trains serving cities in the North of England, this new fleet will help to open up the region for investment.”