BRITISH passenger train operator Prism Rail PLC announced on March 4 that it had selected Porterbrook Leasing and Adtranz to supply 44 four-car EMUs for its LTS Rail Ltd subsidiary operating the London - Tilbury - Southend route. The 160 km/h air-conditioned units are expected to cut journey times by around 10%.
Under the LTS franchise awarded in May 1996, Prism was required to order new trains by October this year, or the 15-year concession would be cut to seven. The EMUs are due to enter service by November 1999, and Prism will pay around £17m a year for them over the remaining 12 years of the franchise. Seven builders and three rolling stock companies bid for the order, under a procurement process managed by Mott MacDonald.
The trains will be built by Adtranz at Derby and leased to Prism by Porterbrook under an operating lease which includes maintenance at the LTS East Ham depot. Each coach will be around 20m long, with bodyshells welded from aluminium profiles and pre-wired bolt-on crashworthy cab modules. 2+2 seating will accommodate around 250 passengers per unit. The AC drives are likely to be subcontracted to Holec which has the only Railtrack-approved AC traction package.
- International banking group HSBC Holdings plc announced on February 19 that its wholly owned subsidiary Forward Trust Group had agreed to purchase ex-BR rolling stock leasing company Eversholt Holdings Ltd, which was sold to a managment buy-out team in February 1996 for £500m. The £726·5m sale price includes debt repayment of £273·1m, and values the shares at £453·4m compared to their original face value of £69·6m. o