STAGECOACH Holdings announced on April 24 that it was to lease 785 Siemens Desiro UK 750V DC electric multiple-unit cars for its South West Trains franchise (RG 3.01 p161). Options would take the total to 1201 vehicles. Around one-third of the £1bn contract value covers maintenance of the fleet at a new depot, probably in the Southampton area. The deal is being financed by Angel Trains. Siemens Chairman, President & CEO Heinrich von Pierer said it is the ’the biggest order that the entire Siemens AG has recorded in the past 20 years.’

The initial contract covers 100 four-car and 32 five-car Class 350 units of 20m vehicles for suburban services, and 45 five-car Class 35X sets of 23m cars for longer-distance operations. The option includes 302 more short and 114 long vehicles, with all suburban sets lengthened to five cars and some long-distance sets to six-car. According to Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Keith Cochrane, the fleet will increase peak capacity by around 25%.

SWT expects to have six trains in service by November 2002, with the last arriving by September 2004. The final cars under the options would be completed by 2008. This timescale means that most of SWT’s Mk I EMUs will have to be fitted with cup-and-cone anti-override protection, which will be legally required if they are to remain in traffic after December 31 2002.

Siemens says all of the 23m vehicles are to be built in Wien. Assembly of the 20 m cars will be split, with power cars produced at Krefeld and trailers in Wien.

  • On May 9 Angel Trains signed a contract to lease 21 four-car 25 kV 50Hz Desiro UK vehicles to First Great Eastern for £75m. The Class 360 sets are due to enter service on outer-suburban services from Liverpool Street in early 2003.