UK: Leasing company Porterbook has awarded Bombardier Transportation a £105m contract to supply six 10-car Aventra 160 km/h electric multiple-units for the c2c rail franchise, and provide eight years of maintenance and support services from their introduction in 2021 until November 2029.

The deal ‘demonstrates our focus on long-term investments in the UK market and our desire to constantly improve the standing of our trains and to deliver visible and valuable improvements on our services’, said Ernesto Sicilia, Managing Director of c2c parent company Trenitalia UK when the contract was announced on December 14. ‘Since our entrance into the UK market, the original new trains investment plan, which included a phased delivery from 2019 to 2024, has been accelerated overall. We are extremely proud that the new fleet will start to be delivered from summer 2021, three years earlier than originally planned.’

The 25 kV 50 Hz EMUs are to be supplied from Bombardier’s Derby plant. ‘These British-built Bombardier trains, which are coming into service earlier than planned, will provide much needed extra capacity for thousands of passengers across London and Essex, and also come with facilities such as wi-fi, air-conditioning and plug sockets’, said Rail Minister Paul Maynard.

Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director, Bombardier Transportation said the additional units would ‘help transform the travel experience for c2c passengers and deliver almost 20% more capacity to c2c's fleet.’

Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT union, said the order, along with a deal for Bombardier to supply EMUs to the West Midlands franchise signed the same week, was ‘extremely good and positive news for our members employed by Bombardier in Derby, the hub of train manufacturing in Britain since 1840’. He said the contracts would ‘provide safeguards and job security to directly employed staff along with a lifeline to the many hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs within the supply chain.’