UK: Oxford to Cambridge railway corridor project promoter East West Railway Co has begun the second phase of engagement with potential rolling stock suppliers, issuing a new Prior Information Notice which includes a set of technical specifications taking account of market feedback gained during the initial phase of the procurement process.

The procurement with an estimated value of £44m aims to secure the wet lease of a small fleet of 12 or 14 three-car ‘self-powered’ multiple-units with ETCS Level 2 and and Driver Controlled Operation capability.

These are required for ‘short-term, interim’ use on the Western Section of East West Rail between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Aylesbury.

It is envisaged that tendering would begin in March 2021, for a contract to be awarded by November 2021. The lease would run for four years, with an option to extend for two years, and would include a full maintenance package.

‘We listened to what the market had to say about our technical specification, and this has enabled us to reshape our requirements in a way that gives us more flexibility in achieving the right outcomes for passengers’, said chief Executive Simon Blanchflower on November 13. ‘It’s essential we get this public procurement absolutely right, to make sure we give the best value to taxpayers and provide the best solution to the communities who live and work along the East West Rail route.’