Thursday, February 12, 2009

Britain ready to award $10.7 billion train contract

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Britain’s Department of Transport announced Thursday that it has selected Agility Trains, a British-led group that includes Hitachi of Japan, as the preferred bidder for a $10.7 billion contract to build and maintain a fleet of new Super Express trains for the Great Western and East Coast main lines. John Laing and Barclays are also members of the winning consortium.

 Express Rail Alliance, which includes Bombardier, Siemens, Angel Trains, and funds managed by Aycock & Brown, issued a statement expressing disappointment at losing the bid for preferred builder status.

Express Rail said it had spent “18 months developing a compliant, competitively-priced, innovative, and sustainable solution, which would have significantly benefited the rail manufacturing economy in the U.K. and Europe.”

The Agility Trains proposal also offered economic stimulus. Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said in a prepared statement that the announcement “demonstrates that this government is prepared to invest, even in difficult economic times, by improving our national infrastructure.”

Agility will build a new manufacturing plant and related facilities, creating or preserving 12,000 jobs.

The Department of Transport asked Express Rail to maintain its status as a reserve bidder, noting that “both bids were deliverable and substantially compliant.”