Porterbrook Leasing has been confirmed as financier for 224 new custom built Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) coaches at a cost of £317m that will be operating on the new Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) franchise.
These 110mph, dual voltage Bombardier Electrostar EMUs will be configured as 4 car units and will be fitted with air conditioning, two by two seating and include the latest automated on-board service information and facilities for people with disabilities.
29 of the units will be operating on the Thameslink route, initially entering passenger service throughout December this year and, from January 2015, will begin to replace the Class 319 EMUs currently in operation on services between Bedford and Brighton. The new trains will remain in service until 2016 when the new fleet of trains being introduced as part of the Thameslink Programme is due to start deliveries at which time the Class 387s will be transferred to another operator.
The second part of the order is for 27 units to operate on the Gatwick Express service which will have easier boarding, a generous luggage space, two by two seating and wi-fi. These trains are due to enter service in 2016 replacing the current train fleet which has been in operation since 2008 and are seen as unsuitable for an airport service.
This order brings the Porterbrook Electrostar EMU fleet to 1,370 coaches and an investment of over £2.3bn in passenger trains for the UK since privatisation.
With its change in ownership in October of this year Porterbrook is well placed to continue its investment strategy in new trains that ties in with the recently published Rolling Stock Strategy document which forecasts a need for between 13,000 and 19,000 new coaches over the next 30 years.