Porterbrook to finance Bletchley depot redevelopment

Porterbrook has successfully bid to finance the redevelopment of Bletchley depot for West Midlands Trains (WMT).

Situated near Milton Keynes, the £66m upgrade programme is necessary for Bletchley to become the principal maintenance base for WMT’s newly procured Class 730 Aventra fleet.

The improvements to the site will include overhead line equipment, new ten and five car sidings, full refurbishment of existing buildings and the installation of modern security systems. Once completed in the autumn of 2025, the depot will be able to support electric fleets which are essential to the UK’s plans for a net-zero railway in the future.

Stefan Rose, Chief Investment Officer at Porterbrook, said: “Bletchley depot has been a stalwart of our railways since the mid-nineteenth century, and we’re delighted to fund the redevelopment it needs to service the modern fleets joining the network. Through private finance, we can maintain and enhance essential rail infrastructure like this to continue to play an important role in the railway for many years to come.”

Ian McConnell, Managing Director of West Midlands Trains, said: "This private financing deal enables West Midlands Trains to undertake major refurbishment of the depot at Bletchley - a critical part of our £1 billion fleet and infrastructure investment programme. The enhancements will modernise the facility to support the roll-out of our new flagship electric train fleet, the Class 730s, which will deliver a step-change in the customer experience across our network.”

Financing the redevelopment adds to Porterbrook’s increasingly diverse portfolio, which in recent weeks has included taking a 49% minority stake in the Scotland based rail engineering business Brodie Engineering, and the purchase of the 135-acre Long Marston Rail Innovation Centre in Warwickshire, which it has been operating on lease since June 2021.