Bombardier gets £1bn contract in 'biggest rail boost since Victorian era'

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Media captionTransport Secretary Chris Grayling said Bombardier is "absolutely central" to the UK rail industry

One of the UK's last train makers has been awarded a £1bn contract as part of "the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era".

The contract will see 660 "state of the art" carriages built from the Bombardier factory in Derby.

It is part of a £1.4bn boost to rail services for passengers across East Anglia, announced by the Department for Transport.

The DfT said it is one of the biggest ever orders for British-built trains.

Live reaction in East Anglia to Abellio franchise announcement

The investment will be overseen by rail operator Abellio East Anglia, which has been awarded a new franchise running from October 2016 to 2025.

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Image caption Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the new franchise during a visit to Bombardier in Derby

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, who announced the contract during a visit to Bombardier in Derby, said: "We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era.

"By awarding this franchise to Abellio East Anglia we will improve journeys for people in East Anglia.

"Abellio's decision [to use Bombardier as a supplier] will ensure our train-building industry in Derby remains strong."

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Image caption Bombardier also makes London Underground trains, with one here driven by Prince Charles during a visit to the facilities in Derby

The franchise will see 1,043 new carriages being used, with the rest being supplied by Swiss firm Stadler Rail.

The franchise will also include:

  • At least four 90-minute services (two in each direction) between London and Norwich each weekday
  • Two 60-minute services per day between London and Ipswich
  • Free wi-fi for all passengers on trains and at stations
  • New ticketing initiatives, starting in October 2017, including new offers for part-time users and people who do not travel every day
Image caption Workers at Bombardier in Derby will supply 660 carriages for the new franchise

Bombardier is the only remaining company that both designs and manufactures trains in the UK.

Its trains are used on services throughout the UK, including on the London Underground.

The £1bn contract with Abellio is expected to secure 1,000 jobs into the next decade, the government said.

Des McKeon, UK commercial director at Bombardier Transportation, said the contract was a "great endorsement" of its trains.

"We look forward to working with our customer Abellio UK, to support them in transforming rail services throughout the region and delivering an enhanced customer experience through the provision of new trains," he said.

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