Britain picks Bombardier in London rail travel 'revolution'

Builders work on a timber lattice roof above the Canary Wharf Crossrail station and retail...

Builders work on a timber lattice roof above the Canary Wharf Crossrail station and retail development site in east London. (AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT)


, Last Updated: 7:33 PM ET

The British government intends to award Canadian engineering giant Bombardier a contract worth £1.0 billion to supply trains on a new line connecting east and west London, it said on Thursday.

The trains are for a new link between key spots in London, including the top shopping area, described as a "revolution" for travel in the capital.

The contract, worth the equivalent of $1.63 billion or 1.21 billion euros, is for the supply, delivery and maintenance of 65 new trains and a depot.

The Crossrail project will connect also suburbs to the east and west of the capital to meet business needs and serve a growing population, the Department for Transport said in a statement.

Bombardier will build the energy-efficient trains -- each able to carry up to 1,500 passengers -- at its plant in Derbyshire, central England.

"This announcement will mean state of the art trains providing quick, comfortable journeys for the millions of people Crossrail will serve," Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in the statement.

"It is also great news for British manufacturing and for Derbyshire, where Bombardier will support 760 new jobs and 80 apprenticeships."

Francis Paonessa, managing director of Bombardier Transportation UK, said the Canadian firm was "absolutely delighted to have been recommended as the winning bidder".

He added: "This is a resounding endorsement of our proposed Bombardier Aventra train for Crossrail, which has proudly been designed and developed in the UK as an iconic and world-technology leading train for London."

The first Crossrail services through central London will start in late 2018, while an estimated 200 million annual passengers will use the service that will stop off at Stratford in east London, home to the 2012 Olympic Games, and Heathrow Airport in the west.

It will serve also central London's West End shopping and theatre district, as well as Canary Wharf, home to the capital's financial sector.

"The Crossrail project is now rolling on full-steam ahead," Mayor of London Boris Johnson said on Thursday.

"The manufacture of these new trains will not only revolutionise rail travel in London, they will deliver jobs and economic growth."

London's population is set to grow to about 10 million people by 2030 from 8.4 million currently, the government said on Thursday. The cost of delivering Crossrail is set to reach £14.8 billion.