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Volume 565: debated on Monday 1 July 2013

I would like to inform the House that a contract to design, build, finance and maintain a fleet of 1,140 new carriages for use on the Thameslink rail line has been awarded to Siemens plc and Cross London Trains, a consortium comprising Siemens Project Ventures, Innisfree Ltd and 3i Infrastructure plc.

Siemens expects the award of the rolling stock project will create up to 2,000 jobs across the UK supply chain in component manufacturing, the construction of two new depots and subsequent maintenance.

The deal is part of an overall circa £6 billion infrastructure and rolling stock upgrade to radically increase capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway improving connectivity and reliability across the capital and the south-east.

The deal is expected to see the first new train running on the network by the start of 2016. The introduction of the full fleet by the end of 2018 will enable a 24 trains per hour service operating through the capital at peak times. A new interchange at Farringdon will give Thameslink passengers access to Crossrail for east-west journeys across London.

The new generation of electric commuter carriages will release existing carriages for use elsewhere on the network, particularly as further routes are electrified, for example in the north-west of England and the Thames Valley commuter lines.

The jobs created by the rolling stock project are in addition to those created by the Thameslink infrastructure works which are currently under way. At the peak of construction activity it is expected that around 3,000 people will be directly employed on the Thameslink programme infrastructure works with as many again employed in related jobs in the wider community.

Confirming the completion of this important deal is good for transport, good for the economy, and good for growth.