On 24 July 2012, at the same time that the Great Western intercity express programme (IEP) fleet was financed, commercial close was reached for the east coast fleet of IEP trains. On 18 July 2013, I informed the House of my decision to exercise a pre-priced option within those contracts to extend the IEP train order for the east coast main line by 270 further class 800/801 vehicles, in addition to the existing order for 227 vehicles. The process to reach financial close for the whole fleet and to reach commercial close for the extended fleet has now finished, and I wish to inform the House of the results.
I am pleased to announce that the east coast IEP contract has been financed by Agility Trains East. Agility Trains will design, build, maintain and service the rolling stock and maintenance facilities for 497 new vehicles over the 27.5-year contract term. The value of the contract is £2.7 billion. I would like to thank Agility and its constituent entities, Hitachi and John Lang, for their support.
The IEP will see state-of-the-art new trains brought into operation on the east coast main line in 2018 following their introduction on the Great Western main line in 2017. These faster, higher-capacity and more environmentally sustainable trains will improve passenger experience and comfort, and will provide 28% more seats into Kings Cross at peak times, while delivering more reliable and efficient services. The trains will be operated by the winner of the intercity east coast competition that is currently live.
Agility Trains has financed the fleet, but the Government are investing £330 million on the east coast main line, to ensure that the trains will be able to reach all of the destinations served by the current fleet.
Overall the Government are investing £38 billion to transform the rail network over the next five years—a record amount of funding that will generate growth, create jobs and boost business. The intercity express programme is a vital part of that transformation with the trains being assembled in Newton Aycliffe, creating 730 jobs and securing more in the supply chain.
The Government are committed to using investment in transport as an engine for growth. This deal will benefit passengers and communities both along the east coast main line and in other parts of the country.