Chiltern Railway franchise winner plans to spend pounds 10m on new 100m ph trains

The two-and-a-half year moratorium on new rolling stock caused by the uncertainty over rail privatisation is to be ended by M40 Trains, which yesterday won the Chiltern Railway franchise (above), writes Christian Wolmar.

M40, which is a management buyout team backed by 3i and John Laing, said it would spend pounds 10m on four three-car diesel units within a month of the start of the franchise, which was likely to be on 21 July.

The company added that an announcement would be made in a month on who would build the trains, which will be used to increase the frequency on the Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill service and on extra services between Aylesbury and Marylebone. The trains will be leased, possibly from the manufacturer.

They are likely to be supplied by Adtranz Derby works and be a new, all-purpose 100 mph design, which the manufacturer hopes will be suitable for other new franchisees and be in service by late 1998.

Photograph: John Lawrence