Rising costs put trains deal for Thameslink route at risk

Severe delays mean lenders in Siemens talks are likely to demand millions more to back the £1.4bn project

The future of the £1.4bn deal to provide trains for the Gatwick to Luton airport Thameslink route has been thrown into doubt as costs spiral due to funding delays.

Sources close to the 1,200-carriage project said that Siemens, the German giant that won the contract at the expense of Derby train engineers last year, will have neither loans nor credit rating in place as planned by the end of the month.

There have also been delays to the signing of financial terms with the Government, which should have been agreed early this year.

All of these overruns to the timetable are expected to add tens of millions to the cost of the money that Siemens borrows. Banks will toughen up the terms of their loans to reflect what now appears to be a riskier deal than when it was first announced.

Hikes to the project's cost would spook the Government, particularly after the West Coast main line franchise debacle, which saw First Group stripped of the contract after a flawed government selection process. The Transport minister Simon Burns has already said that his department will have to look at other options if a deal with Siemens is not finalised soon.

One source said: "This whole process is taking considerably longer than anyone is prepared to talk about. There are two possible outcomes here: that Siemens fails to raise the money and therefore the whole deal unravels or, more likely, one way or another a deal is struck at a greater financial price.

"That could be tens of millions of pounds extra, and then the value for money equation comes into play, and my gut sense is that the deal will stand or fall by that."

A Siemens source said that the company remained "optimistic" that it will soon agree commercial terms with the banks and that Moody's will assign a suitable credit rating to the special purpose vehicle set up to carry out the contract. However, the source conceded that these issues will not be resolved until next month and that the final sign-off with Government will be in the new year.

The problems will add to the initial anger over Siemens' selection as preferred bidder for the Thameslink trains. Unions argued that Canadian rival Bombardier should have been chosen so as to secure jobs at its Derby site, which is the last remaining train factory in the UK. Bombardier has cut more than 1,000 jobs at Derby since the announcement.

Siemens says it will create up to 2,000 new British jobs through Thameslink.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £32,000+

£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat