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ROLLING STOCK


Thameslink: The inside track on Siemens’ largest UK rail transport deal


The Thameslink signing is a landmark for Siemens UK, but also a milestone for project fi nancing in the post-recession environment, says Johannes Schmidt, CEO of Project & Structured Finance Infrastructure and Cities & Industry at Siemens Financial Services (SFS).


R


eaching fi nancial close on the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project (TRSP), part of


the wider £6bn Thameslink Programme rail network upgrade, is a good moment to refl ect on the fi nancing of infrastructure projects more generally. The Thameslink deal is Siemens’ largest UK infrastructure project to date and represents a landmark in the company’s 170- year history in the UK, as well as an indication of the benefi ts that in-house fi nance solutions can provide.


Including the TRSP order, Siemens now has close to 3,000 rail vehicles in supply throughout the UK, positioning the company as a market leader in this segment of the transport sector.


For this project Siemens Financial Services (SFS), through its subsidiary Siemens Project Ventures GmbH (SPV), entered into a jointly- owned consortium partnership – Cross London Trains (XLT) – alongside equal equity investors Innisfree Ltd and 3i Infrastructure Plc. The TRSP contracts for the “design, production, commissioning, maintenance, fi nancing and making available of the rolling stock” of 1,140 Desiro City EMU train carriages to be purchased from Siemens Plc (Siemens UK company) and to lease these trains to the operator of the Thameslink rail franchise.


The contract also includes the “design, construction, commissioning, fi nancing and


30 | rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 13


making available” of two new Thameslink rolling stock maintenance depots at Hornsey in north London and Three Bridges in West Sussex.


Rolling stock innovation Value for money


For the Thameslink project Siemens invested some €50m in the development of a new train platform. The new Desiro City, designed for suburban, regional and mainline transport, reduces overall energy consumption and track wear by up to 50% compared to predecessor models. These trains are up to 25% lighter than the existing Desiro UK fl eet, thanks mainly to car bodies of lightweight aluminium construction and to bogies that are approximately one-third lighter in weight. The Desiro City also has a recycling quota of about 95%.


The Desiro City Thameslink trains can be coupled to form eight- and 12-car trains and operated in dual mode (750 V DC or 25 kV AC). They are built for a top speed of 160km/h or around 100mph. Siemens on- board units (OBU) that meet the requirements for the European Train


Control System


(ETCS) Level 2 safeguard the communication between the trains and trackside equipment. A heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system equipped with CO2 sensors automatically controls the fl ow of fresh air according to the number of passengers in each


The deal has been fi nanced with a debt facility arranged through a syndicated loan group consisting of 19 banks with SMBC, Lloyds, KfW and BTMU acting as mandated lead arrangers (MLAs), alongside a debt facility from the European Investment Bank.


A vital aspect of the Thameslink deal was, of course, its fi nancing structure. Indeed, the solid fi nancing package put together by SFS was a key factor in convincing the Department for Transport (DfT) that the deal represents the best value-for-money for the UK taxpayer while also remaining attractive for private investors. In this case, a hybrid Private Finance Initiative/ Public Private Partnership (PFI/PPP) and lease arrangement for both the rolling stock and the two depots was put in place, supported by a UK Railways Act 1993 s.54 undertaking. This regulation encourages investment in assets for the provision of franchise rail services by guaranteeing continued use of the rolling stock beyond the original operator- franchisee agreement (subject to satisfactory performance).


car. Although the trains will be manufactured at the Siemens factory in Krefeld, Germany, Siemens has sought to incorporate the UK supply chain into the process where possible. The fi rst trains will enter service in 2016.


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