Advising the Department for Transport on East Anglian rail service improvements

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20 April 2009

We recently advised the Department for Transport (DfT) on its first 'HLOS Capacity Metric Implementation'.

In July 2007, the Government published its White Paper ‘Delivering a Sustainable Railway’. This included the Government's High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for the railways, detailing the capacity, reliability and safety outputs which the Government wanted the industry to achieve by the end of the five year period from the 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2014.

In terms of capacity, targets for the accommodation of extra demand were produced for each of the main London termini and major cities. The White Paper indicated that a total of 1,300 additional carriages were likely to be needed to meet these requirements.

In the Autumn of 2008 DfT appointed Burges Salmon (jointly with Eversheds) as its legal advisers for the 'HLOS Capacity Metric Implementation' programme.

On 1st April 2009 DfT, advised by Burges Salmon, completed the first 'HLOS Capacity Metric Implementation' when it signed a Deed of Amendment to its Franchise Agreement with London Eastern Railway Ltd, which trades as National Express East Anglia (NXEA) and is part of National Express Group plc.

The contractual variation will enable NXEA to add 188 carriages to its existing fleet. The first additional capacity will be introduced in December 2009 and, once all improvements are in place by December 2011, more than 10,900 extra seats will be provided into Liverpool Street in the three hour morning peak significantly reducing the level of crowding. The additional trains will also help provide capacity for the London Olympics at Stratford in 2012.

An order worth approximately £155m for 120 new carriages from Derby based train manufacturer Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd is at the heart of the improved services. These trains will be owned by Lloyds TSB General Leasing (No.8) Limited, a subsidiary of Lloyds TSB Bank plc. This is the first time this bank has provided finance for trains. The trains will principally be used on the Stansted Express route, enabling a cascade of rolling stock within the franchise to lengthen other services.

NXEA will also lease 68 Class 321 EMU carriages owned by HSBC Rail which are currently in use on the London Midland franchise where they are due to be replaced in July 2009. These carriages will receive an internal refresh.

Clacton Depot in Essex will be brought back into use as a maintenance facility to cope with the enlarged fleet.

In addition to the new carriages NXEA will receive Government funding to expand the car parks at four stations and install two additional carriage washing machines.

Network Rail is committed to undertaking a programme of platform lengthening and other infrastructure works to enable the plan to be implemented, whilst Stansted Airport Ltd is committed to fund the lengthening of the platform at Stansted Airport station.

Partner Nick Olley said "This is one of the biggest changes to have been negotiated to an existing franchise since rail privatisation and will be of major benefit to passengers in terms of reducing over-crowding.  We are delighted to have been involved with this important step in the delivery of Government policy for the railways and very much look forward to advising on the further 'HLOS Capacity Metric Implementations' that have been allocated to us."

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