Rock Rail West Coast

Rock Rail was awarded preferred funder for new Hitachi Intercity trains for the West Coast Partnership rail franchise, with a transaction value in excess of £350 million. First Group and Trenitalia’s new Avanti West Coast took over operation in December 2019, shortly after financial close was reached earlier that month.

The new state-of-the-art fleet will be built at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory supporting businesses and workforces across the UK supply chain and will enter service in 2022. The 135-vehicle fleet is made up of 10 seven-carriage electric trains and 13 five-carriage bi-mode trains, which are quieter and greener than the diesel trains they replace.

Rock Rail and partner Aberdeen Standard Investments provided the equity investment, while senior debt was provided by institutional investors with a funder group comprising of Aviva Investors and Sun Life Investments.

New Vehicles


Based on bullet train technology, the new trains will connect the North-West of England, North Wales, the Midlands, and London.

Features and benefits include:

  • More environmentally friendly and quieter than the diesel trains they replace
  • Are expected to reduce CO2 emissions across the franchise by 61%
  • Faster, free Wi-Fi throughout
  • At-seat wireless charging
  • Plug sockets and USB slots
  • Air-conditioning
  • Brand-new catering offer
  • Advanced real-time passenger information systems
  • High acceleration and low dwell times
  • Significantly more seating capacity
Rock Rail are experts in developing true collaboration and partnership. Flexibility and the willingness to consider new ideas is their hallmark, clearly demonstrated through the successful agreement for Avanti West Coast
Nick Hughes
Sales & Commercial Director
Hitachi Rail
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