Equitix investment: £275 million (including co-investment capital)
Date acquired: March 2019
In December 2018, Equitix formed a consortium with Dalmore Capital to bid for a 33.33% stake in Cross London Trains from 3i Infrastructure. Preferred bidder status was confirmed in February 2019 following a competitive two-stage process.
Thameslink is one of the largest PPP schemes in the UK with around £7 billion of capex for train manufacturing. The new fleet of rolling stock covers the critical north–south London commuter rail corridor and forms part of the government-funded programme to improve rail connections and capacity.
The fleet comprises 115 high-quality Siemens Class 700 trains which have been delivered and come with an excellent track record. The Thameslink network transports 82.3 million passengers a year and links the key hubs of Gatwick Airport, Kings Cross, St Pancras International and Luton Airport.
The trains are bespoke, electric-powered and tailored for use on the Thameslink network and have been fully operational since July 2018. The Secretary of State for Transport has underwritten all cash flows until 2035 by a Section 54 (Railways Act 1993) undertaking.
The project benefits from an established PPP-style risk allocation framework with maintenance risk fully passed down the supply chain, including strong parent company guarantees in place from Siemens plc.
There has been strong cross-party political support for the project which forms a key part of the rail strategy for the UK Department for Transport.