Mrs Ford commented, "As long as we are in the EU we should continue to benefit from its funding streams. The European Investment Bank is able to give longer dated loans than normal High Street banks which means that more trains and carriages can be upgraded. This is good news for passengers across East Anglia."
The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide GBP 60 million for the purchase of new trains that will improve passenger services in East Anglia on key London, intercity, airport and local services. The 378 new train carriages will be used by franchise operator Abellio and replace outdated existing electric and diesel trains currently used on the routes. The EIB loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) under the Investment Plan for Europe, and this is the first EFSI transport loan in the United Kingdom.
"Investment in new trains, upgrading rail infrastructure and building new lines has transformed UK local and national rail use in recent years and helped to double the number of rail passengers over the last 20 years. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support investment in new trains that will benefit both commuters to Europe's biggest city and local travel on Abellio operated lines. This builds on our strong track record of supporting sustainable transport investment across the UK and around the world." said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.
"The Investment Plan for Europe continues to make a real difference to our daily lives. Thanks to this fresh financing from the EIB, rail passenger services in East Anglia improve, making the commuter's experience more comfortable. I am proud that we can support the upgrading of transport infrastructure in this way." said European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.
"We are delighted to close our second rolling stock financing, especially in what have been volatile markets post Brexit. The highly competitive long term nature of funding provided by our Blue Chip institutional investors delivers best value for money to the East Anglia passengers and tax payer over the life of the trains." confirmed Mark Swindell, founder of Rock Rail.
"We are very pleased to be funding this important upgrade to rail services on East Anglian and with the continued success of our joint venture with Rock Rail. We are particularly excited as we see significant further potential to provide competitive funding for new rolling across the UK rail network." said Dominic Helmsley, Head of SL Capital Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Standard Life Investments.
The 28 year European Investment Bank loan will finance purchase of new rolling stock by Rock Rail East Anglia PLC for use by Abellio East Anglia Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch national rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen.
Funding of these new trains was led by Rock Rail and SL Capital with additional co-investment equity being provided by GLIL, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and London Pensions Fund Authority infrastructure investment joint venture.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than GBP 8.4 billion for transport investment across the UK and nearly EUR 160 billion worldwide. Past European Investment Bank lending has included support for investment in new Eurostar, Intercity and London Underground trains, backing for Crossrail and the Northern Line extension, and new tram networks in Manchester and Nottingham.
Lending by the EIB in the UK last year totalled GBP 5.6 billion and represented the largest annual engagement since the start of EIB lending in the UK in 1973. This supported nearly GBP 16 billion of overall investment in 40 projects across the UK, which schools, university campuses, hospitals, upgraded energy links, renewable energy projects and water infrastructure.