The final sign-off on the details on the IEP fleet to replace the HSTs on the GWML and ECML has been further delayed by the Department for Transport, according to the December Structural Reform Plan, published on the Number 10 website.

Procurement for the Intercity Express Programme was expected to be completed by December.

But the DfT states that the objective to ‘complete the commercial arrangements for the delivery of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP)’ has been delayed for reasons ‘outside of the Department’s control’.

The delay was further explained as difficulties securing planning permission, and the need to conclude commercial discussions with the Agility Trains consortium (Hitachi and John Laing) and their banks.

The plan suggests the commercial close has now been postponed until the end of May 2012.

Hitachi recently told the Northern Echo newspaper: “Due to the complexity of the programme, we now envisage to come to a close of contract in the first half of 2012.”

Source: Railway Eye blog

For more on Hitachi’s Super Express trains and the depots that will service the IEP fleet, see the December/January 2012 edition of Rail Technology Magazine, available free to rail industry professionals at

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Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment