British Rail Class 345

British Rail Class 345 Aventra

An artist's impression of the Class 345 Aventra
In service May 2017[1]
Manufacturer Bombardier Transportation[1]
Built at Derby Litchurch Lane[1]
Family name Aventra
Constructed 2015[2]–2018
Number under construction 66 trainsets[3]
Formation 9 carriages per trainset[4]
Fleet numbers 345001345066
Capacity 450 seated, 4 wheelchair, 1500 people total[5]
Operator(s) Crossrail
Depot(s) Old Oak Common[1]
Line(s) served Elizabeth Line
Train length 200 metres (660 ft)[1]
Doors Plug, 6 sets of doors per carriage
Maximum speed 145 km/h (90 mph)[5]
Weight less than 350 tonnes[5]
Electric system(s) 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines[5]
conversion to 750 V DC third rail optional[5]
Current collection method Pantograph
Safety system(s) CBTC (Crossrail Tunnels / Abbey Wood Branch)
ERTMS (Great Western Main Line)
AWS / TPWS (Great Eastern Main Line)
Coupling system Dellner
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 345 is a Bombardier Aventra design electric multiple unit being manufactured for London's Crossrail. 66 nine-car trains are being manufactured at a cost of £1 billion, with each train able to reach 140 km/h (90 mph) and carry 1,500 passengers.[6] The contract was awarded to Bombardier Transportation in February 2014 and the trains will enter service from May 2017.


Background and specifications

In 2008 the UK government's rolling stock plan stated a requirement for around 600 carriages for Crossrail, expected to be similar in design to the Thameslink rolling stock, to meet the design improvement requirements of the 2007 'Rail Technical Strategy' (RTS), including in-cab signalling/communication including satellite and ERTMS level 3 technologies, regenerative braking, low cost of operation and high reliability, with low weight and high acceleration.[7][8]

The publicly released specifications included a passenger capacity of 1,500, with 450 seated, in a fully air-conditioned train no longer than 205 m (673 ft) with a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph), and an energy efficiency as good as 24 kW·h per train-kilometre. Integration with Platform screen doors is also expected.[5] The capital value of the contract, which included construction of a depot at Old Oak Common, was estimated at around £1 billion,[9] the total value may be greater due to the winning bidder expected to undertake maintenance of the trains for three decades, the estimated lifespan of the fleet.[10]

The procurement programme was launched in December 2010. The package valued at approximately £1bn was for 60 high-capacity ten-carriage trains with a capacity of about 1,500 passengers and construction of maintenance depots.[11]

Bidding process and funding

In March 2011, Crossrail announced that Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens had been shortlisted. The initial bidding process was expected to start in late 2011, with a contract decision in 2013.[12][13]

In August 2011 the invitation to tender was delayed by one year to 2012 and the contract decision to 2014, with the introduction of trains on the Great Eastern Main Line expected from May 2017 (previously December 2016), with a correspondingly shortened production schedule. The delay was a cost-saving measure to avoid new vehicles being unused whilst Crossrail tunnelling was completed;[14] it also postponed bidding until after a review of governmental procurement processes.[15][16] Alstom withdrew from the bidding process in August 2011, stating it lacked a suitable developed product.[16] Concerns about taxpayer value for money on PFI funded projects led to Transport for London (TfL) seeking to purchase the trains outright.[17] In December 2011 the request to raise the debt ceiling at TfL to allow the acquisition with public funds was refused by the Department for Transport.[18]

In February 2012 an invitation to negotiate was issued, which included clauses on 'responsible procurement' relating to UK supply chain sourcing and training opportunities;[9] the procurement became politicised after Bombardier failed to win the Thameslink rolling stock programme, and said it may have to close its UK assembly plant (Derby Litchurch Lane) if it did not win the Crossrail contract.[10][19]

Formal bids were expected in mid-2012, with a decision in early 2014, based on the proposed product meeting the design requirements, and on value for money. Procurement is expected to be partly public and partly privately financed.[9] In September 2012 the government announced that it would underwrite a further £240 million of the project cost under its 'UK Guarantees' infrastructure credit funding scheme, in addition to the 30 per cent of the project being government funded.[20]

Siemens withdrew from the tendering process in July 2013, citing a likelihood of insufficient production capacity in the production timeframe.[21] In December 2013 the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide loans to Transport for London for the rolling stock of up to £500 million.[22] On 6 February 2014 it was announced that Canada's Bombardier had been awarded a £1bn contract to supply 65 trains,[4][23] with an option for 18 more.[4]

Fleet details

A total of 66 units totalling 594 carriages are to be built.[24]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 345 Crossrail 66 20152018 9 345001345066

The trains will initially enter service in May 2017 on the current TfL Rail route between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield as seven-carriage units, owing to the need to lengthen the platforms at Liverpool Street. The new units will also replace the Class 315s presently used on TfL Rail.[25] Units introduced from May 2018 between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport will be full nine-carriage trains, with those initially delivered in seven-car formation converted by the end of 2019.[26] The trains will have free wifi and 4G available, as well as being fully accessible for wheelchair users.[27] The trains will operate from 25 kV AC OHLE, but will be able to be fitted with shoegear allowing for use with 750V DC third rail, allowing for a possible future extension of Crossrail to Gravesend.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract to be awarded to Bombardier" (Press release). Department of Transport. 6 February 2014.
  2. TfL image - Crossrail first body shell - Flickr. Retrieved 2015-09-11.
  3. "Crossrail trains take shape". Crossrail. Crossrail. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 "Bombardier wins Crossrail train contract". Railway Gazette International. 6 February 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sources:
  6. "Crossrail trains take shape". Crossrail. Crossrail. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  7. Sources "Rail Technical Strategy":
  8. "Department for Transport – Rolling stock plan". Department for Transport. 30 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008.
  9. 1 2 3 Sources:
  10. 1 2 Jim Pickard; Mark Odell (27 February 2012). "Crossrail tender favours UK". The Financial Times.
  11. "Crossrail seeks privately-financed rolling stock". Railway Gazette International. 1 December 2010.
  12. "Crossrail confirms shortlist for rolling stock and depot facilities" (Press release). Crossrail. 30 March 2011.
  13. "Crossrail issues rolling stock shortlist". Railway Gazette International. 30 March 2011.
  14. "Update on Crossrail rolling stock and depot procurement" (Press release). Crossrail. 30 August 2011.
  15. Sources:
  16. 1 2 Robert Wright; Helen Warrell (30 August 2011). "Alstom quits delayed Crossrail bids". Financial Times.
  17. Sources:
  18. Dan Milmo (11 December 2011). "Minister blocks Boris Johnson's plan to fund £1bn Crossrail project". The Guardian.
  19. Sources:
  20. Sources:
  21. "Crossrail rolling stock procurement" (Press release). Siemens. 5 July 2013.
  22. "EIB provides £500m loan for Crossrail trains". Railway Gazette International. 13 December 2013.
  23. "Bombardier wins £1bn Crossrail deal". BBC News. 6 February 2014.
  24. "Crossrail trains take shape". Crossrail. Crossrail. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  25. Clinnick, Richard (22 December 2015). "A major achievement for Liverpool Street". Rail. Bauer Media (789): 81–85.
  26. Clinnick, Richard (22 December 2015). "Crossrail reveals design of "future-packed" Aventras". Rail. Bauer Media (789): 28–29.
  27. "Crossrail: New trains".
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