Arriva (UK) Trains

Bid Support for Ground Breaking Rail Services and Infrastructure Development Contract

Since early 2011 the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has been promoting and developing an exciting £1.2bn integrated Metro project transforming public transport in South-East Wales with bus rapid transit, heavy rail and new light rail modes and delivering new routes, higher service frequencies and reduced journey times. WAG launched a process in mid-2016, through its executive agency Transport for Wales (TfW), to procure an Operator and Development Partner (ODP) to deliver crucial infrastructure upgrades, manage the Core Valley Lines (CVL) infrastructure and deliver rail services across the Wales & Borders Rail Franchise and South Wales Metro from October 2018 until 2033. As one of four prequalified bidders for the ODP contract Arriva (UK) Trains retained IPEX as expert rolling stock and train systems advisor, to help determine and assess the options for the light rail deployment as part of the Metro solution and the complementary heavy rail parts, including on the wider franchise operation. Early development work was utilised to develop the Fleet solution as part of a multi-disciplinary bid team.


The long term vision published by WAG set high expectations for the connectivity and journey experience to be achieved by the Metro and yet the development of practical light rail solutions and the experience in UK for deploying these solutions is relatively limited. The specification (principally an Invitation to Submit Final Tender – ITSFT) issued by TfW particularly included zero carbon operation, electrification, and future proofing for more sustainable traction and technology solutions, as well as options / enabling for street-running in city areas and other extendibility, journey time and passenger capacity improvements and challenging deadlines and requirements for functionality and quality within the rolling stock. The TfW requirements demanded significant stretch and innovation in the technical capabilities of the rolling stock solution, including electric traction drives, battery, hydrogen and bi-mode / hybrid prime-movers, level boarding platform interfacing and extensive system optimisation between rolling stock, infrastructure and operations, as well as typical maintenance, depot and stabling strategies and solutions. The Fleet solution also required integration with the train plan, revenue profile and customer experience initiatives, all delivered within a defined TfW revenue profile constraint. The prosecution of TfW’s process through a Competitive Dialogue approach also demanded considerable flexibility and agility in the derivation of Arriva’s solution, not least the Fleet component.


IPEX has extensive knowledge and experience in the assessment and specification of train system requirements to fulfil operational and business needs. IPEX deployed a multi-faceted team addressing the areas of: heavy and light rail fleet options and strategy; new train market engagement and procurement support; technical analysis and specification – particularly around the electrification, platforming, gauging and operational interfaces, maintenance strategy and depot and stabling strategy. As key outputs the team developed fleet strategies and scenarios for business case approval, maintenance, depot and stabling solutions, delivery plans, and assumptions for the financial models, as well as particular analysis and assurance for the innovative and unproven elements of the technical solution.


As an experienced and successful operator and bidder for rail franchises and concessions Arriva was able quickly and easily to integrate the expert IPEX Fleet work stream into a cohesive and high-performing bid team. IPEX’s blend of experienced Fleet bid team expertise, established industry / market engagement, and deep rolling stock technical knowledge and capability then enabled the extensive spectrum of rolling stock options to be determined and explored comprehensively and creatively in order to derive the best possible solution in business case terms as well as in compliance with TfW’s challenging requirements for technology innovation and future-proofing. IPEX was also able to flex and adapt rapidly to Arriva’s developing bid vision and strategy and the emerging requirements of the ITSFT as they altered through the Competitive Dialogue process. The result for Arriva was a highly creative and innovative fleet solution that secured the best options and stretch within the new and cascade rolling stock supply market and interfaced robustly with the infrastructure and the operations.