TfL has signed a sale and lease-back deal to sell its fleet of Elizabeth line trains for nearly £1 billion to a consortium comprising Equitix Investment Management, NatWest and SMBC Leasing.

In January 2018, TfL announced that it was looking at whether it could sell and lease back the Elizabeth line rolling stock, to support the delivery for new Piccadilly line trains. Following two rounds of bids throughout 2018, the transaction was approved by TfL’s Finance Committee last December.

The final contracts have now been signed.

Similar leasing deals have previously enabled TfL to introduce new trains onto London Overground since it began running services in November 2007. TfL said that this was why it has pursued the sale and leaseback with the Elizabeth line train fleet, although in both cases, the lease agreements were structured differently from the leaseback deals common to the rest of the national rail network due to the slightly bespoke design of the Overground, and Elizabeth line trains.

Although it’s not normal to sell and leaseback tube trains, the Northern line trains are operated under a PFI agreement signed back in 1995, although that also included a maintenance contract as well.

The final deal also secures TfL savings across its current five-year Business Plan, as the cost of the lease will be less than that assumed in that plan. In addition, the deal includes an option for TfL to purchase the fleet back at the end of the initial lease term if it wishes to do so.

The completion of the sale and leaseback deal will have no impact on the operation or maintenance of the Elizabeth line fleet, which will remain with TfL and MTR Crossrail, who currently operate TfL Rail services.

The aim of the sale is to be able to fund the upfront costs of buying the new Piccadilly line trains, which are due to start arriving in 2023.

So far, 57 of the full fleet of 70 trains for the Elizabeth line have been built.

Crossrail is now carrying out Dynamic Testing of the Elizabeth line through the new tunnels in central London using the Class 345 trains. Test trains have also recently been running out to Reading station as part of TfL’s wider work, along with the DfT, to operate Reading to Paddington services ahead of the completion of the Elizabeth line.

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11 comments on “TfL sells Crossrail trains to pay for Piccadilly line trains
  1. Paul Day says:

    Those Elizabeth line trains have seats that are hard as a board, bloomin’ uncomfortable. I was hoping TFL were getting rid of them.

  2. Yam Gurung says:

    Tfl is total waste of time and not fit for purpose.

    • J Marsden says:

      Who are you exactly comparing TFL with?

    • J Marsden says:

      Shows your ignorance of the project, TFL will be the operator of the services and part funded the construction, it isn’t building Crossrail.

      Crossrail Ltd is an independent company tasked with planning and building Crossrail it received most of the funding from a grant from the Department of Transport and the GLA (London business rate levy), TFL contributed £1.9 billion.

  3. Girish C Thanki says:

    The incompetence starts at the very top. Sadiq Khan.

    • Shamonthedon says:

      Ridiculous comment and shows a total lack of understanding about TFLs finances and the situation he inherited. If you want to blame anyone start with the Tories who have removed the subsidy and continue with Brexit Boris and the hundreds of millions wasted on the garden bridge, new routemasters cable cars removing the Western extension to the c charge.

    • J Marsden says:

      Almost as if you are spamming random comments. Hmmmm

  4. Charles Keens says:

    Billions of pounds on yet another north London line and more short sighted finances. South Londin doesn’t get a look in just pays for North London. Sadiq hadn’t got a clue.

    • Shamonthedon says:

      Erm Thameslink, Northern Line Extension, Bakerloo Line Extension. Most of the rail network on South London comes under Network Rail..hardly the remit of the Mayor.

    • J Marsden says:

      Ok, you think Crossrail, planned in the 1970s, delayed in the 1990s and given the green light in the 00s to relieve real congestion on the Central line linking the major employment centres of London with the national airport is something to do with Sadiq who has been Mayor for last 2.5 years? Someone certainly hasn’t a clue but it isn’t Sadiq! Crossail is an East/West railway, since when was Canary Wharf, Bank, West End, Paddington, Heathrow and Reading “North”!

      The last two mayors, especially Sadiq have been very vocal and supportive of Crossrail 2, which is a North East/South West railway. National Government on which the entire country always have to rely on for any infrastructure funds, just has not supported spades in the ground, only endless accounting reports. Sorry who are you blaming again?

  5. Chris H says:

    South London will have the Kennington-Battersea Extension, admittedly small beer!

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