By Daniel Hunter

Train builders have received a year-end boost as the government announces its backing for two new train orders, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (Friday).

As a result of government support, Southern Railway has now procured 40 new carriages from Bombardier based in Derby.

In addition to the 40 carriages, the government is also supporting Southern’s tendering process for a 116 new electric carriages with the option for a further 140.

"Our support for Southern will not only boost capacity but help secure British jobs. The deal for the 40 new carriages, helped along by my department, demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to invest in Britain’s railways," Patrick McLoughlin said.

"My officials are working with Southern to accelerate their procurement process for up to 256 carriages because our ambitious electrification plans requires additional rolling stock on the network."

In December 2011 Southern Railway, with government support, announced its plans to buy 130 carriages from Bombardier to run on services in south London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent. Southern expects these will be in service by December 2013. As part of this deal Southern had the option to buy the additional 40 carriages at a later stage.

In July the government announced the biggest programme of rail modernisation since the Victorian era. At the heart of the scheme was the electrification of the Midland Main Line, from London to Sheffield, with additional spurs linking it to the Great Western Main Line and the Port of Southampton.

If Southern progresses with the procurement, these 116 new vehicles, and potentially 140 more, could initially be used on the Thameslink routes. Once the expected new Thameslink trains are operational these carriages will be moved to the newly electrified routes, which could include the Midland Main Line to Corby and North Transpennine Routes.

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