The interior of crossrail

UK | Transport


345 Rail Leasing Limited is the owner of the fleet of trains (class 345) to be operated on the Crossrail route (the Elizabeth Line) when it opens. In the interim, the trains are being operated on services between London Paddington and Reading and between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, under the banner of TfL Rail.

The trains are being manufactured by Bombardier, which is also contracted to maintain the fleet. When completed, the fleet will comprise 70 nine-car trains. The fleet is leased to Rail for London Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), which in turn subleases to the operator (MTR Crossrail). The trains are maintained at a depot at Old Oak Common, although (as the arrangement with TfL is a dry lease) both the depot and maintenance contract are outside the project scope.

The lease with TfL is for a term of 20 years from January 2019 (compared with an expected asset life of 40 years). At the expiry of the lease, TfL has an option to acquire the fleet, for a pre-determined price, or to hand back the trains to the project company. The lease is “hell or high water”, which protects the project from risks associated with the construction of the trains and their maintenance and also from the risks of the Crossrail infrastructure construction and operation.

Equitix holds a 50% shareholding in this project, alongside its co-investor SMBC.