UK train maker Bombardier has launched legal action over a regional transport body’s decision to award a contract for new trains to a Swiss firm.
Last month of leaders Liverpool City Region gave the green light to a £460m project to replace the Merseyrail suburban electric fleet and infrastructure upgrades on Merseyrail, part of the city region's Merseytravel network.
Swiss manufacturer Stadler will build and maintain the trains
The trains will be built and maintained by Swiss manufacturer Stadler.
Now unsuccessful British bidder Bombardier is seeking to challenge the award in the High Court.
The Times reported that the firm is alleging irregularities in the procurement, particularly around the risk assessments for the bids.
A spokesperson for Merseytravel said: ‘We can confirm that Bombardier has issued a legal challenge with the High Court in relation to Merseytravel’s decision to award the contract for a fleet of new trains to Stadler.
‘We are confident that we can robustly defend this challenge however it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage because the process is subject to ongoing legal proceedings.’
Transport Network also approached Bombardier for comment.
The contract for the new trains also raised controversy as they are configured to what Merseytravel calls 'driver controlled operation' – the issue that has caused a long running dispute between the rail unions and Southern rail.
The RMT union said earlier this month that it had written to Merseyrail calling for ‘cast-iron assurances’ around the future role of the guard on the new trains, which are due to come into service by the end of 2020.