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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rock Rail
Area served
United Kingdom
ProductsRolling stock leasing
ParentRock Infrastructure Edit this at Wikidata

Rock Rail is a British rolling stock company (ROSCO). It was established by Rock Infrastructure in 2014, and was structured as a subsidiary of the firm during July 2016.

Rock Rail signed its first rail leasing deal for 25 Siemens Mobility-built Class 717 with train operator Govia Thameslink Railway in February 2016. This was promptly followed by a large order for 58 Stadler-built Class 745 and Class 755 multiple units for Abellio Greater Anglia. In the following years, numerous other leasing arrangements and strategic partnerships have come about between Rock Rail and other organisations, including South Western Railway, Avanti West Coast, and East Midlands Railway; the company has come to comprise roughly 40 percent of all new rolling stock orders in the UK rail market at times. Rock Rail has also expanded into both the continental European and Australian markets.


Rock Rail originated in 2014 with Rock Infrastructure; the company set it up as its dedicated rail leasing subsidiary on 1 July 2016.[1] It has been described as an investor and asset manager of passenger-orientated rolling stock and other rail-side infrastructure, such as electrification, digital signalling and depots, and introducing new technologies to the sector.[2] Rock Rail has claimed its investments are underpinned by the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors. It was initially focused upon operations within the British rail market exclusively.[2]

A pair of Class 755 multiple units, 2020
A pair of Class 755 multiple units, 2020

During February 2016, the company announced its first rolling stock leasing deal, valued at £200 million, for 25 Siemens Mobility-built Class 717 dual-voltage electric multiple units (EMUs) on behalf of Govia Thameslink Railway.[3] On 4 October 2016, Rock Rail also financed the purchase of 20 Stadler-built Class 745 and 38 Class 755 multiple units for Abellio Greater Anglia; the deal, at a cost reportedly in excess of £600 million, was described by Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth as one part of "the largest-ever privately-funded train procurement in the UK".[4][5]

Rock Rail's founder, Mark Swindell, described the company's role as a 'direct pipeline' for investors in infrastructure, contrasting it against Private Finance Initiatives and index funds, which allegedly made it an object of interest to numerous other companies within the insurance industry. Management has reportedly viewed the general state of Britain's rolling stock as 'elderly' and prime opportunities for being involved in its replacement.[6]

Throughout the early 2020s, Rock Rail finalised numerous contracts with train operators, such as for the purchase of Class 701 electric multiple units for South Western Railway, Hitachi-built Class 805 and 807 high speed trains for Avanti West Coast, and similar Class 810s for East Midlands Railway.[7][8][9][10] By November 2020, Rock Rail had secured £3 billion of investment in excess of 1,500 new rolling stock, which was for the use of five separate British train franchises, since February 2016; this activity had reportedly accounted for roughly 40 percent of all passenger rolling stock orders in the UK rail market across this period. the company's fleet had exclusively comprised electric and bi-mode trains.[2]

By the end of the 2010s, Rock Rail had diverified its operations into both the Australian and continental European markets.[2] In December 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Rock Rail and the University of Birmingham's Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) for a partnership on addressing railway rolling stock cyber security issues.[11]


Class Number Operator Status
701[7] 71 South Western Railway Under construction
717[12] 25 Govia Thameslink Railway In service
745[13] 20 Abellio Greater Anglia In service
755[13] 38 Abellio Greater Anglia In service
805[9] 13 Avanti West Coast Under construction
807[9] 10 Avanti West Coast Under construction
810[10] 33 East Midlands Railway Under construction


  1. ^ a b "Rock Rail Holdings Limited, Company number: 10260072". Companies House. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Written evidence submitted by Rock Rail Holdings Ltd". November 2020.
  3. ^ "Rock Rail signs first rolling stock financing deal". Railway Gazette International. 18 February 2016. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Pension funds back Abellio East Anglia order for Stadler trainsets". Railway Gazette International. 5 October 2016. Archived from the original on 6 October 2016.
  5. ^ "New Rosco joint-venture formed in Europe". International Railway Journal. September 2018: 14. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Rock 'n rolling stock: insurers find an opportunity in railway assets". 11 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b Briginshaw, David (25 August 2020). "First Aventra EMU for South Western Railway unveiled". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  8. ^ Topham, Gwyn (20 June 2017). "Derby-based Bombardier beats German rival to £900m train contract". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "Hitachi Trains for Avanti" (856). Modern Railways. January 2020: 9. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ a b "Class 810 bi-modes" (902). Rail. 8 April 2020: 27. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "University of Birmingham and Rock Rail sign agreement to accelerate and promote rail cyber security". University of Birmingham. 15 December 2021.
  12. ^ "GTR confirms 200 million deal for new Great Northern Class 700" (795). Rail. 2 March 2016: 23. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ a b "Stadler reveals new Greater Anglia train, set to transform rail travel in East Anglia" (PDF). Stadler Rail. 20 September 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 May 2022, at 21:40
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