Rail transport is essential to the growth of the UK economy. Since privatisation, companies like Rock Rail have stepped in to provide the infrastructure needed to modernise the rail network. Deutsche Bank is supporting Rock Rail’s ambition to bring UK rail travel into the twenty-first century.
Rail travel is no longer just about getting from A to B on time. Comfort and safety matter too. Some may want to work while others relax. Carriages have to be accessible to all. There are new environmental standards to meet as well. The state-of-the-art trains provided by Rock Rail address all of these requirements.
With their superfast wifi, digital information systems and more efficient energy use, the trains which Rock Rail buys and leases to franchises that run passenger services on the UK’s rail network represent a step change in design and performance compared with older models.
Rock Rail uses an innovative funding model to finance this investment. It raises capital from pension funds and insurance companies, whose investment objectives fit the long-term nature of infrastructure financings. Transactions often have durations of 20 or 30 years.
Deutsche Bank supports several of Rock Rail’s projects in the UK as payment agent. The payment agent provides the link between borrower and investors and manages payments in both directions. The bank makes sure that capital from investors reaches Rock Rail safely and transfers interest payments from Rock Rail to investors. This provides investors with a regular income, which in turn benefits people saving for retirement.
Everything must be in order before any payments are made and the payment agent is responsible for checking every last detail. “We even ask for the trains to be inspected,” explains Craig Smith of Global Transaction Banking.
"This means a lot to me personally as I’ll be taking these trains to work every day"
Craig Smith, Deutsche Bank
The trains supplied to the Greater Anglia franchise represent one of the largest-ever private sector investments in rail infrastructure. “This is a once in a lifetime investment,” says Nick English of Rock Rail, which formed a company called Rock Rail East Anglia with SL Capital Partners and GLIL Infrastructure for this purpose.
Rock Rail sees investment in rail infrastructure as good for the UK as a whole. “Passengers and government are going to see an amazing change,” says CEO Mark Swindell.