Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) and Rock Rail have extended their partnership with a fourth UK rolling stock deal.

ASI and Rock Rail said they have led a £350m (€415m) financing of new Hitachi intercity trains for the West Coast Partnership rail franchise.

As with the duo’s previous UK rolling stock deals, senior debt is provided by institutional investors with the funder group comprising of Aviva Investors and Sun Life Investments, the companies said.

The fleet will be financed through Rock Rail West Coast and leased to West Coast Partnership, a joint venture between First Group and Trenitalia. First-Trenitalia will take over the franchise from 8 December 2019, operating intercity services as Avanti West Coast.

ASI and Rock Rail’s first UK investment was in February 2016, to provide a £300m fleet of Desiro City Class 717 trains.

Dominic Helmsley, head of economic infrastructure, Aberdeen Standard Investments, said this represents the fourth major investment in UK rolling stock “through our exclusive partnership with Rock Rail and solidifies ASI’s position as a major player in the funding of UK rolling stock”.

Mark Swindell, CEO, Rock Rail, said: “The long term, highly competitive funding from leading pension fund and insurance institutions enables significantly enhanced value for money to rail passengers over the life of the trains along with significant improvements in passenger, operational and environmental features.”

Sinéad Walshe, director, infrastructure debt at Aviva Investors, said: “The financing of this new state-of-the-art Hitachi fleet delivers much-needed additional capacity to the West Coast mainline in an environmentally positive manner, whilst enhancing overall passenger experience.

“We believe it will provide our clients with a strong investment opportunity in the long-term and supports the further development of UK infrastructure.”

Monika Comazzi, senior director, project finance at Sun Life, said: “Sun Life is focused on sustainable investments that provide long-term returns for our clients, while making a positive difference environmentally and supporting critical community infrastructure such as transit services.”