Intercity Express renewal decision in October

A railway worker is reflected in the window of a Midland Mainline train at Loughborough Station, central England, August 14, 2007. REUTERS/Darren Staples

LONDON (Reuters) - A decision on whether to proceed with a programme to replace the Intercity Express trains will be taken alongside a wider review of government spending in October, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

“The government believes that it would be irresponsible to make a decision on (the Intercity Express Programme) at this time, particularly given the interdependencies between IEP and other major rail investments,” the DfT said in a statement on Tuesday.

There has been speculation the programme, which would provide up to 2,000 new train carriages for use on the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines, could be axed in as part of a squeeze on government spending.

A consortium consisting of Japanese industrial conglomerate Hitachi and British infrastructure project manager John Laing are the preferred bidders on the Intercity Express contract.

Reporting by Myles Neligan