Britain to approve $12 bln train project-paper

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Britain will replace its ageing Intercity Express trains at a cost of 7.5 billion pounds ($12 billion), a newspaper report said on Sunday.

A consortium consisting of Japanese industrial conglomerate Hitachi 6501.T and British infrastructure project manager John Laing are the preferred bidders on the contract, the Sunday Times said.

Quoting a source close to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, the paper said the minister would approve the plan on Thursday.

“We will be replacing the old Intercity trains with a fleet that will make journey times quicker and more reliable,” the source said.

A decision on the programme had been expected last month. (Writing by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6274 Pound)