Bombardier Transportation has signed a £173m order for a new line of high-speed trains that will run on the Stansted Express route from 2011.

The high-speed rail line between London and Stansted will receive funding from the Department for Transport as part of a plan to increase railway capacity and create jobs.

The effort will allow National Express East Anglia (NXEA) to increase its fleet by 188 carriages, 120 of which will be newly built by Bombardier.

Bombardier will build 30 four-car Bombardier Electrostar Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) trains that are designed for service speeds up to 160km/h – equal to the capability of the Heathrow Express.

The Electrostar fleet, which will be delivered between March and June 2011, will replace the older Class 317 line of trains.

Bombardier will maintain the fleet for three years using the operator’s maintenance depot at Ilford.

Bombardier’s Derby site will be responsible for the vehicle manufacture, project management, engineering and testing.

The Clacton depot in Essex will also be brought back into use as a maintenance facility to cope with the enlarged fleet.

Altogether, the government estimated NXEA will take on more than 100 additional staff, and the infrastructure improvements will support longer trains that will help to safeguard jobs with Network Rail.

Transport secretary Geoff Hoon said: ‘This is one of the biggest upgrades to an existing franchise since rail privatisation and is a mark of our continued commitment to invest in long-term projects to improve the railways.

'This will be of major benefit to passengers in terms of reducing overcrowding, while Bombardier's success will help safeguard UK manufacturing jobs and the expansion of the fleet will create welcomed job opportunities with NXEA.'

The government expects that all improvements on the line will be in place by December 2011, and this will result in 11,000 extra seats for commuting into Liverpool Street in the three-hour morning peak. The additional trains are also expected to help improve capacity for the London Olympics at Stratford in 2012.

The new line of Bombardier trains will principally provide transport from London to Stansted Airport, but it is also expected that the trains will provide some commuter services from Cambridge.

The agreement, signed with Lloyds TSB and London Eastern Railways, a subsidiary of National Express, is encouraging for Bombardier’s train division amid disappointing news for the company’s aerospace business.

The transportation giant recently announced that it will cut almost 3,000 jobs worldwide, including 975 jobs from its four plants in the greater Belfast area.

The losses have been blamed on the recession and a 25 per cent downturn in the regional jet aircraft market.