HomeJobsFunding for new Elizabeth Line trains saves 1,200 jobs at UK’s biggest...

Funding for new Elizabeth Line trains saves 1,200 jobs at UK’s biggest rail factory


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An Alstom spokesman said: “The parties have agreed to conclude discussions as soon as possible and no later than the end of May. This could help secure the future of the Litchurch Lane site.”

Mr Harper said in a social media post that he’d had a “constructive meeting” with Alstom on the future of train manufacturing in the UK and that intensive discussions will continue with the aim of finalising the accord.

In a letter to MPs with constituencies in the Derby area, Mr Harper said that the onus is on the French firm to provide competitive pricing and transparency on costings to ensure swift closure of the contract. He has asked Alstom for written confirmation that it will invest in Litchurch Lane and make it a hub for design and production.

Alstom would move some other work to Litchurch Lane to help sustain jobs until the start of the new contract. The factory, which traces its history back more than 140 years, helps support 15,000 jobs in the supply chain and contributes about £1bn annually to GDP.

The future of Hitachi’s train plant in County Durham remains uncertain as it prepares to complete manufacturing work on its last orders over the summer. The site at Newton Aycliffe is scheduled to build HS2 trains from the second half of next year before they’re sent to Alstom for completion, but currently lacks work to see it through to that point. 

Train building at the Newton Aycliffe factory, which employs 700 people, is due to peak over the summer before declining in the autumn after the completion of contracts for Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway, leaving hundreds of highly skilled manufacturing jobs vulnerable. Testing work will take other employees through only to next spring.

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh raised an urgent question about rail industry job losses in the House of Commons on Tuesday, accusing the Government of needless foot-dragging that has damaged the industry.

She said: “Crucial deadlines have been missed, avoidable job losses have already been made and local businesses have already been forced to close.”

Responding, Rail Minister Huw Merriman said: “These are complex problems to which there are not simple solutions, but the Government have been doing everything they can to support the workforce over many months, and continue to do so.”

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