The Department for Transport has at last pronounced on their preferred bidder for a new train fleet for what is known as the Thameslink programme – that is, commuter services running mainly between Bedford, central London, and Brighton. Punters will be relieved to know that 1,200 new vehicles are on the way, and hopefully more capacity will be provided at peak periods.
So that’s good news – well, the order, to be placed with Siemens plc and a consortium called XL Trains, will bring “up to” 2,000 jobs in the UK. This sounds like a lot, but it could have been more. Why so? Well, Siemens, who have already supplied hundreds of multiple unit trains for the UK network, will not be building them in the UK.
The trains will be built at Krefeld, and that’s in Germany. Had the order gone to rival bidder Bombardier, the trains would have been built at the former BR plant at Derby, and that’s definitely in the UK. At present, Derby is building new trains for London Underground, but this may cease after delivery of stock for the Sub Surface Lines (SSLs) like the District and Hammersmith and City.Bombardier will be hoping they get the nod for the next big build of new trains, which will be for the Crossrail project. So will all the supply chain companies who depend on Derby Works staying in business. And all those employed in and around the industry.