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Thursday 11 October 2018

Guido Fawkes Now Backs HS2

[Update at end of post]

Ever watchful for opportunities to pretend that Britain’s imminent departure from the European Union is nothing to worry about, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have seized upon a news item concerning Spanish train builder Patentes Talgo, which may built a train assembly plant in the UK.
Spanish Train Firm Picks UK For Massive New Factory” claims The Great Guido in a routine act of deception: the only reason that Talgo would build a factory in the UK is to assemble trains that would work on the UK rail network. But do go on.

Spanish train manufacturing firm TALGO has shortlisted six sites to host a 40,000 [square] metre manufacturing facility, built to construct a new generation of trains, and creating 1,000 jobs. Despite operating its trains operating in 28 countries, from Germany, to the U.S., to Saudi Arabia, all six of TALGO’s shortlisted sites are in the U.K”.

And to that I call bullshit. There is not only no intention on the part of Patentes Talgo to export any trains from the UK - they already have plenty of capacity at their existing facility at Las Rozas de Madrid - there is also no certainty that the British factory will even be built.
Two high-speed Talgo trainsets at Madrid's ChamartĂ­n station

This from Railway Gazette: “UK: Talgo has shortlisted the port of Mostyn in north Wales as one of six potential sites for its proposed UK rolling stock manufacturing plant, the company announced in Cardiff on October 9 … The other sites include St Helens, Leeds and Chesterfield in northern England, and Hunterston or Longannet in Scotland. A decision on a preferred site is expected next month, although a final go-ahead would depend on the company obtaining an initial order” [my emphasis]. 

This is all down to a project that the Fawkes folks and their pals have previously opposed: “Talgo has been shortlisted to bid for the supply of ‘at least’ 54 ‘classic compatible’ 360 km/h trainsets for Phase 1 of HS2 between London and the West Midlands, based on its Avril concept”. It will depend whether the firm secures the HS2 order. And the Avril concept is not yet in series production. But good to see the Fawkes rabble now backs HS2.

As to that “1,000 jobs claim”, as so often, there is a snag: “The company anticipates that a future UK plant could generate up to 1 000 jobs”. Could generate up to. And there is another small matter that the Fawkes free marketeers aren’t telling their readers about.
From Railway Gazette again: “Asked whether the final decision might depend on the availability of regional development grants, Talgo UK director Jon Veitch said ‘indicative commercial offers have been presented to us as part of the evaluation, but this is subject to negotiation’”. The incentives wouldn’t be the “overriding decision”, and dead right too. The overriding decision would be getting the HS2 order in the first place.

The problem there is that established high speed rail players like Alstom and Siemens, as well as Bombardier and Hitachi, all of whom already have products rolling around the UK rail network, are also shortlisted. On top of that, most of Talgo’s production is for Spanish operator Renfe - because it’s a Spanish company (see also under CAF).

The Great Guido never does give his readers the full story. Another fine mess.
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[UPDATE 1400 hours: Paul Bigland advises that Patentes Talgo may still open a facility in the UK even if they do not secure the HS2 order, because of capacity problems with its other sites. But note the Railway Gazette caution that the final go-ahead still depends on an initial order]


Unknown said...

Do you think Guido knows (or cares) that his #DESPITEBREXIT picture is using a copyrighted image on the header? The smiling blond boy with his thumb up is property of Bethesda softworks LLC and is from their best selling "Fallout" series of games.

Mind you, the games are about spending much of your life in a protected and safe bunker but then having to survive a ravaged dystopian wasteland for no good reason. Metaphor much?

Anonymous said...

Back in March Siemens announced plans for a new factory in Grimsby to build rolling stock. Lots of press coverage about wonderful it was, all of them missing out that it was SUBJECT TO THEM SECURING CONTRACTS.

Both Siemens and Talgo are non stories.

Ceiliog said...

Another shit #Despite Brexit story by Paul (those unmentionable) Staines.
It was only a short while ago that Staines was shouting loud and hoarse about a super-duper AUS$35billion warship deal using the same # tag.