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Alstom and Hitachi Rail fear possible closure of their UK sites this year

2 April 2024
Reading time ~ 2 min
Hitachi Rail's site in Newton Aycliffe
Hitachi Rail's site in Newton Aycliffe. Source: wikimedia
Savenkova Ekaterina, Editorial Contributor to International Projects of ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 2 min
Stolchnev Alexey, Russian Projects Editor, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

UK: According to Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland managing director, assembly of the remaining Aventra EMUs at the Derby plant is nearing completion.

He expects low to zero activity in May and June until the site is completely shut down.

Negotiations with the government, which have been ongoing for some 11 months, have not yet resulted in any guaranteed orders in the short term. Crossfield estimates that the planned closure of the Derby site in the second quarter will result in 3,000 redundancies at the site itself and 12,000–15,000 in its supply chain.

Hitachi Rail has been in negotiations with the government over its Newton Aycliffe site for two years. The site is due to finalise a contract with operator First Trenitalia in October. The negotiations have only recently led to a government statement that there are no plans for new contracts that the site could fulfil before it starts working on a contract for HS2. The company says it is considering all options to retain its workforce of around 700.

UPDATE 03/04/2024: Alstom began to mothball its Derby site and cut 1,300 jobs. Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland managing director, wrote to Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport. Crossfield stated that the company had no other choice. “The ending of train manufacture at Derby Litchurch Lane after 147 years is an outcome we have been working extremely hard to avoid”, British media quoted his letter. In his open response, Mark Harper encouraged Alstom to maintain their investment in the site and explore export opportunities. He noted that train manufacturing was “by its nature, cyclical”.

At the same time, both companies are due to start building 54 trains for the HS2 high-speed line in 18 months’ time. However, a lack of orders in the short term could lead to their closure. The UK’s Railway Industry Association warned of such an outcome last summer and proposed its strategy for capacity utilisation.

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