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Alstom asks British government for order of 10 trains to save its Derby plant

17 April 2024
Reading time ~ 2 min
The Alstom trains at its Derby plant
The Alstom trains at its Derby plant. Source: Andrew Fox/inews
Savenkova Ekaterina, Editorial Contributor to International Projects of ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 2 min
Stolchnev Alexey, Russian Projects Editor, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

UK: In a statement, Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland managing director, said that an order for 100–120 Aventra cars would maintain operations at the site until 2026, when the company will start fulfilling a contract for high-speed trains.

The potential risks of plant shutdowns, including the Derby facility, which has been producing rolling stock for almost 150 years, have been a key concern for the British rail industry for almost a year. The debate is now reaching a national level as large-scale cuts are announced.

“If you’re not buying it [trains] now, you’re going to be buying it in five or six years’ time, at a very different price point”, he said, emphasising that the company does not request financial assistance or a loan from the government.

In response, the Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, has argued that the government cannot intervene in a “competitive, commercial market which means there can be no guarantee of orders for individual manufacturers”. Crossfield has countered that the government has the power to approve the exercise of options to existing orders for Aventra EMUs from SWR and MTR.

On 21 March, the plant completed the assembly of the last of 2,660 Aventra cars under six contracts of different years. It is now providing rolling stock maintenance services, with about 3,000 employees still working. Alstom acquired the plant as part of the 2021 merger with Bombardier Transportation. Last year, the company announced plans to cut jobs at the plant as part of its efforts to optimise the performance of the acquired assets. As Crossfield notes, the French manufacturer has already initiated the divestment of the plant’s contractors and suppliers.

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