Posted 4th March 2024 | No Comments

Siemens reveals 100m plan for new Chippenham factory

Siemens is investing £100 million in replacing its rail infrastructure centre in Chippenham, which was previously owned by Westinghouse, with a new factory.

All 800 staff at the present site will be transferred to the new factory when it is open in 2026.

Siemens described its investment as ‘groundbreaking’, and said it intends to create a ‘cutting-edge rail infrastructure manufacturing, digital engineering and research & development centre’ at SouthPoint Business Park in the Wiltshire town.

The next generation of conventional and digital rail signalling and control systems for British railways will be built there, according to the company. The changeover from old to new will not interrupt production, it added.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who is due to unveil his Budget proposals in two days from now on 6 March, said: ‘This new commitment from Siemens is a big boost for Britain’s world-class manufacturing sector and shows our plan for the UK to be the best place to invest and grow a business is working.

‘This digital technology will improve the safety, reliability and connectivity of our railways and drive sustainable opportunities in higher-paid jobs and exports – as part of our plan to grow our economy.’

Rob Morris, who is joint CEO of Siemens Mobility in the UK & Ireland, said: ‘This £100 million investment is a strong commitment to Chippenham and our country. Siemens Mobility’s Chippenham site, along with our 30 sites across the country, has been transforming rail travel and transport in Britain – and it will continue to do so with cloud-based rail technology connecting the real and the digital worlds, digitalizing rail. We are very excited to soon start construction of one of the most sophisticated rail factories, digital engineering and R&D sites in the UK, supporting local jobs and skills for the future. There’s a piece of Britain in everything we build.’

Siemens added that its new factory is being constructed ‘with the latest standards for highly efficient production, while the offices are designed to provide a modern, welcoming work environment to enable better collaboration and innovation for the UK railway. The interior will be modelled to account for the “new normal” with many open and collaboration and meeting spaces, better facilities, relaxation areas and improved technology. The site will be designed to blend in with its surroundings, and undergo an ecological assessment aiming for a 10 per cent net increase in biodiversity through the planting of native plants and the creation of wildlife habitats.’

Chippenham has been associated with railway signalling and associated technologies since the end of the nineteenth century, because the first works in the town was opened by signalling contractor Evans O’Donnell in 1897. Later, it was acquired by the Westinghouse Brake & Signalling Company.