Posted 9th April 2024 | 4 Comments

‘Gloves off’ at Alstom Derby after government turned its back

Patience in Derby with the Government over the plight of Alstom’s train building works in the city has now run out, according to the managing director of Marketing Derby.

John Forkin revealed in a post on X last night that ‘A senior government representative pulled out of a meeting with Team Derby today so we will take the gloves off and open up a community-wide campaign to save UK train design and building.’

The identity of the government representative has not been revealed.

Alstom UK and Ireland managing director Nick Crossfield has already warned that the process of declaring 1300 redundancies is under way, after the works in Litchurch Lane ran out of new contracts. There is also concern about another 700 jobs at the Hitachi plant in County Durham, while thousands of additional jobs in the railway supply chain are set to be lost if the factories close for good.

Mr Crossfield has predicted that the fleet for HS2, which is to be supplied jointly by Alstom and Hitachi, may have to be built abroad, and that Britain could become the only country in the G7 to have no domestic train-building centre.

Rail minister Huw Merriman wrote to industry stakeholders at the end of January, setting out plans for four rolling stock procurement contracts, but only one is a candidate for this year.

He said the indicative contract award date for more than 600 vehicles for Southeastern is set for early 2025, but that the Department is ‘considering scope to bring forward to December 2024’.

In his letter, Mr Merriman also said that ‘The Secretary of State has made clear his ambition to grow demand back and create a thriving railway, and to support the creation of high-quality jobs in a strong and resilient UK manufacturing sector,’ and went on to encourage train builders ‘to seek export opportunities’.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Greg T, London

    Misgovernment is to blame, principally.
    Harper is absent half the time & is known to be anti-rail
    Merriman is surprisingly competent, for a tory, but he cannot get orders over the line, without prodding his boss

  • Keith, Holmfirth

    The loss of Derby means the end of train building in this country - so faras I know the other plants only assemble parts brought in from and designed abroad.

    We seem to have a totally incompetent government, irrespective of politics. The sooner they go, the better - but it might be too late for the railway industry

  • Martin marrison, HAYWARDS HEATH

    Do you really think this government cares about Derby and the manufacturing capability? Looking at the way they have miss managed the NHS in the past 14 years they clearly don't give a fig about Derby either?
    They clearly can't manage their way out of a paper bag....

  • Nick Dumont, London

    The Class 701 contract has probably had a lot to do with their plight. 90 units (10-car and 5-car) for SWR. Only two have so far entered service after nearly five years of 'testing'. Virtually destroying their reputation as a serious train builder. The Class 701 is a disaster inherited from Bombardier.