Posted 15th June 2024 | 4 Comments

Alstom celebrates lifeline order for Derby works

Ten trains have been ordered for the Elizabeth Line from Alstom in Derby.

The order, which is reported to be worth around £400 million, has come at a time when the site was running out of rolling stock orders and faced closure.

The Derby works became part of Alstom when that company acquired Bombardier Transportation in 2022, but trains have been built in the city since the nineteenth century. Manufacturing supports dozens of supply chain companies in the East Midlands, some of which had also been set to close along with the Alstom works.

Alstom’s UK managing director Nick Crossfield said: ‘We are delighted to now have a confirmed workload for Derby Litchurch Lane and our supply chain across the UK. The UK remains one of Alstom’s most important global markets.’

The trains are being funded by £220.5 million from the Department for Transport, while Transport for London is purchasing maintenance of the Aventra units until 2046.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘Alongside TfL, I’ve been making the case to the Government that investment in new Elizabeth [Line] trains would give a vital boost to UK manufacturing, and support supply chains and jobs around the country. I’m delighted that Ministers have confirmed the funding for these state-of-the art trains.

‘The transformational Elizabeth Line is the fastest growing railway in the UK, with more than 350 million journeys made on the line since its opening, significantly helping to drive recovery from the pandemic and adding an estimated £42 billion to the UK economy.’

Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: ‘Labour has been calling for this deal to be done for months to save jobs and the future of Alstom.

‘It's extremely welcome that Transport for London have placed further orders with Alstom after concerted campaigning from Unite the Union and local Labour leaders.

‘We cannot go on like this. Labour will put an end to the cycle of end to boom and bust in our rail manufacturing sector, support the skilled jobs of the future and provide the stability communities like Derby deserve.’

Unite has also welcomed the news, but criticised government delays. General secretary Sharon Graham added: ‘Our members at Alstom will be breathing a huge sigh of relief but they should never have been in this position in the first place. The government were guilty of being asleep at the wheel. There is a huge need for new trains in this country, but Alstom was being starved of work.’

Reader Comments:

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

  • Chris Jones-Bridger, Buckley Flintshire

    Ten trains is only a short term reprieve. The challenge is see if Alstom is successful in winning a substantial order from the train operators* that are currently at the tender stage for replacement trains. Also to be clarified is the order that Alston & Hitachi have for providing rolling stock for HS2. Given that so much uncertainty clouds this project after the rash decision making of the outgoing PM the post 4th July government will have a full in tray from day one.

    As a previous correspondent has noted urgent action is required re the half century old Bakerloo Line stock. While TfL has long had a strategy for it's fleet renewal it has been thwarted by the drip feed in investment released from Westminster. Having won the order for the Picc Line replacement stock Siemens have made a significant investment in Goole to support TfL investment. Time to endorse TfL's investment strategy by placing the order to maintain continuity of production.
    [Assuming that the polls are right, there will be no individual train operators soon, apart from open access. In any case, orders are placed by rolling stock leasing companies. But Alstom could indeed do with more work.--Ed.]

  • Andrew Gwilt, Rayleigh Essex

    That’s wonderful news. Not just Alstom to keep jobs going at Litchurch Lane facility and to manufacture 10 extra Class 345 trains. But perhaps they could start planning ahead to build new London Underground tube trains for the Bakerloo Line to replace the 1972 Stock.

  • John Porter , Leeds

    How many of the stored trains are equipped with the 3 different signalling systems needed for the Elizabeth line? With hindsight it clearly would have been better to reduce the need for more than 2. I hope the next Government will get long & mid distance rail ridership growing as fast as it was before Covid.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Good News for the short term. But do we really need any more trains ? Online videos show many perfectly usable trains stored in protected sites away from vandals. Whichever Party wins the General Election will be short of money, - and the Railways will be an easy target again to cut costs. Expect Rail Fares too to go up steeply, - probably 2% above inflation.