How ‘British’ are Crossrail trains?
Siemens was at the centre of an intense row in 2011 when it was awarded a £1.5 bn contract to build 1,140 train carriages [for Thameslink], ahead of Bombardier’s plant in Derby, wrote the Daily Telegraph’s Nathalie Thomas (28 Jan 2014). The Thameslink trains are being built in Uerdingen, Germany, and their UK content is low.
[Emphasis will be on British jobs in new rail bids, says Siemens director, DT, 28 Jan 2014]
[…] Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of rail systems for Siemens, said he expected future competitions for UK contracts to include a heavy emphasis on British jobs following the row over new trains for the busy Thameslink commuter line.
[…] “There is definitely a big push to look at what you can do to help regenerate the economy. Going forward, that focus is going to be on even more. If you look at what London Underground and Crossrail have done, they are all trying to demonstrate the spend in the UK market.”
The bidding framework for the Thameslink train contract was created by the last Labour government. After Siemens was awarded the Thameslink contract, Bombardier announced that it might close down its Derby factory, unless it received enough orders. In July 2013, Siemens withdrew from the Crossrail 1 rolling stock competition.
In February 2014, the government announced Bombardier had won the Crossrail 1 order.
The trains will be manufactured and assembled at Bombardier’s plant in Derby.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said Bombardier’s contract would support 760 manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships.
[John Moylan, Industry correspondent, BBC News]
When Bombardier lost out to Siemens for the £1.6bn Thameslink contract, it put the future of the Derby-based train maker in doubt and raised fundamental questions about the government’s support for manufacturing.
Some claimed it was unthinkable that countries like Italy, France and Germany would award such a huge contract to a foreign firm and risk losing a fundamental capability like train manufacturing.
A review of government procurement followed. That has led to a wider interpretation of European Union state aid rules.
Contracts had tended to be awarded on a narrow value for money basis. Now broader issues are taken into account including the impact upon the supply chain, support for apprenticeships and the amount of the money to be spent in the UK.
It is understood Bombardier was a clear winner of the Crossrail contract. The government insists it offered the best trains at the best price.
At the Labour and Conservative parties, the Department for Transport, Hitachi, Siemens, and Bombardier, the PR emphasis may now be on ‘British jobs’. But according to Crossrail Ltd, the Class 345 trains for Crossrail 1 are 27% British by value.
So what is the GB content of the Class 800, AT200, and AT300 trains, which are to be assembled by Hitachi at a factory at Newton Aycliffe?