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Warning “time is short” to find a sustainable future for manufacturing for Alstom’s Derby site

“We are continuing to hold very constructive discussions with the Department for Transport to find a sustainable future for Derby, but time is short as our current projects are almost complete.” That was the message from the Managing Director at Alstom UK and Ireland Nick Crossfield.

In December he warned that in six weeks the company will go from an annual output of 650 cars employing 3,000 people to zero. In November, Alstom announced it had started a consultation which will involve potential redundancies of 550 Alstom permanent employees. 780 contractors are also at potential risk.

The new build production of the Aventra fleet programme completed this week, with testing of the new trains and services and maintenance work on existing fleets due to take place at the company’s Litchurch Lane site in Derby. The new issue now is around a gap in orders, with the medium to long-term work actually quite an attractive market.

However, there are potential new build and refurbishment projects that can be brought forward to enable work to start quickly, together with longer-term competitive procurements that rolling stock manufacturers can bid for.

If an agreement can be found with Government in the coming days, it is hoped Alstom would be able to commit to bringing its next generation of commuter train – Adessia – to Derby where it can be designed, engineered, built and tested on site for both domestic and export markets.

Nick said: “Adessia will be Alstom’s next generation of commuter train, and it is a huge opportunity for Derby and the wider UK rail sector.

“We are committed to working with the Government to create the certainty our staff and UK suppliers need and deserve.”

Nick’s comments come as the Campaign for Better Transport has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, urging him to end uncertainty by guaranteeing that rail manufacturing will continue at the Alstom factory in Derby.

The charity is also calling on Mark Harper to commit to developing a strategy to ensure a consistent pipeline of rolling stock manufacturing.

In the letter, Paul Tuohy, CEO at Campaign for Better Transport, writes: “You have been a strong and passionate exponent of growth on our network, supporting and celebrating Restoring Your Railways, with stations and lines reopening across the country from Dartmoor to Northumberland and many more to come. But these lines need trains, the industry needs certainty and, with the climate emergency the issue of our time, long term clarity and investment in public transport has to be an immediate priority, not a last-ditch afterthought.”

Mr Tuohy adds: “What message would it send if Derby, at the heart of rolling stock production from locomotives in the 1850s to Intercity 125s and amazing Elizabeth Line stock in recent years, the city chosen to be the HQ of Great British Railways, saw its finest factory cease operations in 2024?”

In the last ten years over 8,000 new vehicles have been ordered by operators across the country.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Rail manufacturing plays an important role in growing the UK economy and delivering better services for passengers.

“The Government is committed to supporting the entire sector and we remain in close contact with Alstom to secure a sustainable future for rail manufacturing at Derby.”

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