Siemens has announced its intention to build a train factory in the UK should it secure “major future orders”.
The German manufacturer is currently in the running to win two major rolling stock contracts in the UK: London Underground’s New Tube for London deal for 250 trains, worth up to £2.5 billion, as well as HS2’s £2.75 billion contract to build at least 54 ‘conventional compatible’ trains.
Bombardier and Hitachi are currently the only companies that build trains in the UK. Alstom has previously said that it could do so at its modernisation facility in Widnes, CAF is building a factory in Newport, and Talgo is on the lookout for a site.
The advancement of Siemens’ plans, which have been previously mooted, represent a major step forward in its 20-year presence in the UK rail industry.
Up to £200 million could be invested in the new manufacturing and commissioning facility, which would be established on a 67-acre site in the town of Goole, Yorkshire.
Siemens already employs around 4,400 employees in rail and other transport-related roles in the country with more than 450 trains in service and eight purpose-built maintenance facilities, plus other activities in electrification, signalling and train control technologies.
In Goole it estimates that up to 700 engineering and manufacturing roles could be created, plus an additional 250 during construction and 1,700 indirect jobs throughout the supply chain.
Transport for the North chair John Cridland backed the plans, which supports the organisation’s aim to improve the northern economy.
He added: “This new factory will have the potential to compete to provide the trains required to help fulfil Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport plan and deliver transformational economic growth in the North.”
A number of sites were considered in the UK, according to Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier. Goole was chosen because it has the potential scale needed for the facility and also has ready access to the skills needed to build and operate the factory.
Juergen said: “We’ve said for some time that future success for Siemens in the rail industry would see us opening a rail manufacturing plant here and this announcement provides additional substance to those words.”
Factory plans include manufacturing and commissioning buildings, warehouses, offices, and stabling sidings with the potential for up to 12km of test track. The site is located at the Goole 36 industrial development site adjacent to junction 36 of the M62 motorway.
Crucially, plans are subject to “investment conditions” being met as well as “the company’s success in major future orders.”
In the announcement on March 2, Siemens said that it had signed a long-term deal to lease land in Goole, but did not explain what would happen if it did not secure any major orders.